Hello everyone! I think it’s safe to say everyone is feeling the need to find reasons to laugh and some lighthearted escapes. And that’s where illustration can really hit home. I’m beyond thrilled to share a peek into the work of a super talented illustrator, and a true artist crush of mine — Mari Andrew. It’s not everyday you look into someone’s Instagram feed and wish you could paper your walls with their work. But that’s the feeling I got when I first discovered Mari Andrew, an illustrator and writer living in Washington, D.C. Her illustrations are so personal, so real, and some are the literal laugh-out-loud variety. So I asked Mari to share some insight into her world as an illustrator, and as someone I wish I could meet for coffee and just chat (so this is the next best thing!). Here’s our Q&A and some of my all-time favorite illustrations of hers, but do check out her website and Instagram for even more! – Jen
Q: Where do you like to work when you’re creating an illustration?
A: I work from the cutest little studio with the cutest little name — The Lemon Bowl. I used to work on a coffee table in my apartment, but that table is also where I eat, watch Netflix, email, and scroll through Instagram, so it didn’t feel like a very creative space. It changed my life to have a studio space where I could go and work, sort of like going to the gym. At the studio, I’m accountable to create and I feel much more disciplined and focused when I’m there. I sit at a long table and listen to podcasts and occasionally get up to stretch or dance a little.
Q: Where do you like to go to be inspired?
A: Brazil! But also, I walk two hours a day (to work and back home) and that’s a very creative time for me when I’m processing life events. It’s also a great time to look around to get inspired by other people and the interesting things I see along my commute through several neighborhoods.
Q: Do you have a favorite color or color palette?
A: I love fuchsia! I try to make as many Venn diagrams as I can to work in big splashes of pink. I really love the way black/white illustration looks, but I have too much fun with watercolor to stick to such a palette myself.
Q: What artist tools do you use for creating your illustrations-a-day?
A: I use the cheapest tools: A Sharpie pen and a travel watercolor set I got on Amazon for $19.99. I draw on nice watercolor paper though!
Q: I love how some of your illustrations so perfectly depict dating life, and the myriad of experiences you can have as a single person dating. Have those illustrations been some of the pieces that have resonated most with people? Do you have a favorite ice cream for breakup blues?
A: YES, I always think I am totally alone in my dating fiascos and breakups, but as soon as I publish something very personal, a lot of people always resonate. They say it makes them feel less alone, which is lovely, but I do it selfishly because it makes ME feel less alone! The dating illustrations are definitely the most popular; I think it’s because we all assume we’re somewhat isolated in our experiences and it’s nice to know that it’s just hard for everyone, no matter who you are.
A breakup ice cream has to be SUPER indulgent or it doesn’t work. I’d go for Ben and Jerry’s Half Baked. The more chunks of baked goods mixed in, the better.
Q: Are you a morning person or a night person? When do you create your best work?
A: I have all my energy and create my best work in the morning. It’s a little stressful having that time of day be so productive in contrast to the rest: do I spend that energy on my art, on cleaning my apartment, exercise, or my 9-5 job? Art usually wins!
A big thank you to Mari Andrew for sharing her thoughts and work. Isn’t it amazing how art (that makes you think!) can be created simply with a sharpie and a cheap set of watercolors? I love that. See you back here soon!
Photos: Mari Andrew