Gina Mei
May 14, 2015 2:57 pm

Liana Kangas has totally won our hearts with her gorgeous, watercolor pop culture portraiture. The native Floridian has mastered a joyful, perfect palette style of art that we absolutely adore, and we can’t get enough of it. Liana is obsessed with collecting comic books and met her husband after bumping into him at a concert — and her love for both comics and music are big themes in her work. And while she just survived her first winter living in Toronto, we’re grateful she had so many snow days to work on her art. Liana’s art is fun, relatable, and all kinds of awesome — and that’s why she’s our Illustrator of the Week!

Find out more about Liana and her art below, and buy some of her exclusive-to-HelloGiggles phone cases by clicking right here.

No pressure, but describe your art: I’d like to think that my art is a crossover between realism and modern portrait illustration. I’m not sure specifically where it comes from, but it definitely has a mix of inspiration from all of my favorite artists, like Mucha, Robert McGinnis, Alex Ross, Norman Rockwell, Casey Baugh. . . the list goes on.

What inspires you to make things: A lot of the time, I am inspired by music. If I find a song or album that speaks to me, it’s easy for the visuals to finally appear for things I’ve been wanting to work on project-wise. It builds up this excitement that gets me pumped to dive into drawing or painting.

Your favorite thing(s) to draw: People. People in pop culture, actors, lifestyle leaders, fictional characters, and so on. People will be my favorite thing to draw, I think, for a long time to come. They’re the most fun to draw, and I have a lot of fun expressing feelings or actions on characters to create stories that I hope will invoke feelings from people who enjoy looking at my work.

Medium of choice: Definitely has to be my copic pen set. Next to that, definitely my pocket watercolor set.

The first time you knew you wanted to be an artist: I think I always had an inclination that I wanted to use creativity as a job, but I remember reading online comics and manga back in middle school, thinking how cool it would be to draw stories for other people. Since then, I’ve actively pursued art either through learning or professionally.

Proudest achievement so far: My proudest achievement thus far has to be the continuous support I receive from my best friend/husband, who makes me feel incredibly successful and motivated in what I do.

Music you listen to while you work: That’s a hard one, mostly because it’s podcasts, but this week’s most played albums while I do listen, are: Mini Mansions’ The Great Pretenders, Taylor Swift’s 1989, Amy Poehler’s Yes Please audiobook, and the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack.

Your most prized possession: My computer. . .  just kidding! My dog. Who else will keep my feet warm while I draw?!

Your personal hero: My grandpa is definitely my hero. He’s been an artist and illustrator pursuing his career since he was 16 and is a 100% family man. He’s over 70 and still attends artists guild and life drawing/plein air twice a week.

The last thing to make you giggle: Funny text replies from my friend following along with my 90s hip hop lingo when I asked if she was free over the weekend. She replied, “I think I haven’t made plans yet. What’s cracklelackin’, G?” She gets me.

Current project(s): I’m currently (and finally) working on a comic with one of my best friends, who’s a writer. It’s a challenging project for me so I’m super excited about the adventure that lies ahead. Additionally, I’ll still be drawing my pop culture favorites and a new series of portraits featuring musicians who inspire me.

Check out Liana’s amazing phone cases via Casetify — they’re an exclusive partnership with HelloGiggles! And for more of her work, check out her website, Instagram, Etsy, Twitter, PinterestFacebook, and Society6.