Hannah McDonald is a pen & ink illustrator who kept her talent somewhat hidden under a bushel until recently. Hannah's background is in Advertising and PR and until last year she spent the majority of her time working successfully for other people until she revealed she had a children's book idea she wanted to create. Very few people knew she could draw and as soon as she embraced it and made room for it in her life - not easy when you are busy PR consultant and mum - all sorts of opportunities started coming her way, including a commission from Wool & Water!
Hannah illustrated the beautiful new W&W wrapping paper which I am finally able to reveal via this interview and accompanying blog post, all orders are now going out wrapped in it & I guarantee you will love it. Hannah is now continuing to work on finishing her book, has already been commissioned to illustrate another, is fielding various private commissions and still working as a super star PR consultant to the creative industry. Hannah is also launching a monthly lunch event for creative, entrepreneurial women in Amsterdam - all of this while being a mum too!
The Curious Interview with Hannah McDonald
What are you most Curious about?
In general I am most curious about; nature (a dream talent would be able to name every tree and plant I passed), traditional cultures and crafts, folk tales and old children’s books and comics.
Right now I am particularly interested in the history of cultural and religious festivities throughout the year and their originating relationship with the seasons, the moon and the traditional farming calendar. I think my interest stems from the belief that living more in sync with the seasons can make us feel more connected with the earth and less imprisoned by our technology and work schedules.
I am definitely someone who is more curious about the past than the future (robots scare the hell out of me - although my son loves them!) and maybe I am using this curiosity to learn how to live a more simple and greener life in contrast to the busy, hectic, urban lives we have made for ourselves these days.
How does your Curiosity serve your Creativity?
My curiosity about nature and aspiring to a simple life definitely inspires my illustrations. My drawings are about moments that I enjoy or portraying a lifestyle I aspire to live.
I am currently illustrating two book projects. The first, a herbal handbook written by a wonderful herbologist based in Amsterdam, which is such a great project to work on and so nice to have the opportunity to learn about herbs and their uses.
The second is a children’s book that I have written myself, which touches on the subject of nature and our relationship to our environment - more to be revealed soon! After previously working in advertising where the turn-around for projects is so quick, working on these two book projects has been a real change of pace and a personal test of endurance in regard to sticking to a project long term and dealing with the challenges that brings.
What Inspires you?
Other artists and writers - people who are going out there and doing something creative. It is hard to build the courage to do it and then share it, I definitely find strength from those who make it seem possible to fill your life with more creativity.
I am so lucky to know some really hardworking and focused people, who are achieving their dreams through the good old fashioned way of focus, skill and hard work. They keep going no matter what and focusing on their dreams and I love that! My partner is like this - I am definitely inspired by him.
And then nature, the seasons, unique characters I meet, the Moomins books - oh and RuPaul’s Drag Race!
How would you describe your Style?
I guess a bit of a mishmash of lots of influences, Scandinavian, Japanese and folk art, plus a bit of 90s for good measure. At least that is what is in my head - I have absolutely no idea if that translates in how others see my style.
What do you particularly like about Wool & Water?
I love the products, the details and colours, but I also really respond to the stories behind them and the brand itself. In recent years I have tried to become a more conscious consumer, I believe that where we spend our money is how we, as individuals, can make a difference in the world today. With this mindset I am trying to shop less, yet more meaningfully when I do. Therefore I am always on the lookout for interesting independent businesses, a special unique piece from Wool & Water’s sustainable and ethical collection that doesn't compromise on the design and cool factor, is exactly what I am looking for - such a great idea for presents also!
When I wear my W&W Suspenders/Bretels I am...
...proud to wear something special, unique and beautifully designed.
Hannah's Wool & Water piece of choice are the Pink & Green Suspenders/Bretels, handmade by me in Cotton & Elastic
Follow Hannah's beautifully illustrated adventures on Instagram: @hannah.mcdonald.illustration
To see the Wool & Water wrapping paper Hannah illustrated and shots of her original artwork click here