Hey! I'm Meg. I'm an art student at a community college in Texas. Right now I'm studying and doing my own research and practice towards a career in animation--specifically visual development. I love designing things to solve problems and invent interesting worlds and characters, so it's a natural career path for me! Currently I'm just drawing and painting a lot, really.
When did you first decide to become an illustrator? Was there a pivotal moment?
I can't pin-point one moment in particular, but I know I was very deeply influenced by The Little Mermaid, Monsters, Inc, and Finding Nemo. Seeing Pixar's studios in a behind the scenes featurette was really pivotal for me because I saw how hard they worked and how much more fun they had around the studio. Recently I had the opportunity to tour Disney's studios and talk to some of the visdev artists there. I also got to talk to students like me from all over the world. That was an influential day.
I admire many artists in the industry now. Biggest people might be Glen Keane, Pascal Campion, Clio Chiang, Mingjue Helen Chen. I also like Van Gogh, Sargent, Elvind Earle. The list really goes on and on.
Where does your training come from? Self-taught? College/Art School?
I'm almost completely self-taught, but by that, I mean I've scoured books and the internet for help and knowledge. I did that every day during highschool, and I still do it to this day. I've had to be very self-motivated because I didn't really have anybody to teach me this stuff growing up.
How do you keep it "fresh"?
By going to the movie theater or leafing through Art Of books! My favorites right now are How to Train Your Dragon and Brave.
What are you currently working on?
I have one project, which I'm calling Nanuk, but it's really just practice and experimentation with visual development and concept art. I'd love to animate it someday but I think it's about time I start another project as well. Otherwise, I'm just painting and drawing all the time, really. I have freelance projects here and there to help, too.
Which of your projects are you the most proud of? And why?
Well, the only project I have really worked on is Nanuk. It's the farthest I've ever taken one story. Some of the designs and plot factors are things that took me outside my comfort zone and I'm proud of that, for sure. Someday it will all come together and see the light of day :)
Are there any areas, techniques, mediums, projects in your field that you have yet to try?
Oh, definitely! I love nearly every medium, but I'd love to learn more about oils and 3D modeling. I mostly work in pencil, watercolor/gouache, and Photoshop right now. It's great, but I need to learn about other mediums.
Any advice to the novice illustrator?
Don't give up. If you've got a goal you truly care about, work for it. Carve out time for practice and learning. There are tons of free tutorials and process videos on the internet. Find those and soak up everything you can from them. Then find ones that cost money (gasp!) and take those, too. Networking is huge, so get used to social networking. And just keep practicing. It is sometimes hard, dream-crushing, and never-ending, but I promise you that your hard work will pay off. Even if you feel helpless or like it's too hard to reach, seriously don't give up. I've wanted to in the past, but pressing on has taken me to places I wouldn't have dreamed of going before. Always be kind, too.
What makes an illustration successful?
A combination of design and structure. Always remember composition rules, value, color theory, and depth. But also go with your gut. Sometimes you have to break a few rules to get the emotion you want from a painting or design.
What do you do to keep yourself motivated and avoid burn-out?
Oh, man. I burn out all too frequently. For me, I sign off the internet, do some dancing or ice skating, have a mini dance party to my favorite songs, sketch random things that interest me, watch movies, or go to bed. Sometimes it's all of those haha!
Finish this sentence. "If I weren't an illustrator I would have been a..."
Scientist, totally. Or an Olympic figure skater.
And finally, what is the best thing on TV right now?
Oooh, tough choice. My favorite thing is Gravity Falls right now!