Shortly before I started August Empress I came across the beautiful work of illustrator and designer Stephanie Ryan, and quickly purchased one of her prints from her Etsy store. I adore her fresh and colourful floral designs, and love the style she creates with watercolours.
Stephanie happily agreed to answer a few questions to feature on the blog, so please enjoy some insight into her work and process.
1. How did you get started as an artist?
First, I would like to thank you for taking the time to interview me. I am a huge fan of your work and am so happy to be here with you.
I knew I was an artist in the 8th grade and started nurturing my skills in high school. I attended a year of college until I had to leave for money reasons. Not knowing what to do next, I found a job as a doll maker for 5 bucks an hour and was grateful to have found it. I spent 11 years there wearing many different hats and learning a lot about the manufacturing business and product development. In 2001, the building burned down to the ground and I found myself wondering what to do with my life, so, I decided to put myself in debt and go back to college in my early 30’s. I feel like this is where my life as an artist really started to take shape.
2. What made you decide to pursue a freelance career?
My decision to leave my job was a very hard and scary decision to make. I have some health challenges that made it very difficult to work a full-time job, but, I couldn’t afford to make any less money. I felt stuck and didn’t think I had any options until an opportunity came up that was the bridge I needed to leave my job. I was offered a freelance job working 2 days a week at a good freelance rate. The money did not match my current salary, but, I couldn’t turn it down. I made the decision to be brave and stare fear in the face and made the leap. Everything fell into place after that. The job I was working at wanted to keep our working relationship and I am now freelancing for them too.
3. Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
I find inspiration everywhere. I am deeply affected by nature and it’s colors and seasons. The internet is an amazing resource for staying on top of trends, but, can also be overwhelming. I usually work from my imagination when painting my flowers. I love creating their shapes intuitively and find that is when they hold the most beauty within them.
4. Do you keep a sketchbook of ideas?
I actually do not have a sketchbook. I have tried countless times to keep one because I love the idea of having a space to keep my ideas in, but, I have never been able to work that way. It’s funny because I have so many empty sketchbooks, I buy them with the hopes of using them.
5. What are the top 3 blogs you love to read?
Oh, what a difficult question. I have so many favorites and love them all for different reasons. Let’s see… I love Heather Thompson’s blog, Gathering Spriggs, Holly Becker’s, Decor8 and Kathryn’s dreamy blog, Secrets of a Butterfly.
6. What are the top 3 items on your wish list to buy?
Well, I just bought myself a new computer that was on my wishlist for a long time so I am going to count that as one because I still can’t believe I bought it! I would love to put some beautiful clothes, or amazing handmade products from Etsy on here, but, the truth of the matter is, I am a tech nerd at heart and it is all about the gadgets for me! 1. 27” imac 2. ipad 3. iphone Can you tell I am Apple obsessed?
Stephanie’s designs have also just been released in a new Floral Fusions dinnerware and accessories range for Lenox, available from Macy’s. They look amazing! Be sure to check out Stephanie’s blog and etsy store for more of her work.