Hattie Stewart Is Our Generation’s Lisa Frank, And Your New Favorite Illustrator
At some point or another, we’ve all dabbled in doodling. Wether it was in the margins of our high school textbooks, on the napkins we pick up to wipe away our coffee stains, or the front of our palms, sometimes it’s impossible to keep your mind from wondering.
Meet Hattie Stewart, a London-based illustrator who’s taking doodling to the next level. Known for her bold colors, quirky comic book-esque characters and her ability to use dark humor to playfully take on some of pop culture and fashion’s biggest stars, Hattie Stewart may just be the baddest bitch the doodling world has ever known.
After giving our resident cover girl her signature treatment, Hattie was kind enough to answer some of our questions while showing us some of her favorite doodles to date.
Have you always been a doodler?
Oh yes – I used to draw my own toys. I would draw mermaids and fairies then cut them out of the paper and then flap them around the house like they were swimming or flying. I used to love drawing from my Beano and Dandy comics too.
Do you remember your first?
I remember drawing Ariel from the little Mermaid and I used to love drawing wildlife – particularly Leopards and Tigers.
Are there any motifs or subjects from your childhood that are still a part of your work today?
Oh definitely – my entire style was shaped by my childhood love of comics. I’ve aways, ever since I can remember, been drawn to a strong black line. Every time through all my sketches and sketchbooks I always see the coherent link of one motif or theme reflected in the one before – it’s such an organic process, developing a style, and I find it a thrill to think where it’ll lead me in the future.
What was your first paid gig after graduation?
I can’t remember exactly. For the first few years it was a lot of hard work and scraping enough money from a couple of different jobs in order to pay rent! Work wise though I was fortunate to experience a pretty steady climb, albeit with a few hiccups along the way, I’ve taken a few risks over the past few years but they’ve paid off.
What gave you the idea to start doodling on magazine covers?
I was working in a really crap bar in East London and on a reeeeeally slow day I looked up and saw a picture of Lily Allen pinned up with a load of other stuff – I tore it down and started drawing all over it. When I got home I started drawing all over my magazine covers (as I had quite the selection) and it became an obsession. A little while ago I was trawling through old work and found a load of photos I’d drawn on years ago – it was clearly an area I was always going in but at that time i hadn’t found the right way to make it work.
What’s your favorite cover you’ve ever done?
How did you come up with the term doodle-bomb come from?
It popped into my head as I was ‘doodling’.
Is there a deeper meaning to your doodles? Like, is there any message you’re trying to get across about pop culture and our obsession with cover girl beauty?
The covers are part satire part homage. When I first began the project I used whatever I could find – those were the more experimental stages – now I tend to stay with more mainstream covers as they are much more fun to satirize. Satire, I believe, is best understood if the viewer is already some what aware of the existing content. The message has a stronger impact. The covers are by nature a critique of our culture by revitalizing magazine covers with bold illustration intended to playfully mock the intense seriousness of the world of fashion and of pop culture.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
All over the place. I’ve always believed though that inspiration comes from a place of character than just visual stimulation so I love to watch artist documentaries – on anything and about anyone – as I feel there is much to learn about anthers struggles or passions to help understand your own, it can be validating or it can force you to question your own outlook and intentions. Sometimes learning how someone got to a piece of work is more important than seeing the final work itself. My work though mostly comes from trial and error – I like to try out and experiment with many different themes, visuals and techniques and then usually something sticks. I absolutely love Pauline Boty and Martin Sharp. They were big influences on me and my work growing up. I loved all the 60’s pop art and psychedelic work and used to trawl through my papas vinyl collections and stare at the covers for hours. Particularly Martin Sharps cover for Cream’s ‘Disreali Gears’.
How long does it take you to do a typical illustration?
Anywhere from 5 minute to 5days depending on the scale and detail! I work pretty fast though and it’s become easier the older and more experienced I get.
How would you describe your work?
Tongue In Cheek – playful with sinister undertones.
If you had to choose somebody to play you in the movie version of your life, who would you choose?
Meryl Streep – or actually Carey Mulligan.
What song would be playing during the opening credits?
Cream – “Strange Brew”
Who would you get to play your romantic interest?
All photos curtesy of Hattie Stewart.