MEET | MEGAN PELTO

Saturate_MeganPelto

As a maker Megan pushes herself to think conceptually by creating unique illustrations and designs. The playful pieces often have strong connections to environmental awareness and tie back to her love for animals and the outdoors. Her main media of choice is graphite drawing with digital color and value, but lately she’s been breaking out and working across multiple mediums such as motion and product design. After discovering Megan’s work we’ve enjoyed seeing the bright and cheerful pieces popping up all over our Instagram feed. Make sure to follow along and get your daily dose of happy. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work.

I am an illustrator, designer, and maker currently living in Chicago, with a BFA in Illustration/Communication Arts from Savannah College of Art and Design.  Besides creating things, my main loves are animals, the outdoors, and reading. I enjoy working on a wide variety of projects involving illustration, motion, design, and hand made goods!

Walk us through a typical day in the life of Megan.

I work from home so my workstation is where I spend most of my day! I fluctuate between illustrating on my Wacom and working on the business side of my brand. I always have a set of goals for the day that I work to accomplish, but there is always time for some fun personal work! I love my work so usually my only break is when I go for a run; this is always much needed though as working from home means a lot of sitting in one place.

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Where do you find inspiration?

The outdoors and animals are my biggest inspirations; I love hiking and being surrounded by nature. I also get a lot of inspiration from some of my favorite artists, seeing their work and what is possible only inspires me to strive for what I want even more.  I know in order to have my dream career I have to work extra hard, and so days when maybe I am not feeling super inspired that drives me to just keep going. 

How do you make time for creativity and collaboration?

I make time by not giving myself a choice. I know I am lucky that I love what I do, but like everyone I have days where I may not be having any great ideas or the desire to create. I find it better to work no matter what, making it a daily thing means you are always growing and creating new work. 

What tips would you give to anybody who is looking to get started?

I would say to start right away! It is easy to wait especially if you don’t know where to begin, so it is better just to start immediately, even if that means something as simple as drawing in a sketchbook once a day. Everything you do you will figure out as you go along, I didn’t start off knowing how to use a Cintiq, or reach out to those you want to work with. You learn that as you go, so waiting till you have a safety net just means you haven’t started working towards your dream yet. I am a firm believer that you don’t have to earn your dues doing something you don’t like in order to do what you love, sure it won’t be perfect at the start but at least you will be working towards it!

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Do you like collaborating on projects? What are some perks? Some challenges?

I quite enjoy collaborating! It gives you a chance to do something different than you might normally, as well as maybe get to be part of a brand you admire. The challenges come mainly if one party isn’t good about responding or giving feedback. As long as someone is working with you and not leaving it all in your hands it will usually be great!

How important is it for you to give back to the community?

While I create a lot of light and fun work, I also want to use my work for good, be that raising awareness about a certain cause or donating. I have a polar bear illustration that I sell prints of, and 80% of the profits go directly towards helping polar bears and the sea ice they depend on. I am also in the process of creating products that the proceeds of which will go to supporting women all around the world.

If you weren’t doing this what else would you do? 

I would be working in the sciences, something that meant I got to study the environment. I already enjoy learning about these topics and creating work based on them so I think it would be a great fit.

Photography by Mike Killion and Megan Pelto