Artist Spotlight: Joan Varitek on Evolving Your Creative Talents

Where are you from / currently live?

I’m from Chicago and now live in Los Angeles.

Could you give us a brief overview of your art background? 

I attended Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design as an Illustration and Sequential Art major, freelanced as an Illustrator for 10 years before beginning a Staff Artist position.

Describe some of the jobs you have done professionally how they have helped develop your artistic skills.

My current work as a Children’s Educational Product Illustrator involves drawing characters in the house style, which is very classically cartoony. So it’s pushed me to focus less on realistic anatomy and perspective, and more on graphic composition and color design. Focusing on those fundamentals of design has in turn improved my personal, more figurative work!

What artist influences your style the most?

Not one specific artist but I’m influenced by a blend of artistic movements like 50’s pinup art, 60’s animation, comic books and advertising art, and 80’s-90’s anime and manga

What do you find is your biggest struggle as an artist?

Craftsmanship and attention to detail! I love to work fast and loose but it pays off when I can be patient enough to refine something.

Where do you find your inspiration for your art?

In culture and relationships, I love depicting emotions and ways people affect one another or communicate.

Have you ever experienced self doubt or lack of confidence as an artist?  If so, how do you overcome it?

I think all artists feel that way sometimes. The best way to overcome those feelings of inadequacy is to not compare to others, and focus on your own trajectory. Easier said than done though!

Have you always wanted to be an artist?

Yes, since childhood.

Is there a type of art that you‘ve always wanted to learn?


Who is the most influential woman artist for you?

Yuko Shimizu is an endlessly inspiring illustrator and teacher; her ink drawings are unmistakable!

Based on your professional experiences, do you have any advice for aspiring young women artists?

Get everything in writing, don’t undercut other illustrators by offering too low of a rate, and be assertive!