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Behind the Scenes with Lara Hawthorne

Behind the Scenes with Lara Hawthorne

Whisk yourself away to a world of enchantment with playful characters and festive scents inspired by the magical Christmas season with the beautiful new illustrations for our Christmas Scented Tin Candles and Tealights. All four designs were lovingly made by talented illustrator and creator, Lara Hawthorne. 

When searching for a designer to work with on our new Christmas packaging for our festive tins and tealights, we were immediately captivated by Lara Hawthorne's eye for detail, colourful palette and the sense of mystery and storytelling her designs evoke.

We spoke with Lara to learn a bit more about her background, how she got into design, and an insight into her creative process.

Lara Hawthorne - Photography by Together and Sunspell

Photography by Together and Sunspell

Tell us a little bit about yourself; what’s your story?

'I’m a freelance illustrator and children’s book writer based in Bristol. I grew up in Oxford and studied in Falmouth and I’m half Slovenian. I love reading, films, podcasts and walking. I have two pet tortoises called Pudding and Crumpet.'

How did you become an illustrator? What made you want to persue this as a career?

'I did my art foundation and illustration degree at Falmouth University, which I really loved. Studying illustration helped me realise I could pursue it as a career. I love painting, story telling, folk tales, natural history, pattern design, printing, decorative arts and picture books. Illustra6on allows me to draw from all these influences in the painting I made, the books I write and illustrate as well as the products I design.'

Where do you find your sources of inspiration?

'I find inspiration in a variety of places: vintage picture books, medieval art, stop frame animation, folk tale stories and all kinds of museums. I love walking in nature and watching nature documentaries because I particularly like to tell stories and make artwork about the ‘underdog’ animals such as rats and slugs. I have a lot of affection for the sort of creatures that are often seen less favourably by society in general; they provide great narrative scope and humour. My first book Herbert’s Garden is about a slug who discovers he’s an artist through his slime and my recent picture book, Ratty’s Big Adventure, is about a giant rat who lives in volcano.'

What do you enjoy most about what you do?

'The actual process of sitting down and starting to paint is what I enjoy most. When everything is planned out and I have a clear idea of what I’m doing I can relax into the process and get lost in the world of my images. It’s can be very therapeutic when you’re painting a pattern and you get in to a ‘zone’ with it.'

Lara Hawthorne

Can you tell us a little about your process?

'I often make very sketchy drawings to start off with. I then use a light box to draw a neater version on a new piece of paper that is placed over the original sketch. This replaces the process of something like tracing paper to copy and make tweaks to an older image (there can be many versions unit l I get it right). Now I often use Procreate on an iPad which, as well as being a bit quicker, means I’m using less paper. I will then print this image out and go back to the light box to paint the final version on a nice sheet of paper. When the picture has backgrounds with lot of details, I often paint different layers of the image separately so that I can scan and easily edit them on Photoshop, giving me more control over the final combined image.'

Lara Hawthorne----Lara Hawthorne

What inspired your beautiful illustrations for our festive candles? We love the characters, what are their stories?

'I love to paint celebratory scenes and decorative landscapes, so I was really excited when I got the scent names and layouts to play with from St. Eval. I wanted to reflect animals that can be found in Cornwall: a fox, a cat, a hare and a curlew type bird (with some artistic license of course!). For the night scenes, I think the bright, warm colours pop out against dark backgrounds to give the designs a really festive and homely feel. I love the winter months, so I was keen to celebrate what can be a cozy and fun time of year.'

Lara Hawhorne


What is your favourite St. Eval illustration you worked on?

'I like them all for different reasons, but Orange and Cinnamon is my favourite because I love painting, eating and smelling oranges! That scent at this time of year is also nostalgic for me, so that definitely plays a part. Painting the orange trees and the characters was also really satisfying and fun!'

Lara Hawthorne


You can explore our new Christmas Tins and Tealights here, choose from zesty Orange & Cinnamon, warming Inspiritus, soothing herbal Winter Thyme and fruity festive Figgy Pudding

Explore more of Lara Hawthornes incredible work on her website here.

Visit our Instagram,   Facebook   and   Twitter  pages to discover our new animations bringing these characters and stories to life with thanks to Sideways TV.

We'd love to hear your feedback on our new illustrations and hope you love them as much as we do. Share your experiences with us on social @stevalcandles, or email