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Hattie Stewart: the London illustrator who counts Kylie and Marc Jacobs among her fans

Carving her name in London’s illustration scene with her curvaceous, playful “doodle bombs”, Hattie Stewart is defacing pop culture one magazine cover at a time. Citing Kylie Minogue and Marc Jacobs as fans, Stewart has collaborated with leading fashion designers, artists and musicians from across the world. Here she gives us an insight into her favourite London spots, her creative intuition and her love of Beyoncé.

What ignites your urge to doodle?

I do it simply because I love to draw and find no better satisfaction than filling a blank piece of paper with illustrations, characters and worlds of my own creation.

What determines if you are going to make something a subject of praise or satire?

There are some artists such as Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry or Madonna that are such big characters with well-known aesthetics that they are consistently easy to satirise. Beyoncé too, but I just love her too much, and Rihanna is just too cool. It’s all tongue in cheek, playful, but the satire is lain more at the feet of the magazines and magazine culture as a whole and our perception of it then at the feet of the individuals on the covers.

What do you like about London, and what role has it played in your career?

I’ve always loved London – I love its pockets of peace and calm and it’s pockets of madness and creativity. It suits both sides of my character. It’s played an absolutely vital role in my career – the people I’ve met and the experiences I’ve had have all been paramount to get me where I am today.

Where are your favourite places to go in the city?

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I live next to Victoria Park, and my best friend lives and freelances nearby, so usually we go for a stroll through the park and to the Pavilion for lunch (and maybe a beer or two), before cycling down the canal to my studio. I’ve also always had a love of wandering around central London and Soho – it’s where I like to get all my magazines and I’ll always pop into Vintage Mag on Brewer Street to pick up some amazing vintage covers. I can get lost in there for hours.

Have you ever received feedback from the people you’ve doodled on?

Oooh yes! Kylie Minogue! That was a thrill. I worked on an animation for her current Kiss Me Once tour which was so much fun. Fairuza Balk is the nicest person ever, she wanted to use my design for some t-shirts for fans on Halloween which was super cool. It all adds to the fun!

You’ve collaborated across fashion, film and music, is there any other medium that you’re keen to get involved in?

Although my first love will always be putting pen to paper, I freakin love seeing where else I can take my work. Animation, fashion, photography – I love having the creative freedom to work within all fields of design and collaborate with any number of talented people, from make-up artists and stylists to photographers and fashion designers. In today’s digital age, the constricting walls fencing you into one field have been broken down and the lines blurred. For someone like me who loves to jump all over the place, it couldn’t be more fun.

What gets you excited about a collaboration?

I love working with young or independent designers – like my recent collaboration with Australian designer Poppy Lissiman – as you have fewer restraints and can experiment with your ideas and characters more freely. I love more well-known brand collaborations because they provide a platform for more people to be one aware of my work, but also because they fund my smaller projects and collaborations. I’m realising that the more work I do, the more creative freedom I have with bigger brands – much more than when I first began. Everything is a key component in my work and my creativity, regardless of how big a brand is or how small or personal – everything informs the other.

After your take on The Sun’s Kate Moss front page do you feel the urge to explore tabloid culture further?

Yes that was a lot of fun. I definitely want to explore it further; it’s been on my mind for a while now. The sensationalism and ludicrousness of these tabloid covers make for good satire.

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What are you looking forward to doing this summer?

I’ve actually been a little naughty and booked quite a few holidays, so it’s going be a lot of fun but I’ll be working my arse off in between! I always tend to do things in extremes – it’s always all or nothing.

Hattie Stewart’s exhibition Adversary is showing at the House of Illustration until July 19;


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