Attention reader friends: Diana Shafer of Terrific Friends is an artist you’re going to want to know more about. She creates expressive, quirky, characteristic portraits of all the big names in books, and they’re perfect to fill the walls of your library. Learn more about her life and style and be sure to browse her extensive collection right here at Homespun.
1| How do you describe your work to people who don’t know anything about crafting/art?
I illustrated a collection of famous author portraits in my own style and sell them as prints. It’s not uncommon for an avid reader to buy three or more and decorate their house with them.
2| Are you an avid reader? Who is your favorite author?
I do try to read regularly. Some seasons I fall out of the habit and some I can’t get enough, but I’m always working on something. I can’t easily choose a favorite author. Some that have left an impression are Steinbeck, Carson McCullers, Raymond Carver, and modern author Jonathan Lethem.
3| Why do you make/design things?
It’s just a natural desire that I’ve had my whole life, something that makes sense to me and excites me. If you put a pen or marker in front of me, I have to use it.
4| You definitely have a very characteristic style, how do you think this style lends itself to portraits, specifically?
I don’t have to worry about flattering my portrait subjects which lets me have a little more fun drawing them.
5| What do you love about your job?
With drawing, there are few limitations. I don’t have to worry about cost of supplies or wait on other people. I can just sit down and do it. The idea that it’s all up to me to make something happen is pretty freeing.
6| Was being a working artist always your plan or was there an “aha” moment?
It’s always been there. I went to school for fashion design but the most appealing part of it was drawing. I thought fashion design would be more practical but that’s turned out not to be the case as the world of illustration has opened up to me.
7| How do you work, and where?
My workday never looks the same, so some days I’m working on new ideas, others on commissions, and sometimes I’ll spend a whole week printing and packaging prints for retail. I work from home with a busy toddler so most of my work is done in little blocks of time.
8| Any plans to offer your illustrations in other mediums besides prints?
I’ve considered other mediums, and would just have to find the right approach. I’m working on some new prints right now and also some non-literary/kid-friendly products, so keep an eye out for those.
9| What makes a handmade object valuable?
Usually I purchase handmade objects from people I know or people I follow on social media and that alone makes it so much more special and interesting. It makes me think about how it was made, what kind of materials were used, or where the idea came from. You usually don’t spend that much time thinking about something that was mass produced.
10| Using that definition, what’s the most valuable object you own?
We had a friend build custom furniture for us last year and it’s beautiful and definitely worth the money. I would have no attachment to something I purchased elsewhere, but I want to show off these pieces and take care of them because I know the maker.
11| Tell us one true thing about yourself that people don’t believe when you tell them.
I got married when I was 19 and we will be celebrating our 12th anniversary this spring. We just really liked each other and figured we’d get along pretty well. And we do- we’re best buds.
12| Give us three more non-crafting-related details about you or your life.
-My husband and I own a coffee bar in Boise and just celebrated our first year in business.
-We’re expecting another baby in April.
-I’m pretty obsessed with children’s picture books and love having an excuse to collect them.
Follow Diane and Terrific Friends on Instagram @dshaferillustration to see all the new portraits!