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