Who are you?
Marcella Hawley, owner, illustrator, and creative director of Power Poppy
Where are you?
Midwest is best! (I saw that on a t-shirt)
Power Poppy by Marcella Hawley
Power Poppy Blog
When did you first start drawing/designing seriously?
My mom used to tell a story from when I was about four, a nursery school teacher said, “Marcy, when you grow up, do you want to be an artist?” I replied, “I already am an artist!” I developed cartoons based on my friends and our adventures, spent hours figuring out how to hand-letter skateboarding logos, illustrated album backer cards at my high school job as a record store clerk — but after i got a degree in Graphic Design from the University of Illinois, I started getting paid to do art and design. How do ya like them apples!
Which decade do you think had the best music?
Huge music fan from all decades and so many genres. Punk rock, classical, jazz, funk, soul, Americana, rock n’ roll, ska, power pop… there’s so much in there I could never narrow it down!
How many people work for/with you?
We are fortunate to work with so many smart, talented, good people. I am based in my St. Louis studio, we have an awesome advisor for marketing and business in Montana, and we have a two incredible teams of designers from all over the world who show the possibilities with our stamp designs: the Bloom Brigade and the Instant Gardeners. I have excellent vendors and distribution folks, too. Also, my kids help pack up orders. 🙂
What was the first product you ever had for sale?
For the longest time I didn’t create products, I worked as a graphic designer, botanical illustrator, and magazine art director helping other folks promote and sell their wonderful products. 10 years ago I started a design and branding studio, working for all kinds of clients, from entrepreneurs to global companies, and I still operate this business. I launched Power Poppy by Marcella Hawley in 2014. My very first product was the Azalea stamp set, and it remains one of our best sellers.
Here’s an example of my watercolor/gouache treatment of this stamp
Name your favorite cartoon.
Old school Bugs Bunny. Grew up watching Looney Tunes and still am entertained by the humor and cleverness of the team that put those together. Big fan of Mel Blanc. Those cartoons helped shape my sense of humor! Along with Stan Freberg, Three Stooges, and my dad.
Again, I have so many! But this one by gardener Alan Lacy sums me up pretty well: “I was born in the spring and never got over it.”
What’s your favorite craftroom/business supply or tool that you couldn’t live without?
Sakura Pigma Micron pens/Bristol illustration board, and my trusty Mac loaded up with the Adobe Creative Cloud apps.
When you get the midnight munchies… what do you grab?
Cheezits are my downfall. So I really try not to buy them, or I will eat the whole box.
If your parents had named you something else… what would you have picked?
That is a great question! As a kid, I wished my parents had named me, and this is how I would spell it, “Anjelikka” — and oh, how I am grateful that they did not take me up on this concept. I’m named after the little girl in the Raggedy Ann series of books by Johnny Gruelle, which was also the name of his daughter: Marcella.
If you were getting a tattoo… what would it be?
While my guy has a bunch of tattoos, I have harbored no desire to get one. I mean, once you get it, there it is forever. That said, recently I started seeing gorgeous botanical tattoos of a few artists on Instagram, so beautifully done and without the thick black outline…. wouldn’t a wisp of rosemary intertwined with a budding peony be kind of cool?
What is your best and worst personality trait?
Best trait: I’m a positive person and I like to bring a positive spark to others, even by just being cheerful to you know, the gas station checkout guy up the street. That just might make him feel a little more cheerful, and then he’ll pass it on, and so forth.
Worst trait: Extreme over-scheduler, over-complicator and procrastinator. So, I guess that is three worst things. Good thing I’m so positive or that could be really depressing!
What is your favorite piece in the whole store?
It is so hard to pick a favorite, I’m sure you hear that all the time, but they are all my babies. I’m a fan of the “more is more” school of thought, so my true favorites tend to be the more rich and intricate images. One that I am very proud of is Daffodils, and particularly in that set, I love the bouquet of multiple Daffodil varieties bundled with Muscari. When I see what crafters do with this image, I almost feel like crying. Folks are so talented, and it’s just really heartwarming to watch how each person uniquely brings my artwork to life.
Gorgeous card sample using the image from Daffodils that I love, by designer Katie Sims:
Gotta pick a favorite digital stamp, too, Spring Meadow Bouquet. I am all about seeking out, celebrating, and illustrating plants that aren’t the most popular or in the mainstream. Everybody can draw a daisy. I like to draw Fritillaria meleagris, Leucojum aestivum, Dicentra spectabilis… I’m a plant nerd to the core. I hope to convert others to more exotic plants, and help teach them that there is more to life than Tulips. Though I do enjoy Tulips. 🙂
A gorgeous card made using this digi by designer Christine Okken:
If you were reincarnated…who would you have been in a former life?
Gosh, I would love to think that it was someone like Gertrude Jekyll, the British horticulturist and garden designer. But it was probably more like an odd Trillium plant out in the woods somewhere.
What’s your favorite color?
All shades of green. I am passionate about green – the essence of plants, moss, lichen, ahhhhhh green.
When no one is listening…. do you sing in the shower?
I sing in the shower whether or not someone is listening. Also, in the car and at my desk
Do you plan to grow old gracefully, or disgracefully?
Ha! Well, let’s see, I still go skateboarding at age 45, and a few years ago, got my motorcycle license and started riding off road and on the street. I don’t know if I’ll go out, as Doug hopes to: “worn down like the nub of a pencil”, but I hope to live it up as long as I can, and not complain about feeling old. I took my boy to see AC/DC earlier this year, and watching those 60-70 year old dudes rocking extremely hard for two hours without showing an iota of tiredness — that moved me. If Angus Young can do it, I can do it!
If you were a classic car…. what would you be?
I’d be my zippy little 1974 Yamaha RD60 café-racer-style motorcycle, in metallic turquoise with racing stripes.
Who is your inspiration/muse?
I have so many, from artists and designers such as Tasha Tudor, Botticelli, Josef Frank, Mary Engelbreit, Susie Cooper, Redouté, Lulu Guinness, and writers/thinkers such as Henry David Thoreau, Anais Nin, and Wayne Dyer. Gardeners and plant hybridizers inspire me. Doug’s zest for life inspires me. But it all begins with my mother, Susan. She was and is my muse. She instilled so much encouragement, love, and genuine care for us, not to mention keen interest in art, gardening, decorating, collecting. I am into all of those things because of her opening our minds to exploration. My mom’s mantra was “act enthusiastic and you’ll be enthusiastic!” Boy, was she ever that. I miss her more than words can say, she passed away in February from breast cancer. She ruled so hard.
I painted this image of my mom for a magazine article
and a link to my blog post about my mom, if you are so inclined:
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Sharing a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc with the love of my life, Doug, drinking from supercool handblown glasses by Missouri artist, Kaeka Maehata (http://www.kaekomaehata.com/Home.html), sitting in bed watching The Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt on Netflix.
What job did you have BEFORE you started drawing/designing for a living?
I worked as a hostess and a server at the Olive Garden in college. Hospitalino y’all. (Of course I found a way to commandeer the chalk board and hand-lettered the welcome sign and today’s specials!)
If you could hang out with ANYONE in the world …. who would it be?….and what is the one question you would want to ask them?
Oh man. I would have to say zenmaster Thich Naht Hanh. I don’t have anything I could even ask, I would just bask in his calm presence, his peaceful knowing, his smile. He is the wisest person alive in my opinion.
What’s your favorite hobby when you want to relax?
Gardening, cooking for pleasure, reading decorating magazines. I find it challenging to really let down, so relaxing for me often involves still doing something.
What was your favorite subject in school?
It usually wasn’t the subject as much as the teacher who inspired me to enjoy the material. As such, I had a great experience in Trigonometry and Analytic Geometry, even though I don’t “like” math. The inspiring teacher was key! Am fascinated by history, but had several snorefest teachers along the way that made it brutal to sit through. I’m curious about English and Literature, History, Philosophy, Religions … anything in the Art & Design Studio, especially Typography, and all areas of Art & Design History
Who was your first celebrity crush…and have you drawn them?
I would draw all of the boys I had a crush on, celebrity or not, from Maxwell Caulfield, the star of Grease 2, to a huge watercolor of Martin Gore from Depeche Mode that I used in my portfolio to get into the Fine Arts program. In fact, I still like to draw cute boys.
If you weren’t doing what you are doing now…. what job would you have?
I wrestle with that one. On one hand, I can see going to get an MBA. I’m fascinated with strategy and creating a message, and I would love to know more about the business side of things. I also love being involved in branding and design and being a part of big ideas, but at this phase of life with young children, I do not want to get so caught up in something that I can’t be there to pick them up from school and go to their ballgames, and just enjoy each moment of life before they go off to college. Then again, there are days when the idea of running away to a little cabin and pulling a Thoreau seems quite lovely. “Launch yourself on every wave!”
Would you go cave diving with sharks?
That comment above about launching yourself on every wave… I would not do that if there were sharks involved.
How long does the average design/art work take from concept to final product?
I take forever, and work very intensely on every step. Doug came up with a tagline for me, “Marcy: Making things more complicated than they need to be, since 1971.” It’s really true. We start with a concept for a stamp set, and I’ll roll it around in my mind and research it, discuss it with my trusted advisor, Julie, who will also do research and develop ideas, and sometimes I’ll run it past our brilliant design team members to get their feedback. I’ll go through heaps of magazines and books and read up, I’ll work on sketches, I’ll revise my concept. I’ll go work in the garden, be struck by a flower, and I’ll go in a new direction, then I’ll come back and rework, or start over completely. Eventually – weeks later, maybe months – the “THAT’S IT!” feeling hits me, and I get in my zone and finish up my drawings, take them into ink, scan, run through fine-tuning in Photoshop, search for the perfect fonts or create lettering myself, and send out to our wonderful manufacturers. They turn things around for us very quickly most of the time, and are very patient with my last-minute requests. So, to answer your question, it varies, but it’s a wild ride from start to finish. 🙂
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