Q + A With Our Featured Artist Emily McDowell

When we came across the print we included in the last box we couldn’t resist it. Yeah, yeah…January is a great time for starting something new, eating better, exercising more, etc. But there is so much truth to this little print! Sometimes we have such high expectations for ourselves don’t we? But things don’t always go as planned and we thought this illustration is a great way to laugh at our impending mistakes!


Just for fun we asked the artist behind the print, Emily, to answer a few questions for us about herself and her work with Emily McDowell illustrations. Here’s what she had to say –

WB: Who is your creative inspiration?

Emily: Who isn’t? I get inspired by so many people and things — nature, folk art, cultural quirks, geometry, psychology. Resources like Pinterest are amazing, but I try to strike a balance between getting inspired and spending too much time looking at what other people are making. I’m really interested in human behavior — why we do what we do — and my favorite pieces tend to be inspired by that. My philosophy for my work is that it’s about telling the truth — or my truth, anyway.

WB: Do you run your shop full-time or do you have a day job also?

Emily: I sometimes have a day job. I quit my fulltime job as an advertising copywriter/creative director two years ago in order to freelance, which gives me more freedom to run my shop and build my business. As it grows, I take fewer freelance advertising jobs, but I’m still balancing both in order to pay the bills. My goal is to eventually transition completely out of advertising.

WB: Describe your work space.

Emily: My official work space is a small home office I share with my boyfriend, who’s a writer and graphic designer — but I’m a little embarrassed to say that my unofficial work space is my bed. I do a lot of drawing, thinking and answering emails from the comfort of my bed. My cat is really into it, but I worry that my step-son (who’s in second grade) might think there’s something wrong with me.

WB: Who is your biggest cheerleader?

Emily: This is a hard question to answer, because everyone in my life is so supportive of what I’m doing. My friends, family — really, everyone has been amazing. I’m really lucky. The best is when I get supportive emails, tweets, etc. from strangers who came across my work somewhere and felt moved to get in touch. I just love that, and those words go a long way when I have those weird funk days where I start questioning everything I’m doing.

WB: Can you tell us the background on the print we used or do you have anything special you want to say about it?

Emily: I’m a big fan of sending New Year’s cards as my holiday cards, both because there’s something nice about celebrating another year on this planet, and also because who needs more stuff to deal with in December? When I started thinking about designing a New Year’s card, my mind went to all the things we do as a culture around the idea of a new year. We make a big deal about how a new year is an opportunity to start fresh, and we make all these resolutions, but the truth is that we break most of them and feel crappy about it for a little while and move on. But another piece of the truth is that we don’t need a lofty New Year’s ritual to start over; every day is a chance to start over. Every minute, even. We screw up, we start over, we do better, but it’s almost always a messy process and rarely a neat declaration. I thought this card was a fun way to get at that truth.


Thanks for sharing your work with us Emily! And I wholeheartedly AGREE with the pressure of sending holiday cards. We hope to see this illustration in the Emily McDowell Illustrations shop again next year!

Shop / Twitter / Facebook / Blog

Bri Land is the Director of Operations at Whimseybox (and as her husband will say - her home). She lives in Houston with her husband, two daughters and their dog Bingo. She a huge fan of modern crafts, business and technology. Especially when they are all combined. Bri also owns a small studio in the Houston Heights, Homespun: Houston Handmade, that can be rented out for craft classes or workshops.

Be first to comment