Help our followers get to know you. What does a typical day in the life of Wendy Piersall involve?
I usually wake up and grab my phone to check Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and my favorite guilty pleasure: my Timehop app (it tells me what I posted on all of my social media accounts on that day for the last 7 years!). I know that's not a popular way to start a day, but I've found that if I let myself get caught up on stuff first thing in the morning, I check my social media accounts a lot less during my work day. So it's actually a productivity hack that works for me. Plus, this is my favorite time of day when I get to snuggle with our dogs and cat - it's just a fun, laid back way to ease into my mornings, because I am NOT a morning person.
I then meditate for 20-40 minutes, shower, and head down into my office/studio. I package up my Etsy shipments, read a few news headlines, take care of any pressing emails. Late morning, I start drawing, using my sketches from my meditation time as my starting point for the day. Some days I can get one illustration done, other days I can crank out 4-5. It really depends on how well formulated the idea is in my head, if the subject matter is well practiced (flowers are easy, people not so much), and whether I am able to translate what I envisioned into a drawing that makes sense. Sometimes it doesn't - then I leave it alone for a few days and come back to it. When I'm not knee deep in illustration work, my days are a lore more varied and I need to keep lots of to-do lists going to keep track of it all. Sometimes I'm putting up Etsy shop listings or making beaded bookmarks. Other days I'm working on videos for my YouTube channel or coloring stuff to post on Instagram. And still other days I'm trudging through administrative work like accounting or writing for my blog. I don't like going back and forth between artistic work and other work - it takes me a long time to 'shift gears'. So I try to bunch it together into large chunks of time to minimize the shifting gears time.
When did you first become interested in illustrating?
As far back as I can remember being a person, I have loved art. Interestingly, I am adopted and found my birth parents a few years ago. I was not entirely surprised to find that my birth father was also an artist. I think it's in my blood. :)
What are your favourite things to draw?
Flowers have always been the easiest and most satisfying things for me to paint and draw. But as I do more and more illustration work, I've been becoming somewhat obsessed with a series of vintage women that I want to paint. Historically, I absolutely am TERRIBLE at drawing people, but I can't get these images out of my head. So it's forcing me to learn new skills just so that I can attempt to bring that new body of work to life!
Where do you find inspiration?
I used to find a lot of inspiration on Instagram and Pinterest, but after a while it backfired on me. I started feeling like everyone else had taken all the great art ideas and that nothing was left for me to do. So I've been actively avoiding spending too much time looking at others' work and instead spending more time meditating and visualizing instead. This approach has led me to draw pretty different art than in my first two books, and was the main source of inspiration in my next book, Coloring Dream Mandalas. Needless to say, I am particularly pleased with the work in the next book, I am SO excited for it to be published!
If you weren't an illustrator what would you be?
I have been blogging professionally since 2006 and I have definitely enjoyed it. I even wrote a book about it in 2011. I'm a little burnt out on blogging now after 9 years, but if I didn't have illustration work, I'd definitely find a way to continue blogging. I still blog, as it really helps to support my other work, but it's becoming a smaller percentage of my income every month.
Why do you think adult colouring books have become so huge?
Adult/advanced coloring books have been around at least since I was a child in the 1970's when Dover started putting out geometric coloring books. I started drawing individual free adult coloring pages for my blogs in 2009.
They were in the top 500 sellers on Amazon several years ago, well before Johanna Basford's books blew up the whole genre. I really have no idea what tipped it all over the edge, but I'm so happy and grateful for all of it.
When other coloring books sell well, so do mine, and vice versa. I'm not exactly thrilled with publishers slapping a bunch of clip art and stock images together into hastily produced books to grab onto this trend, but I can't really blame them, either. But overall, I think that coloring gives non-artistic people an opportunity to tap into the bliss of creating art, which is a magical, profound feeling and experience. It's hard to not fall in love with being in that place of pure creation and imagination!
Do you listen to music when you work? If so, who/what?
I do! I listened to a lot of Electro Swing like The Great Gatsby soundtrack for my first book, and a bunch of newer Alternative Rock for my second and third books. I always do a much better job drawing when I'm listening to good music!
What are your favourite things in life?
Spending time with my family is always tops on my priority list. This gets harder to do as my children get older - two are teens, with my oldest at 20. But we eat dinner together almost every single night, and I love just being around them. We also go boating a lot, another favorite on my list. Being able to create art on a regular basis - and get paid for it - makes my life nearly perfect. Seriously, we could win the lottery tomorrow and not much would change.
Finally, please give 3 words that describe your work.
You save the hardest question for last, huh? Tricky, tricky! :) I'd have to say: Inspired, geometric, flowing.