By Bethanie Hestermann
Long Beach illustrator + muralist Brianna Ready captures the super-chill vibe of her hometown like only she can—using minimalistic linework and off-white paper or, sometimes, entire walls as a canvas! Brianna particularly likes to draw women being unapologetically bad ass. (We think Brianna is pretty bad ass herself!)
Brianna says inspiration comes and goes. The key to getting that creativity flowing is to live a life that aligns with your own personal idea of fulfillment. By illustrating women doing things that make them happy, she hopes to empower other women to do the same.
Learn more about Brianna and her art in today’s Q&A.
Tell us about your art!
My art is easily recognized by minimal linework and themes of ladies being bad asses. I love drawing women doing whatever their heart desires—whether it’s motorcycle riding, relaxing with a beer, tending to their plants, or just lounging and having themselves a day.
What do you want people to feel when they see your work?
An attitude that speaks confidence and freedom in just being yourself without taking life too seriously. I love drawing women who do whatever they want and are unapologetic about it. I want others to relate to that feeling and feel empowered in their own passions and what makes them feel fulfilled.
What tools do you use to create your pieces?
For my illustrations, I start with good old-fashioned paper and pencil and transfer those sketches into Procreate using the iPad Pro. When making murals, I sometimes use a small portable projector, depending on the size of the wall and space I am working with. For painting, I have a long list of supplies including matte paint, posca markers, lots of different-sized paint brushes, measuring tape, a ladder, etc. I love art supplies and I probably have way too many.
What’s your creation process like?
If I am making artwork for myself the process is very simple. I see an image clearly in my mind, and I can’t wait to get it out onto paper.
If I am working with someone else and their vision, I like to get a backstory and figure out what they are looking for or what they are imagining for their piece. I’ll come up with a few different sketches and try to find an angle that feels right for their ideas or brand. Working with other people is definitely more challenging, but it is fun and rewarding bringing someone’s vision to life and helping create something special that they love.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your pieces?
The world around me! I live in Long Beach in Southern California, and there is inspiration everywhere! I live in such a creative community, and I feel very lucky for that. Just walking down the street, I see five different kinds of palm trees and that gets me inspired. Going down to the bluff, you see people relaxing with their friends, roller skating, skateboarding, people driving their motorcycles down the street—there is so much to see on any given day. I really enjoy my community and all the different people I get to meet.
How do you stay inspired + avoid creative ruts?
Ruts are inevitable. I think it’s best to not overthink it and give yourself a break. I love to travel, eat, and enjoy life. If I feel that I am in a rut, I am most likely stressing too hard about the little stuff and forgetting to enjoy myself. Inspiration comes and goes, but living a life that aligns with your idea of fulfillment definitely helps inspiration and creativity flow. Giving yourself time to relax is equally as important as working hard, and that balance is hard to achieve.
Favorite tunes to play while creating?
I am all over the place! It really depends on my mood or just what I am vibing off of lately. I love listening to alternative rock and indie bands, as well as folk and blues on a regular basis. Although, if I am feeling energetic, there is nothing stopping me from binging on some house and techno or some pop! I really have no preferred music genre while creating. I love everything.
What are your favorite colors to work with?
I don’t work with colors too often. Most of my work is characterized by black linework and off-white backgrounds. I enjoy simplicity and a minimal style in my designs. When I do use color, I find myself gravitating towards color palettes with turquoise and burnt oranges.
You also do custom murals! How did you get into that?
This was something I took a chance on, and it really paid off! I never intended on getting into making murals when I started sharing my art, but an opportunity came for a wall and I kinda just said yes and figured the rest out. I am so glad that I took a chance on that, because I have done a few more since then and I love it! Now more people have been reaching out to me for murals, and I love getting into this new realm of art.
Which mural are you the proudest of?
I am so proud of all of them so far, but if I had to choose a favorite it might be my first one. It was such a huge learning experience. I had no idea what I was doing and learned so much as I went. The biggest work I had made previous to that might have been on an 11×14 piece of Bristol paper, and a wall seemed like such a big jump. When the opportunity presented itself, I knew I wanted to take it, and I just threw myself into it. It worked out great, and I am very proud that I took a chance on myself.
Ok, put it out there—where do you dream of seeing your art?
I want to see a mural of mine in another state or possibly even another country! I would love to be flown out for a job and paint in a new city. I am manifesting this! I really think this will happen one day, and I am going to make such a happy scream when I get that call and I hope whoever is one the other end of the phone is ready for that. I also would love the opportunity to learn to tattoo one day. I have had such a great and unexpected outreach from people requesting my work as tattoos, and I think that would be such a crazy and an interesting new experience.
What makes you feel most vulnerable as an artist?
Honestly, I originally thought the most vulnerable part of this was going to be posting my art for everyone to see, but that really hasn’t been as big of an obstacle as I thought it would be. The hard thing is opening up about myself and sharing my story, my thoughts, and my process. I was surprised to find that people really want to learn more about the person behind the art.
What would you love to see more of in the creative community?
My experience so far has been amazing. I have connected to other artists in my area, and I love the supportive and collaborative nature of our conversations. I have even reached out to people that I admire as artists and have gotten such great responses and advice. The creative community feels very welcoming, and I love that. I would love to get more involved in events and markets as I continue on this journey.