Posts Tagged ‘#illustrator’

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I’d like to give a big welcome to HANNA SANDVIG to my blog.  Hanna, thank you for joining me today.


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rem:  Hullo, Hanna! Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?

HANNA:  I was raised in the Kootenays, in the mountains of Southern BC, Canada. After a few years in Alberta, I came back here to raise a family. It’s pretty much the best place on earth.

rem:  I’ve been as close as Colorado, does that count? Tell us three things about yourself.

HANNA: 1) I have a pure white streak in my hair. No exciting story, it’s just how I’m going grey. 2) I spent ten years as a lifeguard before I had kids and retired. 3) I collect (some might say hoard) vintage pyrex.

rem:  How interesting! I love collecting vintage items! What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream? What’s your favorite cookie?

HANNA:  I am currently not eating any dairy or wheat, so it’s a bit tricky, but Coconut Bliss makes these amazing chocolate covered salted caramel ice cream bars. Cookies? Probably chocolate crinkle cookies.

rem:  They both have chocolate, so they’re fine by me. Which Muppet do you most resemble? Why?

HANNA:  I don’t know so I asked my daughters. The six year old said Miss Piggy, and the four year old said Kermit. Neither gave me a reason.

rem:  Of course, go to the experts. Smart thinking. Coffee or tea? Sweet or un? Flavored or not?

HANNA:  Tea with honey J

rem:  Of course, like your mom’s book! Superman or Batman?

HANNA:  Batman. Always Batman.

rem:  Good choice. It’s a “robin” thing, you understand. Which book have you read the most in your lifetime?

HANNA:  The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley

rem:  Who is your favorite hero of fiction?

HANNA:  Liadan from Juliette Marillier’s Son of Shadows. I love all her heroines, they have such a quiet strength.

rem:  I’ll have to check both of them out. Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read?

HANNA:  I hop around a lot. My favourite genre might be YA fantasy, but I reread my favourite chick-lit and contemporary romances every few months. There’s some Sci-fi, historical romance, and epic fantasy all on my shelf.  Currently I’m loving Brandon Sanderson, Jenny B Jones, Rainbow Rowell and Cassandra Clare. I read a lot.

rem:  What would you do if you weren’t drawing and painting and taking pictures?

HANNA:  Go insane, it wouldn’t be pretty.

rem:  Same for me with writing. You’re an artist and a photographer. Tell us a little about your artistic journey.

HANNA:  Well, I’ve been drawing my whole life. I discovered digital art in high school and fell in love with it. I’m not sure how to condense my journey down. My art has grown and matured as I have. (rem: as the work of any good artist should) I’ve been doing client work for quite a while, off and on, but settled into book cover illustration in the past couple years which I really love.


Now I’m writing and illustrating my own books, (a series of YA novels about a sarcastic mermaid who is also a lifeguard) and it’s so fun to have a big project to illustrate that’s so close to my heart.


My photography journey is fairly typical. I had children, and I took a lot of photos of them! Eventually, I got pretty good and people started asking me to take photos for them. Six years later, I have a nice little photography business.


I sometimes feel that photography allows me to share the things I find beautiful in my life, whereas illustration (and writing) are much more about what’s going on in my head. External vs internal.

rem:  I love the “external vs internal” imagery. I know you’ve done book covers for your mom, Valerie Comer—lovely covers by the way! Tell us about your process.

HANNA:  Oh thanks J. I start my illustrated covers by having a conversation with the author, and when I work with my mom it’s very collaborative. We come up with a plan for the cover and I do a photoshoot. I like to have a reference that’s exactly what I have in mind before I start drawing. Then I illustrate the front cover and deliver it so that the author can have it ready for advertising and pre-orders. When the author is completely finished the book I receive the page count and back cover copy and finish up the print cover. You can see some more detailed examples of my process on my website: http://bcb.hannasandvig.com/process/


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rem:  Do you illustrate interiors as well? How does that differ from cover art?

HANNA:  I haven’t done a lot of interiors yet, but I’m working some for my own books which I’m illustrating. It’s a fun new challenge to work in black and white with a more story-telling focus.

rem:  Your illustrations are so vibrant, with or without colour. What is Project 365 and how did you get started on that?

HANNA:  Project 365 is a photography challenge where you take a photo a day for a year. I’ve done it twice, you can find the photos on Honey and Huckleberries, my photography blog: http://www.honeyandhuckleberries.com/p/the-daily-diptych.html. A cousin who was also an amateur photographer convinced me to do it with her in 2013. It was hard, but I didn’t miss a day all year. I swore I would never do it again. Then ten months later I did it again. That daily practice took me from a beginner photographer to a pro level photographer.


If you are wanting to improve your photography skills, I highly recommend a project 365. Really, if you want to master any skill, you can’t go wrong with daily practice.

rem:  So true. The single biggest mantra I hear / see for authors is to write something every day. What is your favorite medium to work with when illustrating?

HANNA:  I do all my artwork digitally, with the exception of the occasional hand lettering experiment. I use Photoshop and a Wacom tablet.

rem:  Where do you find inspiration for your illustrations?

HANNA:  Well at least half of my artwork is created for client’s book covers or my own upcoming books, but the remaining half is a mix of fantasy, geeky fanart, and vintage fashion.

rem:  I notice you have a post about transitioning from traditional publishing to Indie. Tell us about that.

HANNA: It just breaks my heart when I see authors I love get the rights back to their previously traditionally published books and slap a cheap amateur cover on them. It’s so damaging to the great brand they’ve built up. It’s such a great opportunity to rebrand with fresh new covers that can give their career a boost instead.

rem: I know what you mean; I’ve seen some pretty cheesy covers and it makes me second guess reading the story. I like your post about chopping heads off, too. What is that about?

HANNA:  People say they hate covers with headless people. I say that they can look great if you crop above the lips or below the shoulder. Don’t crop at the neck, it looks like a decapitation 😉 This goes for all joints, actually, and I have a great little guide to help pick the best spot to crop in the post.

rem:  I saw your guide, and it makes lots of sense. Do you have a favorite cover or work that you’ve created? If so, why?

HANNA:  The one I’m working on now, just wait till you see it! (There’s a baby goat!)

rem:  I have a feeling I know to which book you refer… hee hee What is your favorite book cover (not your own) of all time?

HANNA:  Anything that Dan Dos Santos has painted. Maybe Jay Lake’s Green. I didn’t actually like the book much though. http://www.tor.com/2008/07/21/dan-dos-santos-and-green/

rem:  Hanna, thank you so much for joining us today!  It has been my pleasure to have you here!









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#hannasandvig, #artist, #illustrator, #photographer, #coverdesigner, #dandelionsfordinner

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