This North Carolina Artist's Work Ended up in the White House


      We illustrators can be an a group of artists who tend to get glanced over a lot. People know their favourite filmmakers, fashion designers, architects and photographers. But what about illustrators? What about the artists whose work is everywhere: books, posters, album covers, and the covers of the cute little planners we buy to pretend we’re getting our life together? Their work is everywhere, and has gained some really amazing artists. So here’s a new favourite to add to your list!


     Seton McGlennon is a self-taught North Carolina illustrator/painter creating some amazing work that has caught the eye of many. Her illustrations have been featured in PEOPLE magazine as well as Southern Living, and also in numerous private collections such as The Joan Didion Family and Dennis Miller collections. But she’s also had a few other clients you may recognize. In 1999 her work hung from the White House Christmas tree during the Clinton administration, where is was also featured in the Clinton’s private collection. Then in 2004 her work returned to the White House to be a part of the George Bush private collection as well.


Her work has also been featured on the Oprah Winfrey show as a part of Oprah's favourite things. Here McGlennon created a “memory trunk” featuring her illustrations that Oprah absolutely fell in love with.


What makes McGlennon’s work unique is the intimacy of narrative that comes with it. Her work features whimsical and colorful illustrations that tell a personal story in each painting. Each illustration is personalized for her client in an intricate, fun design that represents them. Whether it be their home, pet or life story, Seton McGlennon has preserved it through her illustrations.


Knowing and having the amazing opportunity to work with McGlennon personally, I was able to ask her a few questions about her work and how she does it.



There’s no doubt her style is unique, so I asked about how she came across her specific style. Although she has been influenced by the comic book art of the 50’s and even ongoing comics such ‘Betty and Veronica’ by Archie Comics, she said, “My mind just thinks in jokes and leans toward cartoons…”. Stemming from this, McGlennon added: [my style] has just evolved from the enjoyment I get from the characters I create.”


Digging a bit deeper into her methods, I asked McGlennon about about her individual creative process. Because her work preserves unique stories for each client McGlennon discussed how she “let’s her illustrations do the talking” by focusing on the clients passion, their specific story. She then goes on to lay out the memories and weave them together in order to create a fun visual representation of the memory, person or place.

She went on to say, “As an idea person, my business clients might need a specific design for a holiday card or campaign. I compile my ideas or they might lean towards an idea and then I spin it, complete it, or add to it, thus creating a custom illustration”.


Finally, McGlennon leaves us with great words of advice to anyone in the art field, she says: “Use and train your eye, follow your style and smile at your creation”.


You can check out her work and order your own custom Seton Glennon piece here!