Hannah is an illustrator based in South Portland, Maine. Her artwork feels so light and fun, and I'm happy to have her on the blog this week! Read on to find out about her shop and her creative process.
Being a small business owner myself, I love to hear the origin stories of other makers. When and how did you decide to start your own business? What is your creative background?
I originally went to college out-of-state for studio art but felt like my work was really unfocused, and realized that illustration would be a lot more fitting. I transferred to Maine College of Art and while I was there I did an internship for a local screen printer who taught me how to set up and run an Etsy shop. After graduating in 2013, I kept my shop going, participated in a couple of local art fairs, did a few commissions and personal projects while working part time jobs-but it wasn’t until January 2014 that I decided to make freelance illustration my “real job.” It was a bit scary to take that leap but I’m so glad I did.
How did you decide to focus on your medium & style?
After trying all sorts of media in college, I found that working with gouache and ink felt the most natural. I really love how gouache can be translucent or opaque- and I use it for almost every single illustration now. I feel like my style used to be pretty sporadic and change depending on what I was working on, but now I approach things more naturally and my style feels more consistent- since it’s just how I draw or paint without overthinking it.
Where do you find inspiration for your work?
I feel constantly inspired by the natural environment. The colors, the shapes of plants, and the way landscapes change seasonally. I’m also very inspired by mid-century modern design. I’ve been a bit obsessed with the 1960s since I was a kid, but it wasn’t until art school that I realized how interested I was in the design and colors of that era.
Have you set any exciting goals for yourself or your business for 2015? What can we look forward to seeing from you!
One of the most important goals I have is to work on more personal projects this year, which would be in the form of more environmental posters. I’m still very much interested in bringing awareness to the rapidly-declining bee population through illustration and am working on something pretty exciting that you will hopefully see this summer!
When you're not creating, what do you love to do?
I love to go for walks in the woods, ride my bike, go on road trips, dance around to records in my living room & drink lots of iced coffee (so that I have enough energy to do the first four activities).
Lastly, can you share some of your favorite artists?
I am inspired by so many artists but I’d say my favorites (in chronological order), are Claude Monet, E.H. Shepard, N.C. Wyeth, Mary Blair & Matte Stephens. Seeing Monet’s work in-person in Paris was so overwhelmingly inspiring to me and I love E.H. Shepard’s line quality and style. I began to really appreciate N.C. Wyeth when I transferred to art school because he was such a great example of illustrator vs. fine artist – and I was particularly interested in his early commissioned paintings done out West. I find Mary Blair’s work really exciting because of her unique style and sense of color, and I love contemporary artist Matte Stephen’s paintings because his style feels so genuine, and his paintings are super quirky and fun.