Webhelp is delighted to sponsor Scotland’s first-ever national public art trail which is raising vital funds for children in hospital’s across Scotland. Here, we talk to artist Laura Hallet, revealing the design process behind our bespoke ‘Oor Wullie’ sculpture and how she feels about the incredible impact the trail is having.

Each week of the event takes on a different theme, as it is Art, Music & Culture Week, we are focusing on the Arts. Freelance illustrator Laura Hallet, the designer of #OorCharles, Webhelp’s artwork, shares her artistic background and her enthusiasm on being chosen to paint a sculpture for the trail.

First of all, tell us about yourself?

I’m a Bristol-based freelance illustrator, originally from Birmingham. I work primarily in watercolour and ink and specialise in illustrated maps and architectural illustrations. However, I enjoy working across the board on food, lifestyle, and narrative, in addition to information illustration.

I also love taking part in public art trails like the Big Bucket Trail and have painted several other sculptures before, most recently including a giant Gromit in Bristol which was fantastic. One of my favourite things about this process is meeting so many other local artists whilst working in the shared studio spaces, and I really enjoyed this whilst in Glasgow. Visiting new places is a great source of inspiration for my work

Are you familiar with Scotland’s most famous comic strip character – Oor Wullie?

I didn’t know that much about Our Wullie before the trail, although I did recognise him. But it’s been fantastic to learn all about his place in Scottish culture, and I’ve had lots of Scottish friends telling me how much they love Oor Wullie and how excited they are about the trail, which has been really lovely. I also enjoyed reading the latest annual and trying to get to grips with the Scots dialect!

How did you come across the call-out for artists to design an Oor Wullie, and why did you want to put yourself forward?

I have painted a few Wild in Art Sculptures before so I always keep an eye out for new projects. I was particularly excited when Oor Wullie came up, because the subject was so specific to Scotland, and it’s great when towns and cities feel a very personal connection with the trails.

It was also an unusually shaped sculpture and, as I hadn’t done a human figure before this presented an exciting design challenge. As soon as I thought of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh connection to Glasgow I knew I had to submit a design.

Did it take you long to think of a design, what inspired you to choose Charles Rennie Mackintosh as the theme?

Choosing the theme was easy but developing the design took several days. I spent time playing around with how to incorporate as many different Mackintosh inspired design elements as possible and make them work on what was quite a complicated sculpture. The chair idea came fairly late on and was definitely a ‘eureka’ moment!

How did you feel when you found out that your sculpture ‘Oor Charles’ had been chosen by Webhelp?

I was really excited! To have a design chosen that celebrates one of my favourite artists and designers was really special, and it was great to find a sponsor that shared my love of Charles Rennie Mackintosh in Webhelp.

It’s also a lovely feeling knowing that at the end of the process the sculptures will be auctioned off to make a real difference to the lives of Glasgow’s children receiving care in hospital.

How many weeks did it take you to complete the sculpture, did you hit a creative block?

As I was travelling and staying up in Glasgow I had to work long days instead of painting in smaller bursts over a long period, so there wasn’t much time for creative blocks! However, painting the very linear Mackintosh chair design onto the very bumpy sculpture surface on the back was definitely tricky! Oor Charles took about 4 solid long days (with very early starts) to completely finish.

Do you have a favourite trail sculpture?

Some favourites that I’ve spotted on social media are A Reasonably Accurate Map of Glasgow (I love maps!), Oor Billy, Oor Rail Bridge and The Amazing Oor Wullie.

Do you know that ‘Oor Charles’ is one of the top 10 unlocked sculptures in Glasgow? How does it feel to know the sculpture you designed has been unlocked by 2,894 members of the public so far?

I didn’t know that, but that’s amazing! It’s really great to know that so many people are visiting Oor Charles!

Click here to find out more about Oor Wullie’s Big Bucket Trail, which supports children’s charities the Glasgow Children’s Hospital, the Edinburgh Children’s Hospital and the Archie Foundation.