Have you ever seen an artist’s work and think, man we are on the same wavelength? That’s how I felt when I first saw Sam Battersby’s illustrations in her Etsy shop Matou En Peluche.
Her work is graphic, bold, and simple. Working in pastel, pencil, and charcoal, her illustration has a powerful two-dimensional quality. There’s a definite retro vibe about it, and Sam clearly has a penchant for fashion history.
When I asked her about her interest in historic fashion, her answer slew me — she told me that her favorite museum in the universe is the Victoria and Albert Museum in London because she has spent “days and days and days” in the fashion and costume exhibitions. Well, me too. When I did my study abroad in London, I went to the V&A eight times in three weeks just to see the fashion displays. I would have gone more, but I had to go to class.
I asked Sam about her artistic process. She told me, “usually I have an idea for a drawing, which I have in my head, and I’ll play around with that with plain paper and a pencil until I want to commit to the pastel and charcoal. Sometimes the idea is a complete success, but sometimes what I thought would be a terrific idea completely fails, but then it always leads me down another interesting path, so whether an idea works or not is sort of irrelevant really. They all work in one way or another!”
I think it’s fairly obvious why I love her work and why I can’t decide which piece to get. Some of the illustrations are such classic fashion sketches. In portraits, she captures the aura of the women without a lot of distraction. For instance, the flappers with their blunt bobs and rouged cheeks are reduced to shape and color, giving them their edge. And other pieces have that wonderful retro whimsy. I’m looking at you, mermaids. The illustrations that capture all three — fashion, aura, whimsy — are the best in my opinion.
Check out the rest of Sam’s work on Matou En Peluche.