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!


  1. Ooh!! I love Kathy's work, it is always a pleasure to see what she'll come up with next!
    Awesome that you got an interview from her. :)

  2. Yes indeed, she is a great artist and a great human being.
    I love her work it is absolutely inspiring.
    Thanks for the fantastic interview.

  3. I love your work Kathy!! It was so great reading about you. I wish you the best of luck. It is only a matter of time till that email comes in with a book deal... you'll see :o)

  4. great to get the full story of your love and passion of drawing,im sure its a gift and youve been given 2 helpings of it,my drawings are in my mind and will never get to paper im just not talented enough,think ill leave it to someone who can do it so beautiful,stunning work

  5. A lovely inspiring interview, thank you! :)

  6. Great interview, Kathy's work is just stunning! I want to walk into all of her illustrations and just hang out in them for a while, exploring. Thank you!

  7. Thankyou for the interview Elena it was an interesting experience and I'm really glad I did it.. please keep in touch :) x

  8. Wow,that was really interesting Kathy! Thanks so much, from a really big fan and of course thanks to Elana for posting up the interview! We need more interviews like this definitely!

  9. Eleana thank you so much for interviewing Kathy.

    Kathy is my hands-down favourite illustrator. I love everything that she does. There is nothing I don't like and week after week, I am blown away by how impressed I am.

    Literally Kathy makes me nod my head up and down, or sideways with a 'wow, unreal, amazing, incredible, beautiful' word.

    I am blessed to have a drawing of Kathy's and not only is she extremly talented she is extremly lovely.

    Thank you so much.

    Renee xoxoxo

  10. What a wonderful interview. Kathy is a true inspiration to me, I am constantly in awe of her talent, technique, shading/texture and composition. She is one of my favorite artists that I have discovered by blogging.
    Thanks for sharing this great interview.

  11. Great interview! Actually, to be honest, I picked up colored pencils only recently and only after seeing Kathy's work lol. It was great reading about her!

  12. I need to find some quiet time to read through this but Kathy is one of my all time favourite artists so i can so relate to why you like her work so much. Will bookmark so i can pop back when all is quiet :-)

  13. Every day you shock me a little more, you are amazing and unbelievably talented. Im lucky to know you...x TW x

  14. Many thanks for excellent story! I like Kathy Hare's work so much! She is my favorite painter!