‘I’d love to collaborate with a fashion brand. Recently I’ve been making patterns and adding them to the people I draw, which I find to be very fun’. That's what American illustrator Haley Tippmann told us at TheCornerZine when asked whether she's ever thought about collaborating with a fashion brand or not. If you want to learn all there's to know about the young woman behind some of the most liked artworks on Instagram, just keep on reading!
First of all, when did you begin to draw, create and illustrate?
Since I was a kid, I’ve always loved to draw. I think I never really saw myself doing anything else. I started illustrating professionally in 2017, while I was still in college.
I'd say the graphic patterns and plaid I draw in my illustrations are very similar to the things I wear in real life.
How did you find your artistic voice?
Keeping a sketchbook throughout college really helped me find my artistic voice and style.
That being said, when did you realise you wanted to pursue a career as an illustrator, living off this passion you have for drawing?
I always knew I wanted to be an artist in some form. I went to college for graphic design, because I wanted to learn Adobe programs. I really didn’t have a lot of interest in graphic design and, honestly, I still don’t. When I was able to choose extra course requirements besides the ones I needed to complete the degree, I chose a commercial illustration class, comic book and drawing class. In drawing class, my professor came in one day with a bunch of magazines and newspapers, and he explained what editorial illustration is. I really liked the idea that I could make a career out of illustration. In the hallway of the art department at college, the professors had a board with tons of newspaper clippings and pages with editorial illustrations. I think walking past those drawings every day really inspired me to possibly be in one of those newspapers some day.
Haley, let’s take a step back: you were born and grew up in the U.S., but you now live in Germany. Why did you decide to move overseas? How does your homeland differ from Germany?
Yes, I’m from Webster (NY), which is a suburb around Rochester (NY). I moved to Germany with my husband, who's German. We’ve lived in the U.S. for a few years, but something about Europe is more attractive to me, so we moved back to Germany. I love the U.S. and I love Germany as well. I think the U.S. always looks like the more ‘fun’ country to me. It’s where all the movies and TV shows come from and there's just something about American culture that the German one lacks a little. On the other hand, Germany is full of its own unique and traditional culture, that I love! It's hard to compare the two, but I truly love them both.
Moving to your works, what’s the project you’re mostly attached to? How about the collaboration that challenged you the most?
I’ve really enjoyed working with Culture Trip. I did some illustrated headers for their website, and it’s always very enjoyable to work on those. It's a lot of research, because they’re about locations I've never been to sometimes, so I have to get a feel for a place through an online search, but it just makes the assignment more interesting and almost educational.
Haley, let’s talk fashion. How would you describe your signature look? Have you ever thought about collaborating with a fashion brand, illustrating a few pieces or even a collection?
I’d love to collaborate with a fashion brand. Recently I’ve been making patterns and adding them to the people I draw, which I find to be very fun. For me, I mostly wear black. I have some pink and blue jeans here and there, but overall I like dark grays and blacks! I love to wear long plaid coats, plaid skirts and black boots.
Building off this, how do you dress up for a day at the studio? Do you like to wear the same colour palette that we can find in your illustrations?
I wouldn’t say I'm as colourful in real life as my illustrations are. At home I try to wear something comfortable, usually jeans. I'd say the graphic patterns and plaid I draw in my illustrations are very similar to the things I wear in real life. When I look for clothes, I purposefully look for things like plaid, graphic patterns, long coats and black boots. I like to say to myself: ‘this looks like something I’d draw’.
In 2020, what’s the role of the artist? Has it changed since you started working professionally?
I think it’s progressing. Creativity isn’t easily replicated or replaced, so I think brands know that, in order to stand out, you have to be unique and let creatives take some initiative on projects. I’ve seen other illustrators have their designs and patterns picked up by brands and it's very inspiring, so it looks like it’s going in the right direction.
Looking back, is there anything you’d do differently now?
I’d really like to get into video and animations. I think I would’ve enjoyed showing my process along the way. However, now seems like the right time to do it.
In the digital era, what does it take to become a successful artist? When you started out, did you feel pressured to engage on social platforms? Is being on social networks a must for emerging artists?
I’d say yes. In my opinion, you have to be on social networks to get noticed as an emerging artist. I don’t feel pressured exactly, but I do feel a need to post a new illustration every day to stay relevant.
Going back to your artworks, who’s your ideal subject? What kind of message do you want to convey? Where do you draw inspiration from?
My ideal subject is anyone. I like to draw every shape. Of course, I find it interesting when people have colourful outfits, or something special about them. I try to show variety and get my inspiration from the people I see on the street, on TV or online.
Haley, do you have any piece of advice for those who struggle with the dynamics of freelance work?
It isn’t easy and doesn’t come easy. I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone say it’s easy to freelance or work for yourself, so be prepared for that. Although, I’ve heard over and over again how nice it can be to work for yourself and I’d agree. I’m someone who knows I have a hard time working for anyone but myself, so being self-aware is very important.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Are there any goals you'd like to achieve in the next future?
I’d really like to work with a fashion or a vegan brand. Ideally, both. I hope, in 5 years time, to be happy and healthy most of all.
Lastly, what's one work-related question you’ve never been asked but always wanted to answer?
How to stay awake when working from home. I’ve learned getting up early helps, coffee, and going for a quick walk outside.
My ideal subject is anyone. I like to draw every shape. Of course, I find it interesting when people have colourful outfits, or something special about them.