Heather Hudson Interview Part 1

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This is the first of a three-part interview with artist Heather Hudson. The feature in its entirety can be seen throughout the month of March via the Featured Artist link. 
© Heather Hudson
© Heather Hudson

Heather Hudson’s art is a delightfully surreal blend of the beautiful and the beastly, a world where fairies inhabit the light and Cthulhu haunts the shadows, all delivered with a masterful hand and an eye for the details that bring an image to life. Her work is familiar to many in the gaming industry, including Magic; the Gathering, where it extended to nearly 200 cards, but
that is really the tip of the creative iceberg and there are many new worlds for her to explore.

How would you describe your work in general?

My background is traditional painting, and even though I moved into digital a few years back, I think that my work still has a lot of the feel of brushwork to it.  Thematically, my recent work falls somewhere between amiable C’thulhu Mythos and dark Faerie. It’s fantasy, it’s a bit weird, it has a strong narrative feel and a lot of the time it frames its narrative from an outsider’s perspective.  Many stories are told from the point of view of the hero; my art has a lot of sympathy for monsters, at least the ones that are just monsters on the outside.

© Heather Hudson
© Heather Hudson

I want to illuminate that aspect of monsters — that many of them mean well and some of them are the most interesting people.

Any favorite projects that you’ve worked on?

My stock answer is “the next one,” because of the possibilities.  But I am still very pleased about last winter’s C’thulhu Christmas Greeting Card project.  I would love to do another project like that one this year, although starting earlier with a lot more lead time would be fabulous!

© Heather Hudson
© Heather Hudson

I am also happy with last year’s sketchbook, “The Other Side of the Woods” because it gave me the opportunity to do a couple of things for the first time; it was my first personal sketch challenge to wind up in print as a sketchbook, and it was the time I shared any of my writing, when I added the creatures’ backstories under their portraits.  It was a great experience — I’m working on another project that builds on that world, we’ll see where it goes.

© Heather Hudson
© Heather Hudson

I started out in illustration and moved into selling personal work in the last decade.  It’s been wonderful working with illustration clients over the years, it’s a great game to figure out what they need and how to make it perfectly, even though the game is a timed challenge.  Today I’m creating personal artwork and figuring out how to show it to people who will enjoy it.  Different strategies are involved and I have a lot to learn, but I think the long-term results will be good.

Tell us a bit about the Cthulhu Christmas Greeting Card project.

🙂  That one was fun on so many levels, meaning it was both challenging to make and satisfying to complete.

My husband had challenged me to do a Kickstarter that year (2015) and we’d discussed creating a set of Lovecraftian Christmas cards but I’d let things slip without a hard due date to make it real. (I really need official due dates to make things happen!) My husband is also an artist, and a graphic designer and art director of many year’s experience.  He offered to run the campaign and take point on the printing, as a learning experience, if I could create four or five card illustrations in the time available.  Then he checked shipping and printing timelines and we discovered that the time available to me was roughly a month before we’d have to send art to the printer to get cards for backers in time for Christmas.   It was a good thing we didn’t really know what we were doing, because if we had known, we’d have written the project off as impossible.

So, not knowing we were trying to do the impossible, we jumped on in.

Along with Daniel, I owe thanks to the excellent Mr. Adam Scott Glancy of Pagan Publishing, who let me test three big sheets of thumbnail idea sketches on him and told me which ones were funny, but neither cute nor bad-creepy, while still being honestly Lovecraftian.  He is also responsible for suggesting Lovecraft-Claus’s sad tummy pillow.

© Heather Hudson
© Heather Hudson

We were very, very lucky.  Not only that we came up with images that folks liked in the time we’d set for ourselves, and that our project was backed and that people were willing to spread the word for us, but that all our suppliers came through and delivered product to us in time to make our own ship dates.  In retrospect, we were one missed delivery date away from disaster.

 

 

Where can we find your work?

My core website is www.studiowondercabinet.com, with my portfolio page and store and lots of pictures of monsters.  When I’m being professional, I make general announcements as Heather Hudson on Facebook.  As CandlemonkeyH,  I make public announcements on Twitter — it’s a bit like standing on a tiny step ladder and yelling in public.  On Instagram, Studiowondercabinet has evolved into a sketch journal and commentary on what I’m working on, at least if I can show it to the public.  And heather-hudson-makes-art is on Tumblr, and I’m still figuring out what to do with it; it will probably wind up as the next incarnation of my blog over the next few months.  The Studio Wondercabinet newsletter comes out periodically, and contains a little bit of everything in depth.