I’m Kathryn, head Inkling. I am the painter, designer, cutter, and maker of all the things. 

I am a once-upon-a-time-ago-teacher who couldn’t stop making things and accidentally fell into the small business indie design world.

There were a few iterations before Inkling evolved to where it is now, but through all those side paths and roundabouts there’s been one star that has always existed, shining bright: the Messy Bag. 

Side bar. Let me take you back to when it all began really quick. (Lol joke, I’ve never told a story and made it quick IN. MY. LIFE. Utterly incapable, forever destined to use 3500 words to tell you something that could have taken 430.)


Many, many moons ago I had a teeny baby boy who made one hell of an entrance and has been causing mischief and chaos pretty much ever since. Commercial baby wipes didn’t agree with his delicate little self, and it found me making a whole bunch of cloth wipes from ultra-soft bamboo terry. Worked great while at home, was a hassle when we were out and about. After a few months of shoving damp wipes into Ziplock bags, Tupperware containers and neoprene pencil cases, I taught myself how to sew, found the best waterproofing lining the internet had to offer (it’s the same one I still use today!), and made the first batch of Messy Bags. 

One, two, skip a few, thousands of Messy Bags later, Inkling is now the place to find bold, colourful pieces of functional art. Inkling is designed to brighten your everyday, elevate your mood and keep you organised along the way.

How Inklings Are Made

They all start their life the same way, paint, canvas, a handful of paintbrushes and a whole bunch of repurposed tools. Colours are hand mixed in small batches and spatulated, squeegeed and occasionally (it’s slow! I’m impatient!) painted onto canvas. I love colour clashing, line, shape and mark making and favour speed over precision. Having said that though, each canvas still takes at least a day, usually two or three from start to finish. 

Once completed, the canvases can be used in multiple ways. The Original Messy Bags and Totes are cut directly from this finished canvas. 

Occasionally there’ll be a canvas that wants to live on forever! These canvases get stockpiled, sent off to the pros to be captured digitally before returning to me to face the Big Chop. 

Before cutting (almost) every canvas (sometimes I am in a rush and forget!), I snap a pic of the canvas on my phone. I use these images as the basis for recreating the artwork digitally in Illustrator. Put simply, I put the photo in Illustrator and then ‘repaint’ it digitally. It’s just as laborious as painting it the first time around - sometimes more so! - but I love the freedom of being able to tweak the original artwork, scale it up or down and recolour it into new colourways. 

These digital artworks can be found on Imprint Messy Bags and Everyday Totes.

Art should be accessible, enjoyable, and functional. Let Inkling bring a piece of functional art to your day.