In conversation with: Samantha Hahn



Samantha Hahn is a Brooklyn based illustrator, creative director and author.

Her work has been internationally exhibited from New York to Hong Kong and featured in numerous art and design books. It has been selected for American Illustration and Society of Illustrators annuals for many years.

I was intrigued to chat with Samantha about the Rainbow Milk cover, which she designed in collaboration with Emily Mahon

Rainbow Milk is an essential and revelatory coming-of-age narrative from a thrilling new voice, Rainbow Milk follows nineteen-year-old Jesse McCarthy as he grapples with his racial and sexual identities against the backdrop of his Jehovah's Witness upbringing.

photo by Dina Kantor

What’s a typical day look like for you?

That's changed a lot over the course of the pandemic. Long gone are the days when I dropped my kids off at school and worked in my studio all day. This is a general day as of late:

Wake at 5AM- meditate, exercise, get ready

6-8:30AM- do the kid's morning routine (breakfast, reading, getting ready for remote school or 1/2 hybrid in person school). 

8:50-11- work in my studio. My 6th grade son is next to me doing his school. He always has a pencil sharpening emergency when I'm on a Zoom meeting.

11:30-12:15PM- prep lunch, eat lunch with the whole family

12:30-3PM- work and manage kids

3-5PM- take kids on afternoon outing

5-7PM- dinner and relax

7-10PM- mix of work and relaxing and bedtime routines etc.

The Rainbow Milk cover is really quite striking. What was the inspiration behind it? You collaborated with Emily Mahon on the cover. What did the creative process for look like? 

I was playing around with drippy paint lettering and designer/art director Emily Mahon saw the experiments on Instagram and asked me to send some over to present to the Penguin team for this cover. They loved them and gave us the green light. Emily was a joy to work with. 

She was open to more experimentation and a variety of colors and drippy styles which I mocked up into the photos. The photo then changed so Emily and I collaborated on how to integrate the lettering into a new photo.

What’s your favorite book? 

For my book Well-Read Women I went back into the canon to read or re-read classic literature with an eye for dynamic female characters. I especially love The Awakening by Kate Chopin. I think my other favorite is East of Eden

Samantha, an author in her own right, has penned two books. 

Well Read Woman: Portraits of Fiction's Most Beloved Heroines, a Heather's Pick at Indigo. The book is a treasure of a gift for the well-read woman, this collection brings together 50 stirring portraits, in watercolor and in word, of literature's most well-read female characters.

Her second book A Mother is a Story, is a stunning collection of hand-lettered quotes and ethereal illustrations. Rendered in Hahn’s signature watercolors, the book portrays the shared experience of motherhood in all its glorious, messy, sublime beauty.

For a look at Samantha's original rainbow paintings and prints, view her shop Maison Rainbow

Special collaborative print made for Kule for a Pride Month capsule collection

Kule is donating a portion of proceeds to Ali Forney the largest organization dedicated to LGBTQ homeless youth in the country.

Rainbow Milk is available for purchase in hardback at Indigo and in e-book or audiobook format on Kobo. Check Penguin Random House CA for additional retailers.