London based illustrator Hannah Alice has a talent for creating curious depictions of nature and objects from simplistic shapes and wishy-washy watercolour textures. With a penchant for spreading knowledge and visually communicating ideas, you can often find her playful style adorning the profile of factual or educational material, her charming illustrations bringing the words to life!
We spoke to Hannah to find out more about her process and inspirations….
Can you describe your working process, from ideas to finished product?
I’m not much of a doodler, I think my version of doodling is staring into space and then writing. I find myself thinking a lot, mostly at times when I shouldn’t, like in the middle of a film at the cinema or something and then I quickly write my ideas down on whatever I can find. Once I’ve whizzed it about my brain a bit i’m kind of ready to get going. I try to stick to a pretty strict daily routine and work relatively closely to a 10-6 kind of day. I hate how I love routine, I want to be a bit more free with my time but I just can’t do it. So after a nice walk with my pooch to the studio I usually just get cracking on the project I have on at the time. I work mostly in illustrator and I start roughly throwing down what I’m going to draw and then start to figure out textures and elements I want to add into the piece. It then goes through a lot of jiggling, refining and tweaking until that moment where It just ‘clicks’. Its at that point I’m usually ready to show the client and I have everything crossed that they like it!
What inspires you?
I’m super inspired by facts and information, especially science and nature based stuff. I really love working on projects that require me to do a lot of research and reading to be really informed on the topic and I’ve been super lucky to work on bunch recently. Being out with my dog Ely also has a massive impact on my inspiration. I find just being out and about for a few hours a day is becoming more and more essential to inspiring the work I do. I chat with a lot of interesting people from all back grounds, with all sorts of jobs, dogs and thoughts and I’m finding so many beautiful spots in and around London.
What is your favourite thing to draw?
I really love to draw animals and birds. I like the challenge of figuring out their form and working out how to translate that into the simplest version of itself with just a few simple shapes and textures. That coupled with some kind of information process to explain it all and I’m pretty chuffed.
What do you like to listen to whilst working?
I’m a big fan of playlists, mainly because I like such a varied bunch of music. I grew up spending a lot of time with my Grandad and his infamous and always up-to-date music collection, so its drummed in me to explore lots of musical avenues. I like a lot of heavy and droney stuff (I grew up going to gigs in Birmingham which I think drove my love for noise) like Sabbath, Harvey Milk, Converge, Beak but I like to mix that up up with things like The Slits, Modest Mouse, Fleetwood mac, Crosby Stills and Nash, Broken Social scene…the list could go on. I currently have a nice back and fourth playlist making thing going on with my buddy over in Brighton. I’m super hooked on a Sun Kill Moon track that he just sent me, I think I’ve had it on repeat a ridiculous amount of times already.
What would your dream project or collaboration to work on?
I don’t think I have one project or client up there on a pedestal against any other. I feel I have already been so lucky with the people and projects I have worked on so far and I’m just always super excited to see whats next. I do have goals and dreams but my requirements for them are pretty basic; draw great things with great people and for great causes. As long as I’m doing that and constantly pushing myself and my work I’m happy!
How long did it take you to develop your own personal style?
It took a really long time and only very recently have I felt like I have a personal style. I never really knew what it was throughout uni, I just kind of explored all sorts there and then before becoming freelance I worked as a print designer for a variety of international companies. Every company was looking for new styles and approaches that were unique to them so I was alway trying out new techniques and looks. I guess without realising at the time I was finding my style whilst doing that and I owe a lot to the guys I worked with there for all the encouragement they gave me. Its nice to finally feel more confident in myself and my approach. I like to keep things simple and for a while I worried that was a bad thing but now i just roll with it and have a lot of fun.
Is there any advice you would give to budding illustrators?
Don’t panic. I spent a lot of time panicking that I wasn’t good enough, that my style wasn’t cool enough (whatever that means) and that I wouldn’t be able to make a life out of what I loved doing but some things just take time. I would say getting experience from others was super important in helping me figure it all out and I’d highly recommend that to any budding illustrators in whatever form you find it in.