Q + A with Michele Maule

Tell us a little bit about you. Where did you train or study and what led you to the path you currently are on?

I studied drawing, printing and printmaking at Portland State University and graduated with a degree in art in 2005. I started selling on Etsy a couple of years later when my friend suggested I try it out. Shortly after I set up my Etsy shop, I moved to Detroit, and it was during that time that I really started to focus on my art and selling it online.

What's your main focus currently and/or how would you describe your current design aesthetic?

My main focus lately has been drawing and painting animals, both wild and domestic. I find our relationship with wild life fascinating. The domestication of certain animals and the adaptation of others to our environment is so interesting to me. I'd love to continue in this direction and explore this subject more.

Love your work - can you explain your design process?

If I'm working on a background for the image, I often start there. I do a wash of watercolor paint and work it until I get the colors and textures that I like.

For the main image, I often refer to vintage illustrations and paintings of animals. I also use my friends' pets, as well as my own for inspiration.

I often start with a sketch and use watercolor paint to fill it in. I then go back into the piece using tiny lines, of different colors, to represent fur or texture. Each little line is made with a fine paint brush. I find this process to be meditative and it gives me a place to reflect.

At the end I like going back into the piece with a fine micron pen. I love how the use of the pen pulls everything together and makes the piece look finished.

What designers/makers/architects, etc do you look up to, are influenced by or inspire you?
There really are so, so, many. It's hard to pick even just a few.

I love the work of:
Lisa Congdon
Amy Ruppel
Rachel Austin
Brooke Weeber

I've looked up to, and have been inspired by these women since I started participating in the online art community. Recently, I've been inspired by the work of Melida Tidwell. Her work can be seen here.

I also love the work of
Frida Khalo
Louise Bourgoise
Robert Rauchenberg

Where else do you pull inspiration from?
I pull inspiration from my own life and from people around me. Portland, where I live, also plays a huge part in my work. This city is so beautiful. It can also be so moody at times. Sunshine one minute and rainstorms the next. I love it.

There's also this grittiness in some parts of the city that I am in love with. The grittiness has somewhat disappeared over the past few years, but it's there if you know where to look.

Any sneak peeks or plans you can share of new or future things on the go?
Yes! I'm currently working on some little animals for an advertising agency in Portland. I've also got some more foxes in the works as well as some new paintings. I also have big ideas that combine my animal etchings with handmade books. I have so many ideas and so little time!

Thanks Michele!  Follow Michele online through these links:

Shop : http://www.michelemaule.etsy.com
Blog: http://www.how2drawacupofcoffee.blogspot.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/michelemaule
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/michelemauleart
And at Poppytalk Handmade here.

Jan Halvarson


Margie said...

Adorable dog.

bettie said...

Great feature! Love Michelle's work (and she's pretty awesome as a person, too). ;)

Allie Kelley said...

Wonderful work. Thank you for introducing me to this artist!

Lena said...

Wonderful illustrations, and I liked reading the detailed description of the steps of her work progress!

Unknown said...

I fall in love with all these illustrations.