Feature Friday #002 — Steve Habersang

Steve Habersang / Feature Friday #002

Hello, and welcome to Feature Friday #002, our new series highlighting some of the incredible people on Cotton Bureau. You can follow Steve on Instagram to keep up with all his work, or check out his entire Cotton Bureau portfolio.

Hiii, how are you!? Looks like you've been keeping busy this summer. Do you enjoy getting out and working the shows with fellow artists? I imagine you meet so many talented people, it's got to be interesting.

Yes! I do a lot of live events this time of year, and I love it. I live in a small state, so it's a pretty tight-knit artists community. It's honestly an honor to be among such a talented group of people. I'm always amazed when I see the creativity and ingenuity of fellow artists and artisans. As a small community we are also always rooting for each other, supporting one another and working together to encourage each other's success.

Live events are fun, too, because I get to have face to face interaction with my customers. They often share their stories about why they are attracted to a certain piece. My work tends to be a little quirky, so I really enjoy seeing people laugh or smile when they look at one of my drawings. It's just a good all-around energy to be live and in person among fellow creators, and those who appreciate the arts.

Chicken doodle

Gosh, that's awesome! Sounds like a really cool experience. I think I'd be nervous seeing people interact with my work irl but maybe not if I was as talented as you! Speaking of quirky, I'm a little obsessed with the Animal Farm series. Do you have any animals yourself? Or just get a kick out of drawing them. Something about a chicken with pearls and shopping bags just feels so wholesome. Definitely curious about the inspiration behind these.

Luckily for me, by and large the in-person feedback is mostly positive! Currently I'm owned by an orange tabby cat named Pooh. I have been obsessed with animals large and small since I was a kid. I actually almost became a marine biologist instead of an artist and graphic designer, which is why animals and ocean life are subjects I really enjoy drawing. I was also heavily influenced by books and cartoons that anthropomorphize animals, like Calvin and Hobbs and the Wind and the Willows.

Certain animals have very notable traits and behaviors, and I use that to imagine what they'd be like if they were human. I think it's just funny to consider an uppity chicken clucking around in fancy clothes, pecking into high-end shops. Or you had mentioned my thrash panda. I feel like if given the chance, a mischievous racoon would totally shred it up on a skateboard. It's playing up those traits I think these animals inherently have to the most ridiculous degree I can think of when I conjure up my ideas.

Thrash Panda tee

Ha yes, couldn't agree more with the notable traits and behaviors. I find myself wishing there was a book to go with your drawings sometimes. You create characters that are so interesting, I just need to know more about them. Ever consider something like that? Maybe a children's book or cartoon?

I've been asked many times about children's books, but I stick to what I know, which is drawing. Writing is not my strong suit. If a writer ever came to me with a compelling idea, I would definitely entertain the possibility though! As far as a series of my own, I have one character that I call Lil Grim. He's featured in a set of drawings exploring what the Grim Reaper does on his days off. As you can imagine, there's always a little twist of the macabre involved in his free time activities. I also tend to do "sets" of ideas. I have a set of drawings I call party animals, with different animals drinking (Beer Bear, Whiskey Wolf). And my pool days drawings (my shark in a flamingo floatie, and my dolphin in a donut floatie). I hope to expand on both of these soon!

Lil Grim doodle

The sets of ideas are really fun, I'd like to think all the Party Animals hang out and have a really good time. Hoping to see a Mai Tai Monkey join the mix soon lol. It looks like your preferred technique is stippling, has that always been the case? The time lapse videos are great to watch, but I'm not sure I'd have the patience to actually take the time to create a whole drawing that way (granted, I can't draw to save my life, so maybe it's more fun if you know what you're doing).

Haha I love a monkey with a mai tai. I just came back from Hawaii and had quite a few mai tais so I may have to make that drawing happen! Stippling does take quite a lot of time and patience. Right now, I'm working on a large, detailed drawing and am somewhat regretting the small penpoint I chose. Over the years I've experimented with a lot of different methods and tools, and always just preferred the end results of the stippling technique. Now it's become something of my trademark. I do draw in other styles but it's just what I prefer. I just love the fact that all these little dots can come together to create something visually clean and striking.

Whiskey Wolf phone case

Hahah yesss I'll keep an eye out for Mister Mai Tai. But yeah, the tiny little dots turning into a whole masterpiece is really something. Did you learn the technique anywhere or just one day pick up a pen and went to town?

I'm self-taught at stippling. It's just something I decided to try and have worked on it over time to hone my skills.

That's awesome. One last question for ya. Do you have a favorite project? Anything that's really stood out for you over the years?

I don't have one particular favorite or stand-out drawing or project. For me it would be like picking a favorite child. They all are meaningful to me in different ways. I think overall just building a catalog of work and turning it into a business has probably been my favorite "project."

Totally understandable, they're all pretty rad from the outside looking in so I imagine putting blood, sweat, and tears into them really ups the ante. But anyways thanks for participating on this one, Steve! It's always neat learning more about our designers and I'm excited to see what's next for Habby Art :)

Thanks for asking me to do it. It was a lot of fun!

Before you go, check out Steve’s perfect summer vibes Ahhhhh. Time to Relax. Dad Hat available now on Cotton Bureau!

Time to Relax shark dad hat