“It’s a strange origin story, but I guess it’s mine.”
Rhianna Browne’s journey as an illustrator and graphic designer started when she won a Sonic the Hedgehog fan-art contest online.
“I guess the validation (was) that my art was good for an eight-year-old. I was so stoked, I never stopped drawing,” Browne says.
Her love for drawing began in Grade 2 and currently, she sells art online under her social media handle Rhi Rhi Draws. Browne’s work involves custom commissions, tattoo designs, pet portraits, drawings and illustrations, to name a few.
“I did a project for my friend, Alex, who is a sculptor. He commissioned me to draw him and his cat in a Fallout kind of theme. He had asked for it to be taking place in post-apocalyptic Winnipeg. It turned out to be awesome.”
Browne’s love for video games and Japanese cartoons reflects in some of her artwork and illustrations through their bright colours and themes.
One thing that overlaps all others in her life is her passion for design.
“Design is so much more than making pretty things. You study colour theory and typography,” she says. “It’s deeper than people think. There’s more to design than owning a pirated version of Photoshop.”
Though Browne has a graphic design diploma from Red River College, she says, “you don’t need to go to college to be a designer.” Browne emphasizes that she is constantly learning through online sources and books, and she continues to experiment and be creative.
“If I couldn’t be creative every day, I’d probably go insane,” she says.
Creativity is a focal point of Browne’s work, and this creativity is a way for her to add personality to her cozy and minimalistic home.
Browne’s home is a safe haven for her to be herself and manage her work at her own pace and comfort.
“I feel like when I manage my own time, I do my work better, and I get a better end result,” Browne says.
Her workday often involves consuming a dollop of hummus and putting up with constant attacks by her cats while she draws.
“It’s a little chaotic, but it’s organized chaos. It’s the amount of chaos I need to thrive.”
“I have been collecting Japanese vinyl toys since I was 13.”
“It cost more than my car. I didn’t think about it when I bought it. I was close to selling it, but I got a commission wherein I just needed it. This tablet saved my life, and I use it every single day.”
“(I’ve) got two bird books in that bookshelf from my grandpa, who passed away a few years ago. We used to always go birdwatching together, since I was a kid. When he passed away, I got the books and the binoculars from him. Those are probably my favourite things in the house.”
“This book (Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain) was more important than going to college for me. This book gets you to draw things upside-down. I love this book.”
“I’m one of those people who picks up shiny rocks. I found these from all over Manitoba or (during) road trips.”
Published in Volume 74, Number 7 of The Uniter (October 24, 2019)