The Dirigible Balloon
Poetry for Children

Artist Feature ... Mary Haasdyk

Find out about Mary Haasdyk ...
Hello Balloonists!

Jonathan here with our second artist feature in which we find out about the wonderful work of those talented folk who create the pictures that accompany some of the poems on the Dirigible Balloon.

One of the first poems I wrote for children was called The Sad Tale of Fred the Fringe. This poem originally appeared in a marvellous magazine called Stew (edited by a brilliant chap called Ali Fraser). For this poem, Ali had engaged the services of an excellent artist from Canada called Mary Haasdyk and she created a portrait of Freddy Winge (which you can see here).
This picture is copyright (©) Mary Haasdyk 2021
This picture is copyright (©) Mary Haasdyk 2021


Mary Haasdyk is a Calgary-based freelance illustrator. She works in editorial, publishing and public art. Mary loves the challenge of finding unique illustrative solutions and bringing a fresh perspective to something, particularly something which might be considered familiar or mundane. She works with pencil and paper as well as digitally for her various projects.


We asked Mary a number of questions, which she kindly answered along with providing examples of her wonderful artwork. So, without further ado, the Dirigible Balloon is incredibly proud to present …

The Artwork of Mary Haasdyk
This picture is copyright (©) Mary Haasdyk 2021
This picture is copyright (©) Mary Haasdyk 2021


How did you get into illustrating?
I have always loved drawing and growing up would enjoy it with my mum who is a very creative person. Before illustration, I first studied ceramics actually, and looking back I can see a lot of parallels between the two - they are both creative fields with an element of practicality and usefulness, which is something I appreciate in creating work - making it for a specific purpose or use, but still being able to bring creativity within those parameters.

This picture is copyright (©) Mary Haasdyk 2021
This picture is copyright (©) Mary Haasdyk 2021
This picture is copyright (©) Mary Haasdyk 2021
This picture is copyright (©) Mary Haasdyk 2021

What are your illustrating ambitions?
Most of the work I do is in the editorial/public art realm with a few publishing-related projects.
I have always loved children’s books and some of my favourite artwork is there. I would love to move in that direction with my work over time and illustrate a children’s book sometime.


Do you have a favourite artist?
This picture is copyright (©) Mary Haasdyk 2021
This picture is copyright (©) Mary Haasdyk 2021

So many! A few: Shaun Tan, Andrew Hem, Rovina Cai, Andrew Wyeth. A recent favourite kids’ book I discovered is Onside In, illustrated by Cindy Derby. An artist who inspired me toward illustration, was the work of Quentin Blake. The fun, loose playfulness of his images made me want to draw!

This picture is copyright (©) Mary Haasdyk 2021
This picture is copyright (©) Mary Haasdyk 2021
This picture is copyright (©) Mary Haasdyk 2021
This picture is copyright (©) Mary Haasdyk 2021

What advice would you give young artists?
Make sure you have community of some form as an artist. Especially when you are starting, but also to keep pressing and stay motivated along the way, can be really hard to do on your own. But having others who are moving in a similar direction to keep each other going and inspired and accountable helps so much! Also making sure you are incorporating work that you enjoy along with client work keeps the inspiration up also. For me that looks like giving myself a certain amount of time to draw in my sketchbook purely for fun each day.

This picture is copyright (©) Mary Haasdyk 2021
This picture is copyright (©) Mary Haasdyk 2021

This picture is copyright (©) Mary Haasdyk 2021
This picture is copyright (©) Mary Haasdyk 2021
A fun side-project I started in 2020 is making a small calendar page each month (gratitude calendar) as a free printable available on my website. It’s provided a chance to play around with smaller images and create a series with my own parameters. They can be found on my website along with a colouring sheet printable and are free to be used:


Mary's website can be found at
https://maryhaasdyk.com

and more work can also found on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/maryhaasdyk

Thank you Mary !

Article written and organised by JH.

About the Writer


Jonathan Humble

Jonathan lives in Cumbria. His work has been published online and in print in a number of magazines and anthologies. His first collection of poetry (My Camel's Name Is Brian) is available through TMB Books and Maytree Press published a further collection (Fledge) in 2020. His poems for children have been shortlisted and highly commended in the Caterpillar and Yorkmix poetry competitions and he is the editor of The Dirigible Balloon.