Nina Seven is an illustrator and surface designer from Seattle, WA. Her work can be seen in the children's publishing market, on stationary products, in the paper-crafting industry and on various home decor products.
Tell us about your relationship to your art.
I spend at least a few hours, usually more, almost every day working on my art. Mostly, I work on new collections and projects for my rep, who licenses my designs to various manufacturers around the world. If I didn’t have an outlet to create, I’m afraid I would be like a little lost soul.
What's a project that has been exciting you lately?
I’m most excited about some collections I’ve created lately that are a combination of hand lettering and all over patterns. They have lots of color, pattern and texture, which is always exciting to me.
Tell us a little of your motherhood journey.
I have two children, one boy and one girl, who are 22 and 19. Young adults now! So hard to believe! My journey has not been exactly typical, because my son has autism. He was diagnosed when he was 3 years old, when I was pregnant with my daughter. It was and continues to be a roller coaster journey, but luckily my daughter was typically developing, so I had a balance of special and more normal needs with my children.
What are some crucial elements of your process? How has that changed since having children?
When my kids were small, I was making art the more traditional way, with paint, inks, etc. on paper. I found it really difficult to find the time to work that way, to get all the stuff out, to make a mess, then clean it up. That’s when I started to work digitally. I taught myself how to use Adobe Illustrator and have been happily using it ever since!
Now that the kids are pretty much grown up, it’s not as relevant now, but when my daughter was young, we did a lot of projects together. She would often create her own version of whatever I was working on. It was priceless.
Do you find your attitude towards your art might be different because of your parenting / has it changed since you became a parent?
Yes, most definitely! I design a lot of art that has a whimsical, childlike feel to it. This is all due to the fact that I spent a lot of time reading children’s books to my kids when they were little and admiring the beautiful art.
Are your children ever subjects in your art?
Aside from the obvious need of more time, what has been one of the most difficult obstacles you’ve had in regards to parenting and your art?
When the kids were really small, I think my creativity left me for a few years! Honestly, there were a few years where I didn’t make much art at all! I think that’s OK, though. To give yourself a break, to really focus on being a mom for awhile, then get back into whatever you were doing, as your time frees up and you have more energy to be creative.
In turn, what are some of the saving graces?
I can get really lost to time, when I’m creating, so it was and still is, a great escape from the real world.
How do you escape?
I like to exercise, watch movies and read books, when I’m not making art.
What advice do you have for expectant mothers in your field?
Like I said earlier, it’s OK to give yourself a break, but I also think it’s good to keep your skills up, so when the kiddos are old enough to go to school and you have more time, you can easily get back into it.