Steph has such an easy way with words, art and life that makes you just want to jump in and join. Her drawings make you smile, and the life she is living right now sounds so incredibly fulfilling. Meet Steph, and check out all of her illustrations and art!
Please introduce yourself.
Hi! I’m Steph Calvert. I’m a one-eyed artist that cuts her own hair. (It turns out surprisingly cute, by the way.) My husband Josh and I live on a 10 acre fixer upper farm just outside of Savannah, Georgia with his awesome mom Carole and our two ridiculously amazing kids Phil (6) and Joy (3). We currently have 2 dogs, 7 beehives, and 15 chickens (one of which is a one-eyed rooster).
Are you really a one eyed artist? That phrase cracked me up!
I totally am! I have two eyes but one went rogue in my early 20’s. A whole bunch of rare and weird eye diseases later its legally blind but the other eye’s still nice and healthy!
What do you make or do?
I’m an award-winning and published freelance illustrator with close to 20 years of professional experience. I’ve been full-time freelance for six and a half years now – before that I spent a solid ten years as a full-time in-house artist for companies like OshKosh B’Gosh and Mighty Fine Tees. Most recently, I created a really fun custom pizza box literally covered in my drawings and hand lettering. I also created an editorial illustration for the Spring 2017 issue of Teaching Tolerance magazine, and got to work on some cute little girls’ t-shirts and fabric repeat patterns for Kohl’s department stores!
Where can we find your creations?
My website: https://stephcalvertart.com
Illustration portfolio: https://www.workbook.com/portfolios/steph_calvert/galleries
Illustration agent Liz Sanders: http://lizsanders.com/steph-calvert/
You can find me on all sort of social media:
I’m represented by Liz Sanders Agency – if you’d like to collaborate on an illustration project please do get in touch!
When you’re not making things, what do you do?
Josh and I have really been working on getting our little farm up and running! We’re hoping to have enough honey from our beehives to sell this year, and we’re game planning our first spring garden in ages. It’s amazing how hard it is to find the time to get out to the dirt when you’ve got tiny ones to take care of… The kids are at this sweet age now where they’re still little and adorable, but they’re old enough to come hang out in the backyard with us as we tinker around feeding chickens and cleaning up things in the backyard while we are getting ready to plant stuff.
Is creativity a luxury or a necessity for you?
Oh it’s absolutely a necessity. There are times where life just gets crazybusy, and there’s eighty million reasons you’re not spending full days in the studio… And they’re all totally legit reasons, but you’ve got creativity swirling in your head that needs to come out and it can get frustrating when there’s not an outlet. When I hit those points, I start looking at my schedule, really rethinking how my time’s being spent, and hunting for chunks of time that can be carved out for art. Google Calendar is instrumental for me in blocking out chunks of time for family, farm, and art.
What obstacles have you had to overcome to lead a creative life?
I became self-employed almost immediately after my maternity leave ended with our son Phil in 2010. I went back to work, and my full-time in-house art job had changed so much in the three months I was out that it was obvious from day one back at work it wasn’t going to work anymore. One of the great things about being a creative is you can tackle problems like that with a good dose of creativity. Over the five years that followed, I grew my art and design skills by leaps and bounds. I honed my web design skills so well that by 2016, I had won a web design award and that was almost all of what I was doing…
Which presented another little problem.
I really missed drawing.
Lots of conversations with my husband later, and I started pulling away from web design so I could focus on freelance illustration. It has made all the difference. My work is so much more creatively fulfilling than it was a year ago before the shift – I get to draw and paint and write and it’s just… fun.
Did someone in your family, a friend or teacher introduce you to your creative side or have they helped you along the way?
I absolutely could not do what I do without the support from my rad husband, certified beekeeper extraordinaire Josh Calvert. He’s the bomb dot com. He’s the reason I get to pursue my freelance illustration dreams and he’s my best friend in the whole world. Or at least the continental United States anyway.
Where do you find inspiration?
Life. My family. Movies. Snacks. Ohhhhhhh snacks. I just recently finished a collection for art licensing that’s basically an ode to donuts.
They make me go nuts.
What’s on the horizon for you and what you do?
I’m excited to pursue art licensing and children’s books in the near future! I’ve got a slew of ideas for kids books jotted down in my sketchbooks – one of my goals for 2017 is to find the time to put together a pitch for one of them to start shopping around.
What would be your perfect day off?
- Sleeping in til 7am.
- Coffee on my mom in law’s porch with the whole family.
- Pile everyone in the car for a drive out to Coligny Beach in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Dig a huge hole in the sand. Eat snacks. Play in the ocean.
- Stop for ice cream on the way back out to the car.
- Take a detour on the driving trail through the Savannah Wildlife Refuge on the way home to have an alligator counting contest.
- Stoners Pizza delivery for dinner, and pajamas on at 6pm.
- Mexican train dominos until I fall asleep at the dining room table.
- Family campout on the couch bed.
What inspiring advice would you give to other creatives be they established or just starting out?
“You’re only a failure if you quit.”