I’m a full-time gallery fine artist and illustrator based out of Vancouver, BC Canada. I’ve been doing art full time for a little over 11 years now. I’ve been creating comics like my Tanpopo series for many years, and more recently, writing and creating books like my instructional How-To books Pop Manga and Pop Painting, and my newest publication, Pop Manga Coloring Book from Random House Books.
Since I’m a painter and illustrator I have lots of tools of the trade. My favorite paints to use are Holbein brand Aqua Duo oils, which are a water soluble oil paint. I use these, and Holbein liquid acrylics and gouache on birch wood panels for painting, and use synthetic brushes instead of animal hair ones. When I’m illustrating I use graphite and pen & ink on paper, and my favorite non-repro blue pencils!
Things I find motivating are usually found in nature, like colors, or animals, or other creative disciplines like poetry and classic literature. I’ve always loved art and been attracted to it from an early age. As a kid, I was mesmerized by Disney cartoons. My motivations change over the years, since it hasn’t been an easy career. I sometimes have re-evaluations on why I create. And it’s not by choice, but because the circumstances of why I create change, and I have to find why I love to create again. One instance of this was having my husband remind me why I love to paint, after a conversation we had that reminded me that paintings don’t always have to be for a purpose, but that I should paint for fun sometimes, too. And from a time in my career exhibiting with Tara McPherson’s Cotton Candy Machine Gallery where I was so used to having galleries tell me what to paint, that Tara’s open encouragement and not pressuring me on what to create was honestly rejuvenating. These instances happened years apart, but they helped me. Right now, I’m really motivated by nature and the state of the world, and appreciating the planet. I’m trying to bring that love and awareness through my art. I feel that right now, the world is going through a bit of a dark age, and I’m hoping that through my art I can give people a bright light during these times.
I start a new painting by sketching out some ideas in thumbnail sketches. This helps me plan my composition. Then, when I find something I really fall in love with, I do a light sketch on a wood panel using a watercolor pencil. I put on a good audio book or emotional music, and start painting. Half way through the day I’ll take a break and go for a long walk with my dog, and then start up again after I’m refreshed and can focus.
It’s not hard for me to stay in a creative zone once I’m painting or doing my drawings. I’ve been an independent fine artist for more than 11 years, so I’m accustomed to working to deadlines, and the level of self-discipline that can take. I’m very focused, and it’s almost like a state of meditation. I do take a break every single day, at mid-day, and go do some exercising or creative writing so I can switch gears and change my train of thought. Then, when I go back to painting I can start back fresh.
One of my favorite projects, and in fact, my true passion-project, is my Tanpopo series. I’ve always loved classic works of literature, and I fell head-over-heels for the Japanese Manga style of storytelling that was character-development driven, and emotional, and romantic! I’m a romantic at heart. So my affinity for both of these things inspired me to create Tanpopo, which I began self-publishing and growing my story universe with merchandising, and now work with Boom! Studios to publish hardcover graphic novels. I’m sad I can’t work on it as often as I’d like, since I have a more of the story to tell, but it will always be one of my favourite projects that I keep fostering.
When Disney approached me years ago to work with me, that was a milestone, because I’d always wanted to work for Disney. It was a valuable experience working with a company like that, since projects can take years to develop, but like I said- very rewarding. Along with being approached by one of my favorite publishers, Random House Books, to create my how to draw book “How to Draw Pop Manga”. That really changed my career for the better by giving me the opportunity to be an author in addition to an illustrator. Since then, I’ve gone on to write and create 2 more books published by Random House, “Pop Painting” and “Pop Manga Coloring Book”.
An artist that comes immediately to mind is James Jean. I think I look to his art as being some of the most creative art in the industry, or that I’ve ever seen. He continues to amaze me with the caliber of his art, and the differences in his styles he uses to express himself creatively. He’s a painter, and an illustrator, and has done cover artwork, and more. It motivates me to keep doing different concepts, and applying myself in different ways creatively, too. Greg Simkins is another one of my creative influences. The way his technical skill, and creative mind is able to morph animals into these beautiful creatures is just mind blowing, and I love that.
I don’t sense the prejudice of being a woman, but there’s definitely prejudice in North America of how they view nudes. It’s a constant battle that people can be very closed minded in how they view the female figure. There’s an attitude that if an artist portrays the female figure nude, that it’s sexualizing her. But it’s not necessarily seen the same with depicting men. This prejudice surrounding nudity and how it’s misconstrued as sexuality is a challenge I continue to face. I view the human body as a work of art, and I want to communicate that through my artworks, independent of sexuality.
My husband and my dog. Epic romances, and being creative makes me really happy, along with meeting my fans who support me.
We’re all equal, and gender doesn’t matter with art. It’s what you create and how you portray yourself through your art. It shouldn’t matter to being an artist if you have breasts or you don’t. If women can see themselves as equal to men, and continue to persue that, then nothing will stop us as artists. Being an artist is difficult, and I don’t blame my gender for any of my failings; just my decisions. Don’t ever let your gender solely define you, or set you back.
I’m excited to share my upcoming painting collection, “Submerged”, which opens at Dorothy Circus Gallery March 31st in Rome, Italy. For this collection, I went big, and dug deep with my inspirations and creative expressions. For instance, my painting “La Madre”, is one of the largest new compositions I’ve worked on. She’s 20x24”, and completely bursting with details and elements, from every scale on each goldfish, to the insides of the skulls I painted, melting outwards. I hope viewers get to appreciate how much of myself I imparted into this collection. If readers are interested in these new works, they’re debuting through Dorothy Circus Gallery, who can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org