Following Your Creative Spirit with Oona Holtane

Not only does Oona Holtane, Chicagoland illustrator and designer, follow her own creative intuition but she captures the human spirit in her portraiture and character design. She makes the viewer look closer and find the subject’s essence with her use of color and emotive expressions. Oona finds her inspiration from all difference sources including her passion for fashion and music. Currently she is working to complete her BFA in illustration. Take a peek at her Instagram to get a feel for her work but stick around to get to know Oona the artist:

What inspired you to start drawing and when did you first find out about your creativity?

Both my parents are artists so I’ve always been encouraged to explore any creative endeavors. Animated films, specifically Disney, inspired me to begin drawing and I haven’t stopped since. I’ve always gravitated towards the more creative side of problem solving and thinking outside the box so having a career in the creative fields fits with my personality well!

Following your creative spirit with Oona Holtane

What inspires your work? Do you also have any figures/role models?

More so than specific artists, it has always been a collective of creative people that inspire my work and motivate me to work towards my career goals. I find that musicians, actors, artists and even comedians are all incredibly inspirational to my creative expression.

What’s the ‘craziest’ project that you’ve ever worked on?

The craziest project I’ve ever tried to tackle was designing and producing a baseball style hat all within the span of one month. I had never designed a product in this way and have never really marketed fashion so I worked with a photographer, to market this product and it was a success! I am currently designing another line of clothing and I am loving the creative process!

How long have you been in Chicago and how has this city inspired your work?

Oddly, I do not live in Chicago, however I probably should considering how often I’m out in the city. But I’ve grown up around Chicago and it’s always been an inspiration to my style of work. The people, for one, are a major source of inspiration in my art. There is such a variety of people and diverse culture that it’s almost impossible to leave the city feeling uninspired.

Following your creative spirit with Oona Holtane

Do you think there is currently a movement heading towards your kind of craft and illustration? How long do you think this movement will last?

The digital medias have greatly influenced artists and how their careers effect them throughout their lives. Currently, the use of social media is a huge tool to the people working in the creative fields. Artists who work mainly online use these digital ways of marketing to shift their career into a place they want it to be at. This movement may last as long as we have technology, so I expect it to only progress.

What makes your illustrations different?

I tend to not stick to a single style when creating my illustrations. I have a quite diverse set of interests so my art reflects that. I also love to exaggerate color and illusions to make an image more personalized. I’m constantly evolving my style so I’d like to say my art isn’t at the point where I can compare it to others who have a set style. That is the problem with constantly being inspired, there are so many amazing styles out there that it’s hard to just have one of your own.

follwoing your creative passion with oona holtane

Which spots do you recommend Chicago visitors to check out?

I love the Meli Cafe, incredible food so definitely check that out. I also recommend just walking around downtown and exploring the city! There are so many fun places to find just by walking around.

Your work mantra?

Working freelance alongside being a full-time student and keeping up a social media presence takes up almost all of one’s time. It’s easy to overwork yourself especially when you believe your career is on the line every time you slack. Definitely work hard but give yourself time to recharge both emotionally and creatively.

A quote you live by?

I can never choose one of anything so I have 3 quotes that I feel define my life philosophies and myself.

Money doesn’t excite me, my ideas excite me. – Walt Disney


Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will – Karin Seddiki


Quiet people have the loudest minds – Stephen King



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