Name: Peter Harren
Occupation : Illustrator
Etsy Shop: Peter’s Garden
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a dude that’s working on Picture Books. Settling in for the long haul. Making stories and hoping for publication. I recently moved to Minnesota with my fiancé Kayla, Doodle our Coonhound, and Herman Melville our spirited and comically obese guinea pig.
When did you start creating and how long have you been on Etsy?
I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember, but I didn’t commit to it until I was around 22. It wasn’t easy. I didn’t like a lot of my drawings, but I loved other people’s drawings. It was a long time before I started having fun with it. I opened my shop in late 2010.
How did you come up with your business name, is there any special meaning behind it?
I was reading ‘Iron John’ when I started my Etsy shop. There’s a chapter called “The Meeting with the God-Woman in the Garden” about the importance of having a figurative (or literal) garden to go for shelter and to watch things transform. Sketchbooks are my garden.
Has your Etsy shop become your full time job? If not, would you like it to be?
Etsy is not my full time job. It would definitely be an awesome full time job, but realistically it would probably be an epic struggle to maintain sales. Working on children’s books is enough of a struggle right now, so it’s nice to have Etsy in a low pressure ‘extra-credit’ place. But I still feel like some day I’d like to put everything I have into Etsy.
How would you describe your creative process?
I rarely start with an idea. I like to make a mark and let my imagination play with it until it becomes a finished drawing. Sometimes I start with an idea though. Either way, I try to keep it loose. I’m not afraid to erase, and start over. If it isn’t fun then I know I’m doing it wrong.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I read a lot, listen to a lot of music, and look at a lot of art. Silly stuff and serious stuff. Here’s a great Hunter Thompson quote about inspiration and music:
“Music has always been a matter of Energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel. I have always needed Fuel. I am a serious consumer. On some nights I still believe that a car with the gas needle on empty can run about fifty more miles if you have the right music very loud on the radio.”
What is your most cherished handmade item?
I’m lucky enough to have a box full of drawings, notes and handmade books that my fiancé made for me. Also, do pancakes count?
Apart from creating things, what do you like to do?
I love running. I love bikes. I love hanging out with my lady and my dumb dog.
Was there ever any other job you dreamed of having growing up?
I think I’ve daydreamed about every job out there. Except the boring business-y jobs. I still do it all the time. I was just wondering if I’d like being a night janitor. It might be relaxing.
Five years from now you will be…
Still confused and still drawing.
Describe yourself in five words:
I’m not sure I have enough self awareness for such a task.
Carrying on with the five theme, if I were to turn on your <insert whatever type of music player you use here>, what five artists/songs would I see on your recently played list?
‘Ootischenia’ by the Be Good Tanyas, ‘Long Shadows’ by Josh Ritter, ‘Airplanes’ by Local Natives, ‘Sweet Lies’ by Beres Hammond, ‘Weary Memory’ by Iron and Wine.
Lastly, do you have any advice for anyone thinking about opening their own shop or participating in craft shows?
Etsy is one of those rare low risk endeavors with a lot of potential. And the people who use it are really flippin’ nice.