Artist Spotlight: Penelope Gaylord Interview
I was born near Manila, Philippines but home is the Washington, DC area.
Could you give us a brief overview of your art background (when you first became interested in art, education, work history, etc…) we just need a couple sentences, doesn’t have to be full bio.
I think The Little Mermaid had a huge influence on me to want to draw, even though I didn’t know it at the time. I was drawing Disney Princesses until high school. Then I got into anime, specifically Sailor Moon and Ranma ½. After high school, I started to take art more seriously and got into comics with my now-husband Jerry. We started out doing independent comics for other people but our first big project was “Fanboys Vs. Zombies” published by Boom Studios. From there, I’ve worked on other properties like “Adventure Time” and “My Little Pony.” Outside of comics, I draw illustrations for whoever wants to hire me!
Describe some of the jobs you have done professionally how they have helped develop your artistic skills.
I’ve been a freelance illustrator for a few years now. Doing comics has really helped me to broaden my understanding of what art could look like. I’ve been to so many comic cons and seen so many different styles of art that I can’t help but be influenced by them. Some projects have asked me to stay on-model, some give me artistic freedom, and that’s really helped me to be flexible. There’s really nothing better than learning on the job.
Has working with other GDG artists influenced your style? If so, in what way?
Being a part of GDG has certainly pushed me to get better. There are so many amazing women with very impressive accolades that it’s really made me step outside of my comfort zone and truly earn my place at the table.
How has drawing the female form influenced other aspects of your own personal artistic personality?
Drawing females have always been my forte. I just find it comes more naturally. Drawing curves is in everything I draw, not just in the figures but in decorative things like hair or background elements.
Who is the artist who has most inspired you?
That’s kind of a big question. It’s really tough to single out just one artist. There have been a handful in my life and each inspire me differently. But I guess the first most inspirational artist would be Glen Keane, even though I didn’t know it yet. The Little Mermaid made me really pay attention to art. I didn’t know why I loved the pretty pictures, I just knew I did. Then came Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and so on. The stories were all wonderful, but the art was what stuck with me.
Do you have a preference between working with digital or traditional methods? Could you give a couple reasons why?
I prefer to work digital when it comes to colors, but traditional when it comes to drawing. Not having gone to any type of art school, I never really got to learn properly how to use traditional mediums like paints or charcoal. So whenever I use that, I feel like I’m just a kid playing around with paints. But I’ve always drawn with paper and a pencil because it feels natural. I taught myself to learn how to color with photoshop since I heard about it and I’ve just gotten more comfortable with it. It is a lot of learning, a lot of experimentation, and quite a bit of frustration – but no mess to clean up afterwards.
Are there any artistic disciplines (sculpture, painting, photography, fashion, etc, anything….) that you have a passion for?
I just love drawing. Putting that pencil to paper is kind of therapeutic. I draw what I feel, I draw when I’m bored, I draw when I can’t get an idea out of my head. I’m one of those that doodled on every single sheet of notes or homework in school.
Is there a type of art that you‘ve always wanted to learn?
I’ve always wanted to learn how to paint. Not even realistic paintings, I just want to learn how to use the medium.
Based on your professional experiences, do you have any advice for aspiring young women artists?
My advice to young women artists is to just do you. Draw what you like, paint what you love, photograph things that interest you. Whatever it is that you want to do, do that. There’s a lot of pressure for any artist, men or women, to either give up on their art completely or to conform their style to fit someone else’s expectations. But for women, if you find yourself in an industry that’s male-dominated, there’s extra pressure to fit in. Don’t! It’s your unique vision that will make you stand out in the crowd.