May 08, 2019
Meet the Maker : Little Bear Illustration
Meet Little Bear Illustration!Maker: Cara Finnerty Coleman
Located: Marshfield, MA
Inspired by woodland creatures and their adventures across enchanted landscapes, Little Bear Illustration offers illustrations, giclee prints, linoleum block prints, hand-painted wooden brooches, greeting cards, and baby onesies.
How did your business get started? I was living in NYC when I got the chance to submit a piece for a group show at a tiny gallery called Charmingwall that specialized in small works. I remember the deadline was upon me and I was working so much at my animal hospital day job I had to call out sick to get the submission done in time. Quite possibly the best choice I’ve ever made—that one day of playing hooky literally changed the direction my life. The piece was a bear under the stars and it sold at the opening. After another year or so of monthly group shows I had more sales, some commissions lined up, and had opened my Etsy shop, but it was still a few more years before I moved back to Massachusetts and took the plunge into full time art making.
What is your favorite thing about owning your own creative business? Being able to make my own work schedule is a great perk. I can take a few hours on a random afternoon to go for a walk in the woods or go to the beach if I need to step away for a bit to clear out the cobwebs. I’m a night owl anyway so working into the night to make up the hours is a happy alternative. I still struggle with time management though, so my day planner is always with me.
What inspires you? Animals and nature of course—also children’s books, Victorian art, and old botany textbook illustrations. And weirdly, old looney tunes cartoons because Philip DeGuard created some of the most gorgeous background art.
How would you classify your style? Finely detailed illustrations featuring whimsical, occasionally mystical woodland animals. I usually incorporate dusk and the night sky in my work, celestial elements are an ongoing theme that sort of connects all these little scenes.
Dream travel destination: I want to visit more national parks, Yosemite and Denali especially—before some diabolical oil baron tries to snatch them away from the public.
What can you not get enough of right now? Aperol spritz. I’m having one right now!
What are you currently reading, watching or listening to: While I paint animals in their little whimsical scenes, quite often I’m listening to some sort of true crime podcast or audiobook. I love the podcasts Criminal, MFM, In The Dark, and for just enjoyable stories of all kinds This American Life is perfect. “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark” by the late, great, Michelle McNamara is a fantastic book, beware listening to the audiobook at night like I did.