Katie Rhodes: getting to know the artist!

July 28, 2013


Can you tell us a little bit about Fred&Elsie?


Sure, I graduated university from Manchester School of Art (my favourite city in the world, you all need to visit!) in 2012 and I’ve always known that I want a creative job. I spent a while searching for graduate jobs whilst drawing as a hobby and then decided to turn it into a job. It was a brilliant decision! I have just been funded by The Princes Trust which is a charity here in the UK which supports young people starting up new businesses so that has been a huge help. I currently have a range of around 20 greetings cards and I’m hoping to expand to more products soon outside of Society6.


Where does the name come from?


The name Fred&Elsie comes from my great grandparents, Fred and Elsie. I wanted the name for my business to mean something to me and I wanted it to be able to be a platform for other artists and illustrators to be a part of. My great grandma Elsie lived to the amazing 99 – she was great. The Fred&Elsie logo is also a photograph of them.


What's a usual day in your life?


A usual day in my life is responding to emails, ordering stock, packaging up orders and then going to my other job in a bar – not very exciting – but on a good quieter day I get to work on new designs! Those are my favourite days.



Animals play a good part in your work, where do you get this inspiration from?


I’ve always loved animals since being little and my ideal day out is to visit a farm or a zoo (it drives my boyfriend insane). I also have a little house rabbit called Norah. She’s so cute and I have a design based on her.


If you had to choose one of your design to show the whole world, which one would it be?


It would be my party bear. He’s my favourite. He was also the first design that I did when I decided to turn Fred&Elsie into a business and is always a best seller! Fingers crossed lots more people get to see him soon!




You have awesome typographic skills, what did your handwriting look when you were a kid?


The same as it looks now probably! Haha. I remember in primary school year 2 being taught how to do joint up hand writing and for a while I didn’t leave spaces because then you were breaking the join – that got me in trouble.


You made a beautiful Mood Board using your work and old photos of your family, tell us how mixing your work with personal images from the past can affect your inspiration?


As I mentioned before, the logo for Fred&Elsie is my great grandparents so they always play a big part in my work and its nice having my success named after them. The photograph I think you’re talking about though is the really old sepia post card – my favourite photograph in the world. It’s a photograph of Elsie playing in the woods with her brother. She can’t be much older than 8 in the picture and the history of it just amazes me. I’d like to think I had made her proud!



You make many different products such as tote bags, cards, posters, which one is you prefer working with, Is there new materials you are looking forward to try ?


Well in the next couple of weeks my heat press machine will be arriving which means I will be able to make my tote bags myself and lots more of them so I'm really excited about that at the moment. I have no many ideas for products I would like to make ranging from notebooks, tea towels and mugs but I struggle to find printing suppliers that are both good quality and cheap enough so that I can sell them on so if anyone knows of any hook me up!


Working with bands and musicians like you did for Jimmy Holland is a great way to bring your art to a broader audience, tell us a bit about your experience.


Yes it was really exciting when I got contacted by Jimmy to do him a logo for his new EP. He contacted me to see if I could help him out with a design that would be completely unique to him, and one that fit his style. We discussed different design types together and then I played around with a few – we’re both pretty happy with the outcome! I think its really good to get involved with everything you can – I once read a piece of advise from an illustrator in an interview which said that you shouldn't say no to anything and I've really applied that and would advise that to anyone else wanting to become an illustrator! 


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Men T-shirts

Sizes Width (CM) Length (CM)
S 46 70
M 51 73
L 56 76
XL 61 78
2XL 66 81
3XL 71 84


Women V-Neck T-shirts

Sizes Width (CM) Length (CM)
S 41 64
M 43 67
L 47 69
XL 50 71
2XL 56 72