INGA Campbell was travelling abroad with her husband and daughter when she inadvertently created a fresh offshoot for her Newcastle illustration business Inkling Design.
In 2016 the trio left their Hunter home to travel for a year in America after Mrs Campbell was feeling "overwhelmed and anxious" and rationalised her skills and work were transportable.
"I didn't see a lot of my clients face-to-face anyway," says Mrs Campbell, who studied graphic design at the University of Newcastle then worked for high profile Sydney magazines for 15 years before founding her Newcastle business in 2011.
As her family moved between Wisconsin, Colorado, Rhode Island and upstate New York, she began sketching the charismatic homes she admired around her.
"At first I thought, 'I don't draw houses!' but I just thought I would have a go, and I started picking houses I liked then popping them on my Instagram, and straight away I started getting enquiries from people wanting me to draw their homes, or those of someone they knew," she says.
Mrs Campbell said the classic design of houses initially caught her eye.
"I loved all the details. I appreciate architecture but I like older homes, shingle details, and little shutters and intricate pieces on their houses I thought were so beautiful," she notes. "Here we are a new country and multicultural and there is not as much [design] consistency while over there, you might have a neighbourhood of houses from a particular period."
While about 65 per cent of her illustration work is logo and branding designs for clients, Mrs Campbell is organically increasing her distinctive house illustrations.
"[Clients are] people who are selling their house and want a memento or retirees scaling down - their children often request an illustration of their family home because they want to remember it and hand out copies to the rest of the family," she says.
"Or it might be a cherished holiday home that people want to remember; or adult children giving me photos of their old childhood home for a gift to parents."
The illustrations are ideal presents for senior citizens who often don't want for more in their lives.
"It's lovely when people message and tell me how emotional it was to hand [the drawing] over to the recipient, the tears of joy it brought."
She enjoys designing on computer but there is nothing quite like pen on paper: "When you are in the moment it's quite meditative. I might be scribbling at the leaves of a bush or shading in parts of the roof - it puts me in that moment and I don't think of anything else."
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