Yesterday, I unveiled myself in cartoon form, which I still can’t believe is actually real — how do you wrap your head around that one? Along with the illustration, I also introduced you to the talented artist who brought my vision to life!! Meet illustrator Melissa Hiebert, who I had the pleasure of interviewing about her craft (seriously, check out her amazing work!), what she loves about her job and the advice she’d give to young artists! Read on… xoxo
Name: Melissa Hiebert
Where I’m from: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
3 words that describe me: Curious, Tenacious, Determined
Web site: Online portfolio
Tell me a bit about yourself…what do you do, what are your hobbies, etc.?
I love going for walks, reading poetry and Shakespeare and discovering new music. What I do [art] is like breathing to me, an extension of my heart and soul.
When did you first know that you wanted to be an artist/illustrator? Was it always something you wanted to do?
I always loved to draw since I was little, but I also played music and was involved in most of the arts, but acting was my path until I was 19 years old. It was only until I was 21/22 that I started going into art and illustration more seriously.
What artists did you admire growing up?
Eyvind Earle did the backgrounds and all the style work in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. Definitely one of my most profound influences in my line style and color work. I also love Rodin’s sculptures and all classical art from Greece and Rome. Also, Glen Keane, who just won his first Oscar for Dear Basketball. I love the soulfulness and honesty in all of his work; he always draws from the heart. His drawings are somehow imperfect but totally perfect at the same time. I also admire his daughter Claire, who does beautiful paintings.
What is most rewarding for you as an illustrator?
That’s a question I don’t get asked a lot, but probably when a person I am capturing in my work acknowledges that I captured them accurately and was able to recreate their personality and features on the page.
What issues do you think women face who work in the arts?
So many. Not equal pay, not as many promotions to key positions or voice in boardrooms. Thankfully I have worked with male and female filmmakers and have been blessed to not have experienced any of those things, but I know it does exist. Right now as a woman, you still have to be selective about who you work with so you can have a working experience that is positive and helps you grow as an artist and professional.
What is one piece of advice you wish someone had given you when you were just starting out?
Just start drawing. Draw anything and everything that inspires you. If you want to be multi-faceted, then study all of those disciplines. The one mistake I made as a young artist was putting too much time into my ambition and not enough into my personal life, so I would also say work hard, but make sure to make time for life too!
What would you tell aspiring artists today?
It’s not what it used to be. We still have some form of the ‘Old Studio System‘ with big animation studios, but with the internet, Netflix, more independent cinema making it to the world stage, you can start anywhere, with anything, as long as you have the grit and motivation to put in the work. Don’t be afraid to create your own style. I love all of the styles that the studios put out, independent and Hollywood, but be fearless with creating your own look and feel. We are living in a generation where people want something fresh and distinct.
Thank you, Melissa!!! I just can’t thank you enough for this amazing illustration!! I’ll definitely treasure it forever!! Seriously, this is one of the highlights of my career!!! So. Happy. Be sure to check out Melissa’s portfolio and follow her on Twitter and Instagram! She’s also open to commissioning work, so, you know, if you ever want to cartoon-ify yourself, now’s your chance!! xoxo