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Illustrator Highlight: Monique Aimee

This week we are excited to introduce you to Monique Aimee. She’s an illustrator and lettering artist from Connecticut with a penchant for adventure that keeps her moving from city to city. Her experience of living abroad in Australia and Japan have infused her work with a rich multi-cultural perspective that is increasingly valuable in a global marketplace. Her strong, consistent color palettes unite her body of work into a beautiful patchwork of illustration and lettering. Her work is also enriched by her background creating visual displays for brands such as Whole Foods and Anthropologie. Monique’s work has been sought after by clients such as YouTube, Sift Magazine, Scout Magazine and many others. We recently brought Monique to the roster and we are sure you’re going to fall in love with her and her work as much as we have. Enjoy the interview!

Tell us a little about yourself and your work.
I’m an illustrator and lettering artist from Connecticut and now living abroad in Tokyo. I studied illustration in Boston and then typography in Melbourne. My work is a mixture of illustration and lettering, with bright reds, ochre, pink, and moody teals. I mostly work digitally, but I also paint murals and chalkboards.

Describe a typical work day for you.
I try to wake up at a reasonable time and check emails - I usually wake up to most of my emails for the day because of the time difference here in Tokyo. I’ll make a coffee, reply to the emails, and then start whatever work I need to do for the day. I’ll prioritize client work, but I often have a lot of self initiated projects that I’m keen to keep working on too. Later in the afternoon I start to become useless so I’ll either have another coffee or go on a walk and explore the city. Once the sun goes down I’m even more useless, but sometimes I get a second wind after dinner. Especially if I have dessert!

Which part of the creative process do you enjoy most?
Sketching! I think I enjoy this part the most because it feels like a puzzle that I need to find a solution to. It’s the time to be really loose and open to new ideas. I also really like creating color palettes, although I tend to stick to the same colors but just use them in different ways.

Was there a striking moment in your life where you knew you had to become an Illustrator?
There wasn’t a striking moment necessarily, I’ve been really into drawing as long as I can remember and my parents were very supportive of that. I took art lessons as a kid with a professional illustrator, Chris Lyles. So when it was time to apply to art schools and I had to pick a major, it seemed like illustration would be the right path for me too! I finally discovered lettering towards the end of college - that was a big turning point for my art as it gave me something to focus on and a welcoming community to connect with.

What mediums do you enjoy working with most?
I do love the convenience and speed of working with my ipad and apple pencil. But I also love working with paint or chalk when I get the chance. I used to be a signmaker for Whole Foods and visual display assistant for Anthropologie where at both jobs I got to work in so many different physical mediums - they were fun experiences!

If you had unlimited resources, what would your dream project look like?
I’d love to do a massive mural with free reign on the design. Murals are a such an impactful way to see art and bring a space to life.

Outside of your work, what other hobbies do you enjoy?
I love learning new skills and working with my hands. This past year I’ve learned to use my grandmother’s old sewing machine and made some shirts and felt banners. You can find these in my online shop ;)

What is your favorite show you’re watching right now?
I am catching up on all of RuPaul’s Drag Race and I love it! I think it’s especially important to hear the stories and hardships of drag queens during these political times. Gotta look out for my queer sisters!   

What was the last book you read that you really enjoyed?
I am currently reading “You’re a badass at making money” and I’ve found it quite helpful! Getting in the right mindset to achieve your goals can be pretty powerful.

What is a common creative block for you and how do you get unstuck?
Sometimes I go through periods where I just don’t like what I’m making - when things aren’t quite clicking. Or I make work that doesn’t feel like it fits with the rest of my portfolio. This is where the self initiated projects come in handy to get me back on track and continue to explore and refine my own style. Consistent color palettes are also really helpful to keep me in the right direction.

Outside of design, what do you do that inspires your creative pursuit?
Traveling and seeing new places inspires my work. I sometimes will walk an hour to get somewhere instead of taking public transport because then I get to see more of the city I’m in. I keep a list on my phone of things or phrases I’d want to illustrate from these walks.

Are you an early bird or a night owl?
I’m more of an early bird, but preferably not too early. And whenever I’m jet lagged I become a serious night owl.

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