With past clients including Dreamworks and Cartoon Network, Portland-based illustrator Meg Hunt has certainly managed to make a name for herself in the illustration world. Represented by Scott Hull Associates, Meg‘s goal is to fill the world with her creations and make a few people happy along the way. With use of Photoshop CS intertwined with handmade techniques, her illustrations find a great balance between the use of digital and traditional mediums. Always ready and able to try new things, Meg has hand-lettering and product design in the bag too.
From a thankful tortoise to a resting unicorn, Meg‘s images portray simple but emotive characters. Her use of colour is a huge reason for the impact of her illustrations, and they have an underlying pastel, vintage feel to them that reminds me of the magazine Wrap. There’s a definite screenprinting element in there too, and the shapes and patterns she chooses give the impression that a childlike innocent bobs around in her images under the surface. I’m especially fond of the ‘u’-shaped closed eyelids she uses on a plethora of her creations.
We had a quick chat with Meg about everything from her favourite breed of pencil, to why she’s sporadically nostalgic for her art school days:
Describe your style in six words…
Detailed, charming, colorful, vintage-inspired, layered, fun
Can you tell me a little about yourself?
I am an illustrator based in Portland, Oregon. I grew up by the ocean, lived in the desert for a spell, and now I’m in this lovely wooded city. I am really lucky to get to draw for a living; I am the toughest boss I’ve ever had but it’s worth it. I also teach illustration students at Pacific Northwest College of Art. When I’m not drawing or teaching, I like to hike, cook, read, play videogames, and just generally spend time with friends, my husband, and our microscopic dog.
Favourite client so far?
I really have enjoyed all my clients to date, but I think the one I’ve been most engaged by is Plansponsor magazine. I don’t do as much editorial illustration as I used to, but those projects are always inventive and high concept. SooJin Buzelli is great at commissioning illustrators and the talent that fills that magazine is staggering!
What was your first commission?
My first commission was for BUST magazine. I stealthily got the project while I was in my final semester at college and proudly showed my professor when it was published.
Where do you get your inspiration?
I’m inspired by all sorts of ephemera and stories; my inspiration file is filled with illustrations from the past and present, comics, books, photography, information from museums & galleries, fashion, folk art, etc. Basically the world inspires me! Beyond that, I’m inspired by the work ethic of my peers and it constantly drives me to work harder and harder, and try and evolve my craft.
Do you think art school is worth the cost?
I’m in a funny place with this, I went to a public university with a small art program but I teach in an art school now. I think it’s worth the cost if you’re willing to put in the sweat and effort; some students aren’t ready for it and I don’t think they learn everything they can. It depends on the school too; I know that where I teach we are questioning more and more how we can add value in our program, and make it something that the student can truly benefit from. But I think it’s worth the cost if you’re serious about it and realize how lucky you are to spend 4 years focused on consciously honing your craft. I miss it at times!
What do you have coming up in the next year?
Currently I’m working on my first picture book with Chronicle Books and have a handful of other freelance projects in the pipeline. With personal work, I’m trying to bust out of my comfort zone and try some new things process and approach wise. New ways of seeing and making. I’m excited about 2014!
Do you have a favourite pencil?
I usually use mechanical 2B pencils; I’ve been experimenting with working without pencil in a lot of my work too, so I like working with brush and ink, or (my favorite) water-soluble carbon and a waterbrush. Very freeing!