Interview with Pip Claffey: personalised cycling prints + illustrations Back to top
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Meet the Maker: Q&A with cycling illustrator, Pip Claffey

In a world where there’s so much STUFF, truly unique gifts for cyclists are at a premium.

We recently came across the excellent Pip Claffey, a road cyclist with a talent for creating fun, personalised illustrations.

We’re delighted to be collaborating with her to create a fantastic quirky cycling gift - a personalised cycling print/illustration of a cyclist and their favourite mountain. We love what Pip creates!

[Edit - sadly we've had to close our shop where we were showcasing our collaboration with Pip. However, you can find our 20 favourite cycling prints and posters (including some of Pip's new work) in this article.]

In this interview we find out more about Pip, her influences and how she goes about creating these gorgeous, personalised cycling gifts. 

1. Tell us about yourself

I'm a freelance illustrator based in the North West of England. 

I graduated from Liverpool School of Art in 2001 with a first class BA Hons degree and then went on to work as a graphic designer, designing marketing and logos for many varied clients.

In 2015 I landed the role of designer at Liverpool Football Club. 

Cycling illustrator Pip Claffey

There I learnt about creating designs for a huge global brand. I honed a lot of skills such as typography and layout and learnt lots of new skills. The three years I worked for the Club were fast paced and demanding as the Club was going through some big changes, such as the redevelopment of the Main Stand at Anfield, Steven Gerrard's final season and the arrival of a new manager, Jurgen Klopp. This all led to some high profile projects I'm very proud to have worked on. 

During this time I was starting to realise my passion was illustration, something I'd only ever done as a sideline. 

In 2018 I left the Club to set up my own business, Rune Creative. I have created illustrations for many beautiful magazines and publications. I also print limited edition screen prints, riso prints and have my own range of merchandise. Happily, I have been able to combine art with my passion for cycling and a lot of my clients find me through that shared passion for two wheels. 

I have recently taken up photography which is taking me off into new projects and is feeding my creative drive. When I'm not getting inky in the studio or working from my cosy little home study I'll be off walking in the Lakes or riding my bike.

Personalised cycling print Mont Ventoux and cyclist

Cyclist, their kit + Mont Ventoux by Pip - email us for more info (info@epicroadrides.com)

2. Tell us about your design style. Where do you get inspiration from?

I have lots of illustrators I admire, not least Herge, the creator of Tintin. I also really like Jean Jullien's playful and humorous style. I also was greatly influenced by J Otto Seibold whose children’s books were elaborately illustrated and of course the beautiful style of Tove Jansson’s, Moonins. 

That said I take inspiration from lots of places not just other illustrators; I love mid century designers such as Robin Day, Charles Eames and Finn Juhl as well as photography, interior design - everything is visual and has the potential to be inspiring. 


3. What makes your designs special?

I hope my work is a good mix of the things that inspire me with my own take on things. I try to put my personality into my work. 

I also love creating bespoke cycling gifts, such as the “cyclist and mountain” range I’m working on with you. These illustrations can be personalised to show a specific cyclist in their kit, together with details like their name, trip and time up the climb.

Unique cycling print illustration for cyclists

Cyclist, their kit + Passo di Stelvio by Pip - email us for more info (info@epicroadrides.com)

 

4. Why do your illustrations make unique cycling gifts?

My work is often described as fun and colourful and a bit “kooky” If you're looking for a gift to make someone smile I like to think my work ticks the right boxes. 

I often get sent messages or pictures of people's reactions when they receive one of my illustrations and it’s lovely to see and know something you have created can mean so much to someone else. 

Unique cycling gift for a cyclist that loves Sa Calobra Mallorca

Cyclist, their kit + Sa Calobra by Pip - email us for more info (info@epicroadrides.com)

 

5. Talk us through the process of how you draw each illustration?

I have always loved to draw and I sketched non stop as a kid. 

When the iMac first landed at uni I was keen to learn more about illustrating on a mac. Working on a Mac has become second nature to me over the years and it's an irreplaceable tool for my creativity. 

In more recent years I have relied more on sketching, before going to the Mac and have started to develop a looser, hand drawn style back into my work.

I also love to draw on my iPad which lets me curl up on the sofa and sometimes I draw for hours. 

 

6. What kind of person buys your personalised illustrations?

A lot of my work appeals to cyclists (for obvious reasons!) but also I have found that what a lot of my customers have in common is a good sense of fun. 

My designs are pretty colourful and “out there” and as a result this can lead to some interesting collaborations, like a cycling cap I designed for an ultimate frisbee team based in Berlin whose slogan was "Dogs in Space!" 

Personalised cycling gift: Alpe d'Huez cycling print/illustration

Cyclist, their kit + Alpe d'Huez - email us for more info (info@epicroadrides.com)

 

7. Do you have any tips for looking after your illustrations? 

If you have one of my prints or a custom illustration, I would advise framing the print ideally under UV glass as this will prolong the life of the print and slow it from fading.

Of course the illustrations I’ll be creating in collaboration with you will be available as digital and physical products, so if you have the digital file you could always print another one in future!

Personalised cycling print/illustration with cyclist and mountain

Cyclist, their kit + mountain of choice - email us for more info (info@epicroadrides.com)


A big thanks to Pip for sharing more about her and the unique cycling prints she creates!


More cycling print inspiration...

...sadly we had to close the shop where we were showcasing our collaboration art with Pip. But in better news, we've pulled together our favourite 20 cycling prints and posters - including some of Pip's new work. 

You might also like these articles:

31 all-time favourite cycling books

20 best cycling gifts for him/her

10 best cycling presents (chosen by industry experts)

30 best Christmas gifts for cyclists

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