Jennifer Hancock is a talented freelance designer and fashion illustrator who creates custom bridal illustrations for a variety of clients. Read on to learn more about Jennifer and her work with Copics!
Tell us about yourself!
I love to draw! In an age when most forms of art are becoming digital, I prefer the intimacy of hand-drawn art. I am happiest curled up on the couch surrounded by art supplies with a pen in my hand and a sketchbook two inches from my nose.
I traveled quite a bit in my youth, and I was fortunate to meet creative people who motivated me to pursue work as an artist. I began work in the fashion industry in New York in 1995, gleaning information about garment construction as a fit model for various designers. As an adult, my experience includes work as the assistant designer and house fashion illustrator for Miosa Couture, a Northern California custom bridal boutique. I currently find work as a freelance costume and bridal designer, and as the owner of The Illustrated Bride.
The concept for The Illustrated Bride came about while I was designing at Miosa Couture. A custom bridal design session at Miosa usually consisted of quickly sketching out designs for technical use in the construction of the gown. Many designers provide illustrations for their celebrity clients as a keepsake, and Miosa’s brides would often express an interest in purchasing my sketches.
Where are you from?
I am from Northern California, but most of my high school years were spent in Los Angeles, New York, and Athens, Greece. I had a crazy childhood, but I think it offered me exposure to other ways of life– I was able to meet many artistic people who made a living doing what they loved.
What is your earliest memory of drawing or making art/illustrating or designing?
Around age five I won my first art contest with a drawing of a princess in an elaborate gown – illustrating and designing wedding dresses seems to be a natural transition!
What inspires you to create?
Blank paper and new art supplies!
How did you develop your particular style?
Illustrating custom wedding gowns caused me to pay special attention to the way a dress would be constructed, which meant that I was always sure to include all the elements required of dress construction. Though now I mostly create illustrations as keepsakes, I still pay special attention to details and try to illustrate the dress as structurally accurate to the actual dress as possible.
Can you briefly describe your process?
If I am illustrating an actual bride, I review every image I have of her wedding dress in order to get a sufficient understanding of the design. I kind of deconstruct the dress in my head, and make little illustrated notes as I go. This helps me to be sure that I am illustrating her actual dress- one missed seam throws off the entire visual intent of the designer, and the illustration no longer looks like the actual gown.
How did you happen upon Copic Markers?
I have learned a lot from other artists. I love to collect anatomy books, as well as books about comic and manga artists. I found that many of my favorite artists only used Copic Markers, so I headed on over to my nearest comic book store to test them out. I have been a diehard follower ever since!
What inspired you to start using Copic for your business?
I had always used them when I doodled for fun, so when my doodles turned into a viable business opportunity, I knew I would never use anything else. I loved all the colors available, the non-streaky finish they gave my illustrations, and the control and comfort I felt using them.
Who are some of your favorite artists/illustrators/
What comments from a teacher or mentor have you received about your work that helped you develop?
My high school art teacher, David Branstetter, was very supportive. He hung some of my ballpoint pen doodles up in class. At that age it meant a lot to have an adult find value in something I created. All of my other teachers were not too happy to find the same type of doodles in the margins of my homework.
What’s your favorite part about being an artist/designer?
When I am in creative mode, its fun to kind of become lost in it. The world around me kind of disappears as I focus.
What is the worst part about being and artist/designer?
It’s hard to put your work out into the world, its always been a part of you, very personal. Constantly fighting insecurity can be hard.
Do you have any advice for others looking for artistic inspiration?
I thought I wanted to be a designer. I hated to sew, which you kind of have to love to do as a designer. I realized that pen and paper was my passion, and even though it was hard to let go of the dream, I decided to focus on the part of the dream that made me really happy. My advice would be to find out what it is about creating that you really love, and find a way to focus on that.