As much as we love a gallery wall full of sophisticated abstracts or sleek, glamorous photos, we’ll always have a soft spot for simple, lighthearted illustrations and typographical prints. Enter: illustrator Becky Murphy, whose chic, creative and often comedic designs never fail to put a smile on our faces! Becky’s print shop, Chipper Things, is stocked with plenty of playful designs that often feature minimal colors and negative space. Becky’s résumé even includes an “author” title—her delightfully cheeky illustrated book, “I’d Rather Be Short,” was released last year. Her unique combination of style and wit puts her work at the top of our wish list this holiday season!
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and Chipper Things?
I grew up in a small town in Iowa (shout-out to Central City!). I went to Iowa State, but, you know, the Midwest is very cold, so I moved south. I live in Austin, where I’m a freelance illustrator, graphic designer, author and the hands behind my little print shop (and more-of-other-things-soon shop), Chipper Things. I like drawing, writing and making things.
How would you describe your illustration/design style?
Goofy, awkward and uplifting.
When did you decide you wanted to pursue a career in freelance design/illustration, and what spurred your decision?
I’ve always known that I wanted to work for myself. Getting the book deal was sort of my green light—more opportunities plus extra money in the bank.
Best and worst things about being a freelancer?
Best: I get paid to go through business-owning puberty. You don’t really know what you don’t know until you try. It’s awkward at first, but then you figure this and that out, and before you know it, you’re learning so much about yourself and your business. The hurdles become milestones, and everything is 10 times more rewarding and fun. I get to travel a lot, too. The highs are higher and the lows are lower. But even the lows become less low because YOU become tougher and braver in time.
Worst: pretending you have it together when you have no idea what you’re doing. This was very hard for me in the beginning. People always asked how things were going. Things weren’t going well (see aforementioned business-owning puberty). I was new! But I felt pressure to have it “together.” The thing is, there is always some version of that even when you’re not new anymore. It’s very easy to create the ladder that you ran from in the first place. My friend Amy always asks, “What is your anchor?” I think that’s an important question to be able to answer.