Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Babble string with: Joanne Hawker

Welcome to my newest feature. Can you have a feature on a blog? If you can then this is one. I so often stumble upon amazing people on the interwebs who make such beautiful things it makes me gasp. I thought it would be fun if I shared them with you all. Even better, unlike my 'I spy' series, for Babble String I've actually contacted the people and interviewed them. WOAH.

First up on this roller-coaster of overusing the word 'string' is the wonderful Joanne Hawker. It is no lie to say that I lust after everything she makes. Joanne creates cute illustrations from Somerset. They are bright, cheerful and sweet.

Sailing under the moon print
Two lovely giraffes print
I sent Joanne some questions and she kindly answered them:

Were you arty as a child?
Yes! Very much so! My primary school wasn’t exactly the best when it came to academic subjects but I won’t go into that. I spent much of my days at that school hand binding my own books, lino cutting, drawing, making curtains and making candles. Yep you read that correctly. I was doing that from the age of 4 to 9! I wouldn’t dream of giving lino cutting tools to a child but hey it didn’t harm me! My earliest memory is of me in the bath with my teenage mutant ninja turtle bath pens. They were the best thing EVER! Thanks mum!

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in a little village on the outskirts of Ilminster in Somerset and I still live there now with my mum. I’m saving and saving until I can afford a house of my own with its own little studio space.

Did you study illustration? Where? Was it useful?
I didn’t! I studies Graphic Communication. When I first filled out my UCAS application form I did it all for Illustration courses but then changed my mind at the last minute and went for Graphics instead. I felt it was easier to cross from Graphics to Illustration than vice versa. I’m glad I did it this way. I studied at the Cardiff School of Art and Design (UWIC). It was a great course and I learnt heaps. So yeah I’d say it was useful.

How did you get into running your own business?
It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do. I got fed up with not hearing back from job opportunities and thought you know what? Sod that, I’m going to be my own boss and that is what I’ve been aiming for ever since. I have some new products on their way and I’ve been scribbling down new ideas for something else that been bubbling around in my mind for a little while which I’m really excited about!

Do you sell at craft fairs? Which are your favourite?
I don’t, I can’t make up my mind as to whether they would be a good thing to do or not. I’ve heard a few stories about them. Maybe once I make a few more things I might consider it.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
I know its cliché but everywhere! Mainly from the natural environment though. You’ve probably noticed from my work that I’ve got bit of a thing for woodland creatures. We do actually have a little hedgehog living in my garden at the moment that we rescued so expect to see him popping up on a few things! Another source of inspiration comes from dreams. I have a VERY vivid imagination and can probably draw most scenes from my dreams in perfect detail.

Do you carry a sketchbook with you? (if so could we see some pages from it)
I don’t carry it with me because I don’t want it to get scuffed and dirty. The only time it goes on an adventure is if I’m staying somewhere then I pack it in my overnight bag. I can’t show you any of my new stuff because they are still in process but I can show you my initial scribbles for my repeats! Sometimes I find the original line work to be more beautiful than the finished piece. I think it has something to do with the simplicity of it and the neat black lines.

What do you think is most important for the creative process?
To draw with a pen or pencil (although I prefer pens) and not to go straight for the computer. I find going straight for the computer blocks out creativity. With pen and paper you can just go for it and it keeps a permanent record of all your ideas. Some of which may inspire you for future projects.

What's your favourite medium to work with?
A variety of black drawing pens and my sketchbook before reworking digitally with my Wacom Bamboo Tablet.

Which piece of work are you most proud of?
At the moment my favourite piece of work actually comes in the form of a set of designs. I rekindled my love for repeat patterns and made a nature inspired set. They include LOTS of flowers, a few ladybirds, a few bees and some birds in their little houses.

What's your favourite mythical animal? Why?
Umm, I don’t really have a favourite so I would probably go for something like the crazy creatures from Where The Wild Things Are. Except I would be Max and instead of wearing a wolf costume I would be wearing my fox onesie and I would be Queen!


Joanne also shared her workspace with us but I'll show that in a separate post. Thanks Joanne! I really enjoyed your answers. I particularly love Joanne's sketchbooks. Repeating patterns! Yes!

I highly recommend checking out Joanne's work and getting to know her at the following places:

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