Hannah Kaplan Creates Vibrant Digital Illustrations Inspired by Pexels Photos

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Aug 15, 2019 · 3 min read
Inspired by a Nelson Riberio photo.

Coming across Hannah Kaplan’s digital art on Instagram, we were immediately captivated by her colorful work. We reached out to the Toronto-based artist to learn more about her artwork and how she finds inspiration in Pexels photos.

Could you tell us about the kind of art you do? How would you describe your style?

My art practice is split between two types of art: abstract painting and digital illustration. When I make an abstract painting, I allow myself to be led entirely by my intuition and what strikes me in the moment.

I never plan a painting, I simply sit down, choose a bunch of colours that are speaking to me, and go for it! This process is very loose and forgiving, and I encourage myself to embrace mistakes and focus on exploring what’s in front of me, because I can always paint over it.

My drawing practice has some similarities, in the sense that I usually don’t have an image of what I will make, but I do start with a basic idea. I love to use reference images for my drawings, whether in the form of commissioned portraits or patterns based on photos. My artistic style is bright, vibrant and above all exudes positivity.

Inspired by a Jeffrey Czum photo.

Why did you decide to use Pexels images for your work?

I first discovered Pexels through my abstract painting process. I had photographed some of my paintings, and I wanted to show potential clients how they would look in real life. Platforms like Instagram are so saturated with images, so I think it helps to allow people to actually visualize the paintings in their own homes.

I came across Pexels while looking for backgrounds to edit my paintings into, and I was impressed by the size and range of selection available at no cost. As I developed my digital illustration practice in the past year, I now use Pexels for inspiration in the form of images and compositions, as well as for reference images when I have a specific object I want to draw.

Left: Inspiration via Aleksandar Pasaric; right: inspiration via Pixabay.

What is the process like of choosing a photo to work with and then turning it into your own creation?

I use Pexels in two ways. The first is browsing through the trending photos to see if anything catches my attention, and then I will use that as a basis for an illustration. This is a great way to be introduced to images I may not otherwise have found, as well as push myself to try drawing things outside of my comfort zone.

The second way I use Pexels is when I decide to draw a specific object, like a kiwi, and potentially make it into a pattern (I love playing with pattern in my work through my Redbubble account). In this case, I will search for a reference image, but I won’t know exactly what I’m looking for until I come across one that works. Then I will use that to create an image, which I will usually duplicate and stamp to create a pattern.

Find more of Hannah’s work on her website and follow her on Instagram at @hannahkaplanart.

Inspired by a Luis Fernandes photo.

Are you an artist using Pexels photos or videos in your work? We’d love to hear from you! Tag or DM us on Instagram at @pexels.

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