in partnership
(Image courtesy of Anne Holderread).

Artist of the Week: Anne Holderread

Seattle might be notorious for niche coffee shops and scenic waterways, but locals know it's also home to an array of people who love to create. This city is chock-full of artists who we love to feature weekly on Seattle Refined! If you have a local artist in mind that you would like to see featured, let us know at And if you're wondering just what constitutes art, that's the beauty of it; it's up to you!

How long have you been creating? Do you work with other mediums?
I have been creating since I was a kid. My mom is an artist and I grew up in a creative environment. My sisters and I had access to all sorts of art supplies so we were exposed to lots of different mediums. I currently work with watercolor, gouache and ink. Sometimes I work with fabric, and I’ve dabbled in clay, charcoal, wire and a current favorite-letterpress!

Can you tell us about your artistic process and stages while working?
The most profound experience I’ve found is just making the time to create every day. That’s how the work gets done and the portfolio gets built. I work best in the morning so that’s the time I like to sit down and draw. I find that much like exercise, if you don’t keep it up it tends to atrophy, so I try to maintain a consistent practice. Some days you’re really on and some days you’re off, but showing up to do the work is key. I make time every morning to spend a half hour on a drawing before I go to work. I usually have an idea of what I’ll be drawing the night before. I grab my favorite micron pen (a fine tipped permanent marker), and start drawing. Once the drawing is complete, I’ll go back in with watercolor or gouache to finish the piece. The most fun for me is diving straight in using permanent ink and just seeing how the piece will come out. I think I might overwork an illustration if I started with pencil first. I think that most of the time I capture the essence of the object or person and that is most appealing to me.

Tell us about where your inspiration for your art comes from?
I find beauty in the ordinary. A binder clip, a well made toaster, a spice tin with great graphics, a leaf. When I was a kid, I was entranced with a series of mini natural history books by Leonard Baskin. I loved everything about those books--the endpaper design, his subject matter, his use of color and his illustrations. Towards the end of college I started a Visual Diary where I would draw episodes from my college life instead of working on my Graphic Design portfolio which I found boring because there was no immediate gratification (this was back before Adobe Illustrator etc). I showed the Visual Diary to some of my friends featured in it, and they loved it, and I loved that they connected with it. Soon after college, I discovered Lynda Barry’s comics and I was inspired by her as well. I come from a family that finds humor in everything, so I think that plays the biggest role in my work.

Do you have a specific “beat” you like best – nature, food, profiles etc?
I can’t say there’s one in particular. I took on my portrait project, because I wanted practice drawing faces. When I did a drawing a day for a year in 2016, I drew everything from tools and plants to playing cards. I like variety and I usually feel some sort of bond to whatever it is I plan on drawing. No matter what I draw, humor is the common thread.

Do you have one piece of art that means more to you, or is extremely special to you?
I am quite fond of an illustration I did of a binder clip, and I’m quite proud of my “B” movie quilt, but I think my favorite piece of art is a book of watercolor illustrations, where I drew from memory every room in my grandparent’s house where I spent a great deal of time as a kid. I gave it to my grandmother several years before she died.

What experiences in your life have affected your art the most?
Growing up in a creative household and being exposed to the world of art museums and galleries at an early age definitely made an impact. Humor plays an important role in my life and I think it comes out in my work as well. I grew up listening to Tom Lehrer and Victor Borge; reading Shel Silverstein, Roald Dahl and watching Abbott and Costello and Ma and Pa Kettle. In college, I took the best design class and it influenced me tremendously. It opened my eyes to seeing there was more than one creative solution to a problem.

If we want to see more of your work where should we go to find it?
My instagram account-- @holderreadcreative, and my website

What is next for you? Anything you’re working on right now that you’re really excited about?
I recently finished drawing a portrait of every artist featured in the book Daily Rituals by Mason Currey. I made the table of contents my drawing guide and drew 161 portraits of famous (and not so famous) creators. I’m getting ready to have a show featuring my portraits sometime next spring.

How do you like your coffee? We ask everyone!
I like an Americano with room for a bit of half and half and a dash of cinnamon.