I stopped dead in my tracks the day I stumbled upon the carefully designed chalkboard at a local haunt. Not only was the hand lettering top notch, there was catchy tag line and intricate related animals and plants. Not the every day chalkboard sign you see on the street; pure art. Which I learned later it more of a supplemental art that Bishop creates for clients.
Aside from creating mesmerizing chalkboard work for local eateries, Megan Bishop is an illustrator from the Bay Area who currently resides in Humboldt County and is a recent Botany graduate from Humboldt State University. During her time in school she collaborated with professors on scientific illustrations for botanical journals and has recently been selected to work further on botanical journals.
I wanted to hear more about what inspires her creativity. Check out our Q & A below!
Were you always hands on when you were younger? What clues did you have about your natural tendencies that led you do be a Creative?
I’ve always been a hands-on person and I have my parents to thank for that. Aside from the amazing art closet they supplied, we use to go on hikes and collect things like bones, rocks and feathers and look at them under the dissecting scope. Along with that, my sister was a volunteer and foster-care parent at a wildlife rehabilitation center, so we often had opossum, squirrels and raccoons in our house.
When did you decide to start your own business? And why this business?
I’ve been doing freelance work on the side since 2013, but didn’t really make Bishoplines into a more professional business until my last year in college. Once school started winding down I was able to dedicate more of my time illustrating for professors and designing posters for campus events.
Freelancing is perfect for me right now seeing as I just graduated but am looking to get a second degree in graphic design. I’m using this time gain as and build my portfolio up as much as possible before going back to school. I plan on continuing my business once I go back in school.
What was the best piece of advice you were given as you were starting out?
I’ve been given a lot of amazing advice during my transition into this field, but my favorite comes from my father, who is a professional freelance photographer, “Know when to draw the line with someone. Money is nice, but it’s never worth giving up what’s important to you”. I feel very fortunate to have a father who has always been involved in my artistic endeavors and has so much experience in this line of work.
What do you do behind the scenes?
Most of my work has been in scientific illustration, which requires me to have a really firm grasp of the specimen or process I’m depicting, so my ‘behind the scenes’ tends to involve a lot of reading and research. The same thing goes for my personal work be it illustration or graphic design. The more information I have the easier it is for me to work and make a piece that meets my client’s criteria.
The research is honestly almost always the easiest part. The hard part is sitting down and translating that information to paper. A lot of people think that the minute my pencil hits the paper a hard copy of what’s in my mind is produced, but I could only dream of possessing such sorcery. All of my pieces start as incredibly crude lines that sometimes take a few hours to put down. Once those have been put down things start moving at a quicker pace. At that point I can put on David Bowie and cruise until I get where I need to be. Caffeine is a big factor in this.
What is your inspiration for your work?
I would have to say my time spent in the sciences has inspired my work the most. I love learning about new organisms and sharing those things with other people through my work.
I’m also very much in love with blue prints. Whether they’re building or engine related, I love minute details and I try to replicate that level of accuracy in my work.
What is your goal during each project?
It’s really important to be as accurate as possible. I tend to work very meticulously and will obsessively work on something until it fulfills the accuracy I’m going for. This is especially true when it comes to working for a client.
What are you most looking forward to in your future work?
I’m really looking forward to working with more people. It’s incredibly fun meeting new people within the arts and sciences and I’m excited to do more collaborative pieces in the future.
What are a few things people don’t know about you?
I speak a minimal amount of Russian, but aim to relearn that language, jumping spiders are one of the cutest creatures to me and I can eat more sauerkraut than anyone should in one sitting.