Our Story

Handmade watercolors for those who seek creativity✨

How I started… I first started an Etsy store way back in 2018 my sophomore year of high school. I called myself Crochet 4 Geeks and crocheted “geeky” items. My first year of college I started developing hand pain so I couldn’t crochet and produce as fast. Around the same time, I discovered handmade watercolors and was determined to try it out for myself. My followers seemed interested in what I was doing so I went ahead and launched my first three colorways, Giraffe, Tiger, and Jaguar and it was surprisingly successful. So from there came lots of experimentation and trial and error. Eventually I parted with Etsy and crochet altogether, and opened up my own site with Shopify, and business has only bloomed from there! 

My life… I’ve always enjoyed teaching others. Be it in high school chemistry or someone asking about art. So naturally, I enjoy art and teaching so I pursued art education. A year away from finishing my degree I discovered that while possible, it’s truly difficult to connect with kids while teaching art Ed. There are constant lesson plans, meetings, and standards. Not to mention having only 40 minutes with 30 students in your class trying to maintain discipline. While some people rock at it, I found it entirely draining and not a lifestyle I wanted to pursue. So I started exploring other options and Art Therapy came up. I discovered I wanted to help directly impact lives through art, so I changed my major to studio arts and will go onto get my Masters in Art Therapy once I finish next year. I don’t know what the rest of my life holds but I know I am able to seek my passion due to this business. And for that, I’m eternally grateful. 
To follow my art therapy journey follow me on Instagram @WavesOfExpression 

My why… I want to directly impact lives through art. That’s exactly what The Smiling Hippo watercolors are made for. Watercolors created to be 100% fun and without purpose. I don’t want you to buy green because you’re out, I want you to buy the yellow because it speaks to you. I want your imagination to take over as you use these colors and I want them to help you find your creative spirit. Because that’s what my purpose is. 

My Process… I create watercolors by creating what speaks to me. Sometimes I’ll have a theme or character I’m creating for, but most of the time it’s just impulsive creation. I select my mica pigments, glitters, and/or gold leaf and add them to one of my mixing trays, then, I take my watercolor base and mix the watercolors together with a palette knife (I don’t mull my watercolors because with micas they dissolve naturally and you don’t have too plus I prefer the look without), after the watercolor is fully combined and the right consistency I swatch it to make sure everything is in order, then I fill up the pans and after 2-3 weeks dry time they’re ready to be used! I don’t ever write down my recipes or make a colorway the exact same twice. This way, every colorway is unique and one of a kind!

So there you are, watercolors to help you add creativity back into your artwork. I hope you find something you love and be sure to follow us on Instagram for all the updates! @TheSmilingHippo

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