Thursday, April 11, 2013

Behind the Business: ETST Sponsor, Little Illustrator

I fell in love with the artwork of Jennifer Zetts as soon as I clicked on her shop, The Little Illustrator.  Full of, as Jennifer describes, "cutesy quirky" illustrations, The Little Illustrator offers unique, colorful drawings guaranteed to add happiness to your home. 

From the color palette and fun quotes to the simple playful characters Jennifer draws, The Little Illustrator art makes me smile.

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Love seeing her art in our home:


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Left: "You're my Sweetheart" art, Right: Custom Family Art she created for us

*****

And I like giving you the chance to know the mama and artist behind this business.  Meet Jennifer:

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1.) How did you learn to draw? Were you always a "doodler" and it just evolved into your unique style or did you have some sort of art training?


 I have always been a doodler but growing up I never liked art. All through elementary school and middle school, I dreaded going to art class. It wasn't until high school that I found my love and appreciation for art. I'm not sure if it was because of my art teacher, my maturing, or a combination of both, but I found a passion for art. I remember sitting up late at night teaching myself to draw more realistic portraits using the grid method. I would sit for hours and hours erasing and redoing it until I felt like it was perfect. Although I spent quite a few years drawing realistically, it never felt like my style. It didn't feel natural is the best way to describe it. I continued to draw and paint for years before I grew into my own unique style.

2.) I love how a lot of your art incorporates drawings with funny/cute/motivating captions. Where do you get your ideas/how do they come to you? (my best ideas sometimes come while I'm half-sleeping, so I keep a pen and paper by my bed).


My ideas come from my life and my family. Being a mother is a HUGE part of my life. I have a 16 year old daughter and 4 babies 3 years and under. Inspiration is never short in supply around here. There is a lot of love in my life, but at times there is just as much messiness. I try to tap into the messy parts of motherhood, or life, just as much as the sweet parts. Life can be hard. Motherhood can be even harder. Some of my most favorite prints come from some of the messiest times in my life.


3.) Do you have a favorite print in your shop or an illustration that has an especially good story behind it?

My most favorite print I have ever done is "You Are Our Perfect". It will always have a very special place in my heart. The print is inspired by my sweet Camden. Before I had Camden, I remember going to ultrasounds and my biggest concern was about whether the baby had ten fingers and toes. It was like if the baby had the correct fingers and toes that meant that the coast was clear. That everything was going to be ok. I know for a fact that I didn't once give a serious thought about genetic abnormalities, syndromes, feeding difficulties, hypotonia, etc. It's funny how mother's intuition works. Sometimes it's not until we look back that we as mothers realize how right we really were. How we weren't being crazy from lack of sleep or the emotions of the moment. That what we felt was more right than anyone could have ever imagined. When I held Camden in my arms for the very first time, the last thing I thought was how perfect he looked. I couldn't even physically see him because my eyes were so filled with tears. I knew something was wrong with Camden after holding him for all of 10 seconds. I just didn't know what. I remember unswaddling his arms and legs. Counting fingers and toes through blurry eyes, like that would somehow erase the sick feeling I felt and reassure me that everything was indeed alright. Dr's and nurses reassured me that "everything was perfect with my baby" and that "he couldn't be more perfect." Turns out, depending on your definition of perfect, Camden was born perfect. Camden was born with a chromosomal abnormality, a slew of other health issues, and last week was diagnosed with autism. He has had a rough road in his short life, but he is truly one of the most amazing people I know. Camden is exactly as he was meant to be. He truly is perfect, although I'm sure there is a dozen Dr's that would be the first to say he is the furthest thing from. Who he is is who we fell in love with and love. His heart is amazing and I wouldn't wish for him to be any different than the 2 1/2 year old he is today. He is most definitely our perfect.


4.) How does a normal work day happen for you? Do you set aside a specific time to create/draw? Do you have a designated space where you create your art? (your own office/studio?)

With 5 kids, there is never ever a normal work day. If an idea comes to me, I find the nearest piece of paper that's not stuck together, or that doesn't have a stray sticky fruit snack on it, and I scribble/sketch it out. My life is crazy busy, but my art is what keeps me centered and grounded. When I draw, I feel like me. I try to make time for it everyday, even if it's just for 20 min before bath time. I have a corner in our bedroom that is my studio. I dream of having my own studio someday with windows with flower boxes and cute curtainsmand multi colored Christmas lights everywhere. For now though, the corner works.

*****

Find the perfect little piece of happiness for your home, for a friend, for your mama, for your sister, for your baby's room.  The Little Illustrator has a whole slew of happies.  Jennifer also creates custom art, so if you have something in mind, send her a message!

This one slayed me.  First born love, baby.

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Welcome to our little ETST things home, Little Illustrator. You fit right in.