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: 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: Miss Tak

HornsnHoneySmMiss Tak’s Portfolio

Where are you from originally? Where are you located now?

Born and raised in So-Cal. At the moment I’m working out of Hollywood.

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

 My parents used to say that when they’d hand out colouring pages in Preschool, I’d turn them over and draw my own things on the back. Later, I enrolled in private art lessons, as well as Saturday High classes at Art Center in Pasadena, and then eventually I did the CSSSA program at Cal Arts in Animation. After that I got my BFA at Art Center.

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

I’ve done a ton of odds and ends; from drawing pottery for a catalog, to portraits of people’s dogs in costumes, to professional illustrative jobs for TV. They’ve taught me a breadth of styles, which helps me develop a diverse portfolio. And working for TV has taught me that the quickest artists become the most valued.

JellySmHas working with GDG inspired you creatively?

It’s definitely emboldened me to work more with the nude female form. They make women look strong, regardless of how she’s dressed. And that was such an important lesson to learn to claim as my own.

Where do you find inspiration for your art?

Usually my ideas come from some kind of narrative. Many of my friends are excellent writers, and I mostly find myself wanting to help bring their worlds and characters to life. Other times, I use painting as a form of escapism. Creating things that I wish existed.

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

I only work digitally now, aside from a few random sketchbook scrawlings here and there. As much as I respect traditional work, I hate the clean up, the supply costs and the lack of an undo button. When I paint digitally, I work on a Cintiq, which allows me to paint right on the image with no disconnect. I find that it’s a really happy middle, and still gives you a traditional feel.  

JanuaryQueenSMAre there any artistic disciplines that you have a passion for?

Aside from digital painting I make costumes and props. Many things tend to lean towards the ‘Steampunk’ style. Though, honestly, I just enjoy creating tangible, useful things that make people happy.

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

I’d love to learn how to screen print! I think that’s an awesome way to be able to produce artwork.

Do you have any advice for aspiring young women artists?

Do you. And do it as long as you can. Everyone will try to take your uniqueness from you and tell you that you should be more like someone else. Do your own thing, it’ll take you much farther than mimicking someone else. 

Artist Spotlight: Yating Sun

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Yating Sun’s Portfolio

Where are you from originally? Where are you located now?

I am from China, mainland city called Qingdao. Now I am located at Los Angeles, California.

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

I have liked to draw since I was a kid, and the professional training for my artistic skills comes from high school. I went to an art high school and learned some very basic rules of drawing and painting, then I studied design in my undergraduate school. I came to the US for graduate school for my studies in major visual development. Now I am in game industry.

skllyanin-50b99f5e1270893Describe some of the jobs you have done professionally how they have helped develop your artistic skills.

In one of my part time jobs, I had to render a character to completion. It’s really a process in which other people can help you to find your faults and help you correct them. Especially after you stare at an image for a long time, it is very important to let other people help you to find where you need to improve. I don’t think it is an artistic skill necessarily, but a very important skill to know.

Has working with GDG inspired you creatively?

Our GDG group has so many talented artists, each one of them. Their drawings really inspire me.

 

How would you describe your style?

Colorful and weird.

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

I prefer to work traditionally, it’s more about what you can touch and feel, and it is better for archival purposes than digital.

Are there any artistic disciplines that you have a passion for?skllyanin-51db5ace14657c4

I want to try more fashion design and sculpture … I have a passion for all things related to art.

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

Writing.

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

Find out who you are, and stick with it, and your art will naturally come out.

Artist Spotlight: Erin Greener

Erin’s Portfolio

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Could you give us a brief overview of your art background, where you are from, etc?

Growing up on a hobby farm in a small town, having even a teeny bit of artistic talent made you a big fish. I knew I wanted to do something with my talent, but I wasn’t sure what yet. I figured that going to art school after high school would help me figure that out. However, going to the city for art school gave me a serious reality check. That big fish attitude was gone real fast!

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

All right, confession time. I have yet to land a true blue professional art job. The best I got going for me is being a digital illustrator for a start up.

Has working with GDG helped you get to know other women artists? If so, has that been beneficial to you?
Absolutely. After graduating art school, I still wasn’t able to escape the corn fields of southeast Michigan. Not a lot of artists out here when you’re half an hour from the nearest city. GDG was where I could connect with people who liked to draw the same stuff I did.

axefinalsmallHow would you describe your style?

I would use the words ‘Comic book candy’ to describe how I draw. I like keeping things relatively 2D. Detailed line art, bright color and vibrant moods are my playing cards.

What is your favorite subject to draw?

Oh. Em. Gee. Battle chicks. I’ve always been a fantasy fan. I love drawing warriors, weapons, magic stuff….

Do you think it is important for women to embrace their own take on what makes them feel sexy?

If you don’t embrace it, someone is going to try to make you feel bad about it. If it weren’t for GDG, my pin up art wouldn’t be seeing the light of day because I would have been too fearful of what others thought about me. Here in Smalltownland USA, women are taught that sexiness makes you more difficult to respect, and for a long time I was buying into it. But at the end of the day, you belong to you, sexuality included. Pin up was how I expressed mine.

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

I’m definitely a digital artist. As much as I love traditional drawing methods like pencil and pastel, my vision is most accurately achieved in photoshop. It’s also more convenient since I’m chained to a computer most of the day.

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

My educational background is in traditional 2D hand drawn animation. But I am REALLY into crafting and costume-making too.

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

Glass blowing and wood working would be pretty awesome. Even though my art is mostly digital, I utterly adore craft arts.

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

A little aggressiveness and self confidence goes a long way in the industries where one gender is the overwhelming majority. When you’re the only female in the office or one of the few females in the company, there’s a chance you may not be treated quite the same as your male coworkers. Your strengths might get downplayed, you might be talked over, you might get treated like a weak link. It’s very important to teach others how you want to be treated. You are a strong, talented, person with your own beautiful ideas and a unique view on the world. Don’t let them forget.

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: Heather Chavez

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Heather’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 got into art at 7 years old and always wanted to be an animator. I attended the Los Angeles High School for the arts, then went onto get my degree from the California institute of the Arts. Was a nintooner at Nickelodeon then did graphic design for Siany and Paracel, and then worked for Nickeodeon Games and now at Jumpstart.

Describe some of the jobs you have done professionally how they have helped develop your artistic skills
As a graphic designer I have learned to design an advertising campaign and train in digital art on how to design for a specific audience. As an artist for the virtual world I’ve learned to concept quickly, pitch concepts and be a leader.

Has working professionally around so many other artists influenced your art and comic style? If so, in what way?
I am always inspired by the amazing talent in surrounded by. I try to learn something from everyone I meet.

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What is your favorite part of being a member of GDG?
My favorite part of being a member of GDG is meeting all the amazing artists and leaders in this group. I am grateful to be around so many beautiful, talented, and supportive women. It’s provided dream experiences like being a part gallery shows and being in published material.  I’ve even been in parades!

Do you have a preference between working with digital or traditional methods? Could you give a couple reasons why?
I prefer traditional methods because the problem solving in the process is raw, it’s tactile and a part of you forever stays in the painting.

Are there any artistic disciplines (sculpture, painting, photography, fashion, etc.) that you have a passion for?
I have a passion for fashion design, painting in watercolor and acrylic.

 

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Is there a type of art that you’ve always wanted to learn?
I always wanted to do street art and use spray cans. There’s still time for me to learn.

Based on your professional experiences, do you have any advice for aspiring young women artists?
There is a place for everyone and you will find your niche. Don’t be afraid to fail. Give yourself a chance even when you are scared and don’t feel like you’re good enough.

 

Artist Spotlight: Leen Isabel

Leen’s Portfolio  |  Leen’s Facebook  |  Pole Dancing Adventures

spin-sugar-final-webCould 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 grew up with American comics, anime and manga – all of which laid the foundation for my interest in comics and illustration. In college, I added to my love of popular arts and graduated with degrees in classical Art History and Studio Art from UC Irvine. During those years, I took private figure-drawing lessons as I learned that the drawing classes at the university weren’t adequate for further education. After graduation, I immediately began working in packaging and web design while taking classes at Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art. While I currently still work full-time as a website designer and content manager, I also have a busy schedule as a webcomic creator and freelance illustrator.

You practice pole dancing, could you elaborate on how this influences you artistically?
Besides drawing, I’m very passionate about pole dancing / pole fitness. After being a student for two years, I decided to create a webcomic dedicated to the subject, which led to a wonderful following mostly within the pole dance community. I just ran a successful Kickstarter campaign for my first creator-owned comic book, which ended just a few days ago. It’s been a humbling experience having the chance to interact with fans from around the world because of my project. (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/leenisabel/pole-dancing-adventures-the-book)

When I focus on the mission of Girls Drawin’ Girls’ and how we seek to redefine pin-up art, I turn to female aerial artists as my favorite subject matter. When I see a woman performing 15-20 feet up in the air on silks or on the pole, I’m amazed at how graceful & calm she can be! When you realize that an aerialist can carry her body weight in ways a normal person would not be able to do is really amazing. Capturing that in a single painting is my goal so that my audience can realize that women can encompass both grace and physical strength.

Who are your artistic and personal inspirations?
Right now, I really admire Fiona Staples. I’m really floored by her character designs and knowledge of anatomy as well as her painting techniques. Claire Wendling is another name that comes to mind for her anatomy knowledge. Her cat sketches? I love them! Another recent discovery is Juanjo Guarnido. His comic book pages leave me speechless.

120-pole-bruise-map-final-webHow has your style evolved?
When I draw Pole Dancing Adventures, it’s all for fun. I’m not concerned about anatomical accuracy or heavy detail. I just want to enjoy the process of making a short comic strip that will educate or make people laugh. And even with those simple character designs, they have evolved over two years to become more expressive. I like seeing the evolution of my characters. It’s like seeing a real-life dancer grow.

With my pin-up work, my style has evolved towards an animation inspired look rather than a focus on realism. The decision to make a shift in style feels more cheerful to me and reflects me as a person.

Do you have a preference between working with digital or traditional methods? Could you give a couple reasons why?
I admire both mediums. I often do my pencils and inking for comics & illustrations by hand before either making the decision to make it a digital or traditional painting. It depends on the project. With digital, I favor the forgiving use of the tools. Made a mistake? Ctrl-Z and it’s gone! There’s less stress when working digitally. Hiding your flaws or going back over your mistakes is very simple to do.

With traditional medium, in my case I prefer watercolor and gouache, there is no going back. I like the idea that I’m making a one-of-a-kind work of art that takes time and patience. Mastering a traditional medium takes a lot of hard work and in the end you’re left with a piece you can really be proud of.

Are there any artistic disciplines (sculpture, painting, photography, fashion, etc, anything…) that you have a passion for?
Perhaps its debatable, but I also consider cosplay a fun artistic discipline. I’ve been a cosplayer for 4 years and the pleasure of making your own costume and embodying a beloved character is really addicting. Due to recent events of cosplayers being attacked, harassed, and rise of the “cosplay is NOT consent” movement, I decided to stop cosplaying for a while. At least, I no longer bring my costumes to conventions. Right now, it’s not a safe environment and I choose not to subject myself to it. For now, my costume creations are piled up in my closet waiting for the day I feel like wearing them out again.

334258_10101218427238901_1844862239_oIs there a type of art that you’ve always wanted to learn?
Thanks to the success of my webcomic, it gave me confidence and interest to learn more about creating sequential art. I hope to branch out into non-pole related works such as original short stories and who knows? Maybe I’ll make a graphic novel someday!

Based on your professional experiences, do you have any advice for aspiring young women artists?
When I was starting out, I think the biggest hurdle for me to get over was fear and doubt. When I shed my inhibitions of “What if this drawing looks terrible?” or “I’ll never be that good!” I was able to give myself the freedom to grow into my own style and really enjoy the process of drawing and learning. Go forth and draw with confidence!