Seattle-based illustrator Esther Loopstra specializes in food and travel, hand-lettering, and surface design. Her work radiates whimsy, dreaminess, and fluidity, and is an extension of her perpetual curiosity, as seen with her illustrations on the Seattle Chocolate Celebrate Collection and line of limited-edition chocolate truffle bars for Summer. In addition to creating art, Esther has a passion for teaching others to express their own creativity and is an instructor at Cornish College of the Arts. Learn more at estherloopstra.com.
“I was first drawn to Esther’s angular illustration in cool shades of green of a hiker on a trail with his trusty dog in the Cascades and because of our parallel connection to the Pacific Northwest. Working together on our first of many projects, Esther learned Seattle Chocolate is woman-owned and -powered, and altered her image from a male to a female the day before we went to print the Hiker’s Trail Mix truffle bar. Esther is known for her whimsical illustrations and hand lettering, which she shows off in our Celebration line: drawing confetti birthday cake and birthday greetings, to a sea plane pulling a 'thank you so much' banner."
- Kirsty Ellison, vice president of marketing
Conversations with Esther
What was your inspiration behind the Celebrate Collection?
I love using bright colors and icons mixed with lettering and pattern in my designs. I used these elements to capture the excitement of the different events. We wanted the art to be an experience instead of just ordinary packaging, so I created each piece with the idea that the customer is going on a journey, both visually and in tasting the chocolate itself. It was fun to think about the customer giving or receiving this chocolate bar or gift box for their special occasion and being a small part of their festivities.
What is the most challenging part of the design process? What’s the most fun?
Sometimes I find the most challenging thing is narrowing the ideas down to just one! I have so many ideas and it’s difficult for everyone to agree on one they like best. I love creating sketches and ideas and then actually being able to bring them to life with color. Also, seeing them on the shelves is always fantastic!
How do you infuse a Northwest spirit into your work?
I create a lot of work for companies in Seattle, so I am always bringing references to the Northwest into the imagery in some way, whether it’s a color aesthetic or imagery. Travel is a big part of my life, so I draw inspiration from taking photos or just remembering those experiences.