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Did you study art?

I graduated from SUNY Fredonia with a BFA in Graphic Design and a minor in Dance. At the time, I thought the only jobs that were available for artists out of college were design jobs, so that’s the direction I took. I actually really love design! And I think having that knowledge has helped me a lot with my illustrations. I do wish now though, that I had double majored in design and illustration.

What materials do you use? 

When I first started out, I worked mostly in digital using procreate. It’s a great tool, and I still use it for touch ups and sketching! However, I always wanted to be better with traditional materials and overtime, creating digital art made me depressed. I’m not sure how to explain it other than when I paint, it’s very therapeutic for me, and I find that creating compositions, finding a color palette and developing a character is easier when I’m working with pencil, paint and paper. 

The main materials I use are:

Gouache: Holbein Acryla, some Arteza

Colored Pencils: Prismacolor, Faber-Castell Polychromes

Water-Soluble Wax Pastel: Caran D’ Ache Neocolor Aquarelle

Ink Pen: Sakura Pigma Micron (mostly size 05)

Paint Brushes: Winsor & Newton Cotman #4 Round, Princeton Heritage #10 Round

Palette: Masterson Sta Wet Palette

Paper: Fabriano Hot Press Watercolor Paper 300 gsm

Sketchbook: Moleskine Art Collection Sketchbook

How did you find your art style?

Everything starts somewhere, and finding your own art style starts with drawing and practice! I would say start finding themes, animals, characters that you enjoy or find inspirational. I find woodland animals the most fun to draw, foxes, bears, birds, etc. That, and other natural elements, leaves, trees, flowers. Lately I’ve had an interest in patterns and textiles. Find that SPARK and practice! Draw a fox 800 times, until you find one that feels like you. Try different angles, different line strokes, different color palettes, just go for it! Once you find something that you’re comfortable with, you’ll feel it. You’ll put it down on paper and you’ll have that feeling like everything is working and your style is developing. I promise! 

Another thing I want to say about finding your style is, it changes. Much like you in your life, it will change, develop and grow. So don’t worry if your style isn’t where you want it to be, or if it seems like it isn’t going anywhere or you’re not able to find it. You will find it if you keep at it! I even feel like I’ve found my style and then a few months go by, and something new strikes me and poof! My style has changed. Art can be anything, as long as you’re having a good time creating it and developing it, that’s all that matters!

How do you deal with Art Block?

Art Block is a doozy. And it mostly comes from outside factors, not thinking you’re good enough, imposter syndrome, or even just life becoming too overwhelming. These things happen to me all the time. I just remind myself to be gentle with my art, and that there are good and bad times, it can’t be good all the time, and if it looks that way with other artists they’re lying. Everyone has their struggles. So I guess the best way to deal with Art Block is to normalize it and accept it.

The other more action things I do to get out of an art block is sketch, go for walks, STAY OFF MY PHONE, and read more. I also like to go places that I find inspirational, some examples being antique stores, libraries, and my favorite hiking trails. 

One last thing on art block. If it’s really too much, please be kind to yourself. The love of creating is in all of us and it will come back. If you need to take some time off, do it! Your creativity is still inside you, you’ll never lose it

How do you manage your time? 

Time management is always an interesting journey for me. I have my family, a husband, three kids, five pets, myself, my friends and my art. All of these things I treasure and I want to make sure they are each given the right amount of time, but sometimes things get more attention than the others and I do go through doubts of never being enough. 

Making lists and figuring out what needs to be prioritized helps. At the beginning of each week I’ll make a list of all the things I need to get done. Then from that list I’ll separate it into could do and should do. The should do get done. The could do can get pushed to a later time, or sometimes I realize they don’t even need to get done at all, they were probably just busy work things. 

Managing my time with my kids is probably the most difficult thing for me. My husband and I are split down the middle when it comes to being with the kids, and I’m very fortunate to have the help of my Mom and Mother in Law, who watch my youngest (3 years old) some days during the week. The hardest part of it all is taking the mental time that I need to be creative. Sometimes I can work with my older kids (9 and 7). They are both so creative. But they are still quite young and their attention spans can only go so far. At other times their problems are too big and need my full attention and my creativity falls to the wayside. I’m hoping once they get older and more independent, things will become easier. Setting clear boundaries and sticking to them is also very important. I don’t work during nights (sometimes I’ll sketch when the kids go to bed, but fun sketching nothing serious) and I don’t work on weekends. Having those boundaries helps, so whichever ones make sense for your life and routine, I’d say realize the importance they have and follow through with them. 

What does your typical day look like?

My days are spilt into office days and home days. Office days are my art days, my favorites! A typical art office day for me is this:

7:00 am: Get up, get ready, help my husband get my oldest kids ready for school.

7:45 am: drive my oldest kids to school.

8:05 am: Arrive at the office. 

8:10-12: Work on whatever projects I’m working on. (paint, write, draw) Also fit in sometime for operational things, answering emails, messages and planning.

12-1: Eat lunch, and when the weather is nice I like to go for walks. Outside my office there is a bridge overlooking a waterfall, it’s really cool. 

1-3:30: Finish up any painting or work I need to do.

3:30-3:45: Clean up office, and pack up my things. 

4:30: Arrive home! 

4:45-8:00: Make dinner with my husband, spend time with my kids, play games (our current favorites: Sushi Go, Tag, Hide and Squeak) Get the kids ready for bed, watch a quick show (our current favorite shows: Apple and Onion, Craig of the Creek NOTE: This is where I usually fall asleep on the couch) wake up and read a couple of picture books and our current chapter book (right now were reading Brian Jacques Redwall) Say good night to the kids!

8:00-11:30pm: Decompress from the day, catch up on chores (never ending laundry) sketch and relax. 

And that’s it! Sometimes the days change with my kids after school activities. But for the most part on my office days, this is it! 

Do you currently sell you work?

Currently I do not sell my work. I keep going back and forth about opening my shop again but with everything going on, I’m not sure if I can give it the time it needs. I’m always thinking about it though, and trying to find a platform that can help me with this. If you have had any success with a third party platform and selling your art, please let me know! I would love to hear about it!