Behind the Scenes with Hiller Goodspeed

Kirsten McCreaINTERVIEWS

Artist Hiller Goodspeed

Hiller Goodspeed is a Florida boy currently living and creating in the Pacific Northwest. He works almost exclusively with pencils to produce iconic and innocent drawings of friendly shapes and little faces on scrap paper. His characters, both weird and whimsical, channel the special feelings of a generation embracing individuality, self-care, and super-positivity. Amongst Goodspeed’s many fans online, his drawings have become popular memes and stand-ins for emotional expression.

Subscribe by October 31st to receive a surprise print set from Hiller, featuring FIVE risograph prints and a fun creative activity.


Tell us about these five little drawings.
My drawings start out as singular thoughts I have while sitting on the bus or walking around my neighbourhood. For a few days, I think about these thoughts, and when I think of a good image, I sit down and try to pair the two together, though sometimes they work just fine as pieces all by themselves.

illustration by artist Hiller Goodspeed

What is your typical day like?
I eat an English muffin and a banana almost every day for breakfast. I take the bus most everywhere, so my day usually has a lot of sitting and thinking and reading in it. My wife Erin and I spend a lot of time hanging out in our apartment, listening to music and watching things and making food. I also spend quite a lot of time in Stanley Park, a small forest near our Vancouver apartment.

illustration by artist Hiller Goodspeed

What is your studio like?
Erin and I have turned the dining room of our apartment into a little studio space.  I just bought a computer this past weekend, so I had to put up shelves and relocate all of my knick-knacks and desk things. Overall it’s a nice space, it has good light and is right next to the kitchen.

illustration by artist Hiller Goodspeed

What is the most important thing in your studio?
The tapestry that hangs to the left of my desk is special to me. I bought it while living in Portland and it has always made me happy to look at.

How do you do to get in the zone?
I like to listen to music when I draw, especially bands like Beat Happening, The Magnetic Fields, The Olivia Tremor Control, and The Books. Having a coffee or tea nearby is important too. Sometimes the creative zone feels far away, and I just have to wait for it to come back around again.

How has your practice changed over time?
When I was younger, I tried to make a more serious and cool kind of art, which was okay for awhile, but as I progressed, I found myself gravitating towards more simple styles and methods. I make the art I make now as a way to unwind. It’s kind of like keeping a diary, by making art I’m able to express things that I don’t have very many other ways of expressing. Thoughts and daydreams and ideas pile up quickly, and making art is a way for me to put those things away, so I don’t have to carry them around with me all of the time.

illustration by artist Hiller Goodspeed

Tell us about a career highlight.
Once I saw an illustration I had done in the gutter by the bus stop and thought “Wow!” It’s a special thing to see something you’ve made out in the world as just another piece of regular garbage.

What do you like about being an artist?
The best thing about being an artist is getting to share the things that I make with people who appreciate them.

Hiller Goodspeed illustration

What advice do you have for aspiring artists?
Be patient. Take your time figuring out what you want to make and how you would like to make it. Your art doesn’t have to be complicated if you don’t want it to be. Create art for yourself, art that makes you feel good even if no one else ever sees it.

Hiller Goodspeed is our November 2017 artist.
See more at hillergoodspeed.com