In part two in of our Semi-Permanent 2010 retrospective, Emma Parnell recalls the youthful exuberance and undeniable talent of illustrator Jessica Hische.
For a girl who owns the URL ‘iamobsessedwithmycats.com’ (it redirects to her website) and describes her life as “a solitary existence where nobody showers and you get covered in cat hair”, Jessica Hische is actually a remarkably charming and talented young woman, all be it with a slight feline fetish.
She opened the show at Semi-Permanent this year and provided the audience with just the jump start they needed, real inspiration powered on by youthful enthusiasm for her craft, which is of course lettering, illustration and more recently type design. She began by taking us through some of her student work which, being only twenty-five, was somewhat recent and provided the audience with a good insight into how she entered the industry, not to mention providing a wonderful showcase for her eccentric sense of humour. This showed particularly in the board game she designed as a take on ‘The Game of Life’ only she named it ‘The Game of Divorce’ where you had to choose who to live with, mum or dad.
This may seem like student banter but humour is a great thing in illustration, she laughed, “there’s nothing people like more than dogs doing human things” — except possibly cats doing human things hey Jessica? But it’s not all fun and games. It’s obvious Hische has worked extremely hard to get to where she is today, and at such a young age too. She worked as designer after university for three years for Headcase and Louise Fili before going freelance and has now worked for everyone from the Boston Globe to the publishers of the Twilight novels.
At present Hische is working more and more in font design. She’s designed her first font ‘Buttermilk’ but still approaches the subject with the same humble attitude – talking of how the old type masters mock her when she doesn’t know the terminology. Personally, I’m not sure that matters when you can produce such beautiful pieces of work. A fine example of this is her current work illustrating the book covers of classic novels of the past.
This girl seems to have the world at her feet and she certainly has talent in her fingertips but it was her enthusiasm that really won me over. As designers we all face ‘challenges’ on a daily basis but she had the ability to laugh it off. She said she should make a book of all the bad art direction she has ever received, her favourite being “don’t make the fish look left it’s depressing.” She’s even seen her type on retro romance novels and, not only that; she loved the idea of this. She showed us the result and it looked nothing like she intended, but I think at this point she had won over the audience with her enthusiasm. It really was a bad romance novel but all she could say was “its every girl’s dream to have their type next to shiny lady leg.” Of course it is Jessica!