Samantha Hahn, Seventeen Magazine November 2015, Watercolor with digital rendering

Samantha Hahn, Seventeen Magazine November 2015, Watercolor with digital rendering

A More Modern Twist on Watercolor Illustration

Thursday, December 3, 2015

While flipping through the pages of your favorite magazine you may be allured to stop and dive into articles that aren’t just your average horoscope readings, articles that attractive with the assistance of visuals provided by bold illustrations. The illustration from a recent spread in Seventeen Magazine caught my attention was created by illustrator Samantha Hahn.

Samantha Hahn has quite a fascinating journey through her career in the art world, as she emulates her work with her multiple achievements. This Brooklyn based artist is not only an illustrator, Hahn, is also a blogger, an author, an art educator, a wife and a mother.

Hahn had received her Bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University in Illustration, and her Masters in Art Education at Colombia University. As both an art educator and a well renown illustrator, Hahn’s work has been widely exhibited internationally from New York to Hong Kong. She works with a vast amount of clients in branding, editorial, publishing and advertising.

Several of her clients are Marc Jacobs, J.Crew, Vogue (Jp), Teen Vogue, Glamour, Marie Claire, Seventeen, Surface, The Telegraph (UK), The New York Observer, Oprah, New York Magazine/The Cut, The Cut (New York Magazine), Refinery29, Mac Cosmetics, Tiffany’s, Victoria’s Secret, Anthropologie,  and Barnes & Noble.

Hahn has also released her book, Well-Read Women: Portraits of Fiction’s Most Beloved Heroines. The book highlights women characters in famous works of literature throughout history. Each illustration has a depicted character with a quote from the heroine.  They are to embody the full emotion from each character.

Through her successes Hahn’s journey did not begin immediately in illustration. Hahn taught art before she moved into her field of illustration.  She writes an online blog about her work, this is how she gained a sense of community and introduce herself with the illustrations.  After speaking with Hahn via email she said she started her first big job in the fashion industry with Glamour Magazine illustrating a page they called “The Glamour List”.  From there she built upon her professional portfolio and started to receive more clients.  After contacting Hahn, I was still curious about her process of how her works are created. From my inquiries I learned some new techniques that I may try within the creation of my own works.  This is part of our conversation.

Q: What is the process of creating your work?

A: I either shoot or look for appropriate reference and then do watercolor until I get it right. Sometimes it takes one try and other times I have to do it multiple times until it looks effortless. Next I scan it into photoshop and clean it up. Sometimes I heighten the colors or contrast as well. Then I send it to the client digitally.

Find out more about Samantha Hahn, view her portfolio, and receive updates on her work by subscribing to her blog:

Other fascinating details about Samantha Hahn artwork:

—Kelsie Tangelder  



Kelsie Tangelder is a graduate student in Art Education at SUNY Buffalo State where she received her bachelors in Art Education.  Kelsie spends her extra time in her studio and traveling.