“Capturing moments of time in inky lines of love” is the way Megan Metcalf describes what she does. Producing beautiful illustrations for couples who want to capture memories of their day; Megan creates unique, sustainable wedding gifts that bring people joy on the wedding day itself and for years to come. We chat to Megan to ask what it’s like to be part of this special moment in a couple’s history and find out more about her passion House of Love Illustration
How did House of Love come about? What had you done previously and what made you want to start your own business?
I put all the things I love together and created my dream job role. Drawing, dressing up and celebrations! It just came to me a few years back as I was finding my way as a professional illustrator. I don’t want to be stuck at a desk drawing – I’m too fidgety! So I decided to make parties my office, and The House of Love Illustration was born! In my previous London life I used to be a Trend and Colour Materials Designer for the likes of Nokia, Samsung and The Future Laboratory.
I was totally frazzled by London life and wanted to be more creative, but wasn’t sure exactly how. Four years ago I just went for it and (like many creatives) moved to Margate. I began to draw again and find my creative feet. It felt like I’d found home and what I was always meant to be doing. People liked what I did, so here I am! I now get all sorts of wonderful commissions, and creative opportunities continue to appear all the time. The House of Love Illustration is my love interest and I can’t wait to see where it takes me.
And what are the best things about your job?
It is just such an honour to attend people’s big life events. I’m always exploding with joy to be there and to capture the characters and movements of the day as it unfolds. I always feel like the luckiest woman alive to be able to be surrounded by love and happiness and simply do my drawing thing. Plus I love an excuse to dress up too, so I’m in my element.
What have you learnt since starting your own wedding business?
Ah so frustrating sometimes but, patience, patience, patience!! It takes a lot of ground work before you see the fruits of your labour. But it’s well worth the wait. Honing the art of trusting in yourself and your work is essential. My three top tips would be: Be yourself and don’t get distracted by “nos” you won’t be everyone’s cup of tea and that’s cool. Say yes to scary things as they will take you to new places, different people, create opportunities and do your confidence the world of good. Ask others for advice. It’s ok to talk to others in your industry and beyond for advice. It was hard for me as what I do is so niche but I’ve had support from some great photographers. I’m very lucky as to some extent I can lead the way as, refreshingly, I have no one to emulate.
Tell us about what you do at a “typical” wedding
I draw approx 3-4 illustrations per hour and then add water colour to the originals in my studio. I also scan them in high resolution and create a digital portfolio for you. It’s totally up to you what you do with the artworks, you always get a framed picture, all the originals and images formatted in an album should you wish. One couple chose to exhibit the pictures the next day at a post wedding brunch. Others have created thank you cards or had large format originals created from their favourite, the options are endless!
What are some of your favourite commissions? Are there any particular pieces or weddings that have stood out?
I once drew at an incredible A-list musician’s wedding where I illustrated 30 ceramic cake stands, did the menus and also illustrated 30 tea pots too! I had to hold myself together not get too star struck and draw the epic wedding. I had to have the drawings finished and coloured in watercolour read to go on display the very next day for a post wedding brunch. I worked through the night and totally nailed them. Still super proud and some of my best ever illustrations.
What makes your work perfect as a group gift to include on Patchwork registry?
In a world of photo booths and filtering, having me illustrate the day is a lovely authentic way to capture the spirit and energy of a special occasion. I create beautiful and characterful live illustrations of your wedding or event. Just like a reportage photographer, I discreetly capture people, objects and moments that tell the story of the day. It’s captivating for guests and they love to have a peep over my shoulder and are always super intrigued about what I’m doing. You’ll have unique original works of art to treasure forever and know that your gift registry has a super low environmental impact so it’s a win-win!
Are you ever been asked to help with celebrating other occasions?
Paper anniversary gifts are super popular as I can easily work from photos and can create bespoke sizes to suit. I am also working with Festivals to create live art experiences and murals, workshops etc. I am always open to seemingly impossible ideas and love wild and wonderful briefs. People want to celebrate in different ways, make and hold on to memories in different ways. I am always learning and coming up with new ideas myself this is why I love what I do as it’s an adventure unfolding everyday.
What do you love doing when you are not working?
I live in Cliftonville in Margate, 2 minutes from the beach and I adore my seaside life. Early morning wild and windy walks on the beach with just me and the seagulls are the best. I love to drink coffee and write to do lists and daydream in cafes. Kent’s coast and vibrant art scene are fantastic for exploring but I also enjoy venturing back to London’s galleries when I can.
Because I’m so busy and my family are in Gloucestershire time with them is rare. So when I can find it, time with them (especially with my niece and nephew) is golden.
Thank you so much Megan for chatting to us and giving us a glimpse behind the scenes! If you’d like to set up an alternative wedding registry to ask friends and family to help fund wedding day illustrations or any other type of art you can customise one of our readymade templates to send out to guests.
If you’d like to get in touch with the lovely Megan to chat about your wedding day you can do so here.