Stephanie Simpson still remembers the days she illustrated her friends as superheroes in her university lectures. Like many illustrators who went to school for non-art related programs, it wasn’t until years later that Simpson felt ready to start a freelance illustration career.
“Illustrating is so personal and visible, and I was nervous about expressing myself in that way,” says Simpson. “It’s easier to not overthink it as a career. I started with self-directed projects while having another job, and after a few years I noticed that I already have a collection of artwork.”
The Edmonton born and raised illustrator started her art collection with the city’s landmarks and local environments. Simpson’s cut-shaped contour lines and vibrant use of colour earned her a crowd at the Whyte Avenue Art Walk, and, the next thing she knew, she was commissioned to illustrate maps for different neighbourhoods and districts in Edmonton, including leisure resorts like Snow Valley.
“Those maps are really fun to do and they’re helpful for Edmontonians to get access to the highlights of an area. It’s also a cool thing to do as these maps carry the timely memories of our city as it grows.”
While the maps require research and accuracy, Simpson puts her wild imagination into other series of works, including her personal favourite: the warm-coloured bison.
“Someone commented that the warm colour palette on my bison is bizarre,” says Simpson. “But it doesn’t matter. It’s my bison, and it lives in my world.”
Shop art prints at Stephanie Illustrates, TIX on the Square, The Royal Alberta Museum Shop, Capital Gifts and the Royal Bison Art and Craft Fair.
This content was produced to support the Edmonton Made community. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Edify staff.