As you may remember, just a few weeks before I moved to Bermuda, I bought a bunch of vintage wood type from a college classmate who was closing her shop. I never even got a chance to print with it in Wisconsin, it went straight from the back of my car to the containers I was loading into my crate.
Within the first few months, I had proofed all the type and was offering custom stationery sets in a variety of styles along with a handful of type-based note cards, but after that I focused on my attention on my spring collection and let my wood type gather dust.
I’m happy to report that I’m rather word-focused at the moment and my collection of vintage type is getting inked up regularly. Check out the stop-motion video I made of locking up type before printing!
Hannah Stouffer is the brilliant hand behind Grand Array (which I posted about back here). I asked her to give us all a little insight into how she does what she does.
How did you get your start as a professional illustrator? What was your first big job?
One day I told myself that I was going to be an illustrator… then I started telling everyone else… and one day when I was riding the bus I got a call from a big pharmecutial company that wanted to pay me to draw. I don’t even know how they heard that I was gonna be an illustrator, but it was really surreal and it all kind of snowballed from that point. If you believe in something enough and want it, it will all work out. I swear.
What are your inspirations and influences?
There are many. I don’t even know where to start. I’m very easily overwhelmed and I’m attracted to so many things… sometimes I feel like I might explode… in a good way. I was reading this Pictorial Encyclopedia last night from 1990, I tend to do that a lot… I only made it from A-D though . . . but it gives me a bunch of good information and ideas without allowing myself to be influenced by contemporary phases and trends. I’m extremely interested with classifications and sub-cultures . . . both historically and in our current society.
What is your process?
Research then draw, and hope that it all goes away when I close my eyes at night.
Is the work that’s in commercial campaigns and magazines a sketch you did for yourself first that they liked or do you create work with a specific client in mind?
I’ve decided recently that in order to keep the basis of my work as real as possible its important that I create most of what I do for clients on my own terms. I usually create a series of works for a gallery show, or for myself and then incorporate into the work I do for clients, or even license it out for other projects and product. This isn’t always the case as clients do often have something specific in mind- but more often than not I make work for myself first.
Any advice for aspiring illustrators?
Anything else we should know about you?
I’m wearing black reptile skin pants and this amazing oversize ‘Party Prowler’ tee right now that I got at the flea market, I just ate some string cheese and I feel like a million bux.