While Inga Campbell studied graphic design and worked as an art director for leading Australian fashion magazines, she is becoming increasingly known for her illustration work. But it wasn’t until she made the decision to leave her role in publishing in Sydney and return to her hometown of Newcastle that she was able to explore new avenues through her business, Inkling Design. Most recently, she has embarked on a new adventure with her husband Mike Campbell and their four-year-old daughter, attempting to house and pet sit their way through North America for a year. “I just love travelling around, seeing this beautiful country, and feeding my creative passion all at once,” Inga says.

She was born and raised in Newcastle. “I had a fabulous childhood with very encouraging parents who constantly stimulated my creative brain with both travel and culture,” Inga says. She graduated from the University of Newcastle with a Bachelor of Design/Graphic Design. “From an early age I was constantly drawing,” Inga says. “I was also lucky that my father is an artist so I was encouraged and taken to many art galleries. I can remember as a kid being obsessed with the Brett Whiteley painting Summer At Carcoar and would always try to draw it myself. Drawing bought me happiness and still does.”

Which five words best describe you? Curious, minimal, creative, particular, caring.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? While I was at university I did work experience at Girlfriend magazine. I loved every minute of it and when it was finished I knew I wanted to work in magazines. I worked my way through the design ranks from a junior to photo editor, deputy art director, advertising art director and art director. I worked for magazines including Girlfriend, Dolly, Cosmopolitan, Grazia, and White. When I relocated to Newcastle with my husband to start a family, I started my own design company, Inkling Design. 

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? That less is more. It is not only the way I approach my design, but also the way I approach life.  

What’s your proudest career achievement? Having the guts to go out on my own and work for myself. It was a big leap and not always easy but something I am intensely proud of. It wasn’t a rash decision but something considered. I was working at building this while being in another role and then it just got to a point where I could no longer juggle both. That was the moment I knew I should be able to make it work. 

What’s been your best decision? Moving from Sydney to Newcastle. It was a difficult decision to make initially as my husband and I had great jobs that we both loved. I was Art Director of Grazia Magazine at the time and he was National Publicity Manager for Universal Music. But we just couldn’t afford to buy where we wanted to live in Sydney. Moving to Newcastle was the catalyst for me to start my design company, Inkling Design. I can’t imagine it any other way. Our mortgage was less than our monthly rent in Sydney and this freedom has allowed us to do so much more.

Who inspires you? Other female business owners, there is not a particular person but rather the many women who have taken the leap to do their own thing. I am a strong believer in women supporting women and not tearing each other down. I love nothing more than reading about other success stories and learning from their experiences. 

What are you passionate about? A balanced life. It is something that I have grown to really appreciate and I know I am at my best when my rhythm is balanced. I love my family, I love creating through my work, I love traveling, I love my friends and our home in Newcastle. There are so many beautiful and wonderful things I want in my life. And for me, 
it all comes down to finding that perfect balance. 

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Grace Coddington. I was in awe of her when I watched the documentary The September Issue. I then read her autobiography Grace: A Memoir and was even more impressed.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? My husband and I spent 12 month’s redesigning our life so we could embark on a family adventure for a year, attempting to house and pet sit our way through North America with our four-year-old daughter. At the time of writing this we are currently in Upstate New York. This year has been a dream for me, to be able to take my design company on the road and travel with my family. My future dream would be to take my studio on the road again, to travel to more places, for an extended period of time, and be immersed in the culture and community. Oh and more house drawings! 

What are you reading? A Walk In The Woods by Bill Bryson. I found it on the shelf of one of the houses I was staying in and loved it. The idea of going off grid and walking in nature really appeals to me so I loved reading this.

images courtesy of inga campbell