Hannah Bogenreuther, of Portland, Oregon, is a Social Media Manager by day and the creator of Girl Power Illustrations by night. A creative artist by nature, she enjoys graphic design, storytelling, videography, photography and brand strategy to keep her "creative juices flowing" in both of her roles.
With a purchase of a Wacom drawing pad in January and a search on her computer for an old edition of Adobe Illustrator, Girl Power Illustrations was born. Hannah has been teaching herself Illustrator as she goes along, admitting that this has been something she has "always wanted to try." Now, Girl Power Illustrations has grown into an Instagram account and online shop and blog for those who have something to say all headed by Hannah with a friend contributing content.
At its core, Girl Power Illustrations is committed to creating an active relationship online. Through her role as a social media manager (which she says definitely has its pros and cons), Hannah was troubled by the fact that brands often use their customers and followers' interest in them to get more engagement on a post when they posed a question while brands rarely show an interest back to their followers. People would honor their request by flocking to answer their question in the comments, giving them a follow, and so forth while the brand did not expect to owe them anything.
On GIrl Power Illustrations, however, Hannah became committed to being a place where the questions being asked by a brand or account are genuine and become the building blocks of a genuine, long-lasting relationship. Girl Power Illustrations does this by posing a question to their social media and website. The responses received become the illustrations that she creates.
She says, "When someone answers a Girl Power Illustration question they will receive a genuine and robust response, followed up with more questions and a custom illustration of themselves that celebrates self-compassion and who they are as women. "We will also check-in just to say 'Hi! Have a great day!' sometimes. We have also just started to interview the women who have answered the question so that their voices and stories have a platform."
Last week, Hannah emailed questions to some of the women she has drawn, seeking to gain more information about their experiences, struggles, and triumphs. She hopes to start posting those interviews soon, detailing all the good and bad females go through.
Hannah believes that more accounts and brands are starting to become more authentic on social media, but we need to do more. Hannah revealed that one of the other passions besides promoting girl power is advocating for people with invisible illnesses. Hannah suffers from chronic migraines and things like even getting through a normal work week can be difficult. Trying to bring her illness up at work- without appearing needy- is even more difficult.
As she promotes girl power through her mission, account, and shop, Hannah has given much thought in the term. Hannah says girl power is personal and powerful. She says, "It is about embracing who you are and having compassion for yourself. Instead of judging yourself for any shortcomings, find the power within yourself to be kind understanding and sympathetic to yourself."
She recalls being 13 years old and owning a shirt that said in varsity font “Girl Power.” She remembers feeling strong and powerful in the shirt that inspired her to keep up with the boys she raced against on the soccer field at the time. That shirt was a way for her to see and feel her power and have self-compassion for her capabilities. Girl Power Illustrates also hopes to be visual, like the shirt, and remind people, "How rad and badass they are when they forget [how amazing they are]".
Having self-compassion and self-love for yourself can be difficult in a society that imposes so many standards and expectations, especially for females. Hannah admits that society's pressure for women to always look top-notch is most pressing in her own life.
She claims, "Average sized women (like myself) are seen as “overweight” or unhealthy. I don’t get it and I never will. I could go on and on, but we all know that needs to be shattered. Also, this week I am bummed because I realized my male co-workers all wear Vans, but I think if I wore my Van’s high-tops to work it would be considered unprofessional. I am going to try it, I think! I feel so 'me' in my high-tops…and I can still be professional!"
Hannah's favorite illustration she has done so far is also her 6th post on Instagram. The illustration is a girl with purple hair, hoops, a bikini top that says “GRL PWR” and flares with lips on it.
Another favorite is the illustration she did of London Moore, which featured London surrounded by plants in her home- what London calls her #PrettyPrison, as she has been bedridden while being ill. Hannah described this one as special because London's reaction was emotional and meant so much to her. Girl Power Illustrations prioritizes helping women, "fall in love with healing themselves" and that drawing made her extra proud to be building relationships with women and helping them have a better day.
To further promote this mission, Hannah is dedicating this month to patterns and asked the community to respond with the things that make them happy. She then illustrates their happy things into an image they can set as a background or wallpaper as a constant reminder to stay positive.
Hannah is full of passion and has so many creative ideas to further Girl Power Illustrations. Her goal is to create 365 women inspired illustrations by December 31, 2018. She has completed about 70 already for the year. Additionally, she would like to paint a collaborative “Girl Power” mural in Portland, begin animating some of the art and begin creating a small book of the interviews and illustrations she has done this year.
Her muse to keep creating is all of the women who answer her DMs and her commitment to create a two-way social media relationship. She says, "No two women have answered the same question the same way... which is SO cool."
Author: Maura Sheedy