A time machine to Erin Hunting’s childhood would find a home in Australia. Pencils and paper scattered around the living room coffee table. A set of parents watching and encouraging their daughters to create, one of them being Erin. All that downtime drawing and a discovery of Tintin would lead her to a life filled with lively illustrations and commissions by some of the biggest names in pop culture.
Erin has done everything from Stranger Things to Nickelodeon to Archie Comics to the one and only Grumpy Cat. That’s not all though, of course that not all. With a style all her own, she’s continuously working on something new. Whether it’s for her own Etsy shop or Gallery 1988, she’s always got a pen in hand ready to work. It was nice to get a chance to get to know a little more about her. Talking about old school fanart days, why she feels fans love what she and others like her do and more.
Kendra: Every piece you do looks like it’s done with love. Do you find being a fan of the subjects you create makes it easier to capture them in your style?
Erin Hunting: Yes, of course! Although in saying that sometimes being in awe of a certain character or design can make me feel like I can’t improve/change the design much into my style. But I genuinely enjoy drawing fanart and love injecting new life into characters and shows that I respect and admire. I do think your audience can tap into if you’ve enjoyed drawing a piece or not too.
Kendra: Have you always drawn fanart of characters, or did you ever sketch out actors when you were younger?
Erin Hunting: Along with my creating my own characters, I drew lots of fanart as a kid, way before the internet was around! I drew really bad realistic portraits of the actors from the original 90210 as well as Garfield, Carebears, Snoopy and I was known at my school for my TMNT fanart!
Kendra: My apartment is filled with variations of my favorite things from pop culture. Why do you think fans love to see their beloved characters in different forms, such as the ones you create?
Erin Hunting: I have often wondered the same thing and still haven’t come up with a good answer! It may have to do in part in that a lot of pop culture merchandise and designs often look and feel the same. So when an artist comes along and changes it up it’s often like a breath of fresh air. Also-who doesn’t love a good makeover? As someone who loves drawing fanart it’s enjoyable to tear everything apart only to rebuild it into whatever I want it to look like and I enjoy seeing the process in other artists work too.
Kendra: You’ve been commissioned for a number of iconic pop culture icons. Are you ever nervous working on things that come with such a huge fandom like those?
Erin Hunting: I have been nervous sometimes but it’s more pressure on myself and wanting to do an extra great job for my client. The thought of fans of the franchise never really enters my head as being an illustrator can be an isolating job where you don’t really meet fans and people who like or dislike your work unless it’s at conventions and such. And I have been lucky that the response online to my work with some of those companies has been almost always positive.
Kendra: You’ve also had a number of showings at Gallery 1988. Which show was your favorite to be a part of?
Erin Hunting: There has been a few but I would probably have to go with Rick and Morty. That show opened in January 2017. I am a big fan of the show so of course I enjoyed drawing it, and it was a licenced show so it had the nod from the creators of the show as well as Cartoon Network. Plus there was a huge buzz surrounding that particular exhibition.
Bob’s Burgers was also a fun one for different reasons. I hadn’t seen much of the show beforehand. So it was fun to sit down and watch some episodes as “research” and I like the direction I ended up going with in my illustration.
Kendra: In music, there are singers that others will not cover; Mariah, Whitney, Celine. Is it sort of the same for artists like yourself – certain things you will not try to interpret?
Erin Hunting: I used to have the attitude of not drawing particular things I found too hard or boring. I’ve learnt recently that it’s good to have an open mind as a) you can never learn too much (an oldie but it’s true!) and b) art directors will possibly approach you to draw all sorts of things so it’s good to be prepared. Also! There have been things that I thought I would hate drawing (like The Avengers, Rocket Racoon and a few others) but it ended up being the complete opposite. So I try and keep an open mind!
Kendra: Do you have anything coming up we should know about? Any other Gallery 1988 shows?
Erin Hunting: I will be exhibiting with Gallery 1988 again this year. They have some exciting shows lined up for 2018. I also have a Garfield comic I wrote and drew with BOOM! Studios coming out in April as well as a chapter book with Little Brown & Co called The Unflushables which will be out in April too. I have also drawn up a couple of variant comic covers (Cosmo-Archie Comics and Wrapped Up-Lion Forge Comics). Those will be on comic shelves early in the year.
Kendra: Now, what five songs would best represent your art for an Erin’s Playlist?
Erin Hunting: I do listen to alot of music when I create my artwork. I’m not sure if this represents my art entirely since that’s pretty bright and bold but these are some of my favorites that I listen to when I draw…
“A Case Of You” -Joni Mitchell
“Marlene on the Wall” Suzanne Vega
“Love My Way” Psychedelic Furs
“Maps” Yeah Yeah Yeahs