Jennifer Hogwood is an artist and illustrator from Bedfordshire, England. Largely self-taught, Jennifer has made a name for herself as an illustrator--most notably of whimsical depictions of highland cattle which she calls “McMoos.” Jennifer currently lives in Wiltshire, England, with her husband, two children, two dogs and several chickens. Aside from painting, she is an avid gardener. Recently, she spoke about her experiences working as a professional artist and her hopes for the future. 

The beginning 

Blasting News (BN): What influenced you to become an illustrator? 

Jennifer Hogwood (JH): My husband’s in the army so when we got married we moved to an Army house.

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We had no money and the walls were painted in magnolia. I hated them! We couldn’t get rid of them and we couldn’t afford to buy #Art so I went to the local art shop, bought some paints and canvases, and painted pictures. I have always loved painting, drawing and creating things that make people happy and smile!

BN: What inspires your illustrations? 

JH: All of my work is based around animals with a focus on highland cows! I grew up in the country side and spent all of my time outside, often riding.  Animals have always been a big part of my life and I find their presence comforting; they have such individual personalities and a lovely innocence about them. The other major influence on my work is my children. The playful elements come from being with them, seeing how they react to things and their imaginations.  I love their way of looking at life.

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I painted some highland cows in school uniforms and I feel like my son, Joshua, really inspired those. He’s a little bit cheeky and I like that about him, he’s got a fun outlook on life. Zara, my daughter, loves flowers and glitter pink things; I think that comes through quite strongly as well!

BN: You feature highland cattle in your work. Why that particular species? 

JH: I used to see Highland cows at many of the county shows I went to and it was love at first sight! I had a friend who had a few on their farm and I was always taking photos of them. I just loved the disheveled look and how most of the time you can’t see their eyes! I used to paint all sorts of different subjects but it was my highland cows that people loved the most. I think my love for them must have come through in my work!

The present 

BN: What has been your most rewarding experience so far? 

JH: I love the lifestyle and environment that I work in. My studio is an old chapel in the country. It’s just beautiful! It’s got a little stream running alongside it and it’s just on the outskirts of a small town which is lovely because we can just walk in and go to the shops or have lunch.

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Sometimes it feels too good to be chucking paint around in. It’s a really lovely space, surrounded by trees, there’s a field of sheep just outside!

BN: How did you get into greeting cards?

JH: I started off with paintings but I wanted to find a way that everyone could have a McMoo to take home. Lots of children loved my work and it meant that there was something they could afford and enjoy having. I love that my work makes people smile and what better card to receive than one that cheers you up?

The future 

BN: What is your “dream project”? 

JH: I would love to work on a mural in a prominent and busy place; something that would really stand out and would make people smile all day!

BN: Are there any future projects that you want to mention? 

JH: I’m always trying to create the next new, interesting and exciting thing and that’s what motivates me. I do have a few items in the pipeline so check my website. I’m planning some more bags--those are very popular--and I’m hoping to do some stationary using one of my school paintings. I think it will work well with the blackboard in the background!

BN: Where do you hope to be, career wise, in ten years? 

JH: Would be happy to still be painting McMoos and I hope to have lots of new characters developed as well--a whole farmyard!