On St. Valentine’s Day’s hangover, it’s refreshing to take a scroll through Abbie Paulhus’ Instagram which celebrates self-love and self-appreciation. On top of some pop culture inspo, her work is both frank and light-hearted – a sweet mixture of honesty and charisma. With more than 56 thousand Instagram followers, Las Vegas-based illustrator Abbie Paulhus is smashing her goal to spread joy through playful illustrations.
Even though she’s been in this business for only three years, Abbie has been tapped by major brands for collaborations. She is currently working with Target, the American retail giant, for the launch of a digital magazine. Read on to find out how that process has been, what inspires her to connect through loving messages to people, and much more.
You have a very unique and defining style. Can you tell us how the process of finding that style and perfecting it has been like for you?
I don’t feel like finding a “style” is a stagnant thing. Although, to be honest, I’ve only had my business for 3 years and I don’t feel that experienced. I just make what I feel drawn to in the moment and what feels right in that moment.
I feel like “having a style” is an ever-evolving thing.
I’m looking forward to how I change and grow in my style in the future. I don’t think it’s something that people should get too hung up about.
You say you’re about “being 100% true to yourself”. How do you make sure your work always reflects who you are, at a time when trends in visual and creative fields change so quickly?
I make what feels honest and good to me. That’s not to say I’m not also thinking about my customer. People buy what they feel connected to, so I like making things that feel honest to me that I think other people will probably feel connected to. Trends do change quickly so I think the key is to keep up on what’s new and keep producing work.
Your work has been made into cards, pins, notebooks, prints, and even T-shirts. What item makes you happiest to see your work appear in?
I love this question! I get a burst of excitement every time I see my work in a new form, I’m always thinking about new items I’d like to make. I think the happiest moment for me is seeing a design that I made that I love taking shape on a product that fits it perfectly.
What do you do to get out of a creative slump?
Oof, it can be hard! I try to schedule my time out and just make myself work even if I’m not that excited about it. A lot of the time I still like the work I make during those times. Discipline is hard!
Being an artist isn’t all about just being moved in the moment.
Can you tell us a little bit about your favourite project, and why it’s your fave?
It’s so hard to choose just one! I love a couple of the prints that I made that felt really honest and encouraging that people just got and loved. One says “In this home, you are loved and accepted for exactly who you are.” It felt really great to get messages from people of how much it meant to them and I feel really passionate about the message.
Working with Target Tag has been awesome! It’s an experimental project from Target to include some influential artists, dancers, musicians, and photographers in organically marketing some of their lines – Original Use and Wild Fable.
I’ve had so much fun creating content with them. The only challenge was believing that Target wanted to collaborate with me!
My favourite moments were at the beginning of the project when they flew us out to the headquarters to get to know each other – it was truly a whirlwind and I’ll never forget it.
What does the future of design look like to you? What changes do you foresee in the near future that will affect your work?
Everything is so minimal right now, which sometimes I feel like I can identify with and sometimes I don’t. I’m thinking we’ll probably move away from that in the future. I’m hoping more brands will be keen to incorporate fun illustrations into their design and branding – it can really add personality to a brand.