Our final Happy Happy interview is with the wonderful Jill Howarth. Jill has an impressive slew of accomplishments behind her, including being a former Designer and Art Director at Hasbro Toys and creating countless illustrations for clients. Her colorful artwork and superb hand-lettering stands out! Jill was a Top 50 finalist in Lilla Rogers's Global Talent Search.
Name: Jill Howarth
Location: Westborough, MA
How would you describe yourself as an artist?
I enjoy drawing for kids and hand lettering. Even though I call myself an illustrator, I still don't think of myself as one. Because my background and degree is in graphic design, I approach assignments more from a problem solving perspective than what I think of as an actual artist. This might have something to do with the fact that I don't use much in the way of traditional media... but I'd like to!
What are your influences?
Oh wow, so many! I'm kinda obsessed with mid-century children's book illustration and design, so that's a long list. Looking back, I guess I would say that the work of J. Otto Seibold (best known for Olive the Other Reindeer) really got me interested in vector art. I believe he was the first illustrator to do a children's book in all vector. His Mr. Lunch series is wonderful... so quirky, graphic, with great lettering and funny stories to boot.
Are there any markets you are especially interested in?
I'd really like to get into editorial and children's book illustration, alongside licensing prints and patterns for fabric, kid's wall art, children's product, you name it!
Are you self-taught, or did you have any formal training?
I have a BA in graphic design from Penn State University. Big, big school but a super small design program.
What is your favorite thing about being an artist?
Working at home...in my pajamas! The downside is when my kids get off the bus and I'm in the shower, haha. The sad part is, they think nothing of it!
What is your biggest struggle with your artwork, and how do you deal with it?
Comparing myself to others. There is so much talent out there, it's hard not to feel discouraged at times. I think that's a demon for many artists, but you really have to get past it and just keep on working and improving your skill set.
What advice do you have for people interested in making a career out of art and design?
Keep at it! Try to define yourself while seeing what others are doing both now and in the past. I had never taken an e-course until last year, but they are a great resource for learning and meeting other artists.
What are your future goals? I'd love to do children's books and magazines as well as get some work licensed.
Tell us something special or unusual about yourself!
I was a totally over-the-top Yankee fan growing up. Never missed watching or listening to a single game, collected baseball cards, wore a plastic batting helmet (in the summer...), a yankees necklace, the works! A total dork, haha.