GDG: Where are you from?
CS: I’m originally from a small town in Southern Illinois but am blessed to now live in Southern California. Hmm… I see a pattern here.
GDG: Could you give us a brief overview of your art background?
CS: Like many, I grew up watching cartoons, drawing what I would see on screen, and wondering what living in these other worlds would be like. It wasn’t until Toy Story came out that I realized that people make these movies- and those people were animators. I’ve been chasing that excitement and joy ever since. After graduating Columbia College Chicago and taking numerous workshops to further my skills, I’ve worked in production and artistic roles at Disney, Nickelodeon, Wild Canary, to name a few.
GDG: Describe some of the jobs you have done professionally how they have helped develop your artistic skills.
CS: I used to be a sketch artisan in the Disneyland parks and it was probably the best thing that could have ever happened to me artistically. It was intense character design study everyday and the reality of how these characters & stories affect people really sunk in. I also had the opportunity to storyboard a music video for preschoolers and design props on a Nick Jr show. In each gig, I learn something new about the work and myself as well.
GDG: Has working around so many other GDG artists influenced your art style?
CS: It’s amazing to be surrounded by so many wonderful artists. Seeing the diversity of work being shared in the group keeps me on my toes and consistently thinking about what I’m going to make next.
GDG: Where do you find your inspiration for your art?
CS: Emotion is a major driver for anything I make- whether its capturing something I’m feeling or trying to influence someone else to feel it, too. I find inspiration from my surroundings, people I know and love or admire, comics, books, movies, nature- it’s everywhere!
GDG: Have you ever had to struggle with self doubt as an artist?
CS: Yes! Especially when I was younger, and sometimes even now. It’s easy to play the comparison game, but once I stopped worrying about what others were doing and started focusing on what I was doing or wanted to do, it was a lot easier. I’m very purpose driven and want to put good out into the world- it takes some reminding that what we make can have a positive impact, but it’s definitely motivating to get past your demons and carry on.
GDG: What would be your artistic “dream job”?
CS: I would love to create an animated series full of magical realism. However, I’ve tried to detach my self worth from this idea of a “dream job” because in these creative industries, gigs come and go. The ultimate goal is to always use my drawing, writing, and comedy skills to work in a collaborative atmosphere to create positive and adventurous media for young audiences!
CS: I love traditional methods- there’s nothing more romantic than holding a pencil and feeling the lead leave the tip as you pull it across a sketchbook page and then adding a splash of watercolor. It’s so tangible and imperfect at times. However, being digital is necessary- it’s just so much easier when collaborating with others and being a part of a production. Plus, Ctrl + Z.
GDG: Is there a type of art that you‘ve always wanted to learn?
CS: I’m currently learning embroidery! There are some amazing artists out there who are really challenging what the form can be- even mixing it with illustration. Mixed media is such a blue sky idea- it can literally be anything!
GDG: Do you have any advice for aspiring young women artists?
CS: Trust yourself and trust that your artistic voice is worth sharing. Someone out in the world can benefit from seeing your art or hearing your story! It’s a gift. You are a gift.