billie claire

hand lettering, floral profanity, and major sass

washington - dc             @billieclairehandmade                  billieclairehandmade@gmail.com          

Photo by Taylor Parker Photography

Photo by Taylor Parker Photography

Photo by Taylor Parker Photography

Photo by Taylor Parker Photography

Photo by Taylor Parker Photography

Photo by Taylor Parker Photography

Hello! My name is Claire, and I am an illustrator and digital artist, specializing in hand lettering, ink drawings, and graphic design. I sell my artwork every weekend at the historic Eastern Market in the heart of Washington, DC; and I love connecting with my customers over mental health, community, and salty attitudes. 

I was named after my Great Aunt Billie Claire (Wilhelmina Claire), which is where my business name comes from. I am originally from northern New Mexico, where I grew up building forts and catching lizards instead of being aware of the MTV magic happening on cable, so please pardon my extreme lack of pop culture knowledge. (HOWEVER, I know a whole lot about native New Mexican plant species and how to get pine sap off your hands, so… that’s a win, right?) I went to school in New Orleans, where I fell in love with both a man (my husband) and a city. I had the privilege of working at Preservation Jazz Hall and as an event planner for the Contemporary Arts Center; and I got to ride the street car to work every day. I love that city like I would a person, and my chest swells when I even think of those oak tree lined streets and the French Quarter. From there, I spent a decade in Austin, Texas, which is where Billie Claire Handmade was born, and where my obsession with tacos began. We used to live right on the greenbelt, and I miss the coyotes and armadillos that used to come up to our apartment so very much. During my time there, my days were split between growing Billie Claire Handmade and The Hermes Lab - where I taught after school clubs like sewing and crafts, and enrichment classes like world geography and social studies. In April 2019, my husband and I packed up a Budget truck and moved across the states to Washington, DC. After being in Austin for a decade, it was time for some new adventure! We’re thrilled to have shorter summers, to be just a few hours from the beach AND the mountains, and to be able to walk or metro everywhere we go.  

I am a self-taught doodler, and every design of mine begins with a pencil and Micron ink pen in her sketchbook. I sometimes daydream about the idea of using ProCreate on an iPad, but I’m a bit stubborn and old-school, and I love the tangible aspect of sketching on lusciously thick paper. Once my sketches have been inked in, I turns to Adobe Illustrator to digitize and color my work, and then they are off to the local printshop for digital printing.

Here are some general thoughts:

1. I freaking love goats and dogs, and cats. And camels and llamas and horses. Really, any creature that has some floofy hair that I can ruffle and snuggle. The Exotic Resort Zoo is my favorite place in Texas, and if you haven’t been there, MAKE IT HAPPEN.

2. I could eat tacos for every meal of every day and still love them.

3. Micron ink pens are the very best, and what I use for every single drawing I make. There is NOTHING BETTER than a brand new ink pen.

4. The natural cubic formation of pyrite is one of my most favorite things; it blows my mind that nature can make something like that, and it’s all MATH. (And chemistry.) (And maybe proof of aliens.)

5. Favorite people include: Roald Dahl. Greg Vendetti. Robert Plant. Bing Crosby. Cab Calloway.

Gondoliering through cacti and sage brush with my sister. (I'm the bald one on the left.)

Gondoliering through cacti and sage brush with my sister. (I'm the bald one on the left.)

Walking and drinking in my favorite city in the world. (New Orleans)

Walking and drinking in my favorite city in the world. (New Orleans)

I just really love goats.

I just really love goats.