By Bethanie Hestermann
Megan Martinez of Meg Ya Look! is an illustrator + designer who creates vibrant art prints, greeting cards, enamel pins, bandanas, and reusable tote bags with a charming hand-drawn aesthetic. Her work is colorful + playful, but Megan’s art goes much deeper than that. Art was like a life preserver for Megan when she experienced personal loss, and some of her most compelling pieces have come from her ongoing journey through this immense emotional pain.
Breaking down stigma around feeling feelings (even the bad ones—gasp!), making joyful but authentic art, and wearing whatever the f—k she wants, this creative is our kind of gal. We’re also obsessed with her fashion sense … mmk, just had to say it.
Get to know Megan in today’s Q&A!
Tell us about your small biz!
It all started with illustrating custom dog portraits, which led to creating fun, vibrant art prints and greeting cards that more people could get their hands on. Then I started expanding into enamel pins, bandanas, and, most recently, reusable tote bags!
What inspires your designs?
Usually feelings! I’m inspired through conversations with loved ones, experiences, shapes, and colors in my environment.
When did you know that you wanted to be an illustrator/designer?
I’ve always been obsessed with package design, and, as a kid, I would beg my mom for the fancier versions of your everyday essentials because I liked how they looked, and I’d save the packaging. I don’t think I knew back then I wanted to be an illustrator/designer but looking back it’s pretty obvious.
What is your favorite item currently in the shop?
Currently, my favorite item in the shop is my “I cry alot” pin. There has always been a stigma associated with being “too sensitive” growing up, and now I embrace every moment of feeling my feelings openly and encourage others to do the same.
What’s been your most exciting collaboration?
My most exciting collaboration was sharing my story on healing through art with PLANOLY. They launched an online shopping tool called Sellit and featured my shop and allowed me a space to talk about grieving and healing!
How would you describe your artwork to others?
I would describe my artwork to others as colorful and playful with a hand-drawn aesthetic that has the intention of brightening your day.
What’s your favorite part of the creation process?
My favorite part of the creation process is choosing the color palette! I find so much joy in pairing interesting color choices together. Generally, I take photos of my environment and save them for later and use them as a resource to have a starting point.
What’s the hardest/most frustrating part about running your biz?
Oof. I’d probably have to say promoting myself. As a creative, this is the most gut-wrenching thing to do that I’m not sure I’ll ever get the hang of. Also, taxes … how come no one tells you where to start or how to do them?!
Where are some of your favorite places to snag clothing?
Although I’m a huge fan of Target and other places like this, I’m a bigger fan of finding clothes that no one else has or boutiques that have a limited size run. You can find very unique one-of-a-kind pieces thrifting at Goodwill. But, if I’m looking to splurge, I can guarantee I’ll find an eye-catching piece at Lisa says Gah, Lazy Oaf, or a San Antonio shop called Temple of Offering!
Your style is so bright and fun! What’s your fashion philosophy?
Most of the time, I get dressed to match my mood OR cheer myself up. I find that my outfits are another form of self-expression, and my fashion philosophy is very simple! Just wear what makes YOU happy, that’s it! Fuck whatever society or people tell you about how you can’t wear color because it washes you out or whatever they’ve told you. It doesn’t apply here; break those rules, and ALWAYS wear a smile.
Current fave shoes?
How do I decide?! I have a shoe obsession, and it’s kinda a problem. I’ve been saving up for these beauties! Aren’t they gorgeous?
What’s been the most surprising thing about the community you’ve built online?
Probably how many deep conversations I’ve had with strangers that aren’t strangers anymore. My mom passed away tragically, and I felt isolated and alone. And because I’ve shared openly, I don’t feel that way anymore. I’ve connected with people who are going through similar experiences and have had more honest conversations and inspiring new perspectives because of this community.
What are three accounts that bring you JOY?
@Jasminedowling because she is a total babe and makes everything look beautiful through her eyes. @Melanie.johnsson for her quirky fun illustrations. @Champagneunicorns, because I feel like she is my color/pattern twin, and she has a cat that is basically how I am with Rocket, my dog.
Follow along with Megan on Instagram at @megyalook!