Kerrie Hess invited us into her glamorous world of illustrations
Kerrie Hess grew up in Brisbane, Australia, where she had a lovely and quiet childhood. Around the age of five, she discovered her love for drawing and painting. She decided to follow her creative passion and studied Graphic Design at a University in Brisbane. During her first job as a designer in London at The Independent she was only illustrating on the side, but Kerrie soon decided to give full-time illustration a chance. A choice that she wouldn’t regret, as 18 years later Kerrie is an internationally acclaimed illustrator and has worked for some of the world’s most sought-after fashion brands like Chanel, Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Printemps Paris, Net-a-Porter, Collette Dinnigan, and Kate Spade New York. Kerrie’s illustrations have also featured in Vogue, Talter, and Harper’s Bazaar.
Her favorite city is Paris which had a big influence on her work
She has lived in various cities across the globe, from Melbourne and Hong Kong to London and Paris. The mother of one moved back to her birth place Brisbane but admits that Paris still is her spirit home. The city of love also had a significant influence on her work as an illustrator. You will always find a touch of French in her glamorous and graceful fashion illustrations; she calls her style ‘intuitive watercolor’ painting, as she usually works with black and white silhouettes and then often adds single contrasting pops of color. Kerrie has done illustrations for countless fashion windows, billboards, book covers, silk scarves, cushions, and packaging around the globe.
Before Instagram and Social Media started, how did you attract new business?
I suppose it was the old-fashioned way of just word of mouth…
When was your breakthrough moment when you thought you could work professionally as an illustrator?
A global job for Louis Vuitton was a big one for me, but a solo exhibition in Paris at Le Meurice Hotel took me more into the fine art world as well as illustration.
What are your favorite tools for drawing and how did your drawing style change throughout your career?
I did start out drawing with a pencil and pen, but I am more brushes and paint now. And I much prefer it!
How did Social Media change your way of working and getting in contact with clients and your fans?
I tend to think of social media as my community rather than clients and fans. I love getting feedback on which image of mine to release next as a Limited Edition Print or even what to paint next as an original through social media.
Tell us more about the cooperations you have done so far and is there a particular story when working with big clients like Cartier, Vogue, Louis Vuitton…?
Oh, all of these brands have been amazing, but Cartier, in particular, was lovely as I was given carte blanche to paint whatever came to mind as inspiration to their Amulette collection. I think you always do your best work when that is the case.
How do you handle your work and family life and do you have tips for that?
I think it’s just about figuring out what works for you. Everyone is different. I just try to break my time down that when I am working, I’m working, but when my son and I are at the park, or playing a game, I am only in that moment. I also think taking some time to switch off from work totally is so restorative.
You seem always to have flowers around you, what do they mean for you?
Yes! I am obsessed with peonies in particular. I also do love white roses and hydrangeas… I think I am drawn mainly to the colors of flowers as tones I also like to paint with.
“Just be authentic, and make choices based on that.”Kerrie’s personal motto.
How important is fashion for you and your work?
I love fashion but I’m generally not drawn to the latest trends. I am more of a timeless type, which is why I illustrate in the style of Haute Couture. I really don’t want my work to date so I think that’s the main reason.
Do you have an obsession and what is it?
Dark chocolate is always my obsession!
*numbers current at time of writing
Copyright: All images are copyright protected and are property of Kerrie Hess.