Artist Spotlight: Loren Petty

Where are you from / currently live?

LP: “Henderson, NV

Could you give us a brief overview of your art background? Do you know when you first became interested in art?

LP: “I first got into art when I was a kid because my uncle was an artist. I loved my uncle’s work and I wanted to be able to draw like him. I continued art throughout my schooling and went to a specialty arts high school to keep studying. I got my Bachelor of Arts in Media Arts and Animation and have done freelance sporadically over the years, but I mostly just do art that makes me happy now.”

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

LP: “In the past I’ve worked on a children’s book and an illustration for a mascot of a pet supply company. Recently I just finished up illustrating a comic that is in the lettering process right now and will hopefully come out soon. I think what I learned from these projects is that keeping yourself on a schedule and giving yourself deadlines helps to keep me on track. I also learned that being persistent is worth it because at the end, when you look back at the project, you get to see how all of your hard work has come together. That’s a really good feeling for me.

Has anyone compared your style to anyone else’s?  If so, how does that make you feel?

LP: “Not that I can recall. I’ve always had people say that I drew characters that either looked like me or characters I didn’t know. It use to bother me a lot, but not so much now. Nothing is 100% original and as long as I still enjoy it regardless, I think I could be happy.”

What have been your biggest obstacle to overcome as an artist?

LP: “Energy levels and thinking too much about where I’ve ended up. Being tired a lot of the times makes me not want to draw, but mostly thinking about how much time and money I spent trying to get into the industry and not making it really dampers my mood.”

“However, I do have things that help get me inspired again and help me to not feel so bad about where I’m at now. I just do my best to move forward and enjoy what I do.”

If you ever feel an artistic block, what do you do?

LP: “I typically scroll on instagram, tumbler and mostly, but sometimes pinterest too. Just seeing art gets me so inspired to create. Music is another huge factor too. I’ll listen to a song that creates vivid imagery for me and that’ll help to get the ideas flowing again.”

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

LP: “I have and I still do. I feel that I’m not good enough and that sometimes I shouldn’t try, but then I remind myself that I’m just doing my art for me. That if I like it and no one else does, that’s ok. I just want to be happy making art and enjoying the process.”

Have you always wanted to be an artist?

LP: “Always. Even when I thought about being a vet or an astronaut, I still trying to find a way to involve art in everything. It’s a constant in my life.”

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

LP: “I’ve always loved classical paintings. I’d love to learn how to make gorgeous paintings with a softness and a depth that only those old paintings seem to carry. Also, sculpture. Sculpting is just so fun and I’d love to learn to do it better.”

Who is the most influential woman artist for you?

LP: “JAW Cooper. Her work is beautiful and inspirational to me. It has that dark yet hauntingly beautiful aura that I love.”

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

LP: “The industry is tough. Just keep pushing if you want to make it in that realm but don’t burn yourself out either. You don’t need sacrifice your health to show someone that you’re worthy.”

Follow more of Loren Petty’s Art on Instagram @lorenpettyart

Artist Spotlight: Liz Masters on Exceeding Industry Standards

 Where are you from / currently live?

LM: Currently I am based in Burbank, CA. Originally I hail from a small town in rural Pennsylvania.

Could you give us a brief overview of your art background? Do you know when you first became interested in art?

LM: My parents encouraged me to be creative from a young age. I remember coloring in books with my Mom, and wishing that I was as talented as she is. By high school, drawing was my strongest skill and my favorite escape.

When I found “Faeries” by Brian Froud and Allen Lee at the local library, I knew that I wanted to become an Illustrator! There wasn’t much information available about how to make that happen. I earned an Associate’s Degree in Graphic Design, a BFA in Illustration, and started sending out samples. In the end, I had to move clear across the country to find enough solid clients to sustain a full-time career.

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

LM: As a freelancer I painted wine labels, illustrated storyboards, and sketched concepts for both advertising agencies and film studios. During 2014, I was honored to assist Universal Pictures with the dinosaur character style guide for “Jurassic World.” As the full-time illustrator for Home Brew Agency, I design stickers for social media, emojis, posters, and game assets. Each day my skills are tested, stretched, and improved. I practice my craft well over 45 hours per week. The demands of the advertising industry require an artist to be fast, versatile, and efficient under pressure.

Has anyone compared your style to anyone else’s?  If so, how does that make you feel?

LM: No, actually. One of my biggest struggles has been to settle into one style. The ability to switch styles through out the day is one of best strengths. I am actively working toward establishing my own style after hours.

What have been your biggest obstacle to overcome as an artist?

LM: Sticking to one idea! I tend to start lots of projects. Fortunately, I have finally found something that I can get lost in for a long time. I have lots of ideas for enamel pins, and have been sketching nightly. I even launched a Kickstarter!

If you ever feel an artistic block, what do you do?

LM: I will just start sketching (anything). An object near by, a piece of wild life reference, a friend, even a house plant. The physical act of drawing will spark an idea.

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

LM: Getting a freelance career off of the ground required a lot of hard work and determination. I was not an instant success. Basically I just kept picking myself up and starting over until it worked.

If I wasn’t good enough to find consistent work yet, I would keep drawing until I was skilled enough. Networking at CTNx and on social media was a major boost.

Have you always wanted to be an artist?

LM: Absolutely.

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

LM: Sculpture. I took an ecorche course in grad school, and I love maquettes.

Who is the most influential woman artist for you?

LM: Terry Whitlatch was generous with her time and wisdom while I was in grad school. She is an extremely talented, kind and thoughtful artist. I love her work and I took all of her advice to heart.

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

LM: Never quit. Network with professionals and listen to successful artists who take you under their wing. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that you cannot (or should not) do this. If you truly want to be a professional artist, devote yourself to it!

Draw daily. Don’t skip too much sleep though, and remember to take a walk once in a while. Don Bluth told me to find time to enjoy a personal life, too. He is right. Inspiration is outside the door!

Follow Liz Masters on her website Here to see more of her spectacular art!

Artist Spotlight: Asher Benson Talks Rudicorn Series & Speaking Up!

Where are you from / currently live?

AB: I’m from Wilmington, DE and I currently live in Laveen, AZ

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. 

AB: I always loved art and grew up in a household that didn’t hold me back from it. I was fortunate. I went to Cab Calloway School of Art in Wilmington, DE and then went on to Delaware College of Art and Design, and finished my Fine Art Bachelors degree at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. I’m currently in school for a Master in Toy Design. 

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

AB: I was relentless with Mattel, and finally was given the chance to take the test for Monster High some years ago. This really showed me the level of organization they required from their artists, and helped to make transitioning between various companies easier. I’ve worked on Polly Pocket and Disney Princess concept work for Hasbro, and Hairdorables rendering is my most recent work for Just Play. There are others, but I think these shaped my process the most.

Is it challenging to find your personal identity as an artist?

AB: It is extremely difficult. Most people feel they have to relate to something or put your work into a category they’re familiar with in order to approach you at conventions. And perspective clients, seem to also put you into one category. I can say that years ago, I was turned down for work from Hasbro, because someone on the team thought my work was too “edgy”. Sometimes you have to speak up, and other times, you just have to simply smile and nod.

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

AB: One of my biggest struggles is finding a platform for my work. Living in Arizona, I’m not very close to many conventions or areas where I can show what I can do all year round. I’ve also attempted to try for jobs that I would absolutely love, but they’re out of state, and no  matter how willing you are to move quickly, they’ll usually pick the person local to the area around them.

I’m not someone who can take that leap of faith and just hope that a position comes around in order to pay my bills, so I do the best I can to travel out of state to platforms where I can reach new groups of people.

What is the inspiration behind your “Rudicorn” series?

AB: I think my inspiration behind the Rudicorns, is that I’ve always tried to be as pleasant and understanding as I can when conversing with anyone, but I also find that there are ones that take advantage of it.  In “polite society”, you still have to get along with everyone, even if you’re annoyed about something and you just want to give them a piece of your mind.

This was an outlet for me to be snarky and to just let some of those frustrations go. I tried to come up with a set of unicorns at the time that were the all around kind and filled with love types, but the longer I looked at them…I really wondered if that’s how they’d act. I said to myself at 3am…”You wouldn’t be kind. You’d be awful…pretty awful!!” And tagline was born along with my Rudicorns brand.

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

AB: That’s my constant. I’m always second guessing myself and the decisions I make, and to be brutally honest, I’m my worst critic! But I know that I can be as weepy and sad about circumstances, but I can’t stop moving forward. Even at my worst, I gave myself a few days to attend my pity party, and then I burned that place down to the ground as I left. If I stay in my disappointment, and self loathing, what gets done?! Who will fight my fights for me? Does anything ever change if I refuse to change? I

n order to get some of that negativity out of my head, I keep busy….VERY busy. I plan the next project, maybe several. I plan for my next convention, or I apply for that job I really want, I just throw as many well placed balls in the air as possible that I know…and that’s the key…know that I can handle when they all start coming down. Hope for the best, plan for the worst.

Do you think it is common or artistic types of people to experience self doubt?

AB: I think anyone experiences self doubt at some time in their lives. If they say they haven’t, then they’d be lying. It’s normal. You want to have the best possible outcome, but there’s no cheat sheet to life, so some of those decisions and outcomes are going to be hard on you.

Have you always wanted to be an artist?

AB: Yes, I’ve always wanted to be an artist. I started out wanting to be an animator, which is why I have a Fine Arts degree in Animation, but I quickly found my love in concept designs and I was fortunate to have family that supported my ambition and goals.

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

AB: I always wanted to learn 3D imagery. I’m in school partially because of that now.

Who is the most influential woman artist for you?

AB: Honestly my biggest influence is my mother. She used to draw and still likes to joke that I “sucked it out of her”, but those little doodles she used to do for me where significant and irreplaceable parts of my childhood.

You don’t have to be the most talented, or the top artist of your field to be influential. It’s how you carry yourself, the care you show in your work, and how you develop relationships with others around you. Even making my favorite Disney princess, I don’t think she truly understood how that shaped my path. So, thanks Kathy. You’re my biggest influence and I couldn’t be more grateful.

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

AB: Stop apologizing and speak up!

I struggle with this, and never realized how many times I’ve said, “I’m sorry” to people I’ve done nothing to… I’ve even said I’m sorry to inanimate objects! It was built into me, and I feel like this makes me come off as shy and more easier to push around. I never raised my voice as a kid, and this followed me through high school and college.

It still hinders me at work, and I find that I have to exert extra effort to be heard because again, it was a habit I learned to commit to when I was little. You don’t have to fade into the background, you’re allowed to have a voice and you’re allowed to reach for the same goals as everyone else around you. So speak up and stop apologizing for going for what you want.

Thanks Asher for bringing up some really good points! Please show her some love in the comment section below!

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you have to use extra energy to make yourself heard?

Speaking up for yourself as an Artist and as a woman in the professional world can be challenging for some.

If you find that a habit of not speaking up is causing you to experience negative interactions professionally; like being undermined or ignored and therefore are not being respected. Don’t be afraid to take the time to find ways or seek help for overcoming habits that you feel are not helping you advance in your personal life, career, and abilities.

Remember that confidence comes with strong actions! It’s okay to naturally be a quiet or reserved person, but in the end the amount of work that you put into a project should demonstrate your strengths and abilities.

Once you find your voice, don’t be afraid to use it and show people that you are a boss babe that is confident in your abilities and deserve respect and recognition for your hard work!

Artist Spotlight: Rosana Iarusso

Where are you from / currently live?

RI: I’m from and live in New York!

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

RI: I’ve been drawing since I could hold a pencil so art has always been a part of my life. I owe a lot to my elementary school art teacher, he actually taught us about perspective and proportions of the face very early on, so that was a tremendous help later down the line. 

I attended the Fashion Institute of Technology and earned my BFA in Illustration and took a bunch of CGMA/Schoolism character design classes. Currently, I’m working as a graphic designer and freelance character designer/illustrator. 

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

RI: I had a character design job for a music video where I had to come up with designs for a bunch of 1930s style characters.

It helped me learn how to draw and tackle a different art style than my own. (On top of helping me work on my turn around skills.)

What artist influences your style the most?

RI: There’s a bunch, so this is a tough one. I’d say the following list of artists are ones that I admire and look up to their work a lot whether they are still around or not: Mary Blair, Al Hirschfeld, Lorelay Bove, Amanda Jolly, Peter Emmerich, Liana Hee, Carter Goodrich, Tim Oreb, Ronald Searle and probably many many more.

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

RI: Right now one of my biggest struggles is holding myself back and figuring out where to start with some of my projects, coming up with ideas/concepts. Sometimes when I have a project in mind, I second guess myself, and the project becomes daunting and that makes it harder for me to start. 

It takes me a while to overcome this fear and I’m trying to get better at fixing this made up fear.

Where do you find your inspiration for your art?

RI: I could be inspired by anything and everything! I would say my art inspiration these days are very much inspired by fashion (especially 50s fashion), mid century modern items, people on the NYC streets, music and the seasons of the year.

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

RI: Yes, a lot of the time I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing. Usually, that means I need to take a minute/a break 

from what I’m doing and try something new. I tend to flip flop from digital art to painting something and most recently I’ve tried embroidery. So that and asking myself how can I switch up this drawing usually helps keep me from becoming stale and creating fresh work.

Have you always wanted to be an artist?

RI: Yes, I think so! When I was little I think I might have wanted to be an art teacher for a very brief moment!

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

RI: I would love to try sculpting one of my characters one of these days! Or lino cut and plein air looks fun!

Who is the most influential woman artist for you?

RI: Right now there are two. 

Mary Blair, her paintings and use of color are always so inspiring and definitely one of my good friends, Kristen Sgalambro, she creates amazing paper art and has this crazy drive & work ethic, I definitely look up to her a lot. 

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

RI: I’d say to keep drawing no matter if anyone (or yourself) tells you other wise, you can do it! 

Create things that you enjoy; your work will show if you’re having fun or not so try and remember to have fun while creating! 🙂 

Thanks for reading! Please leave a comment for Rosana! 

 

Artist Spotlight: Arie Monroe!

GDG: Where are you from / currently live?

AM: I am originally from Kansas City Missouri and I am currently living there as well, though I often travel for work and have traveled for school to other states.

GDG: Could you give us an overview of your art background?

AM: I have always loved cartoons and animation. I grew up watching Saturday morning cartoons and The Disney Afternoon and was inspired greatly by all of it. Especially The Lion King and The Little Mermaid. When I was 11 years old, I decided I would be an artist.  I have been drawing ever since.  I went to a local school for studio arts and later attended the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon Graphics for comics and animation.  I also worked as a caricature artist during my time in college during the summers to help me improve my craft.

After leaving the Joe Kubert School I worked at Mada Design as a illustrator for childrens books while I also freelanced and drew sketch cards. Some years later I moved to LA to mentor under an animator where I did work for Warner Brothers and Universal Studios.

I moved back to Missouri, where I currently live, to be with my family and help my mother who had been sick for a while only to find out she had lukemia.

I started my own caricature business, Drawlikecrazy Caricatures, and I also freelance doing comics and other illustration, as well as, working on personal projects.

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

AM: I have learned a great deal about what it means to work as a professional very quickly after I started working at Mada Design.  It was a very different task to complete loads of assignments in school for a grade or teachers approval.

I really learned the value of creating quality illustration for a project and how to work in a team. I also learned how picky clients could be and the challenges of trying to please them while still maintaining your artistic vision; something I still struggle with today.  It was great though, I got to illustrate many book covers, coloring books, and kids books for companies like Crayola, Dreamworks and Nickelodeon.  I really loved my time there.

Later, when working in LA, I got to learn how to paint with an airbrush as an airbrush caricature artist, and that was really fun as well. I did character clean up for Warner Brothers and it was exciting seeing my name in the credits of an animated film.

All the things I have done have informed my work with my own business and have taught me to look for what will create passion and excitement in creating and working and not just jumping from job to job, but learning what really matters to me as a artist and sharing that.  Working in caricature I get to talk to people and learn about their sensibilities instead of being isolated in a studio all the time.  I was painfully shy growing up and did not talk to people so I feel like I have come a very long way in learning to be more social and work with others, which is the most important key to working any sort of job, whether you work for yourself or you work for other people.

I am always looking to learn more and improve everyday, not just as a artist, but as a human being.

GDG: Has working around so many other GDG artists influenced your art style? If so, in what way?

AM: I love GDG! So many inspiring women are in the group and such a wonderful network to be a part of. I really enjoy looking at the ladies work and seeing how they approach drawing the female form.  It encourages me to be more and more myself in my work.  If anything, because I appreciate all the unique styles of the creators in the group and how they apply those things to their profession that is uniquely theirs. Whether it is through webcomics or animation, the inspiration is endless.

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

AM: I struggle the most with my confidence.  I constantly worry my work is not good enough.  Probably to a pretty unhealthy extent.  It is one of the things that has held me back the most in my career. Even causing me to lose freelance jobs cause I do not have confidence in my work and fear showing it to my client because I did not think they will see it as being good enough. Depending on how stressed I get my level of confidence can swing pretty low and when it is at its lowest I think I draw my worst, so I actually have learned to step away from the drawing table to rest and refresh my mind so that I can see things with fresh eyes. I started taking time to pamper myself and do things like get massages and work out at the gym.  Self care seems to be a big remedy to the confidence issue. I find my work improves once I clear my mind and rest.  When I was in school I was constantly on, wishing I didnt have to sleep so I could do more work and that translated into my work life at an even higher level because now my livelihood relied on it.  I have found that my livelihood was suffering because I was also physically wearing myself down.  I even developed a shoulder injury from long hours painting and my eyes would hurt from hours staring into a lightbox or at a computer screen.

That wear and tear can effect your ability to grow artistically and I didnt realize that, so of course my confidence suffered even more.  Now I have put equal effort into replenishing myself confidence through rest, though sometimes the stress is not worth your health.  Balance is key and everyday I feel more secure in my ability as a artist.

GDG: Where do you find your inspiration for your art?

AM: I love animation, good stories, and time with good people. When others are inspired and excited, it really gets my creative energy flowing as well!  It is refreshing to share ideas and passions with like-minded individuals.

GDG: What would be your artistic “dream job”?

AM: Someone paying me to create what I enjoy and not wanting me to change it in any way.  Just letting me be the creative person I am and accepting it.  The only changes they would offer would be to improve what I do but not change it to their vision.  As artists I feel we spend a great amount of our time recreating the visions of other people.

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

AM: Animation has always been my passion but my work ends up focusing on illustration and comics.  I would love to animate and be amazing at it in every way possible, specifically 2D animation.  I find 3D to be boring because it does not involve drawing.  I love seeing characters move.  It brings a smile to my face to see a painting dance.

GDG: Who is the most influential woman artist for you?

AM: I cannot pick just one because I have known so many and enjoyed the art of so many as well.  There is Anna Marie Cool, who encouraged me to attend the Joe Kubert School, June Brigman who helped me with figure drawing in school and did the cover of my all girls art anthology while attending Joe Kubert. There is also Afua Richardson who is a great friend and an amazing artist whose work has graced the cover of several Marvel books, including Black Panther, World of Wakanda, and so many more… and we cant forget the many artists in GDG that are all doing amazing things.

In terms of artists I dont know I love Claire Wendling, Joanna Quinn, and Joanna Davidovich…the list goes on and on.  I could never choose one.

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

AM: Be yourself and make lots of art! Oh and get a good nights sleep. Lol!

Thanks, Arie! Readers, please leave a comment for Arie Monroe!

Artist Spotlight: Jennifer Llewellyn

GDG: Where are you from and where do you live now? 

JL: I’m currently residing Westbank Kelowna in Canada.   I am living right off the beautiful Okanagan Lake.

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

JL: I’ve always had a passion for drawing, as kids we never had coloring books. My mom would draw any character we requested and we got to color it. Watching her draw and doodle all day every day, sparked an early interest in drawing. However it was when I saw my first movie in a theatre “The Little Mermaid”, that I fell in love with animation. Followed by many art teachers that saw my passion, and helped me reach my dreams.

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

JL: Wowza, how do I narrow down 17 years of work into a few sentences… Yeti Farm: Oh how I wish I could share what I’m working on now. A bucket list item checked off! Charmed Playhouses: Working with Tyson and his team for the TLC (Now Animal Planet) tv show. Has been truly amazing. Drawing live with clients, and their children is an incredible experience. Children have an endless imagination and this work always me to reopen mine. Tysons team of craftsman are truly incredible artists. The Chuck Jones Gallery: Working with the Chuck Jones Gallery on a piece for Comic Con, was truly a dream come true. Bob Godfrey taught us how to animate bug bunny. The day this opportunity came about reminded me of all his lessons. Sally’s Salon, Spa, Studio: Working with a team of 6 men and 2 women to produce a title targeted at women, was one of the most interesting experiences of my life.  Many challenges met with much success. The Sally’s series taught me a lot about women in games, and the real challenges we face. I think it’s important to remember we are of equal value.  Although the product was ultimately abandoned when the studio went under. We will always have these memories.

GDG: Has working around so many other GDG artists influenced your art style?


JL: I don’t feel that I even have a “style”, of course being taught under Charles at Vanarts has given me a Disney influence, working in animation you need to be adaptable. The show style changes with each production. You need to be adaptable. With Harmony, and other programs you can’t forget the importance of this. To many schools are not stressing life drawing…. Lets stop that. The Girls however have influenced me in other ways, Laurie B has been a friend for many years now, I miss her energy and laughter. Living with Genvieve FT in Toronto was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, we laughed and learned so much at the Imaginism in house workshop. Never ask us to make soup for you, right Gen?

GDG: Where do you find your inspiration for your art?

JL: Life.  I truly believe in building your visual memory bank.  Don’t just experience life behind a computer, go live it. Studying people, animals, architecture, nature, and light. There’s endless learning opportunities all around you.

GDG: What is the biggest challenge that comes with being an artist?

JL: Time: Being a professional artist means just that. It becomes who you are; it’s your hobby, turned career. You truly need to engross yourself in it. The days never seem to be long enough. Welcome to being a lifetime student. 

GDG: Do you have a preference between working with digital or traditional methods? Could you give a couple of reasons why?


JL: Oh how I long to flip paper between my fingers. Having started my career in animation with ACTUAL pencil to paper on the “Christmas Orange”. I really miss it. There’s nothing more appealing then flipping through an animated sequence. Watch the Bancroft Brothers you tube videos where they flip scenes from your childhood favorites and you will be able to drool with admiration. I do find it challenging to keep up with all the technology. Photoshop, Flash, Harmony, Maya, on and on. Like I said… lifetime student. You really need to love it.

GDG: Are there any artistic disciplines that you have a passion for?

JL: Storytelling: I’m not a writer but ask me to make up a story by the campfire and you’re in for a treat. Storytelling is the soul behind all animation, one walk through Pixar’s upstairs gallery with all the pre production art, will leave you in awe of these visual storytelling geniuses. Stop Motion: I love getting my hands dirty and sculpting. I truly love all things Laika and Aardman.

GDG: Is there a type of art that you’ve always wanted to learn?

JL: I love Children’s books. I have worked on many but I would love to take a more Mary Blair Approach to this. There is some that just soaks you in with all of her work. The is the visual story telling I want to learn.

GDG: What is your advice to aspiring women artists?

JL: Never give up. It is very easy for people to stop pursuing art, and especially animation. The dedication to being a lifelong student is very hard for some people. I’ve seen so many TALENTED artists give up while within a hands grasp of their goal.  Learn from those that came before us. Respect those that paved the way. Keep going, keep drawing, keep building that visual memory bank.

Leave a comment or question for Jennifer below.

Artist Spotlight: Mako Fufu

GDG: Where are you from and where do you live now? 

MF: I was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I moved to the US in late 2012.
I lived in NY for a while, then in NC… and I may be relocating to a different state shortly (keep tuned!).

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

MF: I’m a self-taught artist, I always loved making art and I’ve been doing it since I was able to hold a crayon.
I’m very curious and eager to try and learn new things, so my portfolio is quite eclectic. I’ve been an Art Director for Video Games, Comic Artist, Painter, Muralist and Illustrator, among many *many* other works.

GDG: What are some of the jobs you have done professionally?


MF: Every new job taught me new things. I specially loved doing Concept Art and Character design for Video Games, It was a lot of fun, as I’ve got to explore different styles and ideas and do a lot of research and experimenting with my style and skills, it was fun and educational! That job eventually evolved to Art Director and although I didn’t get to draw so much anymore, it helped me improve my attention to detail and organizational skills… but… to be honest, I’ve been always been pretty OCD myself.

GDG: Has working around so many other GDG artists influenced your art style?

MF: I already had quite a rounded style when I’ve joined the group, but it’s nice to meet friends with the same interests and do projects with a common passion.

GDG: Where do you get your inspiration?


MF: I do watch a lot of TV, movies, listen to music, do an unhealthy amount of online research and travel as much as I can, so that gives me a lot of ideas and resources. But rather than sit down and be directly inspired by something specific (unless it’s commissioned work) I’ve found out that I do my best work when I look for the inspiration within myself, my emotions, my feelings and the things I want to say loudly but I can’t.

 

GDG: What has been the biggest moment of artistic inspiration and merit for you?


MF: I’m always inspired when I make some big changes (which usually include relocating somehow, but that’s another story) Regarding Artistic merit, my biggest moments were first when the US Government awarded with an “Alien of Extraordinary Ability” Visa in 2012 and later on “Alien of Extraordinary Ability” Green Card in 2016. Both came to me after a lifetime of working on my art, and saying the paperwork itself was really really REALLY though doesn’t even begin to describe how difficult and stressful (and expensive) that process was. But since the bar is set that high, (especially for the green card…. gosh) having my skill being recognized as “Extraordinary Ability” makes me extra proud and grateful.

GDG: If you are ever in a  ‘creative rut’, what helps?


MF: Doodling freely, going back to basics to what you enjoy doing in the moment… meaning doing whatever you enjoy, without judging its quality or value.

GDG: Do you have a preference between working with digital or traditional methods?

MF: I enjoy both on their own way. Traditional media makes me feel more connected to the work. It’s more challenging because there’s no Ctrl+Z, and it’s more difficult to photograph and reproduce as a print. I think part of my digital “disconnection” is based on the fact that I work with a regular non-screen type of tablet, I have to fix that. Digital gives me a cleaner result and it’s easier to share.

GDG: Are there any artistic disciplines that you have a passion for?

MF: I love painting, I use oils, acrylics and watercolors depending of my mood. I do play with sculpture every so often, I want to take some classes and get better so I can do art toys. I’m figuring out some photography to make my products look pretty on my shop, and I have to say I’m starting to have fun with it. I’m teaching myself 3D, I’ve done some tattooing, silk-screening, animation, video edition… I am very curious and I love learning new things, so I know at least the basics for a whole lot of things at this point!

GDG: Has working around so many women artists within GirlsDrawinGirls helped you find ways to express yourself?

MF: It has helped me to make some very good, very talented friends (and I’m an introvert so it’s kind of a big deal to me).

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

MF: My advice is for artists in general… well, I’d say for people in general, in whichever endeavor they are passionate about in life: Practice, practice, practice! When in doubt, google. Always listen to your gut. But also, use common sense.

Leave a comment for Mako Fufu below, or get in touch through her website

Artist Spotlight: Jamie Gibbons

GDG: Where are you from and where do you live now?

 
JG: Originally from Tucson, AZ. I currently reside in Denver, CO.

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

JG: Since childhood, I have been obsessed with animation and art.  I managed to get a scholarship to the University of Arizona where I studied Digital Media and Animation. Shortly after, I married my high school sweetheart (still married) and followed him around the world while he was in the military. Animation/Design jobs were few while constantly uprooting, so I started working in freelance graphic design and illustration and found my niche.

GDG: What are some of the jobs you have done professionally?

JG: Graphic design allows me to work on all sorts of platforms and mediums. I feel fortunate I’ve had the opportunity to have my work on everything from trains to toys. When I was growing up, all I wanted was to work in animation, but life got complicated and many suggested I try graphic design. My response then was, ‘I don’t want to work on ketchup bottles’. Eventually, I went for it. I learned so much and realized the crazy amount of creative expression that’s possible in this field. Now I would be overjoyed for a gig on a ketchup bottle!

GDG: Has working around so many other GDG artists influenced your art style?

JG: The first time I discovered GDG, I was on Brittney Lee’s blog and I thought, “I want in on that!” GDG allows me to work with such a variety of artists – you can’t help but see the impact the group has on your style. Just the weekly themes alone, I get so much inspiration and encouragement from this group of women.

GDG: Where do you get your inspiration?

JG: As most of us say, ‘everywhere’, but my favorite places to look are thrift shops. I love hunting through old records, movie posters, toys, and especially weird prints and photos.

GDG: What do you do when you are in a ‘creative rut’?

JG: Getting outside and allowing my mind to wander really helps. Denver is the ideal place for this! Within 20 minutes from anywhere, you can be in nature, at an exhibit, or just experiencing a new place to hang out and people watch. It’s something I really love about Colorado.

GDG: Do you prefer digital or traditional art?

JG: I love traditional methods, even though I do primarily digital work. I always start with rough sketches and love to paint color ideas. Regular practice in traditional mediums helps me develop my methods in digital. Going to the fundamentals and simplifying what I’m doing always helps me further a concept.

GDG: What is your favorite artistic discipline?

JG: Gouache painting. I love it. It’s what I do if I feel a creative temper tantrum brewing or just to work through ideas for work.

GDG: What have you always wanted to learn?

JG: Hand lettering. Like so many people, I suffer from writing, ‘Happy Birthday!’ on a card only to run out of room by the time I get to the ‘y’ in Birthday.

GDG: What is your advice to aspiring women artists?

JG: Stay diligent. Life can get complicated, but there’s always a way if you stick to it. Many people are shocked to find out I am an artist, because I’m a military wife, a mom, and caught up in the throws of domesticated life sometimes, but art is my passion and I will always find a way to make it work. It’s who I am.

Leave a comment for Jamie Gibbons below, or get in touch through her website JamieGibbons.com

Artist Spotlight: Megan Kelly

Where are you from / currently live?

MK: I am originally from a small town up north called Patterson. I currently live in Los Angeles.

watermelonCould you give us a brief overview of your art background (when you first became interested in art, education, work history, etc…)

MK: I have always been interested in drawing, but it wasn’t until I watched my first bugs bunny cartoon that I decided I wanted to become an animator. I went to college at San Jose State to join their Animation / Illustration program, called the ShrunkenHeadmen Club. While in the program I was lucky to meet people working in the industry through the Acme program and through them I got my first job working as a Layout Artist on the Simpsons Movie at Rough Draft Studios. Since then, I worked on the Futurama DVD’s and then American Dad where I am currently an Assistant Director

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

MK: Character Layout and Storyboarding taught me to loosen up and try to add as much life in my drawings as possible. As an Assistant Director I’ve learned a lot about the process of making an animated show. Learning what happens after the drawing is done (animatic, timing, color) has changed the way I board. I also found that good time management is your best friend.

Has working around so many other GDG artists influenced your art style? If so, in what way?

mewecanMK: They haven’t influenced my style as much as they’ve just influenced me to draw more. Looking at all the diverse beautiful drawings that the women of GDG produce just makes me want to create more! I’m constantly inspired by those around me.

What is your personal take away as a woman drawing pinup art of women?

MK: I never really thought it was weird or odd that I enjoyed drawing pinup art. It’s just something I’ve always done since I saw my first pinup in a comic. I think you should draw what you like, what inspires you, and pinups always seemed so cool to me. They are sexy but in control and I like that.

Where do you find your inspiration for your art?

MK: Other artist’s work inspires me. I like looking at different styles and ideas and it usually sparks something in me and makes me want to draw. Most of the pinups I draw are nerdy things that I enjoy. I draw a lot from books I am reading or shows and movies I watch.

usfDo you have a preference between working with digital or traditional methods? Could you give a couple reasons why?

MK: I am not an artist that quickly sketches something and have it come out perfect. I like to noodle with my drawings, get ideas as I am drawing. So digital has been really great with that. I like that I can erase with ease or change the size and angles of things at a whim. I would go through so much paper and erasers before I started using digital, so I am happy I can save some trees now. Also, my style is more stylized simplistic shapes so finishing my work in illustrator helps me get those really clean lines.

Are there any artistic disciplines (sculpture, painting, photography, fashion, etc, anything….) that you have a passion for?

MK: I sometimes like to sculpt things, usually with whatever’s handy as opposed to working with clay. I have made a few masks out of newspaper and tape for Halloween.

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

MK: I would love to learn how to do paper art.

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

MK: Always ask questions and don’t be afraid of notes on your work. You are never too good to learn. As for your personal work, just draw what makes you happy not what you think will make others happy.

Artist Spotlight: Joanna Davidovich

Where are you from / currently live?frankie01

I’m living it up in Atlanta, Georgia.

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’ve always loved drawing and watching cartoons.  My parents still boast how a painting of mine sold at a school charity auction when I was in kindergarten.  They never told more for how much, for all I know it was sold for pocket lint, but still, my interest in pursuing art started early!  I drew all the time growing up, went to college for animation and have been working as an animation artist ever since.

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

I’ve mostly worked on broadcast commercials and a little series work doing animation, boarding, character design and the like.  In broadcast, the deadlines are unforgiving so you’re always looking for ways to get your ideas down faster and faster.  You have to learn to trust your first instincts, and live with it.  There probably isn’t a single project I haven’t said something like “if I only had more time I could have done so much better!” So when I draw for myself, I’m still in that “get-it-done!” mindset.  Even if I’m not satisfied with the final product, if I linger I rework things to death in frustration, so I just take it as a learning experience and move on.  I would have a different philosophy if I had more time for everything, but for now, this is what I learned from my work and this is what works for me right now.

Has working around so many other GDG artists influenced your art style? If so, in what way?

Sure!  Its fascinating how artists can take one idea and create such distinct and wildly different things with it.  GDG has the weekly sketch themes which are so much fun to follow.  When I check out what’s going on on the GDG blog or FB page I’m always logging things away to try myself in the future.

What is your personal take away as a woman drawing pin up art of women?
It’s so funny how much of the old pinup art we find so adorable today was considered scandalous at the time it was created.  I’m not what you’d call an adventurous person, so when I draw pin ups I like to think to myself “if this was 70 years ago, I’d be a REBEL!”.  But pin ups have always held an appeal for women if you think about it- so much of advertising and fashion is basically pin up art.  Pretty girlie drawings are about cheekiness, liveliness, humor- and those are things everyone can appreciate.  I could speculate perhaps that female artists have a more natural understanding of that appeal- I’ve yet to see a female artist of any skill level do a pinup that looks two basketballs hanging off a Q-tip.

laurenbacall

Where do you find your inspiration for your art?

I love early/mid 20th century pop culture- the music, movies, fashion.  The swing era is a particular favorite.  There are so many luscious Technicolor spectacles where every frame looks like a painting I want to hang up on the wall.  And the black-and-whites, when the lighting is just right, can get this velvety texture and glow that makes all the actors look like otherworldly gods.  I think that women on the whole never looked more beautiful and strong than how they were made up and photographed in the 40s.  And of course I’m inspired by great artists, especially in those in animation.  Animators just draw awesome pinups- I mean, is there anything more sweet and sassy than a Freddie Moore girl?

Do you have a preference between working with digital or traditional methods? Could you give a couple reasons why?

I prefer to work on paper, but necessity dictates I predominantly work digitally.  Technology is amazing, but nothing beats the tactile feeling of pencil and paper when you’re working out ideas.  But I only work on paper when I have time, and as I’ve indicated previously there’s not much of that going around anymore.  But ever since I started buying those Kyle Webster brushes for Photoshop I’ve enjoyed digital more and more.
swingout
Are there any artistic disciplines (sculpture, painting, photography, fashion, etc, anything….) that you have a passion for? 
I wish I could try it all.  I keep dabbling in watercolors with embarrassing results- I really wish I could make a proper study of traditional media.  Since I don’t do it, I couldn’t call it a passion- just a strong desire.

Is there a type of art that you‘ve always wanted to learn?
 
See above!
Based on your professional experiences, do you have any advice for aspiring young women artists?

Its almost like I have so much advice I can’t even put it into words.  Its something like: Don’t let other people dictate your career.  There are so many paths to follow, but there are even more that you can forge on your own.  Work hard on your skills, have confidence in them, and value yourself.  And on a personal level, you’ll always have those sneaky little doubts and disappointments no matter what you do, but those should never stop you from creating and doing the things you love.  And take a break sometimes to get out of your own head.  And stay healthy!  Remember to sleep and drink water and don’t just eat Twizzlers all day even though they are super delicious and convenient.