Rebecca Huang working on the digital collage for her Blue Whale and Submarine artwork for Mouse + Magpie.
When Rebecca Huang started her career, she didn’t plan on pursuing the arts. However, like many of us, she was quickly called back to the fulfilling creative lifestyle. Now as a happily working illustrator, Rebecca thoroughly enjoys her daily task of creating art for children. Through a fascinating combination of traditional methods and digital collage, Rebecca’s illustrations are unique, colorful, and fascinating. We’re proud to feature her designs on a whole range of decor products, including ocean-themed bathroom accessories for kids—and to present the following exclusive peek into her creative process.
Blue Whale and Submarine Art Print by Rebecca Huang
Rebecca’s career as a professional illustrator emerged from a passion for children’s artwork. Though she’d already made moves toward other professions, Rebecca’s creative spark brought her back to her first love: picture book illustration. In her own words, Rebecca shares how her career in illustration got started.
Rebecca: I liked drawing when I was a kid, but then I stopped for a while and chose to study literature in college. However, I always really liked children’s books, and I read a lot of them when I was studying literature. I loved the illustrations and stories, and I thought the art was really pretty. After I graduated and tried a few different jobs that didn’t feel very fulfilling or satisfying, I realized what I really wanted to do was pursue drawing and illustration. From that point on, I saw myself making illustrations to bring joy to children.
I was taking painting classes at a private studio at the time, and my instructor encouraged me to pursue my dream. She helped me put together a portfolio for applying to grad school. After her suggestion, I decided that’s the way I wanted to go. I will say, grad school is not easy. It’s a lot of assignments and a lot of work, but I feel pretty happy to be able to draw every day. I chose to specialize in children’s book illustration, and my senior thesis was a book called Bobo and the New Baby. I was excited to see it published when I got signed by an agency after graduation. That’s been my favorite illustration project so far!
Rebecca Huang creates most of her illustrations using printmaking, seen in-process here.
Like many of our artists, Rebecca was surprised to learn about Mouse + Magpie, and she was excited to create unique designs for children’s decor products. We invited her to create an entire line of children’s artwork for the bathroom space. This is how that process began.
Rebecca: After seeing my website and my work, Mouse + Magpie reached out to me and offered me this wonderful opportunity. I thought the brand was really interesting because it’s an entire decor line specifically for kids—and I liked that everything for the bedroom and the bathroom can come together to create a theme that will hopefully bring joy to children. I’d never done work like this before, so it was really rewarding to see my art come to life as a cohesive set of products.
Mouse + Magpie gave me a lot of freedom and flexibility to take the project in my own direction. I could really create whatever I wanted, and it was a really good experience for me. If I were to work with Mouse + Magpie again, I might want to create a bedroom collection with cute animals and a soft color palette. That’s something I haven’t done before!
Under the Sea Art Print by Rebecca Huang
When we met with Rebecca to discuss her nautical bathroom collection, we were very interested to learn more about the tools she utilizes to create her designs. Rebecca uses a combination of traditional printmaking and digital collage, which we believe gives her art a unique look. From initial idea to finished illustration, here’s how Rebecca’s underwater-themed artwork came to life.
Rebecca: I knew I’d be creating a bathroom collection for Mouse + Magpie, and I love the ocean and mysterious sea creatures. When I started brainstorming and researching references, I was especially fascinated by whales, so I decided to make a blue whale my central character. I included a yellow submarine in the designs because I wanted something small to provide balance—and because I loved the concept of humans meeting these huge animals face-to-face. I also listened to that Beatles’ song a lot when I was a kid! The yellow submarine idea was in my mind for a really long time, so I was excited to finally have the chance to put it into my actual work.
Next, I sketched out my elements and started planning out my compositions. When I created the cute children’s shower curtain, for example, I thought it would be really good to have a curtain with the big whale on it, so when you shower you can actually see a gigantic whale next to you. I thought a lot about how to make each design have a strong visual impact through the varied use of perspective. My style is very graphic with big shapes and bright colors, and I knew I wanted to create designs that were full of energy.
After sketching, my primary method is linocut printmaking. First, I carve linoleum plates and then add color with ink and a brayer. After I press the prints onto paper, I scan them into the computer and collage everything digitally. My work has some texture that looks like traditional art, but it’s actually printmaking. This method lets me use bright colors and big shapes to express joy and energy in my art. I hope kids will think this artwork is really fun and very playful!
Submarine Adventure Art Print by Rebecca Huang
As an artist who creates specifically for children, Rebecca is driven by a desire to bring joy, energy, and inspiration to the little ones who interact with her work. Creating a collection of bathroom decor products was very different from the picture book illustration process she normally works within, but her intention was the same. We were inspired by what Rebecca sees as her biggest goal.
Rebecca: I love what I’m doing right now with children’s books and illustration, so that’s what I hope to be able to do for the rest of my life. I love seeing children be inspired by art, and I do believe that art is actually really important in the early years of a child’s life. It inspires children to be creative and triggers their imagination daily. I want to inspire children to be creative, to approach tasks from different perspectives, and think “outside of the box.” Most of all, I want to bring them joy.
I hope when children see my work they will be inspired by the colors, first of all, because I spend a lot of time doing the color study and deciding what color palette to use. I believe different colors make people feel differently—strong colors cause people to feel energetic, and soft colors make them feel calm. Overall, I hope children can feel inspired, and I definitely hope they have a sense of fun when they see my work.
With a second picture book on the way and enough passion to fuel a long and exciting career, Rebecca Huang is definitely an illustrator to watch. We’re proud to offer Rebecca and artists like her the chance to let children interact with art through real, touchable products that bring creativity and inspiration into their living spaces. Shop Rebecca’s entire Submarine collection for a wide variety of ocean-themed bathroom accessories for kids with bright colors and bold shapes. You can follow Rebecca’s illustration journey on her website.
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