How's life been treating you?
Life has been treating me well, overall! This past year has certainly been an experience, but the bright side is it did give me my first taste of truly working from home, which has been a dream of mine for many years. Though I’m back in the office for my day job now, working from home was nice while it lasted.
How do you handle, working under pressure?
Working under pressure is something I do well. Working with deadlines is the best way for me to get things done, even if there isn’t a need for an exact deadline.
What are your strengths & weaknesses?
I am able to take constructive criticism, and am willing to hear about areas I can improve on in my art. However, I am able to appreciate my skill level where it is currently, as well. I am able to recognize that although there is always room for improvement and growth, my art has worth right now as well.
[Some days this is harder to remember than others, but I feel this is something more artists, especially those just starting out, need to remind themselves]
A weakness for me would probably be drawing anything mechanical. I mean, I can draw a car, but I don’t enjoy drawing the car, and I feel like it shows. Ha!
What is your ideal work environment?
My ideal work environment would be a large, organized space where I could play loud music when I wanted. I would have a computer area and a separate art area for physical media. There would be natural light, windows with a beautiful view, a space to sit and read/reflect, and a tiny kitchenette to make snacks and drinks. I work most effectively when I’m alone, but I am a social person who needs interaction to be happy. I’d have to balance that out somewhere if I worked alone all the time, I suppose.
Who are your biggest influences?
My biggest influences vary. I grew up reading a lot of comics, with my favorite as a child being Garfield by Jim Davis. I think my art style was affected by that significantly. Dave Kellett, the artist of “Sheldon” and “Drive” is another favorite! A constant source of inspiration and influence for me is the community of artists I met through SCBWI (the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators) and the #kidlitart chat on Twitter. (9pm EST on Thursdays!) Everyone I’ve met has just been super supportive of each other and we all encourage each other to just create! It’s been such a wonderful resource and I’m so very glad to have met them all.
Where did the idea come from to create Food Ghosts?
The Food Ghosts started as a happy accident during a digital painting session with my toddler. He was way into ghosts at the time, and he instructed me to make a pink ghost. It looked like a piece of bologna, I told him. So I made it look even more like one. I gave it some pickle eyes, and voila. Bologna ghost. He was tickled, so we made a couple more food ghosts over the next couple days. Fast forward a year, and I decided that I finally wanted to make my own set of pins. I have been a collector of pins over the years, and I really wanted to make some of my own and use the opportunity to try being a creator on Kickstarter. So I knew I wanted to make pins, but had no designs. I was looking back through my art from the last couple years, trying to see if anything I had made looked like it would translate well to a pin. That’s when I stumbled back onto my food ghost designs. I took the two I liked best (pizza and sandwich), and decided to create another new design to make an attractive set of three to start. My brother suggested the ramen ghost. I’m so glad he did! It turned out great. Easily one of my favorites. Anyway, after that I knew I would want some dessert ghosts to follow. I’m already lining up future “lines” of ghosts for later campaigns, or just to release in my store when I can.
This Kickstarter campaign hasn’t necessarily been a big risk in any individual way. The pins aren’t being produced until after the campaign completes, so I wasn’t at risk of being out a lot of money if the campaign failed, or anything. The biggest risk was actually just launching the campaign! I don’t have a large following on social media. I had never done Kickstarter before. I had never designed an enamel pin before. There was potential that no one else would be interested in these pins and the campaign would fail to fund. My hopes really got up when I funded 55% by 5pm the day after I launched, but when the numbers really slowed after that, it was disheartening. It’s been a real rollercoaster! I am so very glad to be fully funded with over a week left in the campaign. It’s not just the excitement of “yay I get to make pins now!” It really feels like a sense of validation. This product that I designed is something that other people like enough that they’re willing to pay money to help bring it into the world. The best part is that most of them aren’t even people I know, so I know it’s not a pledge out of sympathy or anything! Haha!
When not working on Food Ghosts, what are your hobbies?
I love hobbies. I once said I wish I could quit my job so I could have more time for hobbies! I love reading, and I’m currently about halfway through Bone by Jeff Smith. I’ve been reading a lot of graphic novels lately, trying to learn all I can as I prepare to create my own in the coming years! I also read a lot of children’s books for research, but also because I have two young boys who like me to read to them. Aside from reading, I love cooking and baking, singing, embroidery, playing ukulele, and traveling as much as I can manage. I was huge into theater in high school, and some in college. If I had more time in my days, I would love to get back into it and act in community theater. It’s so much fun!
What issues are important to you, why?
As the daughter of a therapist, mental health and the movement to normalize receiving adequate care for mental/emotional issues is something that is very important to me. I have seen many people that I care about immensely struggle with a variety of issues over the years, and I look forward to the day when the stigma surrounding mental health care is gone. No one should be afraid or embarrassed to take care of themselves.
What have you learned from COVID?
COVID has taught me several things. The first thing I learned was that I love working from home. The second I learned from COVID is that there is a lot to be said for clearing your schedule and slowing life down a bit. Lastly, my children and I absolutely need other human beings in our lives or we kind of fall apart at the seams.
What is something people do not know about you?
My “something people don’t know” is more like a “something people who know me usually know,” but it’s one of the most interesting things about me. I was a surrogate mother which led to the birth of a little girl. Our families still try to get together every so often. The whole experience was just such a blessing to me.
* Photo Credit (Click Here)