ONNE on Onne With Illustrator Bree McDonald

At ONNE, we love the complexity of simplicity and one designer we are totally crushing on who illustrates this concept impeccably is Bree from Secret Weapon Creative. On first glance, her illustrations are beautifully simple but on closer inspection, you start to get the sense of raw talent and the complexity in the details of each piece. We chat with Bree McDonald, Illustrator, Typographer and Creative Director about what inspires her and how she keeps a balanced life.


Tell us a little bit about your background, did you always know that design was what you wanted to do?

Not surprisingly art was my favourite subject at school and that lead me to study art and design at University. This leads me to enjoy a few years as an art director in an advertising agency before starting my own independent creative design studio in 2007. While I really enjoy my client work, last year I also branched out with a new art print range. This was to satisfy my need for a little extra creative freedom, to get my hands dirty again (hello inky fingers) and to break up my ’screen time’.

Your line works drawings are so incredible, how long does it take you from concept to the final piece and the process that you go through?

I put pen/brush to paper first, scan the final draft, clean it up in Photoshop then take the final drawing into Illustrator to retrace and refine so it can be scaled to any size without loss of resolution. This can take anywhere from 1 hour to a few days!


What is your favourite medium to work with?

A water brush pen or Pentel Sign Pen... Also am so thankful for my Adobe Creative Suite to complete the job.


What is your favourite part of your job?

Positive client feedback and seeing my work outside the studio in ‘real-life'!


How has your work evolved over the years?

Through lots of experimentation, practice, learning new techniques, having a more diverse appreciation for other artists and embracing new trends.


Who/what/where do you draw your inspiration from

Who: Artists who have a great appreciation of colour, line work, technique and own a signature style. What: New design trends on Instagram, in magazines and in fashion. Where: I am forever gazing at amazing window displays, flicking through innovative magazines, and getting lost in the endless warren of Insta hashtags when exploring a new direction/style.


How do you balance time between the demands of your work, social/family time and ‘me’ time?

It is hard but I try and compartmentalise my time...

1. My kids are my ultimate priority. They are young and the time they need me will be short (feels like forever at the moment though - haha).

2. My client work allows me to fulfil my passion for graphic design and is given my full attention during my work hours from Monday - Friday.

3. Evenings and small pockets on the weekend are stolen for creative freedom - mostly developing my art prints.


Favourite travel destination/s Perth, Western Australia. Cottesloe Beach is my favourite place on earth. Offshore I have really enjoyed Paris for the architecture, Switzerland for the scenery, Rome for the art and New Zealand for the adventure.


You create so many beautiful quotes with your typography, do you have a life motto/mantra?

I have loved this quote since I first heard Eleanor Pendleton say it on a Myer promo back in 2017 - “Own what makes you different because that's what makes you beautiful.”


How can we stay in contact with you?


Instagram: @secretweapon_creative

FaceBook Page: @secretweaponcreative