The Nostalgic Hand Painted Signs and Murals of Heather Hardison

Illustrator and letterer Heather Hardison knows how to put things in writing. Merging both her skills, she enjoys painting signs and murals, as well as designing food packagings. With a specialty in food illustration and sign painting, she is also the author and illustrator of the book Homegrown: Illustrated Bites from your Garden to your Table – an illustrated guide to growing and cooking seasonal produce.

“I think that it’s important for all designers to be good at drawing, even if their work is completely digital,” she told The Design Kids.”Drawing is such an immediate way to jot down ideas and iterate. It’s much more fluid than working ideas out digitally.”

Her work, a blend of digital and analog, begins in a pencil sketch. From there, the final output depends on the purpose. “For hand-painted signs, the entire process is analog,” she explains. “For designs that utilize hand-painted letters, but have final output that is print or digital, I scan in the lettering to manipulate in Photoshop. Other times, when something needs to be scaleable, my sketch is vectorized in Illustrator.” 

Based in the San Francisco Bay Area her work is very much in tune with her day to day life. And when she’s not illustrating or lettering, you can find her playing in her garden, cooking up something tasty, beekeeping, or rock climbing with friends. A healthy, adventurous lifestyle we very much envy.