Welcome to INTERVIEWED, a series of interviews and discussions with creators of all kinds. Today we’re joined with the YouTuber and artist of many incredible talents, Hannah-Marie of CottonBun!
Photo credit: Louisa Cook
D: What do you do online?
H: I make YouTube videos! Mostly about all of the fandoms I am part of (Disney, Nintendo, Harry Potter…) as well as art and craft themed videos.
I love painting, making, and being creative, especially when I can fuse my artistic side with my nerdy interests. Doing this online means I can be inspired as well as inspire other people to be creative at the same time!
D: Can you tell me a bit about your offline life?
H: I’m 24 and I’m from Brighton, but have been living in London since I graduated from the University of Hertfordshire. I recently moved back home to pursue my dream of being a painter! I love painting and am currently trying out with different styles in order to find my own. At the moment I’m playing with lots of different subjects and themes. I also love writing and I try to write every day, whether in a journal or on a story idea.
D: Great that you’re chasing your dreams! You’ve also worked as a prop maker as well right?
H: Yes I was a prop maker on a few different films. I did work experience on Guardians of the Galaxy, and Thor: The Dark World. Then my first job was on Legend of Tarzan, followed by Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and Justice League.
D: How is that work? Is it stressful?
H: It can be quite stressful, as there is a lot to do and the deadlines are tight – so the pressure is high. But luckily I was with the best crew ever, whom I met on Tarzan. So I worked with that same Props department for Beauty and the Beast and Justice League, as often the same group of people will work together on different movies.
D: That’s really interesting!
H: When you are all working together, and in the same situation then it doesn’t seem as stressful.
D: So what was it that got you to start making YouTube videos?
H: I’ve wanted to start a YouTube channel forever! I got into making videos after watching a few of my online friends start a channel, and really enjoy it.
It was the perfect way for me to combine all my passions as well as connect with new and existing friends – and I’ve met some of my besties through YouTube.
D: Where do your draw your creativity from?
H: I guess I’ve always been quite creative. When I was really young I would make my own comics and illustrated stories, one was about an elephant that flew to the moon on a balloon. I’m a very curious creature, so I think that’s where I get a lot of my ideas – people and characters fascinate me, and always inspire me to paint and draw. I’m a massive movie nerd as well so continuously watching films always makes me feel very inspired.
D: Movies are always a cool place to draw inspiration from, especially with the things you’ve been doing!
H: Very true. I don’t know what my life would be without movies! I just love being immersed in another world, or following a new narrative. Movies are the best.
D: Do you have any future creative plans?
H: I have a few creative goals that I’m working towards – though some will take more time than others. My dream is to be able to live off my art, working as a traditional painter and exhibiting in galleries, though it could take years to get there. I want to complete my first series of large paintings by the end of the year.
As I mentioned before I also love writing, and am quite excited about the idea I’m working on now. The characters are there but I have yet to settle on a solid plot. I feel that my writing and paintings have begun to feed off each other, with parallels between the two. Though I have yet to make the biggest and most terrifying creative leap – making my “private” work public!
D: That’s all very exciting! One day you’ll make that leap and I’m sure it’ll feel amazing.
What parts of online creating, and creating in general, do you find difficult?
H: Thank you!
At the moment I’m finding it quite hard to make time for everything. I have a part-time job to do on top of filming and editing YouTube videos, painting, and writing. Spending time with friends and family is near impossible but it’s important, so I also need to fit that in.
It’s all a bit crazy at the moment! But I kinda like being this busy, in a weird way.
D: Busy can feel good when you enjoy what you’re busy with.
H: Yes, definitely.
D: Conversely, do you have a favourite part of creating?
H: My favourite part of being on YouTube is building a community. Getting to know my audience is way more fun than I could have anticipated, and inspiring people to be creative themselves is the best feeling!
D: Do you any people who influence you the most?
H: This question is so hard! I find so many people influential. Authors, YouTubers, friends…
In terms of my art style, I find myself fascinated by pop-surrealism. Artists like hikarishimoda and soyounlee on Instagram, and Camilla d’Errico, whom I’ve admired for a few years now.
When it comes to YouTube, I’m still fairly new to making videos, and I feel my channel is still finding it’s feet – I don’t have a “brand” as such. But I am constantly influenced by creators with lots of imaginations, who aren’t afraid to be themselves. Creators such as SimplyKenna, Jessie Paege, Noodlerella, Beckie Jane Brown, BananaJamana, Stephanie Michelle and Kelly Eden, to name a few!
D: A good varied choice!
Do you have any stand out memories of creating, whether it’s something you’ve made or otherwise?
H: They’re all very special people.
I will always remember working on the props for Disney’s live action Beauty and the Beast. It’s been a dream of mine to work on a Disney film since I first started watching them as a little girl. Being a part of the magic and helping to recreate such a classic using my skills as a prop maker is a very special memory to me.
D: That’s such an amazing thing to be a part of, and the props in that film at so incredible!
H: Everyone I met on that movie worked so unbelievably hard. The attention to detail was just astounding.
D: What’s your Hogwarts house?
H: I’m a Slytherin!
D: What’s your favourite film?
H: I honestly can’t choose a favourite film. I think my favourite genre would have to be film noir type thrillers, like Under the Skin, Black Swan, Drive, Nightcrawler…
But then my inner Disney fangirl tells me my favourite film is Tangled. An odd combo, I know!
D: Finally; favourite artist/band/musicians?
H: My absolute favourite artist is Lady Gaga. I was a big Bowie & Prince fan, they were my holy trinity. Alas, only my mother monster is left.
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