Meet Megan Hess, The Illustrator Sought After By Luxury Brands
Once again, Thai fashion brand Jaspal has shaken hands with another world-renowned creative for a special collection. It’s hard to escape the influence of illustrator and author Megan Hess. Her chic fashion drawings have been seen on countless of platforms and not to mention harnessed by brands like Prada, Tiffany & Co., Saint Laurent, Ladurée, Givenchy, Salvatore Ferragamo, Cartier and even Disney. Hess also did the cover for a little number one bestseller called Sex And The City and is the author of a children's book called Claris: The Chicest Mouse in Paris.
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In this exclusive interview, Thailand Tatler chats with the mother-of-two about her creativity and inspirations.
How did this collaboration with Jaspal transpire?
Megan Hess (MH) Jaspal reached out to my team about collaborating. I’ve never done a collaboration with anyone in Thailand before, and I just loved the pitch that they put forward to me about what they wanted to do and what the collaboration was. It gave me the freedom to create what I felt would be really good, so I said yes.
What made you start drawing?
MH I don't remember not drawing. It’s that one thing that I loved to do as a child. It was the thing that really made me happy. Whenever I would get spare time or a chance to do whatever I wanted to do, I just wanted to draw. When I was little I drew Disney things, and when I was at school I would draw my classmates. I would draw anything, and I went to art classes as a child. I was taught to paint, everything from landscapes to oil paintings, and eventually I found a style I really liked to draw in.
Why do you like to draw women in your work?
MH Men are really hard to draw to be honest. I do draw men. I did a chair collection where I have two men in them, and everyone was surprised that I drew men. I think I draw women because I drew women’s fashion. Drawing women is really easy for me, but when I draw a man it really takes a lot of concentration for him to still end up looking like a woman and not a man.
What's it like illustrating for so many high-end fashion brands?
MH It’s really my dream since I love fashion so much. With bigger brands I’ve grown up loving the history of the brand, loving the signature things that they do. For example, I love Louis Vuitton's trunks and with Dior, I love the cannage. I love all the different things that make these historical brands still here today. For me, it’s not about illustrating for them because they have great handbags but because of their history. That’s what I really enjoy capturing: the essence of the brand.
What are your sources of inspiration?
MH My biggest source of inspiration is travel. I travel a lot for work and every time I travel I just see things that in some way inspires me. Now that I am in Thailand, seeing this and that makes me think of animation, something moving. A lot of ideas come to me from meeting new people and experiencing different things. So travel is my biggest source of inspiration.
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How did your fascination with fashion start?
MH When I was little, I watched Breakfast at Tiffany’s and I remembered seeing Audrey Hepburn’s character in that amazing black dress. I remember being little and wanting to know who made that dress? I asked my dad, but he didn't have an answer and later I discovered that it was Givenchy. That was the first time as a kid that I was really interested in fashion. I think Breakfast at Tiffany’s was the first seed of interest.
Who is Claris the Mouse?
MH Technically, she’s my children’s character, but Claris is not only for children. I really wanted to create a character that merges the children’s world with the high-end fashion world, and that’s really what she is. She wears couture and has her own little apartment in Paris. I wanted to create a character that could be truly fashionable, with a story of adventure, and that all comes back to having a big heart and being kind. I have two children. When they were little and I read them books, there were a lot of children’s books that were just for children and I thought it would be fun to have a children’s character that wears Dior. The male cat in the story wears Tom Ford. I thought it would be really fun to bring the world of fashion that I’ve worked in, into children’s books and have something both children and adults can really enjoy.
How do you deal with creative blocks?
MH I think the only time that I feel creatively blocked is if I'm pressured to think of an idea too quickly. For me, a creative block is, as I describe it, not being able to see it in my mind. So if I were to illustrate for a brand and they say it’s about the spirit of travel or it’s about this new bag, as soon as my mind thinks of the idea and I can see it, I can start drawing it. If I don't see it, that’s when I have the creative block. Sometimes I have to just step away from it, get out of the studio, go out for a walk or rethink it the next day. I think pressure is the only thing that can stifle me creatively.