There is literally nothing that I love more than an accurate snarky take on society. Which is why as soon as I stumbled upon Julie Houts my entire life changed for the better. Dramatic? I don’t think so. Seriously, her illustrations put a smile on my face and a cackle in my soul on a daily basis. The best part? She’s spilling the beans and giving us the real behind the scenes. Pro tip? Follow her on IG.
We are obsessed with your illustrations, could you tell us about your creative process? How do you take them from idea to illustrated piece?
It’s usually a relatively quick process. Most often, I’ll read or watch something or have a conversation with someone that sparks an idea, and I try to sketch it out as soon as possible afterwards. If I can’t sketch, I’ll take down a note for later. But it usually works out that the drawings I’m able to make immediately are the more successful ones.
What are your favorite scenarios to draw?
I’m not sure I have a favorite! Sometimes I find that I unconsciously get focused on drawing a certain body part or position or type of face for a couple weeks and I’ll inadvertently make every drawing somewhat centering around that.
I’m into hands right now!
If you could hang one of your prints in anyone’s home or business, where would it be hanging and why?
Oh wow I’m really not sure.
Maybe Trump’s White House could use one. I have some ideas…
We know that you covered fashion week in 2016 and were featured in Vogue, tell us about that experience!
I partnered with Stylebop on a series of humorous fashion week drawings, which were so fun to do. Around the same time I had been talking with Vogue about doing some drawings for NYFW, and when they heard about the Stylebop collaboration, it all synced up nicely!
Do you have any advice for creative women channeling their passion into their side hustle?
My advice would be to just make sure you keep working on it. It’s easy to get busy with work and life and let your focus shift. Then you kind of look up and a year has gone by and you’re like, “what happened?”
I committed to making a finished drawing every day, no matter how (often!) idiotic they were. It helped keep me in the habit of making things for myself. And it takes the pressure off “Starting.”
Sometimes balance seems unreachable to us – how do you balance your full time job as a womenswear designer for J. Crew with your illustrating?
I’ve actually recently left J.Crew to focus on illustration full-time!
I had been juggling both in a real way for just over a year, which seems shorter than it felt! It was tiring at times. It was a lot of weekends spent working and night spent sketching on the couch! But when you’re working on things for yourself it doesn’t always feel like work.
It’s a Friday evening, what can we find you doing?
Usually I’ll make a drinks and dinner plan with my friends or my boyfriend. But sometimes its Indian food and wine on the couch with a deep show lineup and a face mask.
Let’s be honest – there’s a lot of crazy shit happening in the world right now. What is something you do that gives you your joy back?
Having a good conversation with my friends or family.
What is one piece of advice you wish you had (or maybe did get!) when you were younger?
I’m not sure it was explicitly given, but my parents both worked really hard when I was growing up. I think I learned from their example.
What are three things that we couldn’t find out about you online?
I have a bug collection
I can talk at extreme length about pie.
Extensive collection of choir music
What word encompasses your twenty-something decade?
Two words? Drunken hustle