Illustrator Interview: Rebecca Hendin

Illustrator Interview: Rebecca Hendin

Ikon Images

Describe your work in three words

Busy, colourful, darklysurrealandoftenhumourous

How did you get started in illustration? Did you always want to be an artist?

I studied illustration at university. I did the first couple years of my BA at California College of the Arts in San Francisco, then transferred to London and graduated from Central Saint Martins. I began doing professional illustrational work while completing the BA in London, and just built from there, really.

I didn’t always want to be an artist, because I didn’t realise that ‘being an artist’ was something normal people could actually do. My high school art teacher - in Saint Louis, Missouri, where I’m from - told me about this thing called ‘art school’. When she did, it was the first time I could imagine a future for myself anywhere. However I’m not sure it even struck me until I was there, in California, studying illustration, that it was genuinely, really, truly, actually something I could do.

Rebecca Hendin's Illustration of Woman in Bed

How do you approach a new illustration, where do you start?

It entirely depends on the project. But generally, before starting, I try to get as much information from the client as possible about what they want. Then I usually begin by sending a written list of ideas before beginning any drawing, as for me it’s a better use of time to narrow down ideas in writing than to spend time drawing them out, only to find a client hates an idea.

Rebecca Hendin's Illustration of Man on Bus

What inspires you?

Most things about being alive, I guess! I think everything and everyone and every place and every situation is beautiful and interesting and inspirational in its way. The relative homogeny of pandemic life has put that to the test a bit - and some days the inspiration fuel runs low - but even still, I can eek out some inspiration from a very good tree or a very good sky or a very good cat.

What’s been your favourite topic to illustrate / favourite illustration and why?

I like doing illustrations that involve portraiture the best probably, but don’t have a favourite topic as such. I just really like faces! And I love any opportunity to make something funny.

What’s been your most challenging commission?

I don’t know! They all present unique challenges, but nothing sticks out as memorably challenging. I have trouble quantifying things into ‘most’ or ‘least’, generally. (Don’t even TRY to ask me about my favourite colour or music or film any question that requires definitive hierarchical opinions, ha!)

What is your favourite medium to work with and why?

I do all my professional work digitally so that’s my favourite as that’s my whole livelihood! But can’t beat some colourful pens or markers or acrylic paints for some FUN.

What does your workspace say about you?

Terrifying to think! Erm… she’s a Victorian explorer who collects both plants and the skulls of her enemies?

What bit of kit can’t you live without?

Laptop, Wacom Cintiq. (That’s my whole kit, so hey.)

Rebecca Hendin's Workspace

Do you have any other creative endeavours outside of illustration?

Nothing serious. I dunno… I like playing around on pianos. But I don’t have my own piano. So that puts a slight damper on that hobby. I take long walks every day and enjoy taking photos and videos of things I see and turning those into silly little bits of animation with jokes, which lately I’ve been turning into Instagram stories because I love the endorphins from being told I am ‘amusing’. I like writing. But I only find the emotional strength to do it, like, several times per year. Sometimes I doodle in a sketchbook. I find cutting up paper very satisfying but really only do it when cutting out shipping labels that I’ve printed. I hope these examples of my creative life cast a bright and impressive light on me.

Name a favourite artist or an artist who inspires you

Ralph Steadman is forever inspirational! Do they have to be visual? I like Jon Ronson. I think Jon Ronson should count as an artist.

Rebecca's 2 Minute Self-Portrait

:) that’s it, that’s me