Inga Campbell of Inkling Design


Inga Campbell is the talented creative behind Inkling Design – a company that offers art direction, branding, styling, custom illustrations and custom invitations. Here she shares with us the ins and outs of running her independent business.

How old were you when you fell in love with drawing?

I drew constantly as a child. I think having a father who is an artist and mother who really appreciated art may have had a hand to play in this. They constantly took me to galleries and I was surrounded by art in our home (the majority being my dad’s). I was recently speaking to my father about this as my little girl enjoys drawing. He was telling me that at age three I would get people to sit for me so that I could sketch them. When I wasn’t outside in the bush running amuck, I would be drawing. It has brought me pleasure since my earliest memories.

Can you remember what you drew most as a kid?

Horses, horses and more horses. I was horse obsessed and I desperately wanted one. I think because I couldn’t have the real thing I chose to draw them instead. I also liked to draw people and I was into copying things. I can remember trying to copy works I had seen in the gallery. I loved Brett Whiteley’s “Summer at Carcoar”. I used to try and replicate it and add all those hidden little elements like the fox and the violet. I still love that painting today.

What do you love to illustrate? Why?

Girls faces and hair would have to be right up there as one of my favourite things. I love nothing more than the intricacy of drawing each strand to make that perfect hairstyle. I give them the hair I want, ha! I think women’s faces are so beautiful.

My newfound love is drawing all these sweet houses I have seen on my travels here in the US. Architecture is a style I had not really touched, as I am not good with hard lines. But I have found that in my style they are by no means perfect – they have their own little unique personalities.

Do you remember what your first commissioned illustration was? If so, describe it.

I had to really think about this and thought it would have been one of my early magazine illustrations, but it was actually a portrait. It was a portrait for a girl that I worked with, of her brother and sister, to give to her parents as a gift. Its funny how life works in full circle as I do a lot of portraits now.

What environment sparks your creativity the most?

First it would be a simple, light and clear space when talking in terms of the immediate environment. A space like this allows me to think, be clear and uncluttered in my mind. This allows the work to flow.

I have learnt, while being on this journey in the United States, that I can work from anywhere. I have needed to work in all kinds of environments. From basements sourounded by a winter wonderland to sundrenched dining tables, even a desk in the middle of the only common space in a home with four cats and five people. As long as I block out the noise and focus with headphones on I am OK. That said, I am looking forward to working out of my studio back home.

On a wider scale I have learned that being in the countryside brings me peace and in turn, allows me to be more creative. To be able to go outside and hit that refresh button in the wilderness, with the silence and just sounds of nature is something so special.

Can you remember the moment when you realised illustrating was your calling?

I have ALWAYS been illustrating. Throughout my career in magazines it was a sideline gig. It wasn’t until I started my company Inkling Design that I realised the majority of my work was illustration. I think I probably subconsciously pushed my career in this direction, as it is something that I simply love doing.

Describe your average day at work.

The day MUST start with coffee, otherwise my brain does not work. I have learnt, while being here in the United States, that I work the best and most productively in the morning. On many days getting up at 5 or 5.30am in my pj’s to start work (the beauty of having your own business and working from home).

First thing is to go through emails and either answer or just write down a list of my priorities for the day. One tip from me is, to never put too many things on the list. You will start to feel over whelmed. Write 3 to 4 items and number them in order of priority. If you get through them, then you can add more.

From here I start my first thing on the list and when I complete that I give myself a break to go for a walk or get outside. I need to do this between jobs or I start faffing about and stop concentrating. It makes me more productive. I return and do more work then have lunch and more work. As I start early I generally have the afternoon and evening free to spend time with my family. Sometimes at night I might do a personal project like a house illustration as relaxation.

What inspires you?

New environments and getting out and about. Its been brilliant here in the United States as I am constantly being invigorated by new sceneries. But even back home if I just get down to the beach or walk around the neighborhood it brings new ideas. I also love to catch up with other business owners for coffee and chat, even if they are not in the same field it is so inspiring and interesting to talk about how they tackle things.

What do you love most about drawing?

The satisfaction I get when completing a project and being happy with it. Even though sometimes I can have internal battles of how it is looking during the moment, when I am complete and happy it is a great feeling.

Do you have a signature style with your illustrations? If so, describe it.

I didn’t think I did but when I look at my work, whether it is a house or a couple, it is paired back, simplicity and white space. White space is huge thing for me. I don’t like doing things that are completely filled with information. Large white space to allow it to speak for itself. I always use black lines and scribbly shapes for details.


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