An interview with Artist Rae Ritchie
I am so excited to share a small peek into the world of the artist behind the designs on the Childhood T-shirts.
Rae Ritchie lives in Minneapolis, MN and brought the moose, squirrel and fox to life better than I could have imagined!
I had a vision for these shirts in my mind for months and tried to create something on my own but was woefully short of the talent necessary to bring them to life! I scoured the internet for what was knocking around in my head and discovered Rae's work. She paints the most charming scenes of animals, gnomes, and fairies and it was exactly the whimsical, imaginative feel I was looking for. She perfectly captured the sentiments of adventure, exploration, and imagination that childhood holds.
You can find more of Rae's work on her website at Rae-Ritchie.com.
I truly enjoyed learning more about Rae and her creative process!
What draws you to painting creatures?
I really love painting animals because I think they have this whole secret world to them. Animals have such a mystery about them, what they're thinking, where they're going and why. I just love to draw on those questions and provide fantastical answers with my art.
You've been experimenting with new mediums (is that the right word!?) and subjects lately- tell me about that!
Yes! I'm looking to start working more in editorial and publishing projects, so I've been practicing illustrating more human subjects and trying to give them a similar magic as my animals. It is a challenge, as I love drawing fur, and humans (usually) don't have a ton of fur! =) As for trying different materials, the majority of my work is painted in acrylic gouache, so I'm trying to expand my use of media. It's important to let go and experiment, which I know I should do more of!
When someone gives you an idea for something (like the designs for these shirts) can you instantly see it in your head and put it down on paper or do you have to sketch and make several iterations first?
I usually have a rough idea in mind. When you create your illustration style, you end up creating a language of sorts, and that involves layouts and lettering styles. I usually sketch in pencil, then scan it into my computer and work on finessing the scale and placement of icons and lettering.
What is your favorite thing to paint?
Ferns and foxes
Do you prefer drawing or painting or both?
Drawing is nice because it doesn't take as much decision making, but I really love painting the most. I'm a big planner, so I sketch something, then use my light box to trace the piece onto watercolor paper. Then when everything is planned out, I can let go and enjoy making the color decisions as I paint. It's an intense but relaxing process (if everything is going well). If I'm working on a piece that I don't feel good about, my husband can tell because I act very grumpy! When it's going well, I'm as giddy as can be!
What inspires your paintings?
The mysteries of nature and the universe.
Have you always known you would be an artist?
As a daughter of a musician and photographer, I always knew I would pursue a creative field. I painted a lot as a kid, then made music for a while. I went to school for fashion design, then worked in that field for about 10 years. I worried about the environmental and social impacts of the fashion "system" so decided to make a big move to self-employment.
Do you listen to music while creating? What is your favorite artist and playlist?
I listen to a lot of podcasts like "Stuff you Should Know" and "Fanti" when I'm working. Though, if I really need to focus, I listen to Tycho. It's not my favorite thing in the world, but it's my go to background music. I also really like Joanna Newsom, Hazel English, Gregory Alan Isacov, Bon Iver, Sigur Rôs, and Fleet Foxes.
What is a passion you have outside of art?
I really love cycling and running. I've slowed down a little bit after having my daughter, but now that she's old enough, I bike her around in the trailer or push her in her jogging stroller!
For all the Minnesota folks- what is your favorite park/shop/restaurant/museum to visit in the cities?
Favorite Park: Minnehaha Falls Park
Restaurant: Quang Vietnamese
Museum: Museum of Russian Art
Favorite place to explore in MN in general?
The Boundary Waters! My parents took us there when we were really little and I hope to take my daughter there someday as well!
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