Portrait Series: Katie Scott

Katie Scott
In this month’s Portrait Series, we meet Katie Scott, renowned botanical illustrator, and the designer behind our Burlington Arcade boutique Holiday Winter Woodland installation and limited-edition Holiday gift wrap. In discussion with Dominic Jones, Creative Director of 886 by The Royal Mint, Katie shares the story behind her nature-inspired designs.

Dominic: Please could you introduce yourself?

Katie: My name is Katie Scott, and I’m an illustrator.

Dominic: Some of the references that we are using in the Christmas collaboration are based on woodlands. Do you have favourite woods?

Katie: My favourite wood is Abney Park Cemetery in Stoke Newington. What I like about it is that it's in the city. There's something about that that makes it feel more special, maybe than one in the countryside, because it's just this little preserve, this little pocket. And they have some really interesting old trees there. London's great for having a lot of green spaces, but the parks are very manicured, so the thing that really drew me to it was to have a really wild space in the city. It's not just another park - it feels more special.

Dominic: Do you have any Christmas traditions? For example, I always go for a walk on Boxing Day.

Katie: We use to always go to Hampstead Heath on Boxing Day with my dad. Playing with wellies, pretending we were in the countryside.

Katie wears the Pavé Button Pendant, Pavé T-Bar Pendant, Pavé Bangle and Pavé Ring; as well as our new Bangle and Signet Ring; all available in a variety of precious metals.


Dominic: Where did you train?

Katie: I studied illustration in Brighton, and when I graduated, I started working pretty much straight away, so I've been working for about 13 years now. When I first started working, I wasn't necessarily exclusively doing natural history, as a lot of the work I was doing was anatomical illustration. But quite quickly I started doing these book series on natural history, and that opened that world up to me because suddenly I was working with amazing scientists who knew all about botany. And I just got to know a lot more about plants and realise that they’re the perfect source of creativity: even though I know so many plants now, there are so many more that I don't know - there’s a lifetime's worth of plants to find and draw. And not only are there so many, but also each plant has its different stages of growing, and even seeing a plant dying is really beautiful. I know that my source of inspiration will never dry out.


Dominic: I am really interested in your process and the balance of modernity with tradition. Would you mind telling us about that?

Katie: The work of other people that I like the most is traditional, and I love everything about it - going “full antiquity”, when people would draw the world around them, but kind of get it wrong. There's so much life in those early natural history drawings, so I knew that I wanted to draw from that. But at the same time, that work has been done and I didn't need to just do a pastiche of a traditional natural history drawing. Plus, I was very comfortable working digitally. So I think that my work sits in this nice ground where it's inspired by traditional work but is created in quite a modern way, but also in a way that is slightly hidden: you don't necessarily know that my work is digital. People are often surprised when I tell them.

Dominic: I really like that because there is a synergy with what we are doing, in the sense that it has traditional craftsmanship, but it’s also completely cutting-edge in its materials and processes.

Katie: A lot of creative people find it easy to be inspired by things that have already happened, the work that's already been made. I think it's important to try and work out how you can take inspiration from that, but not just repeat it, and make modern work that is inspired by methods from Antiquity and traditional work.


Dominic: Do you have a favourite British illustrator or artist?

Katie: I really love the paintings of a friend of mine who is call Charlotte Molesworth, who has this amazing garden that I love to go visit. And she does lots of paintings of her garden. And it's so nice because she captures everything that's perfect about English gardens. Not only has she created one, but her paintings of them are amazing.

 Discover the limited edition complimentary gift wrap designed by Katie Scott, available at our Burlington Arcade boutique and for all online orders.