After the initial shock of my early breast cancer diagnosis, I created an illustration line (Sweet PETatoes®) that was immediately licensed for memory products for pets and is the foundation for my current illustration style that I am known for nationwide. Prior to that, I had always spent my time creating art according to client needs and specs, instead of exploring and expressing my passions. Art and crafting had become a business, and, in doing so, had lost much of the pure joy associated with the act of simply playing.
The unexpected diagnosis, however, was a wake-up call for me. At that moment I realized I didn’t have unlimited time to create the art I wanted to create—the kind of art that comes straight from the heart. When I was healing from my surgeries and later, radiation, I began playing, going back to a time when I was an art student drawing and painting for the sake of creating instead for the purpose of pleasing a client.
For months I experimented with mediums and substrates, creating quirky little dogs, cats and other critters that were completely different from anything I’d ever done before. As I healed, I slowly developed the unique style that became my trademark. And, since I was born to create surface design, I was later able to take all those icons and characters and create patterned papers, album covers, and other products. In a way, creating the Sweet PETatoes® character line also helped me honor my pets (both living and deceased), as well as many wonderful people I have known in my life. One cat has an expression immediately recognized by my daughter-in-law as the expression her mother often has…another has it’s head and body in a position resembling a cat in a memorable photo shoot I had art directed years ago. After working for hours on one particular dog, my daughter took one look and exclaimed that I had somehow managed to create an image of how I feel about my dog.
Healing from illness or other situation isn’t always easy. But, when we have purpose and are able to do the creative things that give us pleasure, anything is possible.
My name is Gail Green and I'm a illustrator, Designer and more.