“They’re the only things I would save in a fire”: A peak inside Hattie Stewart’s marvellous sketch books

“I value my personal time with my work most highly as it informs almost all of my other work and projects,” she says on the importance of her sketchbook practice. Rather than adding to her sketchbooks everyday like some illustrators, Hattie has “short creative bursts a couple of times a year for a week or so.” From these bursts, Hattie generates enough ideas and themes to keep her going for the next year or so. “My sketchbooks are sacred spaces to me – they represent my past, present and future, and help me take stock of where I’m at and where I want to go,” she goes on to say. “They are the only things I would save in a fire as they show the thread of my creative journey, like a diary, which is pretty cool.”

Her sketchbooks offer a space to be free from worry and overthinking, letting the fluidity of illustration take hold amidst the blank pages. “I just work things out in my head or have an idea, then I get drawing,” Hattie continues. “It’s quite meditative, clearing out the chaos of the mind to an ordered space on the page and helps me gather my thoughts, drawing up one idea which always leads to others.” It’s a space where her best ideas come into play, where she can explore the liminal space between “what was” and “the next.” As we’ve all experienced, the days or weeks or months can rush by so quickly, but drawing in sketchbooks allows Hattie to ground herself in the moment. Like “something ritualistic,” she adds, “not to sound too dramatic about it though.”

Continuously inspired by her best mates (who she’s also lucky enough to share a studio with), Hattie also cites vintage pornography as a key influence at the moment. “I’ve got a great stash,” she remarks, “I just love the design, the funny one-liners, the typography and the sexual freedom.” And looking to the future, the illustrator just wants to be able to continue to do what she loves, at a pace she can appreciate and enjoy a bit more. “Gonna keep working hard but gonna live a little more too,” she reiterates. She’s also working on a self-published book of all her sketchbook pages next year too, so if you’re a fan like us, keep a look out!

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