Tuesday, June 12, 2018


As an artist, it seems like the landscape is ever-changing from simply the tools, to the aesthetic. I intend to be an artist that never wants to stop learning, and as such, I find more and more interesting artists every day. Each artist has a unique insight and point of view, no matter the experience level. New views help open my mind and teach me there are many ways to utilize my skills and I hope that sharing our stories will help others in the same way. I believe there are many paths on an artistic journey, and each interview will help to show the stories of the artists that tread them.


Today we'll be interviewing special guests Jessica Fong and Mark Biundo from Lonely Egg Studios.

Kaminski: My first question is typically the same, but here goes: What made you pursue art? Is it something that you always saw yourself pursuing? What KEEPS you pursuing it?

 

Biundo: I’m basically a life long gamer.  I also grew up doing a lot of theater from a young age.  I've always wanted to pursue some sort of expressive medium, though that shifted from theater to games in high school, then to film as I entered college, and back to games after my freshman year.  What ultimately drove me to and keeps me working in gaming is the nature of interactivity.  While different artistic mediums excel at different types of storytelling, games (or more generally "interactive media") literally put you in the shoes of another person, creature, or thing you could never experience being in real life.  I think that gives them an incredible power to generate empathy and understanding, and gives us as developers a unique way to affect peoples' hearts and minds.

Fong: Ok, I think the first question is a two parter for me:

'Pursuing art as a form of expression': I can’t pinpoint the catalyst exactly. As far back as I can remember, imagery and visuals have always clicked as a natural form of language to portray my thoughts and feelings.

'Pursuing art as a career': My high school art teacher David Hevel sparked and bridged how expression and livelihood can come together. He introduced me to visual design and connected me to mentor and friend Nate Fredenburg.

Is it something that I always saw myself pursuing? As a career, no, for a while before college I thought about majoring in bioengineering due to pressure of expectations at home and flipped between an interest in art as a hobby and as a career. But even when not actively focused on art, I was still creating and improving well being. And forging yourself alongside craft I would consider inseparable as a creative. Haha, art works in mysterious ways, you never really stop pursuing it.

What keeps me pursuing it? I continue pursuing art because it’s how I communicate and depict my reality to others. I’m interested in learning how others convey their realities and furthering fields in supporting those expressions. These things keep me connected to the world and it's a powerful idea and mission I find worth pursuing.

Kaminski: It's interesting that you talk about flip-flopping about an art career. I flipped all over the place, but mainly within the art track. Sure, there are days where the simple... "IS THIS REALLY A THING?!" pop up, but all-in-all I always tell myself - hell it's a train I can't get off of now, might as well keep on going.
I thought if I wasn't going to do art at one point that I would do something in math... and then statistics kicked my ass left and right.

Fong: Haha, it was hard for me to define what I 'wanted' at the time. I had family, friends, peers, colleagues, etc. growing that all had different ideas of what they think I wanted and what makes you 'successful.'

Kaminski: It's interesting how easy it is to fall in that trap. "Being defined by those around you." OR "Letting others dictate what makes you, you."
Hell, I've been guilty of it myself.
Your art seems to have a tinge of both cyberpunk and the macabre. Was this something that happened naturally or is there a story or piece that inspired this leap? In that vein, are these both genres that you've always found yourself drawn to?

Fong: When I was young I was drawn to subjects that I felt kinship to or felt like extensions of what I was feeling: the lost belongings in the winding gnarly woods by my house, the lone fish swimming upstream in the creek, the rotten things taken over by flowers in the backyard. Then, my father played Blade Runner, Ghost in the Shell, and Alien for me as a kid and those almost certainly solidified the aesthetics I use now. I had an abusive mother, and the mutated and winding cityscapes with no end or beginning paired with troubled characters trying to survive and understand their place and find answers in them.... it just clicked. This is exactly how I felt all the time and now I had a means / a way to visualize it. It might seem corny, but it was groundbreaking for me.


KaminskiDo you have any formal training as an artist or is it something you evolved naturally? If so, what was your experience in school like? If not, do you feel like your experience in the industry has kicked your ass into gear to excel in the way you have?

Fong: It's both, I drew on my own all the way up till high school where I took art classes. My teacher, David Hevel (he's such a gift) had me skip the intro art classes so I could take part in AP art for college credit. Then, I went on to major in studio art at Cal Poly Polytechnic State University. The art department there has traditional curriculum: focuses on art theory, traditional tools, art history, and self expression in preparation for a career as a studio/gallery artist. I loved all of it and sucked it up like a sponge, but I was also learning and yearning to be involved in digital visual development. One of the reasons I chose Cal Poly was partially due to my parents' desire for a buffer to switch majors if art didn't work out; the school has an excellent engineering department. This actually ironically aided in my goals to be involved with visual design as most of my friends in college ended up being programmers and engineers passionate about game dev. I asked professors if I could tailor assignments towards my own personal projects, started a Concept Art Club, and joined the Cal Poly Game Development Club. After I graduated, my partner Mark Biundo was still working towards his B.S. in Computer Game Design at UC Santa Cruz and I moved in with him till he finished. I learned from his peers and professors and volunteered my art services to the students' final game projects for several years. So I do have formal training in art, but I also was self driven to forge paths.

Kaminski: Switching gears: Do you do conventions quite often?

Fong: I’ve sold at conventions 2-3 times a year for 10+ years and attend/volunteer at others. I sell at California and Bay Area cons to support local run cons and artists, but am open to going out of state if funds allow in the future! There are incredible artists I've met like Bordin Marsinkul from Hyperbooster Studio who make much of their living from conventions. With my current business and goals, it's just not possible for me to do back to back conventions. With every convention we're able to attend there's weeks of planning, budget spreadsheets, restocking with suppliers, inventory logging, and of course the up front costs to account for. Selling at conventions now is a great way for the studio to connect with the community and fans while also giving a boost to funds and visibility for projects and personal art. I love conventions and they have a special place in my heart, they're pretty much where I started showing my work publicly!

Kaminski: My school actually got my start in conventions with these small programs at local museums like "Illustrators take over the Brooks". I had no idea what I was getting myself into... did your school get you out into the world that way or were you left to your own devices? Do you have any tales of your first con adventures?

Fong: I remember programs like that! I was in high school when I was introduced to the local con Fanime through my peer group and thought it would be fun to attend and share a hotel room with friends. I was intrigued when I saw they had an artist alley and my high school teacher and friends supported my interest in showcasing and selling there. I had no idea what it really entailed to sell at a con and my first table was... dinky, haha! I didn't have a display, had a simple red table cloth, and my few prints from Kinko's were just placed wherever on the table, but attendees and other artists there still appreciated the art anyway. They were positive, supportive, and helpful; it was a community that I didn't know existed around me.

Kaminski: This one is kind of an obvious, but leading question: What's your experience been like thus far in the game industry? And also - is Lonely Egg your first experience in a managerial position for games and/or is this your first experience on the game development track?


Fong: I can only really speak from my experiences with indie game projects: it's been one heck of a roller coaster and I don't see it stopping anytime soon. I feel the way indie games are treated, viewed, and established needs more time to mature. Passionate people are in indie games, but there needs to be more systemic efforts towards supporting the arts, lowering obstacles from a small business stand point, and education geared towards how to be a empathetic problem solver/critical thinker. Many projects I've been a part of have voices that I feel are important for the growing industry to hear and pursue, but fail often due to things I would consider are holding back the industry's longevity and innovation; and it ranges from elitism, cliques, lack of soft skills, legal/financial obstacles, bullying, pressures of perfection, etc. I'm humbled by the mistakes and peers I've learned from on the projects I've had the honor of being a part of, it lights a fire under my butt to continue forward. There's work to be done.
Lonely Egg I would consider my first real experience in an owner/manager position, to clarify: 'real' as in my partner and I are taking on the risk and personal investment along with the responsibilities. I was in art direction and asset management for short periods on other indie games, but the projects were mostly managed and owned by someone else. There's a pressure like no other when everything so far has culminated to this point, we're shaping our own brand to the public, and aiming to have it fulfill the personal visions and missions we have.

I think there's more room for creativity as a programmer than non programmers realize, even in non game development roles. Programming is basically defining a logic problem, breaking it down into smaller pieces, and then building those pieces one at a time to bring the full solution together.

Biundo: Prior to Lonely Egg, I was a part of a college team, we worked on a narrative game called Project Perfect Citizen.  It didn't have a particular hierarchy in terms of management, it was just very collaborative.  At my day job I work at a very small startup, so it's pretty self driven and it's given me a lot of practice at organizing and sequencing what needs to be done.
Lonely Egg is my first official job in the games industry though.
I love the idea of collaboration in a studio environment, which is what would appeal to me if I worked there. Being solo can get quite lonely by comparison.

KaminskiDo you have any projects (personal or otherwise) that you'd like to promote?


Fong: Yeah! My partner (Mark Biundo) and I are co-founders of Lonely Egg Studio and our first game is In the Keeper's Shadow, an intimate dystopian surreal hand-painted adventure game where Emi, a young, inquisitive girl journeys to unearth secrets amidst the crumbling, war-torn city sheís called home. We recently put out the press kit on the site, an art teaser video, and we're planning to start dev Twitch streams soon as things ramp up. In the Keeper's Shadow is a retelling the Keeper and the Girl work (like Game of Thrones from Song of Ice and Fire) that included artwork, story, and game notes I worked on mostly privately for the last 11+ years.


With In the Keeper's Shadow, this is the first time ALL personal and Keeper and the Girl materials have been scanned and made available. One of them being the original comprehensive 'game design document' which is around 30 pages of tiny handwritten notes from an independent course back in college. That was a painnnnn to make sense of for our writers, but worth it. Those were private/personal notes that had ....some painful memories that only a few people ever saw.

KaminskiHas it been a scary ride?
I’ve never really worked in interactive games myself - cards, and RPGs haven't been too bad.

Biundo: Well, our experience is pretty atypical, as we're kind of on the fringes of the indie scene. We do get a lot of support and love, but from a pretty small portion of the actual industry.

Kaminski: The biggest battle is actually creating the product, which it looks like is well underway (or complete?). So you all have half the battle already done.

Fong: Marketing is a whole different beast that you'll get knocked out! I highly recommend twitter, InstaGram blasts, and also We love all those games! Edith Finch has been a great narrative reference for us.
I would like there to be a more widespread interest and appreciation for creators in games. blasts.
Games, Anime, Sci-Fi and Fantasy as well as Art cons would be a good bet to throw some flyers around as well. Especially once you start the kickstarter / funding drive.

The game is turning the the inner world that aided me through adversity into a cathartic release for friends and family to see our past build something positive. The older world and game notes/sketches were private, the ramblings and expressions of a younger me. It wasn't until this year that all of my Keeper and the Girl work were made available, scanned, and transcribed for our writers. The scariest part were the obstacles I would face revolving a project of this nature.
I love imagery with themes of legacy, the old talking to the new, what is consequently left behind, and how we personally internalize what it all means. The game touches on it.
Games are amazing in that regard. Seeing your work through still pictures and words, I've been limited to how connected I feel to the characters/my personas. I'm thrilled and a little scared to play and experience them in a way I haven't before.



Kaminski: See, the thing with Lonely Egg that I can see, even before you told me, that there's not only a passion, but also that it's about a much bigger issue.
Take a look at all of the what I would call timeless games in terms of themes and they all live to tell a message.
Shadow of the Colossus : Selflessness, Sacrifice, a moral for loneliness and depression.
Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee : The need for escape.
EarthBound is the need for stable relationships and the importance of them.
The fact that you're making games with a message is super appealing to me. Add to that the fact that I immediately bonded with the artwork.

Fong: Yes! I believe that telling people's real inner realities is a big step in advocacy
It connects you to the themes and the characters, thus connecting you to the creator.
I played the Beginner's Guide not that long ago. I really recommend it.
I guess Getting Over It also got a lot of recent recognition for it's existential commentary.

Kaminski: Yeah, and then even bigger themes would be in things like BioShockPreyDishonoredPortalWhat Remains of Edith Finch, etc.
Hell, even Night in the Woods was about growth.

But all of this ties back around to the issue at hand, that stories such as these are meant to potentially show bigger messages that (hopefully) stick with people and outlive their direct experience.
Basically that we still remember fondly after-the-fact.

Fong: We love all those games! Edith Finch has been a great narrative reference for us.
I would like there to be a more widespread interest and appreciation for creators in games

Kaminski: I actually think we're about to REALLY get into that because of the peak of graphics.
Narrative and story will take a complete forefront to the glitz.
And (hopefully) humans will start to become more concerned with actually getting an experience rather than a simple *BANG* *BANG*.
(Not to dissuade people that enjoy those games, because let’s face it, I enjoy a run-n-gun from time-to-time, myself)

Fong: Back in my studio art academics we were taught that an artwork doesn't stop at the edges of the canvas. The frame, the location it's in, the materials, the artist, the process are all part of the "artwork"
That's how you support the longevity for the work and the artist.

Kaminski: Now you're speaking my language (until you get into the WARHOLIAN HELL)
"WHAT'S IT MEAN?!" <BULLSHIT'S WAY THROUGH SOME HIDDEN AS HELL MEANING>

Fong: I guess that's different then what I mean. This is actually a great way to combat clones in the long term. By supporting an individual, you create less worth in clone work. And for meaning, an artist can gave as little or as much meaning they want to put in, it's interesting to know, but if I'm a functioning normal viewer, I'll take away my own meaning, too, without judging the creator's intentions.

It's kind of a humbling experience.

I get to see a fragment of someone's vision, but I know that I can't know everything about the artist's life to truly know everything about the work or what it took to get this piece here in front of me. It adds a bit of mystery that I get to fill in.

Kaminski: The fact that it's under the guise of pseudo-cutesy makes it all the better to me. Like for example how EarthBound and Little Nightmares were 'sort-of' cutesy, but dealing with some REALLY heavy stuff.


Fong: I love that play on opposites! It's life man, a push and pull between opposing things. For me childhood had its downs/dark times sure, but I was still a kid. Kids enjoy the little things and find the craziest stuff funny.

KaminskiWhat would you recommend for a creative to start off with to get their name into the industry? Any specific things to study, themes, etc.? In that vein, do you have any recommendations for places to get a foot-in-the-door so to speak?
And for you specifically, Mark, what does creativity in the industry mean to you? Being a programmer and all, you are literally bringing life to pixels.

Biundo: There's no one size fits all route for breaking into the industry.  Generally, if you find what you love doing, do it a whole lot, and try to show people what you've done, you're on the right track.
I think there's more room for creativity as a programmer than non programmers realize, even in non game development roles.
Programming is basically defining a logic problem, breaking it down into smaller pieces, and then building those pieces one at a time to bring the full solution together.
Pretty frequently, as you're undergoing that process, you'll come across one of two things: you can't do it the way you originally intended, or you can actually do something more/better.
In the former case, the creativity comes into play in finding a way to either route around the problem, or assisting with design to find a solution that achieves the design goals while being technically feasible.
In the latter, you can end up providing your designers with new tools to play with that afford them opportunities they hadn't thought of.



Fong: For me it was being open minded and adaptive. The industry and life change constantly, so much you can not account for. I recently did a podcast episode with Iva from Art Side of Life and I brought up the GDC talk "Everything I Said Was Wrong: Why Indie Is Different Now," I recommend watching it because they comment on how there isn't one path and things done now may not work the next day. If you ask around, people have journeys all over the board as to how they got to where they are now.  Whether it's an interview, making a game, selling a product, having a portfolio, going to art school, etc, it all ends with you taking it in and making a choice. Nothing will happen if you do nothing.
I also ask myself and re-evaluate what things mean to me constantly.

  • What does it mean to have my name in the industry? 
  • Who is the industry? My family? My peers? The global market?
  • What is the foot-in-the-door? Going to school? Studying and practicing it? Making a game? Winning an award? Starting your own studio?
  • What to study? What would help me now? 
  • What do I find interesting and important? 

Haha, it's a lot of problem solving and questions for myself to work through. For me I feel like these things are hard to act on if I don't know how they're defined for myself. And it might take years of experimentation and mistakes to get a even a light grasp on it. These are not easy questions.

KaminskiDo you have any questions for me?

Fong: Yeah! Do you have an idea of what success in the arts or industry entails for you?
And curious if there was an epiphany moment for you that shaped it?

Kaminski: Success: Firstly, of course, I think that it's important for everyone to have their own idea of what success means to them, individually. In one regard, I think that having financial stability from creativity is a big part of success, but success also means having the ability to share everything that I've learned with the folks that ask - and them actually take it to heart and to succeed on their own. So I guess in my own way, success is all about longevity. Having the ability to pass down knowledge and people actually appreciate it.
My epiphany moment started a bit before I started actively doing art. When I was back in high school, I continually admired art and people that create. I continually asked myself, "What kind of artist would I be if I could do art?"
Fast forward some time later, and quite a bit of dabbling and things - to a point where I was working what I would consider a dead-end job. I discovered conceptart.org and it's forums and realized that this is actually a thing that people do. It got my hand and mind moving way before I even knew what I was actually doing. I think that website was ultimately, my epiphany moment. I haven't really stopped drawing since then.

Fong: I agree with you, people finding their own sense of success. I remember conceptart.org, I didn't use it much though, it had wonderful sketchbooks in the forums!
It's nice to see that you asked those questions of yourself early in high school. Too often I find students who just do what they're told or can't think for themselves, they're just not really pushed to ask existential questions like that.

Kaminski: Thanks for asking - I don’t typically get asked questions for interviews, so this was more-or-less and experiment that I will continue moving forward.

The final two questions are typically the same: what goals do you have for the immediate? And long term?


Fong: Immediate goals: I would like to finish In the Keeper's Shadow and build foundations for the studio to enjoy it with family before the chance to meaningfully share dwindles away.

Biundo: My immediate goals are mainly to finish this project, developing experience as a team and hopefully a reputation along the way.

Fong: There is another game on the back burner till In the Keeper's Shadow is finished that is a letter to my father. In addition, we'd like to grow our participation in charities and organizations supporting children education and health.
Long term goals: Mark and I would like the studio to become financially stable enough to give back to charities and mentor/help other developers publish their personal projects while continuing to create our own IP.

Biundo: My long term goals would be that I'd like to explore more personal narrative games, hopefully sourcing from our different team members, as well as some less personal more "just for fun" type games, particularly RPGs.

Kaminski: The final question is pretty straight forward: What's the best piece of advice you've received OR what's some advice you could give fellow artists?


Fong: I can't speak for anyone reading what's the best course of action for whatever they may be going through, but I've found that learning to be more of a critical thinker and problem solver are skills worth building. Also, it's okay to make mistakes,  it comes with the territory of doing. But how you handle hardship and treat others in the process shapes and tells a lot about who you are.

Kaminski: Thanks you two, for taking the time to be a part of the interview series! I can't thank you enough!

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Thank you all for reading, I hope you enjoyed this interview with Jessica Fong and Mark Biundo.
If you did, please give it a SHARE via Facebook or Twitter, below.
You can view this interview, and many more, HERE.

You can find view more of Jessica's work at:
You can also learn more about Lonely Egg Studio and their games at:
Jessica was also recently recommended the book Creativity, Inc. that dives into some deep issues about the creative process.
If you would like to be a part of my interview series, simply fill out the contact form HERE and I'll get back with you as soon as possible!

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THANKS FOR READING, AND UNTIL NEXT TIME!

Friday, June 1, 2018


As an artist, it seems like the landscape is ever-changing from simply the tools, to the aesthetic. I intend to be an artist that never wants to stop learning, and as such, I find more and more interesting artists every day. Each artist has a unique insight and point of view, no matter the experience level. New views help open my mind and teach me there are many ways to utilize my skills and I hope that sharing our stories will help others in the same way. I believe there are many paths on an artistic journey, and each interview will help to show the stories of the artists that tread them.


Today we'll be interviewing Miranda Meeks.


Kaminski: This question is typically the same to start to get a feel for you and your art in general, but: tell me a little about yourself. What led you to the path of the artist? Has it been something you've always been interested in or did the desire to leap into the artistic fray come later?

Meeks: I’ve always wanted to be an artist. I was constantly drawing when I was little. It’s just something I’ve always had a strong desire for. I decided to major in it at school and that’s when it became a concrete goal and what started me down this career path.

Kaminski: Interesting! Lately there seems to be a push away from the traditional path of art school and things, so it's pretty cool to see you venture through university.

I know that schooling definitely had an effect on my style and things and it makes me wonder if the same thing might've happened to you as well. I have to ask, what ultimately led to your decision to pursue dark fantasy, potentially even horror, in particular? Is that a genre that you've always enjoyed or did you find your love for it come along after a certain amount of time battling the canvas? Ultimately - what created Miranda's voice?


I’m inspired by Tim BurtonAlfred Hitchcock, movies and books that have that underlying vein of darkness or creepiness. At the same time, I do not want any viewer to feel deeply unsettled or disturbed when looking at my art, so it’s never a prominent theme. 
Meeks: Pursuing an undertone of darkness wasn't actually done on purpose, at least in the beginning. Looking back, I was always attracted to darker things. I loved snakes and monsters when I was younger. I’m inspired by Tim Burton, Alfred Hitchcock, movies and books that have that underlying vein of darkness or creepiness. At the same time, I do not want any viewer to feel deeply unsettled or disturbed when looking at my art, so it’s never a prominent theme. I love balancing it with aspects of beauty and ethereality. My goal is for a viewer to feel drawn to the image to discover the different layers of mystery, not to feel overwhelmed with negative feelings.

Kaminski: I also see that you have some formal education in the arts. Can you tell us a little about what your experience in art school was? Were there any huge pivotal moments that happened during your stint that still stick with you to this day?


Meeks: I went to Brigham Young University, with an emphasis in illustration. I learned so much during my time there. The typography class and the figure drawing class had a huge impact on my artistic perspective. I learned about the importance of presentation and good design. I also learned a lot during my editorial illustration and digital painting 2 courses; mostly about the process of thinking critically and metaphorically with your work. My time at BYU was an essential part of who I am today and I am very grateful for the opportunity I had to learn there. I don’t think that art school is essential for every artist, but I definitely think it was for me.

Kaminski: I can certainly relate to the art school necessity. I might've evolved as an artist without it, but I can definitely say that it would have been a much longer process. Art school, if nothing else, taught me temperance and discipline. Deadlines are constantly thrown at you from all directions while in art school, so if you can't meet a deadline after-the-fact, you definitely did school wrong!

When you first started pursuing art as more than a hobby, what kinds of tactics did you use to initially find work? Do you have any suggestions to throw at potential readers about how to maintain clients?


Meeks: When I first started pursuing freelance, I emailed art directors a few times and sent out one postcard. Emails worked while the postcard didn't. I feel that postcards CAN work if you are consistent with them, without being pushy. Honestly, I wholeheartedly believe that the best tactic to get work is to keep making new work and putting it out there for the world to see. Doing this persistently not only improves your craft, but is a form of advertising in and of itself. Pretty soon, the art directors are coming to you, and you're getting dream clients and dream jobs. It's definitely not a short-term solution, but it's worked wonderfully for the long haul.

Kaminski: It's so interesting that we tried some of the same tactics, especially initially. Related to getting into the the field: What's some advice you can give to working in the book cover industry? What is it like working with larger clients such as TOR and Subterranean Press, among many others?

Meeks: My advice for getting into book covers is based on two things: one, actually go to a bookstore and look at all the covers. Take pictures of the ones you really like. This is a great way to make sure your art is relevant for covers, as well as gaining inspiration into ways you can improve your craft. Another thing is when you make personal pieces, practice creating them as if they were book covers, i.e. format them to the standard 6:9 ratio, leave some space for type at the top or bottom, etc. This will train your brain to think about how to solve these unique design problems that come with covers.

My advice for getting into book covers is based on two things: one, actually go to a bookstore and look at all the covers. 

As for working with larger clients, it's an absolute dream. The art directors are wonderful at communicating, and I try and make their job easy by presenting my ideas and the reasoning behind them, ultimately with the understanding that they're the client and it's my job to make them look good. The larger publishers really are some of my favorites clients.

Kaminski: WOW! You're in both Spectrum (multiple times) and you've been nominated for a Chesley! How very prolific! Do you have any advice on getting into either of those publications? Was it easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy ... or difficult-difficult-lemon-difficult?

 
(WIP - left, FINAL - right)

Meeks: Haha, I definitely would say it's difficult-difficult-lemon-difficult! I feel incredibly fortunate for both my Spectrum entries and the Chesley nominations. It feels like largely, each situation was out of my hands. Luckily, my work tends to fit the Spectrum "look" pretty ideally, I think that's been a major factor. I haven't ever catered my portfolio to design it to fit, it just so happens that it does, if that makes sense. So my biggest actionable advice would be that if you feel like your work can fit within that aesthetic, then try submitting a few pieces each year. Look through the pages and see what kind of images have been accepted. Try to be objective about your work, but give it a shot and submit, since you'll never know unless you submit them in the first place.

Kaminski: Yeah! I know what you mean, catering your portfolio is always a daunting task. And then there's the fear of, 'what if I submitted the wrong pieces', or even 'what if I submitted too many, and one of them is the disqualifying factor'. It can be a very stressful experience to submit to anything, annual and jobs, alike. Speaking of submissions, do you do conventions or gallery shows? And if so - with either - what kinds of experiences have you had? Do you have any horror or absolute joy stories related to either?


Meeks: I have done one convention and multiple group gallery shows. Being last year was my first convention, I had a lot of upfront expenses, including stocking prints, banners, tablecloths, etc. Fortunately, I don't have any horror stories for my experience at the convention, though someone did accidentally leave their wallet at my table and I was stressed the whole time until he came back for it, haha. It was three days of exhaustion but also of absolute joy, of being able to connect with other people who appreciated the stories I tell through my work. For galleries, the main expense is physical paint, canvas, and framing and shipping the piece to the gallery. I will never forget the first time one of my paintings sold, that felt amazing.

Kaminski: I can 100% relate to conventions being an absolute joy. Most people gauge their joy on merely how much money is made from the convention. SURE you have to keep track of expenses, but everyone should always remember that they're like working vacations. You get to get out of the studio and actually experience people, places, things. It's exhausting, but at the same time, an absolute joy, to me at least.

With your first convention under your belt, I bet you're itching to do more. Speaking of the future, what goals do you have set for yourself in the immediate? And long term?

Meeks: My goals for the short-term include refining my portfolio and possibly trying out more conventions as a way to supplement my income. Long term, I would love to make an art book at some point, though I am only fleshing out the details currently, I'm really excited about it and can't wait to make my ideas come to fruition.

Kaminski: OMG! You have to make an art book! I adore art books of all kinds. It's probably a bit of a terrible addiction I have, buying and pouring over art books.

And finally, What's the best piece of advice you can give to fellow artists OR what's the best piece you've received thus far?

[...] it's OK to not have everything in your portfolio. 

Meeks: My best piece of advice I've received was that it's OK to not have everything in your portfolio. It took an enormous weight off my shoulders, realizing that I don't HAVE to have a creature design, or an environment, or robots or whatever, in my portfolio. It's important to practice and continue to hone your skills, but if you dread the idea of drawing crowds, there's nothing that says you HAVE to put a crowd scene on your website. That way, you only get to work on images you love. I know some artists are happy drawing whatever, but for me, my happiness is very contingent upon subject matter and whether or not I find that subject matter appealing, so this advice has always really resonated with me.

Kaminski: THANKS for being a part of the interview series, Miranda! I have to say, I think your work is incredible, and I can’t wait to see what you come up with next!

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Thank you all for reading, I hope you enjoyed this interview with Miranda Meeks.
If you did, please give it a SHARE via Facebook or Twitter, below.
You can view this interview, and many more, HERE.

You can find view more of Miranda's work at her WEBSITE:
If you would like to be a part of my interview series, simply fill out the contact form HERE and I'll get back with you as soon as possible!

----------------------------------

THANKS FOR READING, AND UNTIL NEXT TIME!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

As an artist, it seems like the landscape is ever-changing from simply the tools, to the aesthetic. I intend to be an artist that never wants to stop learning, and as such, I find more and more interesting artists every day. Each artist has a unique insight and point of view, no matter the experience level. New views help open my mind and teach me there are many ways to utilize my skills and I hope that sharing our stories will help others in the same way. I believe there are many paths on an artistic journey, and each interview will help to show the stories of the artists that tread them.


Today we'll be interviewing Amanda "TheMandii" Solano.

Kaminski: This question is pretty typical for all the creatives I come across, but what drew you into art in the first place? Was there a pivotal moment where you were like, "Holy crap, art has GOT to happen!"?


TheMandii: This question always hearkens back to my earliest memories of art. In order to keep me from making scrawling, colorful scribble masterpieces on the wall, my mother made it a point from very early on to always keep me stocked with lots of paper and coloring books to curb my urge to throw color onto everything. When you're a small child, teachers always ask what you want to be when you grow up. My answer was always "An artist. Or a rock star. Or both."

That being said, it's such a natural part of myself that I feel like I would be doing my very nature a disservice by not making this a part of my life, even in a part-time capacity. Growing up, my family wanted "more" for me, being a doctor or anything that paid well, really. I studied hard in school and did well enough, always trying to find a way that I could make money with my art so that my parents would still approve of what I was doing even if it wasn't saving lives or making new technologies and making six figures.

I think a pivotal moment for me was when I started getting scouted by colleges in high school for my portfolio and college was on the horizon and other people finally started telling me that I should do something with my art even at that level... My parents had finally accepted that for me to do anything else with my life wouldn't be right for me, so I moved forward with it from there.

Kaminski: I can somewhat relate for the need to find something extremely profitable, although my family seemed to be more akin to, "You like art, you should be a tattoo artist!" So, I guess we both share in the aspiration to at least look like a rock star, right?

Speaking of rock, what themes do you find yourself pulled to? Do you have a desire for the macabre? Sci-fi? Regardless of your personal attraction to a specific genre, why? What kinds of things ultimately keep you drawing in that genre?


TheMandii: I have very eclectic tastes, so I have a hard time sticking to just one thing. As a result, I tend to mix and match whatever suits my fancy on a given day. I'm comfortable with most genres as a result of the amount of dabbling that I do.

Right now, however, my major focus is more of an occult alt-punk BDSM vibe, I do a lot of occult imagery with religious or mythological symbolism mixed in for fun.

With that being said, I also have a deep love of fantasy art. Elves, dragons, angelic warriors, brave princes fighting an omnipotent evil - the list goes on, I love it all. The things that draw me to these genre choices usually fall in line with my love of fantasy literature as well as my musical tastes. As far as my current focus goes, it's really just another mashup of the symbols I love - skulls, death, demons, old gods of mythology, and darker themes but not quite on the level of classic horror (which I also love). My endless fascination with this myriad of topics keeps me coming back time and again.

 

Kaminski: Interestingly enough, it appears to me like your work would suit well on some of the more metal-esque synthwave albums that I've been seeing coming out lately. Artists like Ariel ZB would make a great contact for you to look into what the industry is looking for - if you're into that kind of thing, that is.

What kinds of experiences have you had thus far? What kind of really good experience? What kind of really bad experience? And as far as the bad one goes, what did you do to remedy the situation or what do you think you could have done to make it a positive situation?

TheMandii: So far, I've mainly done assistant or part-time freelance jobs. My first real studio experience was working as an assistant inker doing backgrounds and 'blacks' (large areas filled with black ink in comics) for an artist who's been in the biz for 40+ years. I was working at the time on DC's Flashpoint and the Archie reboot of Megaman. It was a pivotal point in my life as an artist, I learned so much about the business - the pitfalls, the joys, the techniques, so many things that I had never even considered before. The knowledge gained from my time there alone was worth every second - I remember that job very fondly.

On the flip-side (and without being too specific), in my earlier days of taking freelance work, I learned that if you don't set expectations up front, some people may try to take advantage of your time and your skills. In my case, to remedy having that happen to me, in the cases where that happened I just powered through the work and moved on, and in one case I actually bit the bullet and refunded someone in that situation. These were due to my lack of experience, and in the end was mainly my own fault for not having that knowledge.

It's a valuable lesson I learned the hard way: set those expectations, and keep yourself on the level with your client via contracts - this way everyone knows what they're getting into. It's something you can apply to all things, not just art.

Kaminski: I can definitely relate on the destruction of a project that was completely up-front because I didn't nip-it up front. That's honestly what ended up, ultimately, creating my process breakdown. I wanted to be completely transparent as to what the process is and what we'll be dealing with during the course of a project.

Knowing that you had some experience in the comics industry, is this something that you're interested in? Or do you have a specific field that you're striving for? Any specific reasons why?

TheMandii: If I were to do comics, they would be ones that I've written and drawn - other than that, I don't think I could see myself doing comics full-time as a goal. I do admire the industry greatly, but my real love lies in illustration and creating concepts for my IP. I really gravitate towards character art more than anything else, creating otherworldly people has always been my favorite thing. It allows for the idea that an alternate reality in which fantastic things like magic (for example) might be possible, even if only in fantasy. That's what draws me to that kind of art.



Kaminski: Switching gears: I know that you work a day job typically - can you share some insights into working both as an artist and as a day-to-day worker? What kinds of techniques do you have to cope with switching gears mentally? Are the two interdependent or is your day job something completely different?

TheMandii: My day job is completely different and has nothing to do with art - I work in tech during the day. With that being said, I'm very fortunate in that my current employer puts large emphasis on work-life balance. I use all of my breaks (and a huge chunk of my free time overall, outside of work) for art.

I can say though that in past experiences, my work-life balance was not, well, balanced.... My art really suffered for that despite my efforts. I definitely sympathize with people who have a hard time coming home from a rough day at a day job and no longer feel like drawing.


Honestly, the only insight I have into that is that you have to power through it if you want to get better in your craft. It's kind of a tough-love approach, but it's the truth.

Kaminski: Most people tend to forget that life feeds art and vice-versa. So if you're not having a good day, the tortured artist mentality doesn't typically work out. There was a comic by Sarah's Scribbles that talked about this exactly

With the mention of work-to-life balance, what's a Mandii working on these days? Do you have any specific projects you'd like to promote?

TheMandii: Mainly, my real "project" is continual self-improvement. I've been working on a lot of techniques, drills, using reference, and doing exercises and keeping on a strict schedule in order to improve my skills.

Outside of that, I have a wide variety of IP's that I have in the works-many of them I try to keep under wraps as much as possible for now. One that I will be happy to talk about is my current main labor of love. 

 

I have a particular character that frequents the majority of my work in the last couple years. Her name is Riley, and I am slowly releasing bits and pieces of her world. The best way I can describe it right now is 'Supernatural Cyberpunk Urban Fantasy'.

I have yet to name this project, but expect to be seeing a LOT more of it, and soon!

Kaminski: Now you're speaking my language - cyberpunk! It would appear you've been following suit by sticking to the theme, what with you sticking to a rigorous streaming schedule. What tips do you have for starting to schedule working times and play times? Do you have any recommendations for artists out there that would like to get on a schedule? Maybe you could talk a bit about the pitfalls or upsides to scheduling pretty tightly.

TheMandii: Yes, Rigorous is a good word for that! I treat my streaming times as practice time for my art most of the time, so scheduling it helps prevent me from doing things that are otherwise unproductive. The beauty of it, though, is I am not yet at the stage where I set an end time for my streams, I only stream for as long as I feel like (usually an hour or more).

Advice for other artists who want to get onto a schedule, really, is just look at your day-to-day routine and be realistic about what you spend your time on. All that time you spend on social media, vegging out in front of the TV, or just doing nothing? That could be streaming time. Of course, you want to keep time for yourself for self-care and relaxation! But, if you can spend time scrolling your social media feeds, you can spend time streaming or practicing instead.

Of course, you want to keep time for yourself for self-care and relaxation! But, if you can spend time scrolling your social media feeds, you can spend time streaming or practicing instead.

Tight schedules tend to stress people out - but it's really just a matter of discipline. Pitfalls to avoid would be to forget to schedule free time for yourself. Remember, no one is FORCING you to stick to a schedule, but your fans will come to expect consistency from you. Upsides are, you always know what you're up to!

Kaminski: Honestly, I think lots of creatives feel that obligation to be on at all times. We all tend to feel bad if we take breaks because it's not what we see from the output of major art collective websites. We get this impression that art is just constantly being pumped out, and while that may be true of some artists, we also don't talk enough about the burnout that can happen by not taking breaks. I feel it's an important thing to discuss, so I'm glad that you bring that up. 

Back on track with creating more work, what goals do you have set for yourself for the immediate? And the long term?

TheMandii: My immediate and long-term goals have been and always will be to keep improving. Aside from that, my current long-term goal is to really flesh out and build up the world of my latest IP, and perhaps to revamp some of my older ones. Whether those come in the form of art, or in writing form, you'll have to stay tuned to find out!

KaminskiWhat's the best piece of advice you've received OR what's some advice you could give fellow artists?


TheMandii: The best advice I can give to other artists is that if you want to improve your skills in your chosen craft, you need to put in the time, blood, sweat, and tears into it. Push your boundaries, try new things, study! Even if those studies never see the light of day, the thing that matters is that you're practicing, always.

Kaminski: It's always a pleasure to interview someone whose artistic taste is in line with my own! Thanks for all your advice, and for volunteering to be interviewed!

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Thank you all for reading, I hope you enjoyed this interview with Amanda "TheMandii" Solano.
If you did, please give it a SHARE via Facebook or Twitter, below.
You can view this interview, and many more, HERE.

You can find view more of Amanda's work at her INSTAGRAM:
If you would like to be a part of my interview series, simply fill out the contact form HERE and I'll get back with you as soon as possible!

----------------------------------

THANKS FOR READING, AND UNTIL NEXT TIME!

Friday, April 20, 2018


As an artist, it seems like the landscape is ever-changing from simply the tools, to the aesthetic. I intend to be an artist that never wants to stop learning, and as such, I find more and more interesting artists every day. Each artist has a unique insight and point of view, no matter the experience level. New views help open my mind and teach me there are many ways to utilize my skills and I hope that sharing our stories will help others in the same way. I believe there are many paths on an artistic journey, and each interview will help to show the stories of the artists that tread them. 


Today we'll be interviewing Amanda Makepeace.

Kaminski: First question is always the same, tell me a little about yourself. What made you pursue the tricky minefield of creativity? Is it something that you always saw yourself pursuing? What KEEPS you pursuing it?

Makepeace: I suppose I have my mother to blame for my creative passion. As a child I was surrounded by art, sculpture, and books around the house. I use to beg her to draw my toys and watched with amazement when she recreated them on paper with an ordinary pencil. By the time I was 8 years old, I was drawing all the time and essentially never stopped.

While I've always considered myself an artist, I don't know that I could have predicted I'd be a working artist, traveling around to conventions and creating book covers. I began my journey as a fine artist more than a decade ago. It's only been in the last 5 years I've turned my focus toward illustration and fantasy/scifi themes. It's been an amazing experience.


What keeps me pursuing it? I honestly can't imagine doing anything else with my life. I see art and stories everywhere. It's a joy to create them and share them.

Kaminski: Interesting! I've heard of many an artist talk about the variance between fine art and illustration.

Since you say you've been a part of both worlds, what's your take on the two? Are there any differences that you can see or do you see them as distinct branches? Do you enjoy one over the other and/or why?

Makepeace: I’m sure someone, somewhere, has written a thesis on the world of fine art and illustration. In simple terms, the main difference between the two is intent--one is narrative (illustration) and the other can be whatever it wants. One focuses on publication and the other galleries and collectors. There's a grey area between the two that overlaps and connects them. We can see that especially now, where galleries are catering to illustration themes. During my time as a fine artist, I was more focused on still life painting and nature themes. But even then, there was often a story hidden within the art. When I moved more into the world of illustration that story became less abstract.


I love both and I still create pieces that I wouldn't call illustration. The difference now being I'm less concerned with showing them in galleries. I have the control in where and how I sell them and reproduce them.

Kaminski: Yeah, there was always this upheaval during my stay in college between the two, so it's refreshing to see another person agree with me that they are more-or-less one and the same.

Switching gears: your artwork seems varies from piece-to-piece. Not just in terms of theme, but in terms of media used, size, etc. Is there one that you find preferential over the others (media-wise)? Or do you love the versatility offered? Does one media effect your output over the others?

Makepeace: I do work in a few mediums! My main mediums are graphite, watercolor and digital but there was a time I only worked traditionally in acrylics and watercolors. I have an autoimmune disorder that effects the connective tissues in my body. In 2011, it became increasingly difficult for me to paint my large acrylic paintings. It was a difficult time for me. Out of desperation to create, I began experimenting with digital painting and fractal generation. Working with a Wacom Intuos turned out to be far less strenuous on my hands and I fell in love. Digital art opened a door--it tapped into a part of my creative mind that had been dormant.

I love both traditional and digital, but my traditional work tends to be smaller in size because of my health obstacles. Digital let's me go as big as I want to print, but it's not necessarily faster. I approach digital painting far more like a traditional artist as far as process goes and use far less of the nifty tricks. However, I'm continually pulled back to traditional. I love my pencils and watercolor too much to let them go.

Being true to yourself, your art and to others will set you apart--it will make you shine.

Kaminski: With your background in traditional roles, what made you dive into the convention scene and not strictly gallery work? What effect have conventions had on your work? Are there any cons you particularly enjoy over others? And lastly, what makes them stand out over others?

Makepeace: I owe my leap to conventions to an illustrator I met at the DragonCon Art Show, who has since become a close friend. He convinced me my art would be a good fit. At the time I had only just begun my journey transitioning to fantasy and sci-fi art. I was unsure, but after my first art show the following year (at DragonCon) I was hooked. I have since had a few pieces in galleries, but I love conventions for the interaction you get with the fans. Having a chance to interact face to face with someone who loves a piece you've painted, in a truly honest way, is priceless. I've never had that with galleries.

From a business standpoint, conventions have allowed me to make more lasting relationships with those who graciously support my art. Those relationships have evolved beyond just the conventions themselves. I'm creating art not only for myself but for them as well, and it's a wonderful experience. I'm quite partial to the conventions here in the southeast but I'm planning to branch out more in the coming year.

Kaminski: Yeah, I feel you on the relationships being more meaningful - hell half of the people that I talk to currently are from people I’ve met at conventions. Social media is great and all, but there's something to be said about face-to-face.

Speaking of social media and relationships: What are some suggestions you have for promoting yourself and/or keeping yourself relevant? Do you have any particular suggestions for things that have worked for you in particular?

Makepeace: [On] social media and self-promotion... I used to spend an enormous amount of time researching ways to stay relevant and sell my art online. I still try to stay in the know, but I worry about it far less. I think the internet is flooded with art and illustration. Artists have to work ten times harder to gain any traction on social media, whereas, face-to-face interaction is instant. They either love your art and buy it, or they walk away and you greet the next person. Ultimately, if you're making connections with fans of your art at conventions and other events the best thing you can do online is stay true to yourself, interact with those fans, and keep creating and sharing art. That's the core of it. I like to think of social media as a way for my fans to stay up to date with what I'm doing till they see me again.

At the same time, you're putting art out there that may be seen by other eyes--potential clients. It's important to remember what you post online is a reflection of you and your business. Not much is truly private anymore. How you present yourself online can be a deciding factor in whether a client will hire you.

Kaminski: Do you have any project or series in particular that you'd like to throw out there - along with some of the ideas and reasonings behind them?


Makepeace: I don't tend to focus on very specific personal projects or series of works, which I know is out of line with what a lot of other artists are doing right now. That's probably a side effect of being an artist that works in multiple mediums and genres. My mind is an endless stream of ideas and visions. I've found, as long as I'm creating something I love and connect with on a deeper level, then others will connect with it too. However, there are themes and subjects that I gravitate toward and I think they can be found in almost all of my work. There are strong elements of nature/organic and magic/power that span my art, from Fantasy to Science Fiction and from my Traditional art to my Digital. These are themes I've always been pulled toward and they permeate other parts of my life too, not just my own art.

 

One project I would like to shamelessly promote is the Bird Whisperer Project Melissa Gay and myself launched in 2016. What began as a fun monthly challenge between the two us has grown to involve dozens of other artists. It's an open challenge to artists of all levels. The core idea behind it is to have fun and promote making art. It doesn't hurt to have a love of birds too!

I'm also participating in two group projects that are forthcoming. One is a card game being developed by the Changeling Artist Collective and another is a collaborative art book focusing on Victorian Horror. I'll be sharing art for those online in the coming months.

Kaminski: Which do you prefer more, the convention scene or the gallery scene?

Makepeace: I very much prefer the convention scene! I love being there as an artist and interacting with fans, but I also love all the fandoms too. I attended DragonCon long before I was ever an artist there.

Kaminski: Since Midsouth Con last month was my first jump into doing a convention's art show, I felt a little lost myself, even though after-the-fact I see that it's pretty self-explanatory.

What tips and tricks for solidifying your work in the art shows for conventions would you be able to toss out there? Do you find any particular method to arranging your pieces or mounting or anything seem to change the end-result of your art show? Do you find art shows to be more or less rewarding than tabling at a show?


Makepeace: Conventions are a great way to grow your fan base and sell your art but they can be intimidating when you're just getting started! They can also be a bit of a long game too. I've found that the first year at a convention is the one where everyone gets to know you and your art. When you return the second year you're a known quantity and it makes a big difference! I also suggest taking the time to be observant. Look at what other artists are doing, look at their setup, how their table is arranged, etc. and take notes. I'm not saying copy what other artists are doing, but you can learn from them and adapt things to suit you. There's a lot of trial and error involved until you find that sweet spot.

For example, my gallery setup for Art Shows is continually evolving as I find what works for me. I also change it up depending on the show. Some shows like more of my SciFi than my Fantasy. Some want it all! My table setup is still evolving too. But one thing I've found in both instances, is you need a lot of stock. You need a library of art to show. The more you have, the more rich your display/table. Also having various price points can be helpful--something for everyone.

If I could, I'd table at every show. Having a table is usually more financially rewarding, but it also lets me interact with more people too and I love being able to do that. But that won't be true for all events, especially smaller conventions. Those that are small, that have an Art Show, allow me to be involved in other ways that are rewarding too and give me the opportunity to make connections with fans and potential clients. I've found that if you stay positive and open you can often make any convention work in your favor in one way or another.

Kaminski: All great points!
I think that the niceties get lost on convention vendors sometimes.
I was at a show one time and the guy behind us was absolutely losing his mind. I'm assuming that he wasn't selling well or that the customer base wasn't reacting as well as he had hoped. That being said, I think that the crankiness was rubbing off on everything around him to the point where his entire backdrop actually fell apart, taking his framed pictures with it.
It was really sad and I bet made his show ten times worse than it could have been had he walked into it with a good mindset.

Makepeace: Yes, I know exactly what your talking about. I've even seen a few artists come onto to Facebook after a con and completely bash the event and the fans. So sad and incredibly unprofessional.

Kaminski: What drew you to birds? And also, what kinds of birds happen to be your favorite to paint / draw?

Makepeace: Uh-oh, you've opened a can of worms now...

It's rather ironic I've become so entwined with birds in recent years. I owe that very much to The Bird Whisperer Project. The truth is I'm drawn to them for the same reason I'm drawn to all wildlife. I love their beauty and their spirit. As a child, I spent a lot of time outdoors, playing in the woods, going on camping trips, riding horses, etc. Horses were actually the first animal I practiced drawing. Birds came much later! But at the core of it, there have been times in my life I've felt more connected to nature and wildlife than people and society.


That applies to birds too! I'm especially fond of Corvids (Ravens, Crows, Magpies...) and Owls, but if I had to pick one I would narrow it down to the entire Tyto genus (Barn Owls and their cousins). My latest Bird Whisperer painting features myself (as a child) and a Barn Owl. It's a painting close to my heart and definitely a favorite of mine for the moment, or until the next one!

Kaminski: That's intriguing! I think much like you I'm drawn to nature - which a lot of people might find so funny because I draw so much cyberpunk.
In my own way, that's why I try to connect that juxtaposition with the natural and unnatural.

Makepeace: Interesting!! I wouldn't have expected that. But the flip side is, I love Science Fiction too. And I'm a HUGE Alien/Aliens fan.That often surprises people too.

That's very cool! I like that idea of that juxtaposition. Glad I'm not alone in having two very different parts of me. For a long time I didn't really share that side as much. Last year was the first year I began showing my Scifi art alongside my Fantasy/Nature. And it was a hit.


Kaminski: As well it should be!
Ashley always says it's best that no matter HOW fantastical, to always root it in reality. Hell, even Neil Gaiman said such things during some of the interviews about NeverWhere.

Makepeace: Yes! I think it gives people something to relate to and that's so important in art and illustration. I'm just glad to hear that more artists aren't so cut and dry and there they are all multi-faceted

Kaminski: What goals do you have set for yourself for the immediate? And the long term?


Makepeace: After winning my first DragonCon Art Show award last summer, I wanted make an effort in 2018 to attend more events. The goal is to get my art seen by more potential fans and clients, but also to make new connections with other artists too. That means there are more expenses to tackle this year, but so far it's been worth it. I started off January at ChattaCon and won 1st Place Professional Science Fiction for my piece Saturn's Twilight. I have eight events on my calendar that I'm attending and two I'll be mailing out to for the art show. It's turning into a lesson in time management, since I also have commissions from clients and I'm continually trying to build up my portfolio.

Long term I'd like to get to a point where I'm making good profit from shows. I want to build a library of art that speaks to people. Time and persistence are my friend.

Kaminski: No doubt! You're definitely getting there though!

What's the best piece of advice you've received OR what's some advice you could give fellow artists?

Makepeace: I had to think on this one! The best advice I could any artist is be genuine. Being true to yourself, your art and to others will set you apart--it will make you shine.

Kaminski: Thanks so much for another awesome interview. It's always fun to learn about another illustrator, especially one so fond of birds, such as myself!

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Thank you all for reading, I hope you enjoyed this interview with Amanda Makepeace.
If you did, please give it a SHARE via Facebook or Twitter, below.
You can view this interview, and many more, HERE.

You can find view more of Amanda's work at her WEBSITE:
http://www.amandamakepeace.com/
You can also learn more about the Bird Whisperer Project HERE:
https://www.facebook.com/birdwhisperer.project/

If you would like to be a part of my interview series, simply fill out the contact form HERE and I'll get back with you as soon as possible!

----------------------------------

THANKS FOR READING, AND UNTIL NEXT TIME!

Follow Mat @artofmatk

Follow Ash @ashley.storyteller