Artist Review - Who is Hannah Abbo? Jul 19 2022Meet the artists
This month’s review is a bit different as it’s actually a REVEAL! Advocate Art is excited to finally unveil the illustrator behind the pseudonym Jean Claude, who many in the publishing world did not know was a pseudonym at all!
Hannah Abbo is a self-taught illustrator from the UK who now lives in Lisbon with her husband and son. She begins her day rushing to get her son to school then calming down with a yoga class. Usually, Hannah will work from her dining room table and take breaks tending to her garden or walking around and sketching the city streets.
“My first foray into the world of illustration started 15 years ago, when I started drawing posters for my friends' bands with just a sharpie and a piece of paper. Although my process has moved on a bit since then, every project still feels like an exciting new challenge and I love experimenting with different techniques and media. I love bringing other peoples' stories and dreams to life.”
Many also do not know that she was actually once an illustration agent at Advocate Art but decided to switch roles. This was part of the reason she chose to use a fake name.
“I worked for many years as an illustration agent (actually at Advocate Art!), and it was decided during that time that it would be less complicated to work under a pseudonym so as to avoid any conflicts of interest.”
When asked what it was like to work as “someone else” she said:
“It depends! I have become very used to it now, but in the past it did feel a little odd, especially having a male pseudonym. In some ways though it feels like a safety blanket, as I am a little removed from my work persona.”
But now that she will be working as herself, Hannah is looking forward to:
“Ripping off the safety blanket! I am excited and nervous! I think it will help me put more of myself into my work. I have my first self-authored book coming out next year (Marcel's Mouse Museum, published by Familius), and I would love to write and illustrate more. It is a fun and silly look at the history of 20th century art, told through a guided tour of a miniature mouse museum.”
Her advice to aspiring illustrators:
“Always to push yourself. I love that the agents at Advocate listen to your professional dreams and then help turn them into achievable goals.”
As she puts Jean Claude behind her and moves forward, the team here are to Advocate for Hannah to achieve her goals and dreams!
Hannah's recent awards and nominations:
SLA Information Book Award 2022 - Longlist (Let's Save the Amazon, Walker Books)
Academy of British Cover Design award 2021 - Shortlist (All Things Bright and Beautiful, SPCK)
World Illustration Awards 2020 - Longlist (All Things Bright and Beautiful, SPCK)
Mom's Choice Award 2020 - Winner (We Poop on the Potty, Little Grasshopper Books)
Interested in seeing more? Click HERE to see Hannah's full portfolio!