Hannah England Creates!

August 09, 2013

Tell us about your daily life? 
I am currently freelancing from home as a graphic designer and illustrator, so it's difficult to define a typical day since I'm not on a normal work schedule. Typically I will wake up early and get a workout in, shower, eat breakfast and then start doing my freelance work in my office. It's nice having a separate work space because it makes it feel more like I'm "going to work" which helps me separate my work from the rest of my home life. I try to stop work by 5 PM because I'm actually kind of a workaholic and if I don't make myself stop I will keep going all night! But I think family time and unwinding time are important, too. They give my mind a chance to rest and it makes me more refreshed and ready to go the next day. Even when I'm not working I'm usually still doing something creative, like writing stories (I have had one in progress since I was a kid and I'm determined to finish it within the next year) or doodling comic character ideas in my sketchbook.
What do your friends and fans think about your art? 
I do my art because I personally enjoy it, but its a big boost to get positive feedback from others and I've gotten a lot of great responses from people about my artwork. I have always been supported by my family and friends, and I'm extremely flattered when strangers like my work since they have no reason to want to please me and so are more honest in their assessments. One of the most flattering things that ever happened to me was when I was walking to my dorm in my freshman year at college and a voice yelled from the blue, "Are you Hannah England?" I was taken extremely off guard but when I located the voice it had come from a girl I'd never met who was literally hanging over a balcony on an upper floor of the dorm building to get a better look at me. I shouted back that I was, and she said, "I love your artwork!" I was super confused, but she said that whenever she was in the art building looking at student work tacked on the walls she would always find her favorite of the group, look down at the name, and it would always be mine. Apparently one of the of the girls she was with had mentioned my name as I was walking by so she knew who I was. Super huge ego boost! I've never forgotten that moment because it really solidified my decision to be an artist. 
Is there any particular country you would like to live in? 
I've traveled to Italy, Ireland and Canada, and while I loved all three and definitely want to travel more in the future I have to say I'm happy living in America. This is where my family and friends are, and as a patriotic soul I always have a warm fuzzy feeling in my heart whenever I hear the national anthem. If I had the money I wouldn't mind having a vacation home somewhere, though! In that case, my top choice would be Ireland or Scotland because I adore their beautiful rocky hills, their rich culture and their awesome accents. And castles, of course. Who doesn't like a nice crumbly, decaying castle? England would be my next choice because its the originator of my surname, but I'm pretty sure I would spend most of my time enjoying the BBC channels that I can't get here and stalking actors and actresses that I like (since 90% of them are from England and surrounding countries) so it wouldn't be good for my productivity. 
If you could create a monster, what would he look like? 
That depends on your definition of monsters. In a traditional sense, I like monsters that are either cute (like Stitch from "Lilo and Stitch"), sympathetic (like the Beast from "Beauty and the Beast"), or elegantly awesome (like the Balrog from "The Lord of the Rings"). I'm not a big fan of gore so I don't go for super creepy monsters who eat people's faces. In a non-traditional sense, the worst kind of monster for me (and therefore the most effective, scary and awesome in a suspenseful story) wouldn't look like a monster at all. The best monster would look completely human, win my sympathies and affections, and the slit my throat only after making clear to me how very wrong I was. When I write stories, most often the real monsters are human beings. It's not the skin that makes a monster, but the intent beneath it. 
If we go have supper at your place, what would you prepare us? 
I don't cook fancy meals very often but I love to eat them, so I would likely attempt some kind of beautiful, complicated meal to honor your visit. I love so many kinds of food that I wouldn't be able to choose, and the menu would start looking very mismatched with some kind of fancy brined chicken dish as the main thing, some random side dishes like squash casserole and spoon rolls and broccoli or maybe green beans and mushrooms sautéed in garlic and a chocolate thing for dessert... maybe a few more side dishes just in case. And then I would remember how I don't actually like cooking and desperately fish in my mind for something that wouldn't be too hard to make but would still require some effort to honor my guests. What could I possibly make? Hmm... pizza. My mom's recipe for homemade pizza is one of the BEST THINGS IN THE WORLD.
What’s the worst artwork you have ever done?
I try not to think of my work in terms of "good" or "bad" because I have such a high standard for myself that in everything I do I can point out things that need improvement. Instead, I think about my work in terms of "success" and "failure." Success means that even though the piece may not be perfect it still meets the requirements that I originally wanted and does so with a good personality and technical precision. Failure means that even if it looks pretty good it failed to meet the requirements that I set out for and/or it lacks personality and/or technical skill. Still, the failures are helpful because they teach me what NOT to do in the future. I built my skills on failure; for every successful piece there were fifty failed pieces before it that set me up for that success. Because of that, I value every piece of work I do even if it was a failure, or "bad."
Say hi to someone.
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