Hi! I'm Emily and I'm an independent artist who makes watercolour paintings and books of unusual creatures and magical beings. Shall we talk about making art? Ask Me Anything!

Emily Hare
Aug 26, 2018

Up until last year, I was a freelance illustrator working mostly digitally (photoshop) since 2004.

In 2016 I started a Patreon page and made it a place where I could return to my roots in traditional media and start creating more personal work. Patreon has been amazing and continues to grow and last year I launched my first ever book called 'Strangehollow' which is about an enchanted forest filled with all sorts of creatures and unusual beings. I used Kickstarter to do this and it literally changed the direction of how I was to make my living as an artist.

Since then I have been concentrating on being completely independent - i.e. no client work. I now have the freedom to keep creating my own little worlds and am currently in the process of launching my second book, 'Cauldron' which is live on Kickstarter now!

I grew up loving illustrated fairytales and all those classic fantasy movies like Labyrinth, Legend, Sinbad The Sailor, Jason and the Argonauts etc. Those monster movies were the best! Creatures is definitely a theme in my work but I also lean towards the old heroic tales too, like Beowulf. 

Ask me anything related to art and the creative process and how I got here!

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What is the art scene like there and do you feel a part of that community? Are these aspects of your life that are important to your creativity?
Aug 31, 8:08AM EDT2

Hi Abigaille! 

I've not really got myself involved in the art scene where I live since the plan when we moved here was that we wouldn't be here forever so I didn't want to get myself rooted into a scene that I would hate to leave! 

In future when we move to a different area I will definitely get properly engrossed in the local scene and if there isn't one, I'll create one! 

For me the art community is VERY important and I am very much involved with the fantasy art community via facebook and it's great. So many amazing people and lots of support there. I'm about to be part of Month Of Fear again this year and that is a great feeling to be invited again.

Aug 31, 8:19AM EDT1
What is it about magical creatures that you feel best suits your narratives and subject matter?
Aug 31, 3:51AM EDT1

Oh I don't think I really think about my narratives very hard, I just paint what moves me and a lot of the time, the creation of a new creature is deeply entertaining and satisfying! There are some creatures I've painted which actually make me chuckle as they appear on the page sometimes, it's great fun!

Equally painting a scene from a favourite folk tale is just as satisfying. 

Aug 31, 4:32AM EDT0
If you could own one piece of art from any of the world’s collections what would it be and why?
Aug 31, 3:30AM EDT1

AWESOME question! 

Ooh, it's going to be so hard to choose one! I think maybe Frederick William Burton's 'Meeting On The Turret Stairs' - it's such a romantic piece! 

Aug 31, 4:30AM EDT0

What are your inspirations on creating those arts?

Aug 31, 12:16AM EDT1

Hi Donna! 

I have answered this question below in another section! Thank you!

Aug 31, 4:26AM EDT0
Do you believe in magic and how would you convince the public to believe in it and to find it?
Aug 30, 3:01PM EDT1

Ooh, well that would mean you need to define what you mean by magic! 

I don't think I believe in magic in the sense of witches and wizards or the fantastical notion of magic, but I still wish it was real! I think there is a lot that is magical about the world and there are things in nature that are SO incredible and so fragile and beautiful - that is magic to me. A butterfly is magic! The caterpillar goes into it's chrysalis and transforms - liquifies during this time - and reforms into this incredible butterfly. That's pretty magical I think. 

It's easy to find magic in nature I think. I think the way I would help the public believe in it and find it would be to pay attention, learn to really look and see all the little details in life and find the magic in those. Or to plant a tiny seed and see that grow into a huge plant, that would be a good way to inspire someone to believe in magic I think.

I don't know if you mean how would I convince the public to believe in it through my art - that is totally out of my hands. I just paint what I think is magic or what inspires me and hopefully that gets transferred to the viewer! Maybe magic is in the eye of the beholder?

Aug 30, 5:52PM EDT1
If someone wanted to design creatures at your level, how would you recommend they practice?
Aug 30, 2:39PM EDT1

Hi Gareth! 

The best thing to do is draw A LOT of real life creatures. ALL THE TIME. From life, from photos, from stills of nature programs. Google is at your fingertips and you can find anything on there! The more you learn about real life creatures and learn about their anatomy etc, the more that will influence your real life monsters and creature design. 

Basically, just draw a lot and be fascinated with mother nature!

Aug 30, 5:47PM EDT1
Are your paintings the result of intense research on the subject or do you rely mostly on your imagination, feelings and instinct?
Aug 30, 10:27AM EDT2

Great question! 

It depends on the subject. For instance with Beowulf I want to take care to emulate the poem as closely as I can, but I will also take artistic license (with regard to having my Beowulf shirtless as it contrasted more with the creature) if I think it works better. 

For both my books it has been a mixture of my love of natural history and how animals behave and live in the natural world my imagination. I want things to feel like they could be possible even if they are purely imaginary. If I'm creating a creature that lives in a certain environment, I will look to the natural world to get inspiration to see what an animal that lives in that environment might evolve to look like. I don't want to always make something look a certain way just because I think it looks cool (but I do succumb to this on occasion!)

Aug 30, 12:00PM EDT0

Hi Emily!

For someone just starting out, can you recommend 4-5 of you favourite Daniel Smith (or other brands!) watercolour colours? Natural tones, greens, blues, browns?

I'd love to give watercolourpainting a proper go, and I love the earthy tones you use, but am baffled by the array of colours out there! What are you go-to foresty colours?

Second question! What inspired you most when you have a creative block, or need a break to refresh? I see you mentioned your love of gardening! (this summer basically roasted everything in our garden - I hope your crops faired better!) Do you have any other things you like to do? Books/films/games you like to reach for when you have downtime? Or anything you are particularly inspired by/obsessed with?

Aug 30, 6:25AM EDT1

Hi Laura!

First one with Daniel Smith if you want to go for those I would buy their full colour dot sheet. Everyone has a different preference for colour palette and their dot sheet is well worth the money and you can trial each colour using that. My favourite greens of theirs is Serpentine Green Genuine, Undersea Green and Green Apatite Genuine. Favourite blue is Mayan Blue Genuine (quite a tealy blue) and browns, Vandyke Brown (almost black, very useful) and Hematite Violet Genuine (not really brown but I use it with other browns a lot, but it is very granulated). I also recommend Holbein watercolour which is gorgeous too (and Iv'e got a few tubes of which I mix with my DS!). BUT get the dot sheet! 

My garden did amazingly well this summer! I have raised beds now though (I started gardening at the start of last year) and so they contain the moisture better (and the compost I had to fill them with is also better than the soil here which is v poor). Gardening is a great thing for me when I don't feel in the mood for art, but also cooking! 

So yeah, if I don't fancy painting I'll cook something (recently hot sauces and going to make a bramble jelly with chilli in it soon!) or potter about in the garden. Gardening is a great way to switch off for me and I am officially obsessed with it!

If i'm feeling stuck and I want to paint something I tend to go for something I'm comfortable with like a horse painting or a portrait of someone. I know I can do that and so I don't have to think hard while doing it, it's almost meditative. 

Aug 30, 6:32AM EDT1
What do you want to show with your art, now and in the future?
Aug 30, 3:27AM EDT1

I'm not sure I completely understand the question. Do you mean show as in what message I'm trying to bring with my art? 

If it's that, I do not really have a message, I just want to make what inspires me, whether that be from old tales or my own and to put smiles on peoples faces. If I achieve that then I'm happy! 

Aug 30, 4:28AM EDT0

How did you get people to your Patreon page in the early stages?

Aug 29, 11:18AM EDT1

I just had the link to it on every one of my social media platforms as my main link rather than my website (still do mostly) and talked about it a lot.  It's all about getting it in front of peoples eyeballs. If you only have 20 followers then you will struggle, so work on expanding your following and patreon will follow. 

Being prolific, consistent in theme/subject matter and telling a story (not necessarily a literal story but be expressive about why you're painting what you're painting and what gets you excited about it), is very important as people respond to that massively. 

Aug 29, 11:31AM EDT0
How can people as artists train themselves to see shapes better and explore their application in their art? In general, how can people improve their compositional skills?
Aug 29, 9:26AM EDT1

I'm going to start sounding like a broken record, but this really is down to experience and practice.

Studying the masters and how they approached form and composition is very helpful. There are loads of great composition specific courses online too (schoolism.com is amazing and so is newmastersacademy.org). There is no shortcut to getting better at compositions (or anything with art really), it is a matter of putting thousands of hours in of practice (but not repeating the same mistakes thousands of times over however!). 

Aug 29, 11:28AM EDT0
Do you have advice for anyone who would like to improve their watercolour skills?
Aug 29, 6:45AM EDT1

Practice! It might sound silly but the only way you will improve is to keep using it and learn from any mistakes you make.

Don't worry about making a perfect painting every time, just do loads of studies and don't fret if it doesn't turn out as you want it. Don't feel like you have to make a finished 'artwork' at the end of the painting, just paint to learn, not just to make a pretty picture. It's important to fail as that is how we learn! I'm learning new ways to use the medium every day I pick up a brush and there are still plenty of things I have no idea how to achieve with this medium. Experimentation is not only the best way to learn, but a great way to find your own unique way of using it and therefore will produce a style of your own in the process. 

Also there are LOADS of amazing classes online for watercolour (as well as videos on youtube showing how people work). I can recommend the Carcamo class at www.schoolism.com as it covers all basics and different approaches. 

Keep painting and experimenting!

Aug 29, 6:50AM EDT0
What is your most special piece of art in your home that is not yours? Why is it so special?
Aug 29, 6:30AM EDT1

Oooh this is a tricky one! I think that it is a piece I commissioned for my partner by Larry Macdougall of a witch. It's absolutely fantastic. Just click that link and you'll see it over on facebook. Larry is an amazing artist. 

Aug 29, 6:42AM EDT0

Do you still have clients at all, or are you completely freelance?

Aug 29, 5:44AM EDT2

At this very moment I do not have any clients at all. I hope that I can continue doing this as my Patreon grows. I would say that I'm no longer freelance as that implies I'm open for business for clients. I'd now describe myself as an Independent Artist :)

I would definitely consider taking on a client if it was an amazing job and something hugely inspiring. 

Aug 29, 6:40AM EDT1
Do you have any upcoming shows or exhibitions that you’ll be attending?
Aug 29, 3:21AM EDT2

Hi Edewor, 

None planned at the moment since the next 3 months will be all concentrating on completing my book Cauldron and shipping all of those out. I'm not currently interested in getting involved in galleries but will be sure to advertise it all over social media if I change my mind! 

Aug 29, 3:49AM EDT1

First of all I had to say really good illustrations. And my question is What inspire you or where you get the idea for your magical creatures?

Aug 28, 2:05PM EDT3

Hi there Tjasa! Thank you and thanks for your question... if you look at the collection below I have answered this lower down in response to: FACHRUL ARIESTA RAHMAN

Aug 29, 3:42AM EDT1
How do artists encourage each other? Do you suggest things that people might do? Or do people develop their own way?
Aug 28, 8:10AM EDT2

It's very easy! Join artist communities online (there are SO many) that are specific to your style (so I am a part of fantasy art communities online). Make friends with fellow artists in the field either in real life or also online! 

THEN all you need to do is if you are passionate about what they're doing then share it on your own social media, comment on it, tell them how you feel about it and why you like it. 

Enouraging an artist is the same as encouraging anyone. Just let them know that you think they're doing a great job and help promote what they're doing if they need that. Does that answer your question?

Aug 28, 9:26AM EDT1
Is there a sense of crossover between your paintings and imagination in your mind, or do you view them separately?
Aug 28, 7:22AM EDT2

Hmm, that's an interesting question and not something I've ever really thought about! 

Certainly when I'm 'seeing' the things in my mind, whether it be a painting or a creature or character I have an idea for, it never comes out quite how I want it to (very very rarely) on the paper. It's very difficult to grasp that wisp of a thing that is in your mind and make it as real as it feels on paper as it does in the mind. I don't feel that they are separate though as the paper versions are still usually from in my head somewhere!

Aug 28, 9:23AM EDT1
What do you look for when you’re looking for something to draw?
Aug 28, 6:45AM EDT2

It depends on my mood. If I want to paint something that's in an imaginary world, I still take inspiration from nature (strange sea creatures, insects, baby animals (a baby wombat is an extraordinary looking chap!), and endless other things. Those natural things get muddled up in my head and come out as a new creature sometimes. 

Or if I want to study, then I use either someone who is sitting near to me to sketch or sketch from animal reference that I have taken myself or that I found online. There is never nothing to draw :)

Aug 28, 9:21AM EDT1
What advantages are there for being a woman in the art world?
Aug 27, 10:22PM EDT2

Hi Wynner!

Well, this is an impossible question to answer since I have nothing to compare it to! I'd have to live my life again in the same way but as a man to be able to answer that ;)

I think the only advantage there would be is when someone is asking for women only artists for a project! Other than that I think as long as the folks looking for art are looking for it purely on skill/reliability it doesn't make much difference whether you are male or female. I'm sure there will be people who would disagree, but in my experience I don't feel like I've had any advantage (or disadvantage) to being a woman. I'm just an artist!

Aug 28, 5:06AM EDT1
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