Shelley Hanmo is a freelance illustrator based in Indianapolis, Indiana, who specializes in editorial illustrations.

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I am a self-taught illustrator specialized in hand-cut paper art for magazines and online editorial illustrations. Working in such a hands-on medium, I love exploring different possibilities of colors, shapes, layers, and textures in pieces of paper. Besides using paper collage techniques, I also incorporate watercolor, colored pencils, and digital mediums into my final illustrations. Being a storyteller, my artistic inspirations often come from my life experience as a woman of color, immigrant, professional musician, as well as my love for nature and conservation. 


  • Truly Co. Magazines
  • Mighty Kind Children’s Magazines
  • United We Dream
  • Kurandza
  • Indy Maven


Which publication does a great job at using illustrations?
One of my favorite children’s magazines titled Bravery (unfortunately is out of print now) did a wonderful job of bringing illustrations to life alongside stories. I love the diverse illustrations in each Bravery magazine issue and how illustrations are used in different ways, including background designs, decorations, focus points, and visual cues.

What topic do you most enjoy illustrating about?
I enjoy illustrating topics on education and empowerment. It is a topic that holds a special place in my heart. In the past three years, I collaborated with a non-for-profit organization called Kurandza by creating promotional editorial illustrations that help spreading the importance of girl’s education and empowerment in Mozambique. This project has brought much joy to me, and I would love to work on similar editorial stories in the future.

What magazine cover do you want your illustration to be on?
I am a big fan of the magazine series called Honest History. It would be a dream of mine to illustrate cover art for them! Each issue of Honest History Magazine features diverse illustrations on a particular historical event/figure or cultural story. I really enjoyed reading through the pages and discovering unique illustrations.

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