Jennifer Hines

Today we are doing a special feature on Illustrator and lettering artist Jennifer Hines. Jennifer creates fun, whimsical, and pun-filled illustrations to make people smile. She has a background in fine art and creative writing, so has always loved working at the intersection between words and images. 

We asked Jennifer to tell us a bit about her journey and to show you some of her favorite work.  Enjoy today’s spotlight and drop us a note if you would like to see more!

How did you get started with art & illustration?

I’ve always been creative and liked to draw, and my parents encouraged me in this. I used to draw my dogs, and even won a few awards when I was in grade school. When I got to college, I was drawn to creative writing, but realized I missed art and drawing, so I ended up declaring a double-degree later in my studies, which was the only way to take art classes at my university. In the end, while I still love the written word, I found I really enjoyed expressing myself with visuals so much more. After graduating, I created a lot of printmaking and sculpture and was showing in galleries, but I ended up revisiting drawing and paper again once I rediscovered calligraphy and hand-drawn lettering as an area of specialty. This pretty much led me back to drawing and illustration full-time.

What inspires your artwork?

I love playfulness, bright colors, and jokes or puns, so I’m often inspired by nature, a pretty window display, or a nice turn of phrase. I get a lot of ideas when walking around or exploring a new street, museum, or garden. Traveling is also a great inspiration, so basically getting out of my own head and comfort zone is best.

What medium do primarily you work in?

When I work by hand, I love black ink pens and colored pencils on paper, often finishing up some additional color and texture on the computer. When I work digitally, I use mostly my iPad and Apple pencil in the Procreate app, which feels just like drawing on paper but I can use a lot more color, and I can work a lot bigger! Working digitally also allows me to work anywhere, and to play with different layering techniques and textures that wouldn’t be possible working fully by hand.

Who are your clients and what type of work do you most enjoy?

When I work freelance, I work mostly with small companies doing illustrations for social media, books or magazines, infographics, communications, or marketing campaigns. I really enjoy creating illustrations to pair with text, or creating illustrations on photos because combining two elements leaves so much room for play while also creating a perfect visual to communicate on different levels. And I love drawing food puns because they make me both hungry and giggle at once…

A few more tidbits about Jennifer Hines

Jennifer is from Chicago, and now lives in London working on illustration for small businesses and editorial clients around the world. She also creates illustrations for greeting cards and stationery items, calendars, and other licensed products.

When she isn’t illustrating, Jennifer loves traveling and exploring new cities, hanging out with her dogs, cooking and exploring new recipes, visiting restaurants and bars for tasty food and craft cocktails, and getting inspired by vintage packaging and signage at flea markets and around town.

We’d love to connect you with Jennifer for your next project. We have an extensive gallery of work ready for licensing which you can request access to view. Let us know how we can help!

If you know someone who would enjoy her work (of course you do!), please point them our way!

Melissa Washburn

We would like to introduce you to Melissa Washburn. Melissa is an illustrator and designer specializing in food and nature illustration.  Her fascination with things that run, fly, and grow has led to commissions from the Dunes National Park, Smithsonian Magazine, Edible Magazine, and three books in the Draw Like an Artist series from Quarto Group Publishing.

We asked Melissa to share some of her favorite work with you and to tell us a bit about her process and inspiration for the art she creates.

Portfolio Pieces

How did you get started with art & illustration?

I have been drawing and painting since I was old enough to hold a crayon or paintbrush. I earned a BFA in fine art (oil painting and printmaking) and have always kept up an art practice even though I went into museum/nonprofit work and then marketing and graphic design. At some point I realized that illustration was the sweet spot between the image making I wanted to do and what I had learned in the graphic design world.

What inspires your artwork?

The natural world provides most of the inspiration for my work. Growing up in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York, I was always out hiking, camping, and fishing with my family, which fostered my knowledge/appreciation of everything that runs, flies, and grows. I now live in the Indiana Dunes region on the southern shore of Lake Michigan, an area that is a hotspot for birders and nature enthusiasts of all kinds because of its biodiversity and beauty. There is always more to learn, and the forms and rhythms of nature are both incredibly inspiring and centering for me. I am also often attracted to the darker, weirder side of nature. I have a soft spot for creatures that are maybe not as cute and fluffy; nature is so rich in symbolism/interpretation throughout human history, and I have found that once I learn more about something like a spider, it becomes far less frightening and more fascinating. Even things that we may have a knee-jerk reaction too as ugly, frightening, or otherwise unpleasant, play an important role in the environment and ecological balance.

What medium do you work in?

Most of my work is created in watercolor, ink, and colored pencil, and then brought into Photoshop for digital composition and finishing.

Tell us a bit about some of your favorite pieces

“Thought and Memory”

This piece was inspired by Huginn and Muninn (meaning “thought” and “memory”, the Norse god Odin’s ravens, which fly all over the world and bring him information. In many traditions crows and ravens are thought to communicate between the living and the dead.

“Voiceless”

So much of our natural space is being carved up by development and land use by humans, and this division is a threat to ecosystems everywhere. Wetlands in particular have suffered from decades of development. Nature can’t speak for itself, so it is up to the tireless advocacy of humans to protect wild things and speak up where they cannot.

“Rise”

Cicadas have become a powerful symbol to me. Many species live underground as nymphs for nearly two decades, emerging as adults to live as beautiful winged creatures, singing in the heat for just a few short weeks before they mate and die. Ephemeral, powerful, and maybe a champion of late bloomers everywhere.

Who are your clients and what type of work do you take?

My clients include magazines, book publishers, greeting card and calendar companies, and several local nonprofits. One of the pieces I’m most proud of to date is a vinyl wrap mural on a kayak locker at the Indiana Dunes National Park that depicts a scene of native prairie plants, birds, and insects.

A few more things about Melissa Washburn

In 2019 Melissa earned her Indiana Master Naturalist certification through Gabis Arboretum and the Indiana DNR, and enjoys learning as much as she can about the natural world. When not making art you can find her coaching nature events for her school district’s Science Olympiad team, hiking in many of Indiana’s beautiful state and national parks, or enjoying a good cup of coffee.

We’d love to connect you with Melissa for your next project. Let us know how we can help!