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Laura Carlin Animal Tiles

by Grace Bonney

The older I get, the more I feel drawn to artwork that has a slightly childlike feel to it. Whether it’s beautifully illustrated storybooks or painterly versions of household pets, this style of artwork always tugs at my heartstrings a little more strongly than any other. I’ve never bothered to play armchair psychiatrist and diagnose myself, so instead I embrace this artwork with abandon and celebrate its simplicity and ability to transport me to a place and time when the world feels so fresh and new and exciting.

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Laura Carlin is a UK-based illustrator and ceramicist whose work combines a wonderful sense of color and texture with a childlike whimsy and otherworldly quality that I can’t get enough of. Laura published an illustrated book with Phaidon last year, A World of Your Own, that I scooped up and instantly added to my bedside collection of nightly reads. As much as I enjoy Laura’s work on paper, I love the way it comes alive on ceramics. She recently introduced this sweet series of animal tiles at The New Craftsmen (an excellent site for handmade work) that I absolutely adore. From playful cats and dogs to roaring lions and curious bears, it’s just the sort of artwork that makes me want to stop everything and find a place for it in my home. I think it would be incredibly fun and heartwarming to encounter a single set of these tiles mixed into regular tiles on a kitchen backsplash or in the shower. For me, this is the perfect mix of grown-up and storybook imagination that I’m always looking for. Click here to check out and shop Laura’s tile collection online. xo, grace

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  • These have the perfect balance of bohemian/but still whimsical and not pretentious. They give me (what do you call them?) feelings! Great find, definitely going to invest in some of Laura’s tiles in the future.


  • Oooh, these are too cool! They remind me of Eric Carle’s illustrations, but more subdued/mature. I would like to have a few of those flamingos in my dream Florida beach house kitchen backsplash :)

  • I was thinking of Eric Carle’s collage work while looking at her art work too. Loved his books and so did my kids.

  • These tile paintings are amazing! The animals on them remind me of the ones I used to see in my childhood books. This really gave me a glimpse at my past. It’s great that there are still people who have the passion to create such beautiful things.

  • I love these tiles! I think these would be great in our guest bathroom since they appeal to both kids and adults. How big are the tiles? I don’t know if I would want this in a shower or on the backsplash above the sink. Thanks for sharing this great work!