July 10, 2018
Megan Hess is an Australian born, internationally-renowned fashion illustrator, whose list of clients includes Prada, Dior, Tiffany & Co and Vogue. Megan’s signature style has appeared everywhere from the bottom of luxury swimming pools in Dubai to the walls of some of the most desired fashion houses around the world – now she adds children’s publisher to her resume.
Tell me about your introduction to illustration?
I always knew that I wanted to draw for a living but when I was growing up I had no idea that a fashion illustrator was an actual job! It was just always the thing I loved to do. I still feel incredibly lucky to do what I love as a profession.
How did your aesthetic evolve?
My style has really just come together in an organic way – the more you draw, the more it develops until it becomes second nature. I don’t think it’s something that you can force. Students always asks me how can they find their own style as an artist and I always reply,
‘Keep drawing and drawing and eventually your own style will actually find you!’
Where does your inspiration come from?
Everywhere! I seem to find it when I’m least expecting it. I love beautiful photography books, traveling and just getting out of the studio and seeing other exciting things that are happening in the world. In terms of subject matter, I find people and all their differences and quirks the most inspiring.
What have been some of your favourite designers and labels to work with and why?
It’s always really hard to choose one specific commission – they’ve all been memorable for different reasons. Some highlights have included an animation I worked on for Prada and sketching for Fendi in Milan. It was a live sketch, so there were a few nerves, but it was still fun. I recently collaborated with Christian Dior Couture in London, which was an amazing experience, especially because it’s such an iconic brand.
What does a ‘Day in the Life of Megan Hess’ look like?
Every day is different and that’s what I love about it. I get to work with different luxury clients all over the world! Sometimes I’m creating a tiny illustration for a bespoke invitation, other times I’m creating a giant illustration that will be the size of an entire building and sometimes it’s an animation. I love it and I love the diversity. Most days are spent working in my studio and other days are spent travelling all over the world on projects. I feel incredibly lucky to do what I love for a living.
Can you tell me about your design process, how do your illustrations take shape?
If it’s for a client, it starts with a brief and I always give myself a good amount of initial time to dream and get inspired about what I’m going to draw. Sometimes I’ll do initial sketches or create a moodboard of concepts and ideas, then I’ll discuss with my clients where my direction is heading, then it’s to the physical drawing phase and I’m usually in absolute joy creating the final image.
You are obviously very talented when it comes to illustration, do you enjoy any other creative arts?
I do love other forms of art such as painting and designing. I love working with our animation team to create moving images of my work, that’s enormous fun. I love interior design and all things interior related. If I could learn more about a new area it would be fragrance, I’ve always dreamt of becoming a ‘Nose’!
In June, you released your first children’s book, complementing your fashion-illustration books, was it a natural progression to get into publishing?
I had always wanted to create a children’s book so it was such a dream come true to bring my little mouse to life! I always believe that things happen at the right time no matter when that is. It was also very refreshing to work on something that felt quite different to my main fashion work. It’s incredibly exciting.
Where did you idea come from for Claris?
It was during my time in Paris, researching for my last book, that I had a wonderful idea.
I was sitting on my little balcony at Le Bristol Hotel (as I am their Artist in Residence) and I thought I saw a little mouse on a neighbouring rooftop scurrying across the building. I remember thinking how wonderfully chic it would be to live in Paris, even if you were only a tiny little mouse!
Tell me about the process of seeing Claris through from being an idea to now seeing it in publication.
Like many of my ideas, the initial concept takes time to properly form in my mind – once I can visually see it in my mind, I’m then like a runaway train and can illustrate it quite quickly. In many ways, I had been working on her for a decade, so many ideas swirling in my mind, then once the idea completely made sense I created it in a pretty short time frame. I’m already working on book two!
Is this a new path for you? Can we expect to see more children’s books from Megan Hess?
Yes! You can expect to see more from Claris. I have so many ideas for stories for her that I can barely wait to draw them. I really want her to captivate both little children and big kids like me who are never be too old for an adventure!