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Q&A with Little-Biscuits

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Little-Biscuits is an Arkansas-based graphic/illustrated portraiture business that creates super-cute commissioned portraits of children and pets. Owner and artist Hannah Carpenter and her business partner Heather Thrash met in Little Rock while working for an ad agency. I recently had a Q&A session with Hannah to get a little insight into this super-cool business.

Tell us a little bit about Little-Biscuits in three sentences or less.
We create illustrated portraits of kids and pets and then print those portraits on a number of products such as notecards, stickers, cupcake toppers, puzzles, dress-me notepads and others.

Tell us a little bit about you.
I (Hannah) have lived in Arkansas most of my life. I was born here, grew up here, and I don’t foresee us leaving anytime in the near future. My business partner, Heather, and I met after college when we both interned at a Little Rock ad agency. After the internship, Heather took a job there, and I moved on to doing freelance illustration work. Our lives have since gone in very different directions. Heather traveled the world, finally settling in Vancouver working as a creative director at an ad agency. And me popping out kids (my husband and I have four) and staying put while freelancing and homeschooling my brood. Regardless of changes in time and space over the years, Heather and I maintained a relationship, both personal and work-related and though miles apart, we have collaborated to create Little-Biscuits. Would it be easier and more fun if we were in the same place? Certainly! But it’s pretty incredible what we can accomplish with thousands of miles between us.

Little-Biscuits-Heather-Hannah-2

How long has Little-Biscuits been in operation?
We began Little-Biscuits in the fall of 2013.

How did you get started with your business?
Heather approached me with the idea. From there it was a lot of brainstorming and planning and creating and recreating and experimenting and on and on again.

How would you describe the type of art you are creating?
I would classify it as graphic illustration or portraiture. When people hear that, they think it’s something computer generated. It certainly is not. To sum up the process, basically I draw with a mouse. And it can be pretty time-consuming.

Little-Biscuits-Products

Do you have any employees? How many? What do they do?
No employees! Just Heather and me. We work well together. We collaborate on all the creative stuff and then I do the artwork while she handles the business stuff (with which my brain struggles). We need each other, which makes it a pretty sweet partnership.

What inspired you to start Little-Biscuits?
I was frustrated because I couldn’t decide which direction to go with my abilities, and Heather was looking for a side gig, something to be a positive break from agency type work. So she came up with the idea of creating portraits of kids and pets. From there we brainstormed and decided it would be cool to print these portraits on products for kids and parents. It’s grown and changed along the way and is continuing to do so. We’ve learned a lot and hope to learn more in the future. So far Little-Biscuits has been a very fulfilling venture because you get to bring parents and grandparents and children joy!

Little-Biscuits-Bookplates

Do you ever do adult or family portraits or just children and pets?
I have certainly done adult portraits. I prefer children because they’re just the best creatures on Earth, but I’m not opposed to adult portraits. As for family portraits, this isn’t something we currently offer through Little-Biscuits, but it’s on our possible long-term plan.

Name an artist who inspires you. What draws you to him?
Stanley Chow. Hands down. He’s the boss of graphic portraiture. His ability to capture someone with the simplest of shapes is astounding. Stanley Chow, I’m not worthy!

Little-Biscuits-Stickers

Describe a typical day in the life of Little-Biscuits.
Oh, me. There is no typical day really for me. And this answer is different for each of us. Because I homeschool four kids, I have to carve out time to focus on work, which isn’t always easy. And let’s be real, some days T.V. is involved in carving out that work time. Some days I’m fixing lunch, talking about math problems, and handling LB social media stuff all at the same time. During the school year, I do try to schedule regular work days. We’ll hit schooling hard three days a week and then I will have someone stay with them the other two days so that I can dedicate my time to working. It’s certainly a balance I’m continually trying to master! As for Heather, she has a full-time agency job and, therefore, has to do Little-Biscuits work after hours or on weekends. And as for our correspondence and work relationship, we are frequently in communication with one another. Emailing, texting, video chatting. The workflow goes like this: Heather receives an order for a portrait and then reaches out to the client for photos of the child or pet. She emails me when she gets the photos, and I then use those to create the portrait. When the portrait is complete, I email her the files, and she then places the order for the art print and any other printed products that might have been purchased by the client. And that’s sort of the routine over a three week period for each portrait. There is obviously other stuff that has to be discussed and handled behind the scenes, but that’s the portrait producing process we have established for ourselves.

Little-Biscuits-Cupcake-Toppers

Do you have any fun or interesting stories involving your artwork?
Just getting to know little kids is fun and interesting. We have a page on our website dedicated to the Little-Biscuit of the month where we feature one of the kids we’ve gotten to illustrate. We publish a Q&A with the kid, and that’s always loads of laughs for me. There’s this genius that all children possess that is coveted but unattainable by we grown-ups. I love getting a peek into that genius world of childhood.

What inspired you to become an artist?
My mother. Most definitely my mother. She was a stay-at-home mom and painted beautiful watercolor portraits in a corner of her bedroom. Now, we were all in school, which made it a bit more manageable, but I do remember a couple of stories involving me sitting in her paint pallet and things of that nature.

Little-Biscuits-Invites

Do you make and sell any individual work or just commissioned pieces?
Right now, just commissioned pieces. I always have a couple of ideas up my sleeve, but time will only tell if they will come to fruition. As for Little-Biscuits, we are currently working on some wholesale products. So that’s an exciting new venture we’re tackling.

If you are interested in commissioning a portrait of your own, check out Little-Biscuits online. You can also connect with them on Facebook and Instagram. Hashtag a photo on Instagram with #littlebiscuitsportraits for a chance to win a free portrait!

All photos courtesy of Hannah Carpenter.

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Julie Kohl works from home as a writer and virtual assistant while raising her young son. A former Yankee who was "converted" to the south by her husband, Julie has grasped on to rural life in a sleepy, blink-your-eyes-and-you'll-miss-it town in central Arkansas. Julie loves adventure. Not necessarily "scare-your-pants-off" adventure but the kind where you seek out new and exciting things. New foods, new places, new experiences. On her blog, Seek Adventures, Julie shares about the outdoor and travel adventures of her family as they camp and standup paddleboard across the South. You can also learn more about her writing on her site Seek Adventures Media.

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