Artist Spotlight: Liz Climo

Liz’s Portfolio

climoCould you give us a brief overview of your art background (when you first became interested in art, education, work history, etc…)?
I have always wanted to be an artist, and I took dozens of art classes as a child. After high school I attended San Jose State where I had hoped to graduate with an MFA in Animation & Illustration, but my portfolio was rejected. I was hired soon after on “The Simpsons” where I have worked as a layout artist & storyboard revisionist for 10 years.
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Describe some of the jobs you have done professionally how they have helped develop your artistic skills.
Working as a layout artist on a sitcom has helped me consider the importance of acting & selling a joke in the clearest way possible. I’ve also done a few freelance jobs as a storyboard artist, where I’ve learned the importance of staging to best tell a story. This is coming in very handy as I complete my first children’s book.
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tumblr_mbb12iJN491r5ml59o1_1280Has working professionally around so many other artists influenced your art and comic style? If so, in what way?
Definitely, but not in the way you might think. I draw inspiration from them as funny people handling day-to-day interactions, which helps me come up with ideas for my comics.
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Has it been difficult balancing a full-time art job with your personal artistic commitments?
There are days where I sort of want to just crawl under the covers and sleep for a week (especially with having a new baby on top of everything else) but I’ve found ways to get everything done & still manage to have fun doing it. There are so many wonderful things happening so fast, that I’m more grateful than anything else.
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When did you create your comic? What was the inspiration behind starting it? How did your particular comic style evolve?
Comics are something I’ve done since I was little, and continued to do for fun as an adult. My husband eventually convinced me to start a Tumblr page and share them. These particular comics just sort of came from pushing myself to keep posting until I figured out what it was I was posting (if that makes sense).
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Why did you choose animals?
I’m terrible at drawing people! Also, there are a lot more options for physical comedy with animals. Sometimes if I’m stumped I’ll just be like, what situation would make a giraffe look really funny? And I’ll get my idea from that.

tumblr_m5ox5pNMbZ1r5ml59o1_1280Do you have a preference between working with digital or traditional methods? Could you give a couple reasons why? 
I was definitely late to the digital world, but now It’s just what I’m used to. But I would love to do a show someday where I could do some original drawings with pen and watercolors.

Are there any artistic disciplines (sculpture, painting, photography, fashion, etc, anything….) that you have a passion for? 
I’m really interested in interior design. It doesn’t come naturally to me (at all) so I have to work really hard at it, but having an inspirational & beautiful space is very important to me.

Is there a type of art that you’ve always wanted to learn? 
I’d love to learn how to paint. I tried it a little in college, but felt a bit restricted by what was expected of my as a student.

Based on your professional experiences, do you have any advice for aspiring young women artists? 
I was always very self conscious about my work, especially after being rejected from my college art program. I felt l was supposed to conform to a certain style & idea of what’s “good.” It was this reason that I resisted doing my own work for so long. I’m finally over that and able to say I’m really proud of what I do. It isn’t even half as good technically as the work some of my colleagues do, but it is in my own language and style. My advice is to always be unapologetically proud of your style and keep striving to make it the best possible version of your own work, not everyone else’s, that it can be.

 

 

Artist Spotlight: Kate Ferguson

Located in: Australia

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What inspired you to be an artist?

Definitely animation. When I was younger I literally refused to watch anything other than cartoons! If I wasn’t watching Care B
ears, Rainbow Brite, or Disney movies, I was drawing the characters and trying to recreate the sets with a shoebox. My mum would also make scrapbooks where she glued every birthday card since my brother and I were born – the ridiculously cute, kitschy illustrations on those cards still inspire me.
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Why do you think it is important for women artists to work together to help promote each other?

With many of us working freelance these days, it can be hard to meet other artists. Being part of a group of like-minded women from around the world is a huge privilege, and promoting each other creates a really supportive community that’s often missing in such a competitive industry.

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Who were your role models growing up?

aloha

Baz Luhrmann and his wife Catherine Martin – the fact that these creative geniuses are Australian makes me proud. I could watch their movies a hundred times and still be inspired! Every detail of their films, from the fashion, to the set design, to the music, is all so glamorous and vivid. It’s the ultimate eye candy to me.
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What medium do you prefer to work in and why?
As a graphic designer most of my work is digital. Lately I’ve been wanting to challenge myself, so I’ve been experimenting with fashion illustration using watercolours and goache.
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If you could give any piece of advice to young aspiring women artists, what would it be?
Don’t worry about what other people think of your art – as long as it makes you happy, keep doing it. After getting a really brutal rejection from an art director, I kept putting my work out there and landed an amazing client a week later. You can’t please everyone, but someone out there will love what you’re doing – you just have to find them!
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Artist Spotlight: Laurie B

Laurie’s Portfolio | Etsy Shop

What inspired you to be an artist?
Well, I grew up on a farm until the age of 17, and we didn’t have much entertainment, so we made our own! I am also the youngest of eight children and many of my siblings are quite artistically inclined in some form or another, whether visually or musically, etc, so they definitely inspired me early in life. For the most part, my sisters are natural dress-makers and my brothers are natural carpenters (mainly out of necessity). I lean more toward carpentry myself. Nonetheless, we all seem to have the ability to visualize 3-dimensionally, and I have always viewed my family as being sculptors in their own right.
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Who are your role models?
I quite love Walter Disney! We all know what artistic vision he was able to gift to the world, and as a young child I wished I could gift my character creations to the world as well. I still do! How he inspires me present day is by his business sensibility, which I know I could use more of in my own endeavours.
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Do you think it is possible for a woman who draws sexy women to be a role model to younger girls?
Absolutely. When art is great, it’s great. Yet, when I learn that the artist who created that great art is a woman, I find that it stirs something inside me. To me is represents a “healthy competition”, “no excuses” kind of mentality about taking my art and my ability to a higher level, and it always makes me want to push myself farther.
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What is your favorite medium to work in and why?
I am a traditional artist through and through. Currently I work with Copic markers on bristol paper. I find that Copic markers look and behave like water-colour paint, but I appreciate the convenience and portability of Copic. I have always loved the look of water-colours, their subtle gradations and transparency that allows the texture and “sparkle” of the paper to show through the layers of colour. I feel I have all of that visual aesthetic in the convenience of these markers.
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How do you think women drawing pin up art of women differs 
from how men draw it? Do you think there’s a difference?
I don’t think there is a difference between women drawing women versus men drawing women. None at all. All that matters to me is if the art is strong!
monsters and dames 2011 low-res

Artist Spotlight: Laura Galbraith

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What inspired you to be an artist?  How old were you when you thought about becoming an artist?
I think this is one of these questions that many of us artists can’t really help but answer with a ‘since I was born!’. I can’t remember the day when I didn’t want to be an artist. It was one of those things that I didn’t realize could be a career path until I was much older, but was always something that I practiced since I was young. I think initially my mom thought it would be a great way to help me settle down and keep quiet and kill time, tracing my hands and feet on pieces of paper… but that slowly turned into a need to impress kindergarten friends with my accurate drawings of Loony Tunes characters, sketch the weirdly-decorative, ornate curios that my great-grandmother collected… which evolved into wanting to draw for a living. (Well, either that or somehow learn to turn into a dog, and change my name to ‘Dalmatian’– this, of course, happening after viewing the animated movie as a kid!)

Laura Galbraith - Yeah Yeah Yeahs

What is your own personal take on what makes a woman sexy and how do you translate that into your pin up art?
I like to gear my drawings toward creating not just your typical curvy, sexy female, but also to create one of strength/empowerment, and …various body shapes and types! I’d like to think that I draw my sexy ladies with a little bit more attention to their personalities and attitudes. Of course, I love glorifying a curvy womans body as well! One of my favorites about pinup, is the woman is never shamed for being naked, and her body becomes a celebration of everything feminine!

Has your source of inspiration changed since you first became an artist?  If so, what consistently still keeps you inspired as a professional?
My sources of inspiration come from fashion, nature, artists from the past, and artists from the present. I think my Pinterest board is a good example of my different interests! I’ve been especially drawn towards trends in patterns lately. Oh I forgot to mention my obsession with color palates as well. I’m constantly obsessing over different color combinations, which usually end up dictating the mood and feel of the drawing before I even start to sketch! I believe inspiration is one of those key things that is always evolving, so in a way, my inspirations are constantly changing as well! But generally they tend to be geared towards the four genres I listed earlier.

What are your guilty pleasures, as an artist that you love drawing?
Oh no, this is a bad one! I have a doodle problem. One of doodling just shapes, letters, numbers, playing around with color, and generally doing weird semi-abstract line drawings. It can get a little exhausting at times (sometimes I can’t think!! It overwhelms me and I’m left doodling patterns and swirly things) but the good thing about it is I’ve heard its a really good exercise to keep your creativity at its it peak. What I also love about doodling unidentifiable objects, is that I feel a bit less pressure to create something beautiful. Doodling becomes about the action of drawing and not so much trying to perfect something. Also, when doodling on the subway, it keeps onlookers from gawking over my shoulder, because they get bored of looking at all the squiggles!

Laura Galbraith Zombie Stickers

If you could give a few words of advice for any young women pursuing art as a career, what would they be?
Stick to it! Never give up on your career even if you feel you’re failing. You may just need a change of direction to your art to keep growing it, keep it successful. My art has been something that I’ve been told before that didn’t have an audience. That it needed to have an audience to  justify its existence. While this is true (the part about needing an audience) If you do your research, you can generally find the certain niche world your art belongs in (of which, there are many)! Of course, its a bit backwards to do it that way, but finding your niche is definitely key to success. Once you know your market, and who your consumers are, you can always fine tune it to better work for you!

Artist Spotlight: Ashley Brooke Cooper

Visit Ashley’s Etsy Shop

What inspired you to be an artist?  How old were you when you thought about becoming an artist?
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be an artist. When I was very little my mom would give my sister and I one super-thick, phonebook-sized coloring book at a time and insist that we color every single page. It took a while but at the end every My Little Pony or Barbie or Little Mermaid would be a child masterpiece. When I was a little older we lived in a neighborhood with only boys my age and I got into reading comic books and playing videogames. The first pin-up I ever drew was of Elvira from a poster of the monster truck Grave Digger one of the boys had on his wall. From there my tastes developed onto fine artists and my first love in painting was Claude Monet. At the age of 10 I was painting master copies of his sea-side works on an easel in the front yard, pretending that the tide was rising and I had to lash my easel down to keep my work from floating away.
 
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How do you think being a professional woman pin up artist differs from the male professional artists who draw pin up?
I think in order to be a female pin-up artist you have to have a thicker skin for sexuality and a quicker wit. It’s just accepted as “normal” for a man to draw sexy women, no one thinks any differently of them, but as a woman you have to be able to take the sexist “jokes” and throw them right back without blinking an eye. More assumptions are made if the artist is a woman than if they are a man. You have to be ok with bawdy language and innuendo if you want to be part of the club. A male pin-up artist is simply praised as a good artist while the woman pin-up artist sees a lot more of the wink wink nudge nudge commentary about their work.
 
 
Has your source of inspiration changed since you first became an artist?  If so, what consistently still keeps you inspired as a professional?
I’m always inspired by the world around me. Over the years I have had different favorites like Alphonse Mucha or the Pre-Raphaelites, Lawrence Alma Tadema or Tamara de Lempicka, but I always just keep my eyes open. It’s not always visual stimulation, I am also inspired by music, literature, film etc. The world is a rich place and if you’re bored then you’re boring. I have many interests and talents that also inspire me. I make jewelry and clothing so fashion is a passion of mine as well. I also do costuming for film which keeps me on my toes and forces me to be detail oriented.
 
What are your guilty pleasures, as an artist that you love drawing?
I’ve always had an intense love of Egyptology. Their painted eyes and the intricate detailing of their architecture, jewelry and clothing is fascinating for me but my main obsession is mermaids. If I could go into the sea I would.

Ashley-Cooper-Princess-Isabella

If you could give a few words of advice for any young women pursuing art as a career, what would they be?
To young women who want to become artists I say: Be awesome, be creative at problem solving, be super passionate, and always look good, because the sad truth is that you will be judged by your appearance, and most importantly STAY FOCUSED on what you want to achieve and make strides toward it every day. Even if that stride is something small like doing a new sketch every day it’ll be a small step closer to your goals. And finally, never listen to criticism unless it is constructive. Don’t let anyone tell you your subject matter or style is wrong. If it comes from you it’s right for you.

 

Artist Spotlight: Danni Shinya Luo

Who is your biggest inspiration as a woman artist? 
My biggest inspiration is female artists like Clair Wendling, Junko Mizuno, and Takahashi Rumiko
You have a fan base filled with both men and women.  How do you think your pin up art is able to attract both sexes? 
I think my art speaks to both sexes because beauty and femininity is a universal language.  Everyone can enjoy aesthetically pleasing curves and colors, it’s not just for one gender or the other.
What do you think is the sexiest feature or attribute a woman can have?
Confidence is the sexiest attribute a woman can have.  If you are not confident in your own identity it wouldn’t matter if you’re good looking.  Confidence is what brings out all the other good elements in a person.
When did you discover that you wanted to be an artist for your career choice?
I decided that half way through high school, when me and my family found out about Art Center College of Design.  Then after I started taking night classes there and putting together my entry portfolio I knew this was going to be a serious path.
What advice do you have for young women artists who are seeking a career in art?
For all the girls/women out there, I think there are 2 most important things you need to remember.  First one is to hone your craft, never stop improving yourself, “good enough” is simply not enough, look among your peers, ask “does my art stand out?”.  Secondly, don’t make art without a purpose, no matter what your subject matter is, you can make it interesting by having a little story or a message behind it, an image without an idea  will not be remembered.

Artist Spotlight: Liz Heck

lizclimo.tumblr.com | Etsy

What is your own personal take on what makes a woman sexy and how do you translate that into your pin up art? Confidence is the key to being sexy. When you exude true confidence, you say to the world- I like me, so you should too! I can always tell if a drawing is going to be successful when I truly like it while I’m working on it. Of course, not everyone will like it, but the fact that I enjoyed myself while I was drawing it and I am proud of the result is what makes it a successful piece.

You have a popular tumblr site featuring your adorable and quite funny comics, how did you get started in the realm of comics?  I started my Tumblr site last year as my New Year’s resolution. I have always enjoyed drawing comics, but felt frustrated whenever I tried to draw them. I didn’t know what I wanted to say, or how to be funny, or what to draw. My husband convinced me start a blog, and reminded me that sometimes you need to do the work in order to find the results. Eventually, I started to find my own voice and figure out what I wanted to say.

What have been your personal obstacles to overcome as a professional woman artist? As a professional woman artist, it’s very important to me that I be taken seriously. I think in a male-dominated field, women sometimes get special treatment. This is not to say that all or even most men in animation treat women differently, but it does happen, and it has always been important that I stay employed and am respected by my coworkers for my hard work alone.  Where do you get your inspiration? When I started doing these comics, my inspiration came mostly from animals and their unique traits. Then, as I did more, I started to pay more attention to people and how they interact. Now, I get inspired by funny things that happen in conversation, things I see while I’m driving to work, or walking my dogs, or on TV- just stuff that happens all around me.

What advice would you have for girls aspiring to take on an artistic career? My advice for women aspiring to take on an artistic career is do the work and don’t give up! I have failed a million times in my career, or when I was working towards my career, and I still fail all of the time. It’s important to keep working and believe in your abilities. Great things come from that!