Tuesday, March 16, 2010

feature: greenbeanbaby

When I first started Little Papercuts, it was more for fun than a means of income. As time went on, and it became evident that there was genuine interest in my artwork, the stress of everyday family life and the need to be creative and productive, put me into somewhat of a rut. I began to worry that there would be no way to accomplish everything that I wanted to or needed to.

It was late one night, after both kids had gone to sleep, while I was perusing numerous photos on flickr for inspiration, that I stumbled upon a fantastic artist...her name is Ellia Hill. Ellia, otherwise known as Greenbeanbaby, is a cut-paper illustrator who manages to find the time to make wonderful notebooks, magnets, artwork and cards for her Etsy shop, does freelance illustration for children's books and creates adorable images for rubber stamps and iphone apps... and this is just a bit of what she does in addition to being a full-time mom and wife. Her love of paper manifests itself in such wonderful and imaginative ways. See what Ellia had to say when asked about herself. Enjoy!

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
i'm the short girl who cannot reach the top aisles in the grocery store without having to stand on the lower shelf.... i'm the mom with curly hair that's shoved into two massive pigtails while my 3yr old daughter's hair mimics a similar look... we even share the same nail color- teal, metal gray, green, or yellow depending on mood... i love wearing heels but rarely get to feel 4 inches taller since i rarely get to dress up... i dress like i'm in college- jeans, and a worn fitted shirt and some darn cute flats... i guess you'd say i have an artsy look and am less chic but definitely not sporting the typical mommy look... i have the biggest purse one day and a teeny vintage purse the next... my cell phone is beat up and chewed up but it's pink and shiny... i'm a wife to a talented husband [who's a foot taller] who shares similar passions for superheroes and video games... i'm a talker, fulla ideas and ready to show you a book or an illustration or some site... i'm the person who LOVES being a mom but enjoys her quiet moments late at night, working on art... whether it's i love lucy or dexter, the office or the justice league cartoons, i'll watch something on my laptop while cutting up paper, sketching, or packaging... and when i need a break, i will sit back in my bright pink chair and play some video games on my OWN xbox 360... bet you never knew how much this greenbean loves shooting zombies!!! oh, and i love green [or is that too obvious?]

2. What made you first want to create?
3. How did you get started?
i've always had a passion to create but i cannot pinpoint the exact reason of what FIRST made me want to create... i remember my early drawings of rainbows with clouds and ladies with big eyes and long lashes... i loved having new crayons and disliked having to share them with careless and heavy handed playmates... i've always loved writing and making greeting cards for others, especially if they were upset or sick... i enjoyed making people smile regardless of the situation.... once i was called a big mouth bass because i was incredibly loud... with hurt feelings, i made a card with a fish that had a HUGE mouth saying "i'm sorry i was so loud".... the person smiled at how literal i took their words and sincerely apologized... but i can still remember how i reacted to such a situation- i made a card [and a memorable one, at that]... i've always been a talkative person so when it was time to make a self portrait out of wood, i made a chatterbox... when someone locked their keys in their car, i made a card with paper keys... i thought it was cute, apparently the humor didn't outweigh their frustration [haha]...when my files were erased from our computer, i cried then illustrated... when asked to participate in a paper quilt, i made an illustration of what i was going through at the time- pregnant and eating tums like candy... when i found out my son needed his tonsils and adenoids out, i made an illustration... i guess now that i think about it, art has always been my way of getting my feelings across while trying to lighten up any frustration or fear.... this attitude kept me in school and lead me to the greeting card and children's book industry... [it even lead me to the best husband in the world- who also happens to be an illustrator!]

4. What does your workspace look like?
my workspace is a neat and organized environment as this is the only way i can work.... there are scissors and rulers carefully hung up on the wall near my desk along with a duster so that i can dust daily... through trades and purchases, i've acquired artwork from friends... these pieces hang on wall directly facing my desk... it's the perfect wall of inspiration... my entire studio has sections of papers organized in drawers, shelves, and bags... papers are organized by size, color, pattern or plain, name brand, and the "must use this"... I have a drawer full of scraps that are packed into individual bags according to color and pattern... retro children's and adult books sit on my shelves next to freelance illustration books and paperwork also meticulously organized... even my embellishments are arranged in such a fashion! a few toys, modern and old adorn the shelves away from toddler hands...

5. What do you offer in your shop?
Currently, my shop is a bit bare but for the past couple of years, i've offered quite a variety of goodies.... my personal favorite are my handmade paper magnets... they are characters cut out of paper and mounted onto wood... they come in all sizes, shapes, and characteristics... sometimes, there are prints available in the shop or original illustrations in need of home... recently, i've created a line of paper embellishments where people can use my artwork in their scrapbooking creations... i'll admit, that is another favorite product of mine.... on occasion, there are illustrated notebooks, photo albums, wall hangings, and cut paper kits... While these are my handmade goodies, i also design rubber stamps for Stamping Bella as well as take on freelance illustration jobs on the side...

6. What’s the one piece of advice you could give about starting your own business?
most people will say that having patience and having support is key to starting up a business.... while this is true [and indeed important], i must say that NOT comparing yourself is vital as well.... it's hard enough to keep a dream afloat with the ups and downs and concerns of having a business.... but when you start comparing yourself with other successful business owners, it plays and eventually wears on your emotions and self esteem... this person is selling hundreds.... why aren't you? this person can create goodies daily, but your shop is still bare... and if you think about, you might remember that this person isn't married... or this person doesn't have kids... while they can spend all day and night creating, you are juggling chores ranging from dishes to mopping, picking up unexpected messes, caring for a child who suddenly got sick [AGAIN]... you have to cook while you email or you get the kids down for bed and are ready to work on creating but the kids need you over and over... you are exhausted and after working all day and night as a mom and a wife, you get to work MORE on you YOUR DREAM while the rest of the family sleeps... you work all hours of the night catching up on emails, creating, advertising, sketching, networking, printing, or packaging... by the time you go to bed, a child seems to wake up in need of water... by the time you fall asleep, the husband is waking up to go to work and in a short time you must get the kids ready for school.... i know this routine all too well and while i have been able to push myself night after night with much needed breaks in between, i cannot afford to look at the next person and compare... i cannot feel bad that i didn't MAKE the valentine cards for my son's class... i cannot worry bout making enough goodies in my shop to update it daily.... it's all about finding the right pace for yourself, for your business, and finding a balance... if you don't compare yourself with other business owners, and you set goals based around your circumstances, you will find yourself less frustrated and feeling more optimistic about the road ahead...

7. Where do you draw your inspiration from?
as i stated earlier, most of my inspiration is from life itself... sometimes, my son or daughter rambles off and he'll inspire me to get a sketch going... overall, my subject matter can vary but i like to illustrate life in such a way that a person will want to chuckle... after all, life can be rough at times, we all need a moment where we sit back and smile... when it comes to color schemes i love looking at vintage books and vintage greeting cards... i LOVE looking at retro children's books and observing layout, colors, clothing styles, and the whimsical goodness of the past... i also like sifting through vintage better homes and garden books... i have a few for home decorating and they have the best color palettes and the wildest furniture shapes... it helps get the creative juices flowing... watching a television show or a cartoon can also inspire my subject matter as well as sifting through flickr pages but most often, it's life and how you look at it...

8. What 3 words best describe you?
passionate, unpredictable, colorful

To learn more about Greenbeanbaby, and Ellia, visit her blog at http://greenbeanbaby.typepad.com/ . Thanks for being so inspirational:)


Nina said...

This is such a inspirational interview.
I know Ellia cause I am her mom and yes she is one terrific woman.

little papercuts said...

It's funny how someone you've never met and come across by chance can have such a huge impact on your own life. She's so talented and such a genuine person...you don't see that too often. You should be very proud:)