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.

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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.
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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.  

 

Artist Spotlight: Katie Grech

katie-g-4Katie’s Portfolio

Where are you from / currently live?
Mackay, Australia

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 became interested in art when I was a kid In the 80/90’s, watching my uncle draw and paint, watching animated movies (a favourite was The Little Mermaid) and playing video games (a favourite was Super Mario).

Describe some of the jobs you have done professionally how they have helped develop your artistic skills.
The first 2 years out of college, I worked mostly on Flash games where I developed my vector art and animation skills. I am freelancing at the moment, and I do mostly marketing material for small business now, developing my graphic design skills. Something that has been a constant is illustration work, developing my digital painting skills.

katie-g-3Has working around so many other GDG artists influenced your art style? If so, in what way?
Just before I got accepted into GDG, I did a series of pinup illustrations for a big Australian lingerie company, and I struggled with the pinup style. Since joining GDG, I’ve learned so much from the artists personal styles – especially from Genevieve FT, Leen Isabel, Sherry Delorme, Pamela Barbieri, and Joanna Davidovich.

Where do you find your inspiration for your art?
There is this Facebook group called ‘Caricaturama Showdown 3000! (www.facebook.com/groups/caricaturama/) where all members draw the same person every week. It’s so cool because while they all look like the same person, the likeness is always different. I think that is really interesting and it inspires me to paint my version. I never get to submit them though, because I don’t have time to finish them!

Do you have a preference between working with digital or traditional methods? Could you give a couple reasons why?
I prefer digital because it’s much faster than traditional, and the stuff that work on usually requires the work to be digital.

katie-g-Lacey-Pisani-RGB-for-WebAre there any artistic disciplines (sculpture, painting, photography, fashion, etc, anything….) that you have a passion for?
Video game art

Is there a type of art that you‘ve always wanted to learn?
I would like to be a good traditional painter.

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

The way I became a professional artist was to just do it. I had just started my art degree and I was a really bad artist, but I wanted to practice the skills I was learning in college so I started freelancing. I did a lot of free/cheap work for local bands in the beginning. Musicians and promoters are always needing cheap artwork for gig posters and other promo material. Aspiring young artists should start there if they need professional practice.
It was more than 5 years of being a professional artist until I got to a point where I was happy with my work. It takes a long time to be a good artist … practice, practice, practice every day!
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Artist Spotlight: Penelope Gaylord

Penelope’s Portfolio

PENG-dragon-complete-webWhere are you from?

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.

 

sweater 200 markedHow 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.

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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.

 

Artist Spotlight: Alice Meichi Li

Alice’s Portfolio 

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GDG: Where are you from/ where do you currently live and work?
AML: I’m originally from Detroit, specifically the East Side. (Yeah, the actual city of Detroit, not the suburbs like most people who say they’re from Detroit.) I currently live and work in NYC, after having moved here for art college.
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GDG: Could you give us a brief overview of your art background (when you first became interested in art, education, work history, etc…). 
AML: I’ve been drawing since I could put pen to paper, but didn’t think I could actually be an artist “when I grew up” because of my traditional-Asian-immigrant-parent-upbringing. However, I started to become more passionate about art in high school and applied to art college without their consent. Fortunately, that traditional-Asian-immigrant-parent-upbringing actually aided in helping me obtain all the scholarships and grants that paid for my tuition. (Yet simultaneously disappointing my parents who thought I could put my 4.055 GPA and Valedictorian status to a more financially-secure college major.) My time at School of Visual Arts was invaluable to me in not only the technical skills I developed in class, but introducing me to peers and friends who continue to inspire and motivate me today.
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GDG: Describe some of the jobs you have done professionally how they have helped develop your artistic skills.
 AML: Working on a Mega Man cover for Archie Comics was definitely something that was out-of-the-box for me as it was the first time I ever had to draw on-model in their defined cartoony style. It actually wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, and helped me to feel less afraid of trying new thing and varying my style a bit.
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GDG: Has working professionally around so many other artists influenced your style? If so, in what way?
AML: Art certainly doesn’t evolve in a vacuum, so I’m sure it has. Simply hanging out and talking shop with my artist friends has introduced me to various instruments, techniques, or styles that I’ve incorporated into my process over the years. A good friend (and former housemate), D. Yee, actually introduced me to the idea of printing out my sketches to continue drawing over them to continue to refine them without losing the original energy of the under-drawing to erasing. And another friend of mine, Y. Sanders, constantly inspires me with how hard she works every day and how much progress she’s made in her art since I first met her. Even little snippets of conversations stay in my head when I’m working, like when Amy Reeder mentioned that her style of inking was different to many comic artists because she focused on adding line weight to areas that should feel “heavier” or in shadow rather than other inkers whose line weight varied due to the natural stroke of the brush.
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Has working with GirlsDrawinGirls inspired you and your art?  If so, how?
AML: Absolutely! All too often when people think of art that depicts the female form, male names and their male gazes jump to mind immediately. I wasn’t immune to that, either — even as a female artist who applies the female gaze to the female form. But the very act of participating in GirlsDrawinGirls and being exposed to fellow lady members has shown me that we are certainly not lacking in talented woman artists. It caused me to become more conscious of this unspoken bias towards the male gaze in our society, and actively seek out woman artists and the female gaze instead.
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How did your particular comic style evolve? 
AML: A professor I had in SVA, Joo Chung, actually told us that he would knock us down an entire grade level if we ever turned in digital work. Being that I was pretty desperate to keep my grades up in order to qualify for my scholarships, I worked traditionally in acrylic through most of college. It fostered a love-hate relationship with the medium as I loved some of the “happy accidents” that would come out of it, but I also hated that I couldn’t control a precise finish on it. By Senior year, I’d rebelled a little bit and started finishing my acrylic paintings digitally, and I’ve been working like that ever since.
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GDG: Do you have a preference between working with digital or traditional methods? Could you give a couple reasons why?
AML: My preference is actually for combining the two as I do with my current style. I like to keep my rough sketches loose and flexible in a way that I can only manipulate digitally. But I enjoy the control of line and value in a finished drawing that I can only achieve with pencil. And in a complete reversal, the traditional acrylics I use for color and texture add a chaotic element to the atmosphere whereas finishing it up in Photoshop helps me control it more exactly.
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GDG: Are there any artistic disciplines (sculpture, painting, photography, fashion, etc, anything….) that you have a passion for? 
AML: Fashion is something I’ve dabbled with in my own art. I enjoy being able to design clothing on characters that tell a story about who that person is, and what they might symbolize. I’d also like to try my hand at designing actual clothing in the future that I could incorporate my art into. Again I’m constantly inspired by my friends in this field, like the fantastically-talented Kelsey Hine of I Do Declare, who actually graciously designed my wedding dress.
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Is there a type of art that you’ve always wanted to learn?
AML: I’ve always wanted to learn more about film-making — particularly making music videos. I love being able to set visual art to sound and motion, and I used to make anime music videos back in the day but never pursued it further due to financial and time constraints. But I was actually so fixated with the art of music video making, that I bought all the Directors Label DVD collections of acclaimed music video directors and studied them extensively for inspiration. I’m still obsessed with the work of Floria Sigismondi, Wong Kar-Wai and Michel Gondry, and find that their surreal/dreamy style of direction and photography continues to inform my own art.
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Based on your professional experiences, do you have any advice for aspiring young women artists?
AML: This is something you hear a lot because it’s true, but never stop working hard. If you quit, you reduce your chances of success to 0%. Also, it’s important to be a part of and contribute to an artistic community. As I said before, no artist exists in a vacuum and having that constant connection to creative people will help pull you through periods where you’re struggling with yourself and your art. It’s especially important for creative women to bond with and help other creative women. So many creative industries are dominated by men, and all too often it’s difficult for women to find the mentorship and guidance that so many young men already enjoy in their budding careers. Let’s lift each other up!

Artist Spotlight: Sandra Fremgen

Sandra’s Portfolio 

Pandoras-Box-Painting-Sandra-Fremgen

Where are you from?
I was born in Hong Kong and currently living in Los Angeles. 

Could you give us a brief overview of your art background?
With my background in traditional painting and digital art, I have been working as a surface designer for the past 9 years. I have created artwork for fabric, greeting cards, photo albums, dinnerware and many other items used to decorate your home. I love designing for the mass market because it allows the majority of us to buy a beautiful item at an affordable price. At night I paint my “Panda and Me” series because it’s important to create art based on personal enthusiasm.

Describe some of the jobs you have done professionally how they have helped develop your artistic skills.
Over the years, I have worked as in-house artist, freelance and even ran my own licensing business! When you are a working designer, you must have a thorough understanding of the goals your clients are trying to achieve. This means researching the market and trends that relate to your client’s products. Artistically, learning how to combine my traditional painting with digital skills has really sped out my output rate. I can still create art that looks traditionally hand done when I am on the computer. Clients usually don’t understand the artistic process and want the turn around ASAP.

Elvis-Panda-and-the-Mermaid-by-Sandra-Fremgen

How has being a part of GirlsDrawinGirls helped you as an artist?

Being a part of GDG has opened up my eyes to what drawing the female form is about. When I was a kid, I spent many afternoons drawing pretty ladies in my school notebooks. However, as I got older, I became reluctant to draw ladies because I feared that I was contributing to the “problem.” Meaning, if I kept drawing the idealized female form, was I supporting the message of unachievable female beauty? Being part of GDG helped me work out these issues. I love seeing how my talented colleagues show their beautiful interpretations of female beauty and power. GDG has been a big chapter in my artist growth.

How has your particular style evolved?
When I first started painting ladies, I just copied everybody’s style that I liked. My first attempts looked like Jack Vettriano paintings and later the evolved into SHAG knock offs. The more I paint and draw, the more comfortable I am in my own skin and it shows in my art. Right now, especially with “Panda and Me,” my artwork is a cross between Hello Kitty Cute and Mad Men Retro Cool!

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

In my day job, I use both digital and traditional. When I’m painting on my own, I prefer to use acrylics because they are traditional yet dries so much faster than oil! In this age of mass production, I prefer to create a truly unique one of a kind object such as a painting. I love being able to hold it in my hands and see the texture of the paint on wood.

Are there any artistic disciplines that you have a passion for?
Aside from painting, I LOVE to dance! I’ve been swing dancing, doing ballet and Polynesian for a long time. In swing dancing, I love the give and take of the leader and follower. As the follower, I don’t know what is the next move and must rely on the signals from the lead. This moment of tension of “what will happen next?” is what I try to capture in my paintings.

Panda-and-the-informant-by-Sandra-Fremgen

Is there a type of art that you’ve always wanted to learn?
I would like to be a better sewer and fashion designer. I’ve made every mistake possible in sewing my dresses!

Based on your professional experiences, do you have any advice for aspiring young women artists?
It will take a while before you figure out what you want to say in your art. So for now, focus on mastering all the technical skills such as drawing, composition, design and color theory. The more technical skills you know, the better you will be able to communicate through your art. When you become a working artist, you will inevitably hear some horrible things said about your work. It is a blow to your ego, but you will be able to move on because of your proven track record in the past.

Artist Spotlight: Pamela Barbieri

Pamela’s Portfolio 

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Please let us know where you are from and what it is like to be an artist in your home town.
I’m a from a little and quiet town in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Being an illustrator here is not a common profession as it might be in a more cosmopolitan place like New York or London. But I don’t complain, I just love what I do!

Could you give us a brief overview of your art background (when you first became interested in art, education, work history, etc…)
Like most illustrators, I’ve been interested in drawing from a very young age. But when it came the time to pick up a career I chose to became a Graphic Designer. I guess it made sense at that time (I had the silly idea that being an illustrator was almost an impossible task for me) But when I realized that I was spending more time focusing on doodling rather than paying attention to the classes I decided to do what I’ve always loved… And I haven’t stopped drawing ever since..

Describe some of the jobs you have done professionally how they have helped develop your artistic skills.
I have worked as a graphic designer and as an illustrator for the past 4 or 5 years. Creating commissioned work has allowed me to push myself and keep improving. I’ve also learned a lot about typography and composition, and I always try to apply that knowledge to my personal work

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What has your experience with being in GirlsDrawinGirls been like?
Being part of GDG has been awesome. It has allowed me to meet amazing artists from all over the world. I’m truly grateful for being part of this amazing group of talented and outstanding women! I just couldn’t ask for more!

Who inspires you?  Why?
Family and friends have always inspired me a lot (and support me, of course!)… and let me tell you that there is not better source for inspiration than people you love.

Do you have a preference between working with digital or traditional methods? Could you give a couple reasons why?
I like working with both, digital and traditional methods, but I must admit that I feel more confident while drawing in Photoshop. I think it’s a consequence of working  as a digital artist. (What can I say? Photoshop has ctl + z right there, and it makes my work a lot easier!)  I wish I could spend more time using traditional media, tough.

Are there any artistic disciplines (sculpture, painting, photography, fashion, etc, anything….) that you have a passion for?
I’m a big fan of photography and I love graphic design as well.

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Is there a type of art that you’ve always wanted to learn?
I’ve always wanted to learn how to sculpt. Not only it’s an interesting discipline but I think it’ll also be a great help to improve my drawings.

Based on your professional experiences, do you have any advice for aspiring young women artists?
No matter what just follow your dreams… And put your heart and soul in everything you love!

Artist Spotlight: Natalie Zigal

Natalie’s Website  |  Natalie on Society6

medusa_finalCould you give us a brief overview of your art background (when you first became interested in art, education, work history, etc…)?
I always loved to draw.  I didn’t always see it as a potential career.  I just liked it and  I wanted to get better at it.  I applied to  the San Jose State animation illustration program because I loved the curriculum and was drawn to the energy that came from the students and the faculty.  I never really knew where I fit as a professional artist though.  So when I graduated I cast a wide net.  I did everything from designing bathroom fixtures to designing shoes before I landed in the toy industry.  Oddly enough it was at the shoe gig where I painted my first pin-up girls.

Describe some of the jobs you have done professionally how they have helped develop your artistic skills. 
Many of my professional endeavors have  been in fashion and product design.  I think these different disciplines have taught me that there is beauty and character in the details.  I always spend extra time to think through the nuances.  It has also helped me understand and refine my forms.

PrintHas working professionally around so many other artists influenced your art and comic style?  If so, in what way?  
There’s nothing more important to me than being surrounded by passionate people in a work environment.  Working with amazing people, from so many different disciplines, makes me think differently about how I compose, color, and present my work.

Has it been difficult balancing a full-time art job with your personal artistic commitments?  
I think the balance is imperative in my life.  When I create for myself, I bring more to my career.  If I don’t have my own stuff to work on, I begin to feel dissatisfied in work and life.

You’re a new mom, how has the experience been for you so far? 
Being a mom is VERY new to me – only two weeks in.  It’s a trip! It’s crazy how this new person just appears and suddenly becomes everything.  I know my life will never be quite the same and I often wonder if and how my personal art will evolve to accommodate the little free time I will have. It might take a while to find that balance. I truly hope it’s something I can share with her someday.

What other women do you find artistic inspiration from?
I have always loved Holly Hobby.  Her water colors are so expressive.  Of course Mary Blair.  I also draw a lot of inspiration from girls in the group.  In my time with Girls Drawin’ Girls, I have met and been exposed to so many talented ladies.

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Do you have a preference between working with digital or traditional methods? Could you give a couple reasons why?  
While I have worked in both, I will always love traditional media.  It’s scary, challenging and so rewarding!  I love mixing colors and solving problems in the raw.  It also gives me total control of the final output.

Are there any artistic disciplines (sculpture, painting, photography, fashion, etc, anything…) that you have a passion for?
Painting, life drawing and iPhone photography – mainly of my dog, and probably now my child.

Is there a type of art that you‘ve always wanted to learn?
I’ve always wanted to try my hand at clay sculpting, sewing and glass blowing.

Based on your professional experiences, do you have any advice for aspiring young women artists?  
1. Your path isn’t always a direct trajectory to your dream job. When starting out focus on just finding work, because your work ethic is your strongest attribute.  You can always keep looking for your dream job.
2. Never work for free.
3. Enjoy your journey

Artist Spotlight: Jennifer Gheduzzi

Jennifer on Facebook  |  Jennifer’s Website

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Could you give us a brief overview of your art background (when you first became interested in art, education, work history, etc…)
Like most artists, I’ve been drawing steadily since I could grip a crayon. I entered and won a lot of art contests growing up which must have made me think I might be able to pull off an art career. I ended up studying fine art and illustration at SVA in NYC and The Accademia di Belle Arti, in Florence.

Some of my earliest jobs included illustrating for a fashion label’s ad campaigns, production art at Archie Comics, body painting models for runway shows, book illustration, short animations for commercials…just all across the board. I’ve been lucky in that through it all, all my jobs have been art related. For the last several years my job title has been “Character Designer” and “Concept Artist”. I’ve been designing original characters as well as working with existing properties. This was most often for video games (Nintendo), dolls (Disney princesses and MGA Entertainment), and most recently for TV animation (Nickelodeon’s Dora & Friends).

Describe some of the jobs you have done professionally how they have helped develop your artistic skills.
Some years ago, I was designing characters soley for video games which meant lots of model sheets and drawing each character from all angles, making sure that everything lined up perfectly. After doing that for a few years my spatial abilities sharpened and I was better able to rotate figures and objects in my head instead of looking for someone to pose for me. That job also provided me with a Cintiq, and I started to get more comfortable sketching directly in the computer from scratch.

Most of the jobs I’ve done have also helped me become more efficient; to figure out what the client needed and deliver something that they were happy with in the first round. Being able to save myself from multiple rounds of revisions was invaluable.

DoodleHas it been hard to balance being a professional artist around family life/personal life?
Balancing everything was pretty easy before having kids. I managed to keep a pretty flexible schedule and could generally do anything anytime and anywhere as long as I met my deadlines.

I’ve always worked from a home office (with the occasional meeting at studio headquarters) so it wasn’t an enormous change to add a kid into the mix. But I’ve definitely had to become much MUCH more structured with my time and more selective about the work I choose to take on. It’s a bit exhausting and I don’t have as much free time as I used to, but avoiding a commute allows me to watch my child grow up and still remain fully in the workforce.

Do you have a preference between working with digital or traditional methods? Could you give a couple reasons why?
I was clearing out a closet the other day and found my old art supplies – oils, charcoal, sculpting tools, etc. There is a part of me misses using traditional media, but I will admit that I prefer to work digitally because of the almighty UNDO button. It’s hard to give that button up! Sure paints are romantic and beautiful, but they’re also smelly and they take a long time to dry. I do however still use pencil and paper to sketch. Most of my artwork starts out as a pencil drawing scanned into the computer.

Are there any artistic disciplines (sculpture, painting, photography, fashion, etc, anything….) that you have a passion for?
There was a time I wanted to be an animator for feature animation. In high school I taught myself how to animate, learned everything I could about the craft and planned to pursue that as I entered college…but then 3D movies suddenly took over the industry so I went in another direction. I still follow animation closely and have a great love for it but ultimately I’m glad I made that decision.

Deadly SinsIs there a type of art that you’ve always wanted to learn?
I never got around to learning Illustrator and I’ve always wanted to have that under my belt. In my opinion vector oftentimes comes off cold and stiff, but as a commercial artist there are real advantages to knowing that program.

Based on your professional experiences, do you have any advice for aspiring young women artists?
Let’s see. Network network network, and if you can do it while being sincere and actually creating friendships within your chosen industry it won’t feel forced or become a chore and it will take on a beautiful life of it’s own. Do NOT work for free (or next to nothing), ever! Not only are you screwing yourself over but you’re hurting everyone else. Avoid taking jobs that you aren’t interested in – you want to be able to fill your portfolio with the kind of work you enjoy, because clients will see what you’ve already done and will usually want to hire you to do more of the same. I could go on but I’ll end with a big fat “Don’t give up!”.

 

Artist Spotlight: Genevieve FT

Genevieve on Facebook

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Could you give us a brief overview of your art background (when you first became interested in art, education, work history, etc…)?
Younger I was a very creative kid, I loved everything that was creative, drawing, but also music and fashion design. After high school I decided to study 2D animation. I didn’t like animation much, but only love drawing more and more. So I started working more on my personal illustrations. After my years of study, I worked freelance for a few years, working on games, comics, illustration, children illustration, etc. Now I’m working as a 2D artist in a game company in Montreal.

What were your influences (both technical and aesthetic) that helped lead you to your particular style of art?
I was inspired a lot by vintage pin up art. The 50’s is an era that fascinate me, and I find the publicity just gorgeous. After, I started discovering artist that had a more cartoonish style and it inspired me a lot too. So my style is a bit a mix of both, I guess!

How has working in the animation and video game industries helped develop your style?
Working in the animation and game industry helped me to be more efficient at drawing simple shape and to show the most important detail. Even if my style is very different then the one I use when I work on game art, I always learn new techniques that can be had in my personal work.

What are the challenges to balancing your professional work with your personal artistic pursuits?
I always been better at working on my personal projects, I like to be my own boss. So usually during the day I just think about my personal projects, so when I get home I’m excited to do them! I never really got problem to find time for my personal projects because I really love what I do!

GenevieveFT_02What are your favorite mediums to work in?
I love working digital, mostly with photoshop. But I love sketching with colerase or HB and I love colour pencils too!

Describe the difference for you between working with digital or traditional methods?
Digital is much more fast, for me, because I worked a lot with. And why I still love digital, is that I find new ways of creating everyday, new tools, new technics, digital is infinite! While, personally, I find traditional harder and much more demanding. Though, I love working with traditional, because it feels so good when you achieve something good.

Does the working method change how you approach the art?
My style was a lot influenced by digital with a more vector kind of look, though recently, I started using brush pen to draw and it even influence my digital drawings!

Are there any artistic disciplines (sculpture, painting, photography, fashion, etc, anything….) that you haven’t practiced but would still like to learn? 
I would love to learn fashion design, younger I hesitated a lot between animation and fashion. Even if I don’t regret my choice at all, fashion is something I still hope I can learn at some point!

GenevieveFT_03Where do you find inspiration outside of art? 

I find inspiration everywhere, I’m like a big sponge. I can walk in the street an see a girl with a nice outfit and it will inspire me a drawing. Music inspires me a lot too. It can be books I’m reading, people I talked too, etc! I love learn new thing and explore new things.

Do you have any professional advice for young women artists? 
My first advice is to be passionate about what you do, like a lot! If you’re really passionate, it will be just more fun to work on your personal projects, and it will be easier! My other advice would be to always create, even if the last few drawing you did were not so good, keep on drawing and keep on trying to do better, never give up!

 

 

Artist Spotlight: Ikumi Moriya

Ikumi’s Portfolio

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Could you give us a brief overview of your art background (when you first became interested in art, education, work history, etc…)?
I spent my early childhood in Japan, where comic books and anime are big part of culture. I was an avid manga reader myself, and just like any other Japanese girl, I spent much of my time drawing girls and princesses on cheap notepads.In high school, I saw Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and wondered what it would be like to work for an animation studio. This was before internet was available, so information was harder to come by. I wasn’t even aware that there were schools that taught animation! . All I knew was that I liked to draw, so I eventually found myself enrolled in an Illustration program at a certain New York art school.I’d like to say the school taught me invaluable skills and life lessons, but I actually found the program pretty boring. I spent a full semester in one class copying sewing machines and paper bags. 
Things turned around when I met a friend who was an intern at a TV animation studio called Jumbo Pictures. I finally found my calling! I immediately applied for an internship as a cel painter, quit my school, and then became a color key artist for a show called PB&J Otters. I migrated from one project to another between different studios for the next few years, and  learned a lot about various aspects of TV animation production.

Could you describe how you came up with your particular style(s) of art?
My roots has always been Japanese shojo manga. None of my American friends were accustomed to the style, and I felt ashamed to be different at times. But I knew how great manga was, and I knew that people would eventually come to appreciate it.

More people are familiar with the style now, and people actually verbalize that my work is anime. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad. The statement doesn’t mean much to me, except that I’m being categorized into a genre. Whenever I get such response, my reaction is to work harder to create pieces that evoke deeper reaction than that.

Kitty_Magic_by_IkupooWe’d like to know about your creative process. Could you tell us a little about how you create your pieces?
I sketch out my roughs in pencil, then I edit and enlarge to size in Photoshop. I transfer the drawing using a light table to a watercolor paper (Canson Montval cold press) then I use acrylic washes to build values. Then I paint layer upon layer upon layer upon layer of watercolor wash. The water background on all the Arludik pieces took a total of 4 layers of washes. I later often use color pencils to tighten and define certain areas. It’s so time consuming, I need to devise a faster way to paint.

What were your influences (both technical and aesthetic) as you developed artistically?
Aside from manga, I also love Studio Ghibli’s The Secret World of Arietty, and films by Mamoru Hosoda, especially Wolf Children. I love the juxtaposition of beautiful backgrounds against simple character design and animation.

I’m sure that I’m influenced by my husband, Bill Presing, but I never tried to draw like him. People assume that I try to draw like Bill, but I think his influence is subconscious. He’s had more influence on my attitude towards art more than anything else.

Do you find particular inspiration in any other art forms?
My inspiration sometimes comes from graphic design and store displays. But most of my inspiration comes from life, combined with lots of day dreaming.

Where do you find inspiration outside of art? What are your passions in life?
I receive inspiration from being in a beautiful place alone with my thoughts. This means enjoying a nice summer day in my hometown in Long Island, swimming in my favorite ocean in Oahu, scuba diving, cooking, gardening, and food, food food!!!!! You may have guessed surfing, but no, I don’t surf. I’m also inspired by girls who have healthy, toned bodies, maybe even a bit muscular. I see a lot of images with beautiful, wispy ladies, but that’s not who I am, nor what I aspire to be. I like being around girls who are happy, cheerful and lively. My main goal is to depict such joy in all the girls I draw.

b0fdfc6d0c5532ea1a16d893a3d8e4df-d5yif3o How has working professionally helped you develop as an artist? 
Working in both TV production and mobile gaming made me develop speed, as well as versatility.
I’ve also learned to maintain professionalism while remaining flexible during unforeseen circumstances.

Do you have a preference between working with digital or traditional methods? Could you give a couple reasons why? 
There’s always a part of me who is seduced by the convenience of digital media, but I never seem to choose an easy route. I get the most satisfaction out of completing traditional paintings, no matter how many times I wind up cursing, crying, and tearing up failed experiments.

As art industries continue to evolve with these digital production methods, what is your advice to aspiring professional artists? 
Knowing digital programs is only a small part of what is required to remain a professional artist. For artists like us, it’s essential to dedicate our free time to elevate ourselves to the next level. Currently, I am dedicating my nights and weekends to studying After Effects, 3D animation and drawing my personal pieces, while balancing a full time job, raising a family, and keeping house.

Look ahead a decade. Where do you see yourself with your art (both personal and professional)? 
I used to long for working for certain companies, but I realized that my own happiness doesn’t come from being hired at a particular place. That puts my happiness into someone else’s hands. Instead, I created my own personal goals to develop as an artist- gallery shows, animation projects, conventions- which I hope to achieve in less than 10 years. Being a wife and a mother is also a big project, so I hope that I could maintain a good balance between my artist self and other self.