I first saw Julianna Swaney’s drawings when I was writing a blog post about bees. While looking for an illustration of bees at work, I found Beehive Bears, the perfect final image for my post.
It reminded me of a picture from an old storybook, and the whimsy of it was the perfect compliment to my ideas about bees.
Julianna draws in a style that makes me nostalgic for the illustrations I loved as a kid, images of children in the snow and animals wearing mittens and walking on their hind legs.
At the same time, Julianna’s pictures possess qualities of thoughtfulness, longing and wanderlust that make them immediately accessible to me as an adult.
On her website, Oh My Cavalier, Julianna describes her influences as an artist by discussing her interests as a child.
She writes, “I grew up in rural Michigan, playing out in the woods behind my house every day and cultivating a love of animals and bird watching. I was lucky enough to have an early education that also cultivated my imagination and I always had a love of fairytales and magic that I could find in the real world though nature, history, and folklore.”
When I first read this bio, I was struck by how everything Julianna mentions, from animals to folklore, is so evident in her artistic style. There is a sort of magic to her pictures that reminds me of Victorian illustrations, which I think must also have played a role in her artistic education.
Julianna’s drawings are so beautiful. When I first saw her prints for sale, I could hardly believe how incredibly inexpensive they were.
I’m still deciding which picture to add to my walls, but I’m sure that whatever I end up with will suit me just fine.