- How long have you been an artist?
- Where do you get inspiration for your work?
- What artists influence you?
- Where did you get your start?
- Did you go to school?
- Do you use your computer?
- How do you break into the industry of art?
- How do you get a following?
- Do you have advice for me?
- Do you do commissions?
- What materials do you use?
How long have you been an artist?
I quit my full time job about in 2014 to be an artist full time. I was lucky enough to get a full time position at a local comic book store in 2011 and met a lot of influential people through that. I ‘thought’ that I was talented enough to make it on my own at this point in my artistic journey, but let me let me tell you I was dead wrong. I’m thankful to the support I had through this entire journey or else I wouldn’t be where I am at today. The artistic world is a competitive one. Be prepared.
Where do you get inspiration for your work?
I get inspiration when something speaks to me. But I fall in and out of inspiration constantly. It’s not too uncommon for me to love something one day, come back to it the next, and hate it. I waste paper like that, however, it does keep me on my toes. Something I enjoy are photography books, and graphic novels. Landscapes, old barns, nature, these are all things that help me progress. Find your inspiration 🙂 I also look a lot on Instagram and Pinterest at other artists work, I’m scattered with inspiration like that!
What artists influence you?
This is a hard question. I fall in and out of love with artists constantly. Some artists that stay with me are Joelle Jones, Roc Upchurch, Ben Templesmith, Drew Struzan, and Stjepan Sejic to just name a few. Bob Ross was a heavy influence in my early years as well. Scott M Fischer is my new obsession so feel free to check him out! Also Amy Brown is definitely up there with people who probably made me who I am today haha!
Where did you get your start?
I don’t think ‘start’ is the proper term. This was never really a thing I planned on doing. I kind of just eased into it. I quit my job at the comic book store, but even then, I didn’t ‘start’ being an artist. And no one ever ‘finishes’ being an artist. You just continue to try and push yourself because no one will do that for you. All I can say is that you HAVE to put yourself out there and you need to be shot down. How many times you get up after that is what makes great artists.
Did you go to school?
I didn’t go to school for Art. I went to school and got my BA in Fashion Design. I like to sew. I’ve always liked to sew and that was my go to career. I worked at David’s Bridal for quite some time to realize that I do not like sewing for other people. Which is a problem. Over the years from that job to my comic job, I’ve always drawn in my spare time, and thought I was amazing (I wasn’t) but didn’t think I could actually do it as a career.
Do you use your computer?
Oh yeah. Big time. I use a scanner, and scan my original pieces in. and edit them in Photoshop. I’m not a big Photoshop wizz or anything, but I did spend a good year ONLY practicing with digital art because I wanted to be better, but the digital art world is so competitive I didn’t feel like I stood a chance. Get familiar with Photoshop. It’s worth it’s weight in gold if you can edit photos, and make them look appealing. Art is a visual career, if you can’t make something look good, then why are you here?
How do you break into the industry of art?
I get this question a lot. Probably the most often. And let me tell you, I have no idea. If you are the lucky few that get your art shared by someone famous and all of a sudden you are loving life and coasting, awesome. Good for you. The other 99% of us who clawed their way to the surface are still waiting for that to happen. Basically, if you want your art to be seen by a lot of people, it’s not going to happen unless you put in the foot work. Learn social media, times, dates, hashtags. Contact people WAY above your skill level and I find that 9/10 they often add me back on facebook. Watch youtube videos, continue to get better. Never stop trying to get better because the second you think you are ‘done’ being an artist and has everything at the top skill level is the second you are paving the way for something to surpass you.
How do you get a following?
Again, never stop. This question I find to be troublesome. Because when I sucked a few years ago, I asked other artists WAY ABOVE ME this same question and bless their hearts, they answered me. Wasn’t much help, but believe me, it’s an annoying question. Why? Because if there was some equation to magically be successful, don’t you think someone would have used it already? When I was working at the comic book store, I got so irritated at the question “How do you know what comics will be worth something?”. Again, there is NO EASY EQUATION FOR SUCCESS. None, unless you already have a ton of money or a very successful spouse, there is no easy path. So when you ask someone who has been doing this for years, decades even, an easy way to do their same job that they spend millions of hours perfecting, it’s tiring. Try hard, work hard, never stop. That’s all I can say.
Do you have advice for me?
If you are a serious artist, then you won’t stop. Stopping, is the quicksand of the art world. It’s not a journey you can just simple coast on. It’s an uphill battle, with quicksand, and nettles, and land mines. And there is no finish line, but, the longer you do it, it does get easier. You build up skill, talent, connections, and you will go further. Remember, you never ‘finish’ being an artist. You constantly grow.
What materials do you use?
I use a lot of materials. But I don’t spend a lot of money all the time. I get Fabriano watercolor paper, sometimes I use cold press, sometimes hot press, whatever I’m in the mood for, I use a variety of watercolors from pads to sets, Daniel Smith mostly. Prismacolor pencils as well. You get as much out of your art as you put into it so don’t be afraid to splurge.