Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Interview with an Illustrator: Kathy Hare

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! I am excited! The incredible Kathy Hare agreed to be interviewed and let her artwork grace my bloggy pages. I LOVE her stuff! I'm sure it doesn't help that she also works mainly with pencil or that her creative ideas are astounding or that she manages to submit something to IF every stinkin' week!!! It's sweet torture to watch her outdo herself week after week. Here is a little peek into the life of artist, Kathy Hare.

Q: How did you get started as an artist?

A: I have always loved to draw. When I was very young I had problems with my feet and had to have a couple of operations when I was two and six years old. I had to have casts on my legs and I spent a lot of my convalescence with crayons or pencils in hand, filling my time with drawing. I created little worlds through my pictures, often creating whole families and stories for them to populate. My love of art continued throughout my teens and into my twenties but I married young and started a family so thoughts of going to college and studying art to become an illustrator seemed like an impossible dream. I carried on drawing for pleasure but I always longed to pursue my artistic career. At the age of thirty-five my children were growing up and I had more time on my hands so I decided to go to college to study art part-time. After finishing a two year foundation course I was encouraged to push on and go forward to university to study illustration. I attended The Cambridge School of Art at Anglia Ruskin University, a wonderful school where the emphasis is on drawing rather than graphic illustration. It wasn't always easy juggling family, Uni work and travelling but I managed somehow and came out the other side of it a very happy woman with an honours degree in illustration!

Q: What does a typical day look like for you?

A: Since leaving Uni I have spent my time drawing and developing my portfolio, I usually spend about two to three days a week drawing for Illustration Friday,which I find a wonderful way to keep myself challenged. I also occasionally do commissioned portrait work. A typical drawing day starts with me getting my youngest son ready for school then after a couple of hours of drinking coffee, puttering about in the house and garden, checking emails and floating around in the blogosphere I get down to work. I have a studio but often prefer to sketch ideas in the garden before settling down to work on the final illustration. Once I'm in 'the zone' I can draw for hours with virtually no breaks often through the evening and into the night.

Q: How has your art/style changed since you first started?

A: I think the thing that has changed most for me is that the image in my mind of what I am about to draw has more clarity now than it used to have. I have a very definite idea in my mind before I start to sketch and with this has come a new definition in my work which in turn has given me more confidence in the things I choose to draw. I now like to experiment more with colour and light. I love exploring the way light can create drama in an image. I have also been enjoying working with just graphite pencil and rediscovering it's properties and subtleties.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish in the future (artistically or otherwise)?

A: I want to illustrate books for children. Last year I started sending work out to various children's book publishers and agents and gradually started to get positive responses. I have managed to aquire the representation of an agent and a few publishers have put my work on file in case anything comes up that suits my style but I still have not had any children's book work. But I will push on and keep sending out my mailers and hopefully one day soon my work will be seen by the right person at the right time and my illustrative journey will truly start!

Q: Who/what inspires you creatively?

A: I am inspired by many things; life itself , my family, nature, art whether it be illustration, fine art or sculpture. I enjoy it all. I am inspired by many illustrators. I love the work of John Tenniel, Arthur Rackham, Edward Ardizzone to the more contemporary work of Shaun Tan, Oliver Jeffers, Angela Barrett, Raymond Briggs, Quentin Blake, Edward Gorey and Maurice Sendak.... I could go on and on.

Q: What are three pieces of advice you would give to someone just starting out.

A: Draw, draw and draw!! :) Draw as much as you can, have a little book with you and sketch when you're out, just quick sketches nothing too intricate, people, children, dogs, buildings, trees by doing this it helps you to build a kind of visual library in your mind that you can dip into as you draw. I sometimes even sketch as I watch tv! The slope of someone's shoulder or the outline of someone's face... it all feeds into later work.

Play, experiment with things, find what works for you. I have often spent days playing with new materials, dropping things into watercolour to see what happens, covering whole sheets of paper with scribbles of colour pencil building them up layer upon layer. Sometimes you have to just play without trying to get an end result.

Persevere, push on with it no matter how disheartened you may feel. Whether it is a drawing you are struggling with or approaching publishers you must persevere. If a drawing goes wrong I either continue until I get it right or start afresh and the same goes with publishers. If you get rejection, keep working and sending out your stuff until you don't! If you want something enough you have to keep going until you get it! :)


Aren't you as amazed as I am! Thank you so much Kathy for agreeing to be interviewed. I'm sure you're dying to check out her other work. Visit her on her website: www.kathyhareillustration.com or check out her blog: www.moongazinghare.blogspot.com or if you hang around Illustration Friday circles for any length of time, you'll recognize her exquisite illustrations!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Illustration Friday: Drifting

This weeks' topic is drifting. I quickly fixed up and colored my little Monkey in D (thanks for the idea, Katie), so you can see him drifting off to sleep. I didn't plan for him to be in a "D" when the topic was 'd'rifting. It just worked out that way. After giving a Monkey C to my friend to celebrate her new monkey baby, I thought I'd do some more!

I'll be adding these to my Etsy shop shortly so people can pick a letter for their kids! I love the idea of something personalized and handmade in a child's room. So pick a letter, pick a color scheme and I'll draw it up for ya! Hooray for monkeys!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

I'm Back!

So sorry about my blogging hiatus! I guess I've been a tad busy! Just got handed a huge project that will take a miracle to finish at work. Though I don't mind being busy the extra hours and stress of wanting to do a good job in a short amount of time takes it's toll.

Had my wonderful sister and brother-in-law for a visit. It was fun to have them but sad to say goodbye. We went to the zoo, made a silly movie and ate a lot!

Then Joel and I went on vacation to Vermont. We toured the Cabot cheese factory, learned how maple syrup is made and saw beavers in the lake looking for dinner. We're back now and trying to get used to the humidity and the fact that it STILL doesn't appear to be summer here in New England. I have patience....summer is coming.

This week it's Father's Day, my dad's birthday and my baby sister's birthday....! Yikes! So much going on lately I've had to choose between relationships and family time or artwork and as you can see from the lack of new artwork.....

I'm hoping to get back in the swing of things in the coming weeks but who knows, maybe this more relaxed me will have to stay around for awhile. People are still coming up with some amazing things for the latest IF topics. I admit I have a hard time looking at other artists work and being inspired.....most of the time I'm just amazed and jealous! We always think that creativity comes so naturally to others than to ourselves. I do anyway!

I have some more monkeys to show you soon that I hope to be including as a personalized art in my Etsy shop soon. There's also some other ideas rolling around my head, we'll see what actually comes out.

Friday, June 5, 2009

June 5th

I struggle a little with how personal to get on this blog. It's supposed to be a happy little place where I can connect with you, show you my artwork and give you a peek into my life. But the longer I blog the harder it is not to share the sides of me that are not all light and happy and cheerful. This time I think it's worth sharing.

It's June 5th today. That probably doesn't mean much to you but it's a day that I've looked forward to with anticipation and sadness. Today was the expected due date of our first baby. There's a lot I could tell you about the experience of losing a child. Some people start up whole blogs about it just to get their feelings out and connect with others who have gone through similar pain. But that's not what my purpose is in posting today.

Instead I want to share with you what we've done and what God has done to turn our mourning into gladness. I've noticed that the old saying "when God shuts a door he opens a window" certainly seems true in my life. I do not believe that God inflicts suffering or tragedy on us. Nevertheless, in this life, we will have trouble. And pain. And heartache. And disappointment. But it seems that every time a dream is dashed and I'm mourning the loss, God drops in my lap, another opportunity, conversation or encouragement that I didn't realize I desperately needed.

The week that I miscarried the baby was also the week that I had the privilege of going to my first craft show....and it was a big one! I was working hard for months to get my turtle collection ready. It was such a great, silent desire in my heart to prove to myself that I could do this. The craft fair turned out to be a wonderful experience that gave me hope that my dream of being an artist and illustrator just might come true. You could say that while one dream was dying, another dream was just starting to grow.

There are many more instances like that. I really want something. It doesn't happen. God surprises me with joy in another way. I've decided we need to partner with God (as opposed to avoid and mistrust Him) when bad things happen and see how these hurtful, painful things will be redeemed.

As we've been going through the process of grieving and letting go these past several months I've started looking ahead to June 5th and wondering what I could do to say goodbye at last. My mind turned to how blessed we are right now. How much we have compared to the rest of the world who is hungry, jobless, homeless and hopeless. Joel and I prayerfully and financially support several organizations that work tirelessly to help those who can't help themselves. We decided to turn our loss into joy and after a little research....we found beautiful Bajantri Vimala from India. A little girl available for sponsorship from Gospel for Asia. Birthdate.... June 5.

It gives us such a thrill to honor our baby in this way. She is safe in heaven, but Bajantri needs help here on earth. We're so excited to be involved in and make a difference in Bajantri's life. In what God is doing in India. He's clothed us with joy again.

If you want to know more about child sponsorship or any of the organizations we support, please contact me!