Enjoy this collection of charming and whimsical gouache paintings by artist Hannah Spiegleman, inspired by her love of children’s book illustrations. View more on her website.
I was a quiet kid; creating, drawing and books were my main pastimes. I spent my childhood in the Harrogate area of North Yorkshire in England, surrounded by beautiful cobblestone streets, old stone buildings and fields full of sheep. All these things inspired me from a young age.
I was always first drawn to a book by the illustrations, and of course my favorites were the works of Beatrix Potter. One of my earliest art memories consists of me drawing rabbits using her illustrations as a reference.
I received my BA in fine art from the University of West Florida. I also took lessons for many years from a very gifted painter named Geno Peoples, who taught me more about painting than I could have ever dreamed.
At that time, my work consisted mainly of quaint, realistic scenes in acrylic on large canvases. One semester, I chose to experiment with watercolors, and a professor mentioned that they had a storybook feel to them.
That’s when everything flipped.
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I had always loved children’s book illustrations, but it never occurred to me that I could do that type of work too. I kept the quaint scenes of the English villages from my childhood, but I swapped out the blokes in flat caps and jackets for whimsical animal characters—still in flat caps and jackets.
Today, I work primarily in gouache. It’s a great midline between acrylic and watercolor, and I love the vibrant colors you can get.
My favorite things to paint are flowers and animals and yes, rabbits are still my most favorite of them all. I’ve participated in dozens of juried shows, and even won a few awards.
With my art, I hope to make people happy and peaceful and maybe just a bit nostalgic for the books they may have read as children. Not every piece I make is meant to be used in a story, but I still try to tell a story with every picture I paint.
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