If you’re fans of Lean Duncan‘s illustrations, you know why we’re so in love with her flowers—they’re simple and wild and bursting with color and personality. Her Etsy shop blossomed into an international business that includes big-brand design partners, and we’re beyond thrilled to be one of them. Leah collaborated with our Signature team to create a collection of Mother’s Day cards around her lovely florals. We added richly textured paper stock, tiny seed beeds, hand-printed envelope liners and sweet, heartfelt messages.
We asked Leah about the inspiration behind the collection—and got some excellent advice for new moms.
The Leah Duncan Signature Mother’s Day Collection
How would you describe your collection in five words?
Organic, simple, feminine, and classic—with a side of whimsy.
What was your inspiration for it?
My biggest inspiration is always nature, so I wanted this collection to feel somewhat earthy and classic “me” in that way. When we began the process I wanted to create cards that would feel like a keepsake and artwork that could be held onto for years to come. I had just become a new mom myself when we started designing the collection, so Mother’s Day had taken on a whole new meaning for me. I wanted my cards to feel worthy of the bond of a mother and child by creating a card that could age well over time and feel like an heirloom.
Do you have a favorite in the collection? Which one and why?
I truly love them all! If I had to choose one it would be the daisy and sunflower card. I took a photo of a sunflower field in our neighborhood when we moved back to Austin from Brooklyn a few years ago. We knew at that time we were ready to start our family and it was one of the biggest reasons we moved. Now that I’ve used the photo as inspiration to create a Mother’s Day collection it feels like it’s come full circle.
Finding a style and making a name “in my own way”
When, where, and how did you learn to draw?
When I first picked up a crayon! But I didn’t see it as a realistic career choice until after I graduated from college. I managed to get a job as a graphic designer despite that not being my major, and one of my art directors who was a very technically gifted illustrator told me to pick up a pen and draw for ten minutes a day. I did and continued this practice when we moved to Austin nine years ago. I’m still nowhere near his level or skill set, but I’ve managed to make a name for myself in my own way.
Who are your biggest art inspirations?
Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keeffe (mostly because I have dreams of living in rural New Mexico), Vera Neumann, and Ray Eames.
Any design trends you’re loving right now?
I can’t get enough of the monstera leaf! I just bought myself a giant monstera plant.
Let’s talk color—how do you choose your color palettes for your work?
I like my colors slightly organic and muted, and I always include yellow in my palette. Other than that, it depends on the project itself and what the final product will be, as well as what I want the final feeling to be for the collection. Sometimes I’ll choose something more festive or more sophisticated, but I always try to stay within my range. I’m typically drawn to the same colors over and over again.
Tell us about your work space.
I have a new home studio that we’ve just renovated. It will allow me to be at home while my daughter is young. We’ve been working on a garden area that will be the view from my windows. We’ll also have a chicken coop. Other than that it’s full of fabric, random scraps of paper, and various projects in a state of disarray. I’ll have a beautiful sun room with a greenhouse window and fireplace adjacent to my work area when we are done. I imagine that’s where I’ll do most of my drawing and creating.
Are you a night owl or an early bird?
Night owl, always—as much as I dream of being an early bird.
Being a mom: “I’m a completely different person”
What moms have been the biggest inspiration to you—real, fictional, TV characters, or otherwise?
My own mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, and mother-in-law as well as all of the other moms out there with their own creative businesses.
Any special moms in your life you’d like to give a shout-out to?
Hi, Mom! Happy Mother’s Day!
How has being a mom changed your outlook on life?
Oh boy! I’m a completely different person. Everything that I thought was so important before just pales in comparison to my role as a mom. It truly puts everything into perspective. My daughter has made me my happiest me. I’m actually more laid back. I’ve learned to work through life at a slower pace because you simply can’t get as much done as a new parent. Things that would have been a big deal to me a year and a half ago barely affect me. For example, she took the screen guard off of my iPhone today and threw it onto the pavement. The screen is now shattered and I’ll need to go in first thing tomorrow to get it fixed on top of my already long to-do list. But it just made me laugh, which in turn made her laugh. And her laugh is the best laugh.
What advice would you give someone who is about to become a mom for the first time?
The ever-so-cliché but very true “get some sleep”! Enjoy every little second. Take pictures. Remember to laugh in all of those new parent moments when you are exhausted and/or have no idea what you are doing or when you get peed on.
What does your perfect Mother’s Day look like?
Probably hanging out at the Wildflower Center here in Austin with my family, followed by a nice dinner cooked by my husband. As much time with my daughter as possible…with the exception of a quick trip to the spa for a massage.
See the Leah Duncan Signature Mother’s Day collection yourself at your local Hallmark Gold Crown store or online. And Happy Mother’s Day from all of us at Signature and Think.Make.Share!