Today’s featured artist, Sparklehen, comes to you all the way from Scotland. Sparklehen’s drawings are delicate and quirky, in which she’s created a whimsical world for us where foxes naturally foxtrot and cats speak French. She has a fascination with everyday objects that we take for granted, such as cutlery and tea cups, and revels in giving them character and personality.
There is a simple, everyday beauty in your designs. Where did you get the inspiration to create your cutlery artwork? What is it about the everyday that you find so attractive?
The inspiration came from a book of design, there was a chapter called “Anonymous Design,” where it draws your attention to the many items that we use everyday and take for granted, such as cutlery or pins but we have no idea who designed them. I thought I would pay homage to those anonymous designers. I just wanted to have a style that was recognisable. I also have a bad habit of overworking a design, so I was trying to keep it simple and just be quick and not over think it (another bad habit!). My drawings have a wonkyness which used to bug me. I suppose I don’t mind now, a bit like getting older and accepting your flaws to the point were you wouldn’t want it any other way.
I notice you have a love for delicate and stealth animals, often unassuming and stylish. Why do you like animals so much, and how long have you been into them?
It’s just things I find amusing. I don’t really expect anyone else to find my work funny, but it feels really good when I get messages from customers who get it! These designs do tend to be specifically for T-shirts and animals have just become a theme that occurred by accident. I suppose I’ve always liked animals, they are fun to draw, and they make me laugh, especially when you put them in human situations.
The characters in your portfolio have strong personalities, how do you develop their “voice”? I can almost hear the creatures’ voices inside my head!
That was the effect I was going for, thank you! If animals could talk what would they say? Something funny or witty I hope! For the faux French cat, that was easy. A lot of cats have that nonchalant look, and speaking French seemed an obvious choice for a wannabe cat! I think the eyes have a lot to do with their personalities too. I draw humanish eyes which anthropomorizes the animal. At last (pumping fist), I never thought I’d ever get to use that word!!
This is open to interpretation, what is your personal history with whimsy? How did you get involved in whimsical aesthetics in your artwork?
I suppose when I was a child, I was frustrated about not being able to draw my imagination. I wanted it to look like how I saw it with my mind’s eye. I couldn’t articulate it with crayons. Now that I’m older, I’ve been able to go back and try again. I still get frustrated but I don’t throw a strop anymore, thank goodness! I just go and put the kettle on while wondering who came up with the paperclip!
Eeck, I hope I didn’t do anything too bad! It would have to be my trusty Molskine (a brand new one!). I actually get a bit anxious about starting a new sketch book, I usually begin 2 pages in, there’s something about marking those first pages. Weird I know! I would have to have my techy pencil, and my fine liners (various sizes).
Thanks to Sparklehen for taking the time to chat. You can head on over to her portfolio and support her here. See more of her work below.