An insight into what inspires Wrendale artist Hannah Dale

Artist Hannah Dale tells us where she gains inspiration for her watercolour illustrations for wrendale designs. 

I am asked a lot where the inspiration comes from for my designs. I really believe that if you have a love and affinity for what you are painting then a little bit of magic happens as the characters appear on the paper and a little bit of that joy comes out in the artwork.  

Artist Hannah Dale painting a rabbit

Where it all began...

I’ve always been obsessed with wildlife and nature – my favourite ‘day out’ as a child was going on a nature trail and hunting for treasures like owl pellets and snail shells and virtually all of the paintings that my mum kept from my childhood were of animals and birds.

Looking back, it’s no surprise that I ended up studying Zoology at University. I specialised in behavioural ecology and absolutely loved learning about how and why different animal behaviours evolved. There was lots of fieldwork involved and this also gave me the opportunity to take along my sketchbook and improve my drawing skills, capturing character and movement very quickly from fleeting glimpses in the wild.

Artist Hannah Dale sketching in nature

After a brief foray in London, I moved home to the Lincolnshire countryside in my 20’s and back in my natural habitat, started painting and drawing again. I decided to try and make a living combining both of my passions for wildlife and art and produced the first greeting cards that now make up The Country Set’.  Since then, I have painted over 200 designs in this range and it has won many awards - I definitely had no idea when I first started those watercolours that ten years later I’d still be lucky enough to be painting for a living and that Wrendale would have flourished in the way it has.

giving back to nature

The older I get, the more I feel an urge to give back, and to do what I can to protect the wildlife that is so important to me and to the health of our planet. Together with Jack, we’ve tried to create a sanctuary for wildlife on our small farm here in Lincolnshire, with acres of restored wetland and woodland, undisturbed hedgerows and grassland and the increase in biodiversity has been incredible.

Fox cubs captured playing in the re-wilded grassland

We’ve got an abundance of insects, birds and mammals and every year new species are returning. Jack is a whizz with the camera and almost every evening we’ll be out on the farm taking in all of the sounds and sights that evolve and shift as the seasons change.

Animals and nature on the Wrendale farmPhotos taken by Jack on the Wrendale farm

This is now my main source of inspiration for my work and I would be so pleased if even a tiny grain of the joy it gives me to be surrounded by ‘wild’ comes through in the paintings that end up on our cards, stationery and gifts.


Want to learn more about the journey of Wrendale Designs? Click here to read our story and watch our brand film featuring artist Hannah Dale.

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