5 Questions with Artist Sally King Mcbride

Sally in her NYC studio

For our second collaboration with New York City based Sally King Mcbride of The Letter Nest, we chose a theme close to her heart: sophisticated summer-ready prints for kids.  What resulted was a beautiful, gender-neutral nautical print.  It comes in our classic short pajama set for ages 2T - 8Y and in a zip onesie for our littlest customers (0-18M). We sat down with her to discuss her creative process and what it's like to be an artist, entrepreneur, and mom all at the same time.

Sally King Mcbride

Sally's original watercolor Nautical Print for Paper Cape

First of all, where did you get inspiration for the nautical print?

I live in New York City, so getting out on the water is a rare treat, but I rowed crew in high school, and I’m the daughter to a father who adores boats and maritime history. He built his own kayak; he also helped me draft the entire Nautical Alphabet for The Letter Nest.

Sally's NYC studio

what speaks to you about making products for children?

For me, it’s two-fold. There’s no greater feeling than when a child engages with my artwork: from a toddler identifying the objects within each Alphabet, to an older child admiring the letters of his Name Print. But I also love bringing joy and beauty to early parenthood, a time that can feel isolating, unpredictable, and scary. My artwork has always been a means of connecting with others; The Letter Nest, and its expanding presence, is an extension of that.

baby boy in sally king mcbride x paper cape nautical print pjs

A baby boy in Sally King Mcbride x Paper Cape Nautical Print Footless Onesie

How do you make the time for creativity?

Having my kids in school—and a rotation of sitters—allows me to carve out the time necessary for creative work. One thing has helped: writing an idea down the minute it pops into my head, since my strongest artistic ideas often occur to me when I’m nowhere near my workspace. I have a different Evernote going for every artistic project I’m currently working on (2-3 brand collaborations at any given moment, plus 5-6 private commissions for The Letter Nest).


Sally's boys modeling our Sally King Mcbride x Paper Cape PJs  

What do your kids think you do for work?

They’re 6 and 4, and the older will describe how Mommy “sells paintings for money.” :) I’ve expanded my business beyond the canvas, though, and I love seeing my artwork come to life on different products, the Nautical Pajamas being my (and their) latest favorite!

Sally painting the original Nautical Print design

behind the scenes of Sally creating the original Nautical Print

What was the process of creating the Nautical Pattern?

When Alex and I first discussed this pattern, we knew we could incorporate motifs from my Nautical Alphabet from The Letter Nest. From there, I chose the most visually compelling objects from that Alphabet, with a range of textures and shapes to paint, from the reflective rounded buoy to the prominent sailboat. Arranging the pattern feels like a musical composition: there has to be a balance of repetition, so that the eye can organize, but with just enough surprise—or “counterpoint”—that it offers visual interest. Thankfully, I knew the artwork would be in capable hands among Paper Cape’s team!

Alexandra Golden

Alex is a mother of three and often feels like a circus ringmaster. She is also founder, creative director, editor, and all else at Paper Cape. Her favorite activities are wandering in nature, getting creative with the kids (arts and crafts), and painting. She is a reluctant but capable number cruncher 😅.

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