Where are you from / currently live?
I was born and raised in a very small community in Northern Michigan. Currently, I live in Burbank, California
I got into drawing from a pretty early age, and decided I wanted to be an artist when I was 7 years old. Since then, I have studied Graphic Design (BA) at KCAD in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Classical Drawing at the SACI Academy in Florence, Italy, and Classical Animation at Vancouver Film School.
Currently, I work as a commercial story board artist, and co-run The Model Drawing Collective, one of the largest life drawing workshops in Los Angles.
Everything can be a learning experience, even retail jobs teach patience. I stated out working odd jobs, and teaching design drawing as a tutor at KCAD. Teaching a skill to someone else is a great way to grow more too! After that, I did (and still do) freelance work, which has helped me work under pressure: tight budgets and even tighter deadlines. Running a life drawing group definitely helps with technical and communication skills. Life drawing by the way, is a great way to develop almost any artistic discipline: animation, character design, modeling, sculpture- or even just overall confidence of forms and lines. What I’m saying is, come to my life drawing! https://www.facebook. com/modeldrawingcollective
Has working around so many other GDG artists influenced your art style? If so, in what way?
Perhaps not my artistic style, but I met one of my closest friends at the first gallery event I attended a couple years back. Professionally, it’s given me some great opportunities too- working the Pasadena Chalk Festival, SDCC and lecturing at UCLA have been highlights in my career.
You recently went to Paris to study art, what was your takeaway from that trip?
Paris was an amazing experience- something I had planned since I was 15 years old. I spent three months studying at the Louvre, which anyone can do if they are an adult and apply for a professional pass (which only costs around 40 USD!) Since I had planned this trip solely for personal study, I spent most of my time copying works and sketching from the Old Masters, and also meeting other artists and visiting their life drawing workshops. It’s hard to simplify the experience into one takeaway, but the trip definitely broadened my perspective regarding how other cultures celebrate their artistic heritage. Though subtle, there was a level of respect offered to me in Paris because I was a studying artist that I would love to see more of here in the US.
Where do you find your inspiration for your art?
I love old fairy tales and folktales. I love listening to people’s family stories and their histories. I love unlikely animal friendships too. I think those loves show up in my art, both in my subject matter, and in the way I draw
Do you have a preference between working with digital or traditional methods? Could you give a couple reasons why?
I like both. My background is very traditionally based: charcoal, pencil, and ink. I enjoy and use all of these mediums because they can be practical and comforting. There is something very intimate about having a sketchbook with me wherever I go. In a practical sense, it’s just quicker and less committal to use pen a paper for quick thumbnails before I begin a project at work- it makes me feel more connected to the project too. Digital is fantastic for commercial art because it’s so easy to share, replicate, reproduce, and edit. At the end of the day, they are both just tools.
Are there any artistic disciplines (sculpture, painting, photography, fashion, etc, anything….) that you have a passion for?
Life drawing and story telling- lucky for me, the two fit together pretty nicely. In my free time, I also love doing long render studies of casts and bones.
Is there a type of art that you‘ve always wanted to learn?
Tattooing. Something about using ink and needles is really appealing to me. I’ve always shied away from learning it because the idea of practicing on people/dead pigs (yikes!) was just too daunting. Modern technology has developed a sort of prosthetic skin sketchbook though, so when I get some extra money, I will definitely be giving it a try!
Based on your professional experiences, do you have any advice for aspiring young women artists?
Two things actually..
It seems like young artists get really stressed out about having a “style” or finding “THEIR style,” but don’t worry or even think about it. Practice good fundamentals instead, because if it comes from your hand, it’s already your style.
Sexism in our industry is real, so don’t be surprised when you encounter it. Remind yourself (and possibly others) that unless you are, in fact, operating your stylus with your genitals, gender has nothing to do with your job.