Peter Crawley and Ben The Illustrator

If you want to try mixed media work, but aren’t quite sure how to go about it, why not produce a piece with someone from a craft background – as illustrator Ben O’Brien did recently with design-influenced stitcher Peter Crawley.

Peter, a product designer by day (, and Ben (aka Ben The Illustrator, came together to produce a series of six nature-inspired stitched illustrations, which intertwine Peter’s technical sensibility and Ben’s colourful vector characters.

Their relationship began when Ben saw Peter’s stitched architectural illustrations online and they struck up a conversation on Twitter. After getting to know each other, they created Bear, Bird, Mountain, Owl, Seals and Tree.

Ben first sketched the designs, before taking them into Illustrator to produce vector versions.

“I had to find some happy mediums of my original lines and shapes in my illustrative style but, at the same time, simple and clean linework for Pete to take and stitch,” explains Ben.

Peter then reinterpreted the vector versions, ensuring they could be sewn, but without losing Ben’s style or design intent. He printed physical templates, before piercing holes in 420gsm watercolour paper with a pin and stitching the paper with cotton thread.

“I would wholeheartedly recommend creatives with different skill sets collaborating. You learn a lot about how others work and think, helping you improve your work in the process,” says Peter.