I started this “Meet the Artist” series awhile back as a way to feature some of the amazingly talented artists I’ve been meeting through the shop. Today’s artist, the darling Malia Isenhart of Cheerful Ink, was introduced to me via one of our wonderful customers.
The customer came in after a holiday party where several artists had gathered to share and sell their homemade goods. She said, you just HAVE to meet this gal I saw today who sells these adorable cards. Obviously we like adorable cards, so I told her to have her come down to the shop and we’d love to meet her. Shortly thereafter, Malia and a friend stopped in with a big box of her whimsical cards and art prints. We fell in love with her artwork immediately and bought some right on the spot. We took some of the art prints to a holiday expo the following week and sold out within the first 30 minutes!
Cheerful Ink designs are whimsical and playful and reminiscent of childhood experiences. Malia says “It’s those experiences that speak the loudest to our hearts because deep down we’re all just grown up versions of our childhood selves.”
Here are a few of my favorite Cheerful Ink greeting cards…
And some of my favorite Cheerful Ink art prints…
Get to know Malia a bit more with our interview below!
As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
As a kid, I idolized my first grade teacher and wanted to be just like her. I loved the idea of being in charge of a classroom. I am the oldest of six, so I had lots of experience setting up my pretend classroom and bossing around my siblings.
What was your first job?
My first job was as a dishwasher for a small greasy spoon in my neighborhood. I was only 16, but I remember the line cook would take long smoke breaks and put me in charge of the kitchen! I was terrified that someone might actually come in and order something because I had no idea how to make anything! Luckily, no one did. They are out of business now.
What are your best or favorite sources of inspiration?
I am a mom of two kids under three, so I spend a lot of time in front of Sesame Street and other kids shows. I also love children’s books. When we go to the library, I check out most of the books for them based on what illustrator I want to learn from. I also love Pinterest for sourcing fresh ideas. I know some artists steer clear of it, but there’s something so inspiring about seeing all of the things I love in one place!
Best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Lately, I’ve been quoting my mom a lot. She always said, “Just get out and get the sky over your head.” As a working mom, its such good advice. Life seems easier to handle because problems seem smaller. Vitamin D and fresh air do wonders for the soul.
What are 5 things/products that you can’t live without?
- Diaper wipes (they are gold to me, besides their obvious use, I use them for everything: cleaning counter tops, taking off makeup, wiping faces, hands, car interiors) I carry a Costco sized brick of wipes with me everywhere I go.
- Dry Shampoo Hairspray (showering and shampooing have become a luxury! I recently found a good one for brunettes called Batiste)
- Kind Bars (the sea salt dark chocolate is my favorite)
- My iPhone (I have a serious instagram problem; I’ve taken it off my phone and put it back on at least 35 times).
- A fresh pack of black Micron pens
Who are some of your favorite artists/designers?
I love Richard Scary. Nobody draws animals in clothing better than he does.
Marla Frazee’s illustrations are so fun and playful. I love her storytelling as well.
And right now my three year old and I can’t get enough Mo Willems.
What are your favorite colors right now?
I love mid-century colors (is that a thing?) seafoam green and orange and bright candy red.
What are your favorite mediums or materials to work with?
I am usually using pen and ink and then editing on my iPad with a stylus.
Coffee or tea or…?
COFFEE. All. Day. Long.
Favorite type of food?
Favorite social media channel(s) and why? (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Wanelo, etc.)
Instagram. I love the chance to look at people’s lives (even if it’s filtered and perfect:) It’s also been a great way to meet other artists and build working relationships that otherwise wouldn’t have happened. [Find her @cheerfulink]
Can you share some of the big ideas/dreams/goals you have for the next few years that you’d love to accomplish?
I would love to write a children’s book in the next 5 years. I know that’s a long time, but I really want it to come from my heart as I develop as an artist and mother. Other than that I just want to keep getting better at what I do! It’s such a fun outlet for me and I am so grateful to have the chance to share it with people.
Click here to view all of Malia’s work that we carry in the shop.