You know a drawing is from Anne Keenan Higgins the moment you see it. Instantly identifiable by her vivid color palettes, fashionable ladies, and abundance of blooming flowers, her work is a staple on the site. Whether it’s her simple pencil sketches or the apparent ease with which she handles watercolor, Anne’s artworks have an air of effortlessness and beauty that makes us want to stare at them all day long! The unique color combinations and cool accessories like headscarves and vespas create a world of whimsy and endless summer.
After graduating from the School of Art & Design at the University of Michigan, Anne began her career as an art director at various advertising agencies in Detroit. Anne licenses her artwork to greeting card, gift, fabric, and book publishing industries, and has written and illustrated three books: Fictionally Fabulous, Ladies Who Drink, and Le Cinéma Français. She currently lives in Detroit with her partner Jason.
Continue reading for our interview with Anne as well as more of her stunning artworks!
Interview with Anne Keenan Higgins
Your artwork has become so recognizable on the site for its bright colors and beautiful figures! How did your style develop?
Wow, thanks! I’ve always worked in a bright color palette, I think it stems from years of working in the gift industry. Stationery companies tend to but not always, gravitate to punchier colors. But I’ve since branched out by using just two colors or color combinations that are less predictable.
Your characters are always dressed so elegantly. Are you inspired by any fashion styles in particular?
Fashion has been an infatuation ever since my dad brought home fashion magazines from his advertising office and of course the show, "Style With Elsa Klensch" in the 80s. You have to be kinda old to know who she was but she opened up that snooty world to fashion geeks like me.
What are some of your favorite tools to use while creating, and what do you like about them?
One of my favorite art tools is the Winsor & Newton Series 7 watercolor brushes. I have tried countless brushes and always go back to the Series 7. They have a perfect point and the brush hairs rarely fall out. For calligraphy and ink drawings, I generally use Zebra Comic G Nib (great for someone starting out). An ink I really like is Dr. Martin’s Black Star Hi-Carb India Ink. It’s waterproof and dries quickly. There are so many nib and ink options to choose from and they all serve a purpose with the many different types of paper surfaces out there. Websites like Paper & Ink Arts and JetPens have very helpful descriptions/demos for most of their products. Two other art supplies I can't live without are Blackwing Pencils and PaperMate SharpWriter pencils. The two could not be any more different from each other. A SharpWriter is super cheap but it can be easily erased which is great for rough sketches. Blackwing Pencils (Matte) are quite expensive but they create the softest, darkest, and smoother line–they were "life-changing" for me.
When you are “stuck” in your creative process, what do you do to get out of the funk?
Getting “stuck” or having bad drawing days can be so frustrating but to get out of that funk I look through my art books or watch a movie like Amélie or Hugo. I stay away from the internet because it can be too distracting. Sometimes, I just take a walk or hop on my bike–fresh air can get things rolling again.
What is a basic and advanced tip you’d have for someone who wants to improve their skills?
Something my art teacher told me in the 9th grade is that if you want to get better you have to practice. And when you're first starting out, draw what you see not what you think you see. Once you get the basics down you can develop an art style and then take liberties with what you're drawing. For someone that wants to improve their art skills, I suggest taking a class. Skillshare, Creative Bug, and YouTube have endless classes. I also try to draw every day and before I start a big project, I warm up. I've wasted a lot of pricey paper just diving right in.
Which artists on Doodle Addicts do you recommend everyone follow?
There are a lot of talented artists on Doodle Addicts and one of my favorites is OKAT, I'm assuming he has a lot of fans on the site. Sabina Hahn's cat series is hilarious and so clever. Inês Antunes is a master with a color pencil and I love her color palettes. I wish my "doodles" looked like Richard Koehler's work and Jim Bradshaw has a drawing of a pull toy I wish I owned, so good.
For more of Anne’s work, check out her profile or her website!