Why we love… Caroline Pedler: Illustrator-Extraordinaire!

Every village pub worth its salt should have an official illustrator, don’t you think?! Well, we’ve always done things a little differently here at The Driftwood Spars, just ask the penguins…

Over the last 15 years, the highs and lows of life in Trevaunance Cove have been documented by talented illustrator and friend of The Drifty, Caroline Pedler. A celebrated illustrator of children’s books by trade, Caroline’s bespoke illustrations have become synonymous with the Drifty ‘brand’ thanks to her magical Christmas cards and illustrations for our beer labels and pump clips.

14 years of Christmas cards…

Caroline and Landlady Louise have known each other since they were four years old (ballet class was a riot apparently!) and when Louise took over the pub in 2007 she turned to Caroline for creative involvement.

Working closely with her old friend and regular sea swimming buddy Louise, Caroline perfectly ‘gets’ and captures the essence of our rambling, characterful pub. Her annual Christmas cards are a festive highlight for those lucky enough to be on the long list of recipients.

The first one featured penguins and the theme has stuck, with the personalities and antics of staff and regulars all portrayed in endearing penguin-form over the years.

“Every November Lou and I sit down and have a coffee and talk about everything that’s happened that year,” Caroline explains. “Illustration is storytelling, and that conversation is an important part of the process. I try and get as much detail as I can – personalities, pets, landmark events, the humorous happenings and the sad things too. I have to behave like a curator, so I start with the big picture then drill down to the telling details.”

One of Caroline’s initial sketches for this years’ card

From this conversation Caroline begins sketching then shows the initial drawings to Louise, who is invariably tickled by the results. “Caroline knows us so well that she always captures the feel of each year perfectly. It’s a lovely record that I’ll always cherish.” says Louise.

Caroline’s card for 2020 shows the absurdity of some of the situations we found ourselves in as we all learnt the rules of social distancing, the moments of joy snatched in between the worry and strife, and the sense of community which kept us all going in difficult times. “Thanks to Caroline I’ll remember the good times of 2020 as well as the bad,” says Louise. “That’s quite an achievement!”  

The 2020 Driftwood Spars Christmas Card, by Caroline Pedler

Caroline said: “My dear friend Lou is remarkable, and 2020 proved for once and for all that she deserves a medal! She put the staff and the community first at all times, and managed to keep her sense of humour in exceptional circumstances. I hope there will be many more years and cards with Lou front and centre!”

Caroline has also contributed many sketches to our beer label designs, including Bluehills, Badlands, Bolsters Blood, Bawden Rocks, Blackheads and Lou’s Brew – the only one in colour. Most recently she designed the label for Pete’s Mild in memory of Head Brewer Pete Martin – a friend to us all here at The Drifty – who passed away last year.

Thank you Caroline for documenting life here in the cove. Fifteen years rich with memories (perhaps it’s time for an exhibition!)

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