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hannah kirkland

Hey, Hannah! How are you?

Hey, I’m doing well thank you!

For those that do not know tell us about yourself!

I’m an illustrator based in Manchester and I have an online store called Hannah Kirkland Prints where I sell travel-themed illustrations. I work as a graphic designer during the week and run my business in my free time, which can be a bit of a juggle.

How did you develop your style?

Whilst studying for my graphic design degree, I began to explore Adobe Illustrator and try to teach myself how to illustrate. I started off illustrating buildings using the shape tool and it went from there. Over the years I’ve worked on making my building illustrations more detailed whilst still trying to keep the simplistic look that people seem to like.

You graduated in the first year of the pandemic what was that time like?

It was a strange time to graduate and finish my course because there felt like there was no real ending or goodbye. During that summer I ordered my first batch of prints to start selling on Etsy so I focused on that for a while. I then managed to get a remote job in E-Commerce as a Graphic Designer which felt like a godsend during the pandemic. I still work there today and love the balance between focusing on graphic design during my 9-5 and illustration at the weekends.

What did you learn from this?

Finishing my degree during the national lockdown meant that I had to become more strict with getting my work done at home. During that time it felt so easy to just binge a Netflix series and do a jigsaw so it was sometimes a struggle to get stuck into my Uni work.

Do you think you would be in the same place if the pandemic didn’t happen?

Before the pandemic, I saw myself trying to get a job either in-house or at an agency in Manchester, and hadn’t considered a remote role. Thanks to the pandemic, I can now work on my business in the time that I would’ve spent travelling to and from town, which I think has been beneficial to my business.

Have you always been creative?

I’ve always loved to draw from a young age and enjoyed studying product design during my GCSEs, which is where I was first introduced to Graphic Design. I’ve found my illustration to be a more creative outlet than creating graphics but I still enjoy graphic design.

You set up an Etsy shop, which has done really well! What's it like being a seller?

Thank you! It’s still so surreal when people place an order for my prints, especially because when I started illustrating for fun I never thought I’d be making money from it. I love using Etsy because it allows my prints to be seen by people other than those already following me on Instagram.

Do you plan on moving away from Etsy?

Not at the moment but the rising fees that Etsy take are a concern. At the moment, it makes sense for me to sell on Etsy so I don’t need to spend as much time and money marketing my products because Etsy will push them out for me.

What's your favourite item you sell?

My favourite item I sell online is my Disney World print, but I also love Christmas so I’m excited for people to start shopping for Christmas cards soon!

Are there any lessons or advice you could give to anyone planning to do the same?

When starting an Etsy shop, I’d recommend spending time on YouTube learning about the best way to set up your shop and listings, to have the best chance of people seeing your products. It can be a bit disheartening when you start and it seems impossible to find customers, but give it time and set targets to aim for and you’ll get there!

You regularly sell in person, enjoy it?

Selling at the markets is my favourite part of running my business! Working from home all week can get a bit lonely so I love meeting other traders and chatting with customers at the weekend markets.

Who are your standout creatives?

@laurafrancesheitzman on Instagram is a market trader and illustrator who creates positive prints. Also, @christopherwalster is a fellow travel illustrator with a totally different style to mine who would be great to feature!

For my final question, what's next?

I’m currently getting ready for the Christmas Markets so I have a long list of locations to illustrate and create prints for. Then in the new year, my goal is to have my prints stocked in local shops.


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