Hannah is a self-taught American artist, working out of her home studio in Idaho, US, and has been illustrating and self-publishing Adult All Ages Coloring Books since 2006. For freebie pages to download, including one for her "Fairy Tale Princesses & Storybook Darlings Coloring Book for Beginners" and for "Victorian Darlings: A Whimsy Girls Fashion Coloring Book and a whole lot more, visit her website.
How long have you been illustrating and what made you start?
I have always loved art since before I can remember! I have been drawing and creating art since I was a very young child. In grade school I was always drawing for other people as gifts or as part of assignments, and had my first paid commission in the 7th grade from my science teacher, who paid me $60 to do a coloured pencil artwork of a bald eagle for his son’s birthday. After school or on the weekends, I would colour, sketch, and make crafty things. My neighbours would find me knocking on their doors, selling hand drawn bookmarks and other fun handmade wares. After high school graduation, I got into working, getting married, continuing my education, and raising a family, so I didn’t do much creatively for about 9 years. I took up art again as a hobby in 2006, when my girls were 1 and 3 years old. I was home with them full-time while working on obtaining my AA in Business online, and I really felt like I needed something fun just for me to enjoy. I didn’t possess any suitable art materials at the time, unless you count jumbo crayons and construction paper for children! So I purchased some low quality coloured pencils and cardstock from the local drugstore and starting drawing and colouring again. I purchased a few more materials such as acrylic paints and watercolour pencils, and dabbled around with those as well. I had a fun idea one day to paint a pair of wings that I planned to cut out and attach to one of my daughter’s pictures to make her into a fairy, which I would then place in a shadow box frame. Being business-minded, I went online to search around to see if anyone was offering this type of photo art on the market. In my research, I came upon people selling their artworks on eBay in small format, which inspired me to put some up for auction. It was so fun to be able to create something that not only I would enjoy, but that others could too! They were selling for small amounts at first--a dollar or two--but quickly rose in popularity and price over the next year. Once the originals were selling for a fair bit, fans started requesting prints and I was getting inquiries from companies for licensing to use on their products. I continued to grow my following through eBay auctions, social media, and exhibiting my art in person at art shows, fairs, and comic conventions. I released my first set of colouring pages in a small collection of single sheets, by fan request, in 2010. They became more and more popular over the years, and 7 more small collections were released until 2015, when adult colouring became so popular as a hobby that I couldn’t keep up with the production in-studio. It was then that I re-mastered some of those smaller collections into my first fully bound 50-page colouring book through Amazon’s self-publishing service, Createspace. I have since released a total of 9 different titles, 8 of which were self-published, and one released through a traditional publisher.
Where do you get your inspiration?
From all around me! Art and emotion go hand in hand. If something makes me feel happy, then I try to replicate that feeling through art. I think that is what gives it authenticity; when personal experience and emotion meet the paper, magic happens. My artwork has largely been centred around the human form, specifically female faces and eyes, which is likely attributed to my animated childhood heroines from animated films by Disney and others. I adore animals and have many of them myself, so you will see a lot of them in my pieces! In the imaginary and limitless world of art, I can snuggle with an exotic white tiger or swim with sharks…without incident!
Where is your favourite place to illustrate?
I usually sketch, draw, and paint in my studio. I have a beautiful space all my own with large picture windows overlooking the valley.
What are your illustrating/colouring material essentials?
I work primarily in the same media, so my Faber Castell Watercolour Pencils, Micron ink pens, and Strathmore series 500 illustration boards are pretty much all I need!
What’s the piece of work that you’re most proud of or enjoyed doing the most?
That’s a tough question to answer! As a self-taught artist, I feel like I am constantly growing, so each new artwork or book always feels like a wonderful accomplishment!
Colouring and art are meant to be fun! Try not stress out about how the end of the piece will turn out or if the colours are just right. Just like in life, it’s about enjoying the journey