Creative Contributor: Faye Guanipa

Illustrator Faye Guanipa

A little about Faye:

My name is Faye, and I am a freelancing illustrator and surface pattern designer. My professional career in this field started almost eight years ago, but I’ve been in the industry for quite some time. I’ve designed patterns and illustrations for home goods and children’s apparel, licensed my work as greeting cards, and five years ago, I started my own small line of stationery goods, Olive & Company. My work is heavily influenced by vintage and mid-century art and style, and showcases joyful, bright color palettes. I currently live in Massachusetts with my husband, Morgan, and three daughters, Olive (7), Frida (4), and June (1). 

What got you interested in art? How did you get started?

I’ve been drawing since I was a toddler. It’s never really been a question of whether I’d pursue art in some form. I received a scholarship to attend Massachusetts College of Art & Design in Boston for college and explored a degree in fashion design. It was an opportunity for me to stretch my skills in an unknown industry and tap into my passion for colors and patterns. 

Needless to say, my sewing and pattern-making skills were never at the top of the charts, but I thrived in the surface design classes and fashion illustration. A few years after college, I began a career as an assistant designer at a large corporate retailer. After about two years, I found out I was pregnant with Olive and was asked if I’d be interested in freelancing from home, to which I answered a resounding YES! That was my beginning as a freelance illustrator and pattern designer and it’s been a delightful seven years thus far.

What is your favorite medium to create in?

Currently, my favorite medium is the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. I work a lot in Procreate. I do, however, miss working with hand-painting—gouache, oil, and acrylic. With small children running around, it’s proven much more efficient to be able to pull out the iPad here and there when I can to work. And there’s no clean up, which I presently have no time or energy for. 

What is one of your favorite projects that you've done?

Honestly, my favorite project to date is the cover for Bravery’s latest issue

Illustrator Faye Guanipa

What do you love most about what you do?

I love being able to draw and (BONUS) get paid for it! And I love making my own schedule!

What's something hard about what you do?

The hardest thing about what I do now is finding the time, and sometimes the energy, to sit and work while balancing home and mom life. As the children get older, it does get easier though, and it has taught me one of the most valuable lessons, I think: managing my time extremely well!

What is your dream project or collaboration?

I have so many dream projects and collaborations, it’s hard to choose one. I will say that Bravery was an absolute bucket list item for me—still pinching myself. I have two more immediate projects in my plans that I hope to achieve in the coming year. One is writing and illustrating children’s picture books and especially board books. The other is a fabric collection!

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

As an oldest child, I wonder if it’s a common thing to want to be THE BEST. So, naturally, I made up my mind as a kid that I would be the next Picasso. Totally normal, right? I did do a lot of painting up through high school and adored oil painting, so I definitely thought painting would be in my future. My perspective has changed a bit since then but I haven’t lost my spirit!

Bernice Bing

Talk us through your process for creating the cover for the Bernice Bing issue.

For the Bernice Bing issue, I connected with the subject matter right away. As I delved into Bernice’s paintings, it was easy to find inspiration and to get excited! Ashley [Bravery Co-founder and Creative Director] had mentioned in the brief that she was hoping for a predominantly red issue. She was speaking my language! I love a good tomato red for my daily lip color and tend to use it quite a bit in my work, so this was a no-brainer. 

Two of Bernice’s paintings stood out to me the most and those are the ones I chose to highlight in the cover. It became clear, through the process, that since the color palette was going to be so vibrant and rich, the layout of the illustration would be more minimal and focused. It zeroed in on just Bernice and her art. I am so pleased with the way it came out in the end.

View the final cover illustration here