Simply stated, Now On View celebrates and showcases the artists of Society6 and their work. Get to know them—and then get lost in their gallery.
Could you introduce yourself?
My name is Vashti Harrison. I’m an author, illustrator and filmmaker. These days I spend most of my time writing and illustrating children’s books!
Brooklyn, New York.
What’s your process?
I do most of my work digitally, either on the computer in Photoshop with a Cintiq tablet or on the iPad Pro in Procreate with the Apple Pencil. I always start off really loose, sketching shapes and lines of action. I refine on the next layers but not too much. These days I like to keep both the loose and refined layers slightly visible, then I go into color, laying down shapes in local color, building up texture on clipping layers and then overlaying lighting and shadow. The lighting is always my favorite part because, to me, that’s where I can add some magic to the image.
What’s the inspiration behind your designs?
I’m often inspired by the world around me. I try to keep an open eye when I move about the world. The way the light is falling through the trees or the way a kid’s hat is pulled down over his eyes! I just try to look for the magic and wonder that’s already there and capture them in my work.
What do people typically say about your art?
I often draw people, mostly little girls, mostly little girls of color. The thing I hear most is “she looks like me” or “she looks like my daughter” or sister or cousin. I love making work that people feel reflected and represented in. A lot of women of color are hungry to see girls illustrated with such sweetness and whimsy because we rarely got that in the media we grew up with.
What is the best advice you’ve gotten as an artist or the most important thing you’ve learned?
I love this quote from Walt Stanchfield: “We all have 10,000 bad drawings inside of us. The sooner we get them out the better.” I always share it with kids when I visit schools for my books or when I do drawing demos. To me, it helps clarify that we have the capacity within us to be the artist we want to be, it’s just about putting in the time to get there. Every drawing you make is a step on that journey.