Hala Wittwer Swearingen: Mormon Artist
Hala Wittwer Swearingen is an artist and illustrator. Growing up she enjoyed music and played the piano and the flute and sang. She branched off into theater and did some acting. In college, she plunged into music theater classes, but soon began to question her direction. Upon the advice of a friend, she took a basic drawing class and changed her major. She explored graphic arts at BYU-Idaho but settled on illustration, earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts in illustration from Brigham Young University.
Once graduated, she worked as a studio artist creating educational software and books for children. After four years in that field, she branched into freelance work. She was invited to teach part time at BYU-Idaho and thrived on the energy of the students. She taught basic drawing, perspective, design, color, figure drawing, narrative and conceptual illustration, and children’s book illustration. She also worked on her master’s degree, which she obtained from the College of Art and Design at Lesley University. She became a full-time illustration professor at California State University, Fullerton (2009¬–2015) and in August 2015 became an assistant professor of illustration at Southern Utah University. She also continues to illustrate.
Some of the books she has illustrated include Meow: Cat Stories Around the World (by Jane Yolen); Dragon Egg; Spring Surprises; Love & Kisses, Bunny; What’s Hatching?; and Turtles Take Their Time. She has illustrated several titles in the Wee Sing series, such as The Hokey Pokey, Old MacDonald, The Ants Go Marching, and If You’re Happy and You Know It.
She has illustrated for Bath & Body Works, Biondo Group, Gamewright, Harcourt, HarperCollins, Hyperion, Kimberly-Clark Company, Pan Macmillan of London, Penguin Putnam, Piggy Toes Press/Creative Edge, Random House, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, Somerset House Publishing, Tor Books, and Friend Magazine. She is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Hala also does gallery work and her work has been included in many exhibitions. In 2013, her work was awarded a Bronze Medal from Society of Illustrators in Los Angeles.
She is married to illustrator Greg Swearingen.