If you have ever wondered who was the creative genius behind all those famous illustrations sported by Tiffany’s, Paspaley Pearls, Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel & Dior you can now look no further. We caught up with Megan Hess and found out how she began her famous career as an illustrator.
How did it all begin?
Megan: After working as an Art Director in Ad agencies for several years I packed everything up and moved to London. It was in London that I worked in a million different creative jobs and in my final job there I realized that I had a burning desire to be an artist.
At this time I became the Art Director for Liberty Department Store. Whist I loved art directing fashion, I loved illustrating it more. I started to do very small illustrations for Liberty and from this art directors saw my work and little commissions began to follow.
After about a year I found myself with non-stop work. I wasn’t earning a fortune but I’d never been happier and I knew I was going to do this forever.
As my clients got bigger and better I was able to be a little more selective and just work on briefs that I knew had a great creative opportunity. Then in 2006 I got a call in the middle of the night from Candace Bushnell’s publisher asking if I would illustrate her next novel ‘One Fifth Avenue’. This was when things took off at rapid speed for me. Her book became a New York Times best seller and I met with Candace and she asked me to illustrate all her previous books including the cover of ‘Sex and The City’. Once ‘Sex and the City’ was released I was contacted by TIME magazine and Vanity Fair in New York to create portraits for them. This was a dream come true and I still can’t believe I work for them. Following this, I started working with Chanel, Dior, Tiffany & Co, Cartier, Montblanc, Laduree, Italian Vogue, and Bergdorf Goodman. Today I illustrate for clients all over the world and love every single piece that I get to create!
What inspired you?
Megan: I think ultimately I’ve just always loved to draw. My big inspirations have always been interesting people and places, I love eclectic style and all the little details that make someone unique. For me the inspiration has always been to turn a blank page into something beautiful.
I feel transported when I look at a lot of your artwork, as it’s so unique. Has history played a major part?
Megan: Yes, I love to reference times past. I think there have been so many iconic moments in history with fashion that it can really be a great point of inspiration. I’ve always loved the classics, Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren, Grace Kelly and I love many of the photos that captured their incredible style. I love illustrating the modern day but adding in a little hint of that classic style.
Megan: It changes week to week. Some days are spent travelling to New York or Europe and other days are spent in my studio. When I am in my studio, I’m all about the mood – I love to play music while I work and I often choose something that relates to the project that I’m working on. For example I was working on a project with Cartier in Paris and so I played my favorite French CD as I worked away – it just gets you in the spirit of things. I also like to have a scented candle burning… I think enjoying the space that you’re in really helps you create.
What was one of your favorite clients to work for and why?
Megan: It’s hard to choose! I think I have to say the first job I did for Tiffany & Co. Firstly, I had a heart attack that they even called me! Secondly they gave me such a great brief: They asked me to illustrated the Iconic 5th Avenue store filled with chic Tiffany & Co style people in the foreground. It was just so much fun to create and as an illustration its still holds close to my heart.
A Summer holiday spent away would be?
Megan: On the Isle of Capri. I’m picturing one of those classic old hotels on the cliffs edge with the beautiful little balconies!! A week there with my husband and two kids would be bliss!! Lets make it 4 weeks though!
What you would pack?
Megan: I love packing. Most people tell me that they hate to pack but I LOVE IT! It’s all part of the fun in getting excited about a holiday! For Capri, I would pack lots of silk Kaftans, jewelled flats, and one killer pair of strappy heels. A white fedora hat, Chloe sunglasses, lots of vintage gold jewellery and loads and loads of scarves!! I’m scarf obsessed and they’re the perfect thing to pack because they really extend your travel wardrobe and they weigh nothing!!!