Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Artist's Block: Beckadoodles the Art of Cute

I first met Beck, of Beckadoodles The Art of Cute at my first Free Comic Book Day.  It was also the first Free Comic Book Day to take place after the publication of Womanthology, and the only thing that I knew about Beck was that she had a page somewhere in the book.  I later met her again at B&D's 30th Anniversary Celebration.  It was at that point I joined the ranks of stalkers and fans of Beck's signature cute art style.  I no longer need to stalk her since we now go to the same weekly artist group and I count her among my friends, but I still love to keep up with Beck's activities (they're just so darn cute!).

Beck dabbles and excels in multiple art and crafting mediums and describes herself as "a cartoonist, illustrator, painter, author and yarn crafter who collets pet hair, freckles and hugs.

She's a champion cookie eater, a yarn crafter, the Queen of Glitter and lover of all things cute, cuddly, and chocolate covered.

She can normally be found in her home studio drawing and coloring.  Or on the couch with a ball of yarn and some kitten watching Star Trek. (the cats love Spock)

Beck currently resides in Roanoke, Virginia with her teenage son and has a glorious view of the mountains and trees, and nature"

I hope you enjoy our interview, and be sure to check the contact information at the bottom of the page and revel in the cuteness that is Beckadoodles!

You are a cartoonist, painter, illustrator, author and yarn crafter.  Are there any new skills you would like to learn?

Wow when you put it like that, it sounds like a whole lot! Guess that's why I'm always busy creating.  If I somehow found more time in a day, I'd like to learn to be more proficient with digital drawing and coloring.  I have experimented with my drawing tablet and have started getting more familiar with a few of the drawing programs but it still takes too long to achieve what I'm looking for.  Digital art is my Everest... one day I'll stand at the top and think, "Now what?".

How doe your multi-craftualness affect your artwork?

I think any artist or crafter or designer uses all their skills to accomplish many of their projects.  I love to illustrate childrens art, I love to paint using bright happy colors, I love to draw funny cartoons and I think all of these things are reflected in my yarn creations too.  I was complimented the other day when my fiance said, "You realize your crocheted dolls look like your cartoons"... I agree they do, but is that a bad thing? Heck no! Who doesn't love looking at something and thinking of happy childhood memories, maybe not Batman, but most people would be smiling.

How would you describe your overall style?

Overall style? Hmmm... I can answer that with one word, one amazingly simple word. "Adorkable"
When did you know you wanted to be an artist and how did you get your start?

My earliest memories are of sitting on the floor with a huge box of crayons and stacks of coloring books.  That was how I spent most of my days.  coloring was and is one of my favorite things to do.  When I was about 8 years old, I loved to find things laying around the house and draw them, just so I could color them.  My Gramma taught me to draw the pages of my coloring books onto blank paper so I could color the same picture over and over.  At that moment I knew art would be part of my life. I drew everything.  I painted everything.  I tried different types of paints, pencils, markers and my mom taught me how to sew and craft.  I took classes in high school, I had a few private tutors and I explored every way possible to create.

As for getting my start... that took times, lots and lots of time.  I sent samples to companies looking to hire freelance artists.  I handed out fliers with samples of my work to do private commissions.  When the internet became more user friendly (for me), I posted on forums, created a website (my first site was so bad!), emailed companies, blasted my art on portfolio sites.  I did what most artists do.  Oh and I read a lot books on being a freelance artist.  My first paying gig was for a commissioned painting of abstract flowers.  I earned $50 and thought I was Picasso! I was 13 years old.  It's hard to get started, it's hard to stay working, but it's worth it to be able to do what you love.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I am truly inspired by all things cute and cuddly.  For reals, I look at a kitten or a puppy or the cutest of all the critters, a Panda Bear and all I want to do is draw them.  But not only draw them as the cute things they are but draw them wearing little superhero costumes or Viking Helmets or eating cotton candy.  Also I have a large collection of children's books I've been collecting since I was a little girl.  I love to look through them and feel the joy and inspiration I felt as a young girl.  Richard Scarry, Dr. Seuss and Anita Jeram are among my favorites and looking at their books gives me hours of inspiration... and happy thoughts.

What is your process from idea to finished piece?

I normally start projects, whether it's a commission or collaboration or freelance, with thumbnails and notes. I have stacks of sketch books, journals and files of loose papers in my studio full of ideas that one day will see the light of day.  when an idea pops in my brain, I sketch it as a thumbnail and take a few notes.  Sometimes the notes are what colors, size, and medium.

If it's for a sewing project I normally draw a few different angles of the item so I can visualize it in 3-D.  Once all those details are worked out I get busy drawing on the final paper or canvas.  For larger paintings it can take a few days to complete, for cartoons and illustrations maybe only a few hours and for sewing... well that depends on the complexity of the project.  And all along the way I take lots of photos and I've even started videotaping my process to eventually make some time delayed videos.  Then I sign my work and share it with the world!

How does your process and style change when you work with others, like the Sweeten Village Web-comic?

When I get the pleasure of working with others, like Brad Duncan my writing partner on Sweeten Village, I have to listen to their ideas for the characters, world and story so we can start thinking on the same level.  Most non-artists give me a lot of room to create because they trust that I will give them my best work.  I listen to their wants and needs and work side by side with them to come up with characters or designs that we both enjoy.  And some non-artists have a hard time visualizing the world or characters they've created until they've seen some sketches, then it becomes more real for them and easier for us to collaborate.

Is there a different mindset you assume when working on sequential art for projects such as Wiener Dog Adventures or themed sketch card series?

Yes, most definitely there is a different mindset with almost all projects but especially with sequential art.  I like to create the characters and practice drawing them so I can live where they live and draw them the same throughout a story.  With books or comics it is very important to maintain the continuity so your reader enjoys the story and art without wondering, "who is this guy and what is he doing on this page?". As for sketch card series, those are a bit looser.  If I'm going to draw over 100 Star Wars or Superman cards I'm going to play around with the style and make each card stand alone.  I mean you can tell I drew them but it's a bit more freeing.  On any given set I may draw the same character 3 or 4 times but in slightly different styles, still my "Adorkable" way but mildly different.  With sketch cards collectors are expecting to get a unique one-of-a-kind piece of art, so it's fun to change things up.

If you could draw the cover for any book or comic book what book/comic book would you choose and why?

Obviously, "Twilight" because I do so love glitter! Haha

Seriously, this is a very difficult question because I have so many favorites.  I'll make it a bit easier by breaking it down to categories.  Children's book cover : Dr. Seuss's, "Yertle the Turtle" Book cover, J.R.R. Tolkien's, "The Hobbit" Comic Book cover, anything with Wonder Woman.  Ok that wasn't so hard, but now I want to go draw them all!

What cons will you be attending this year?

I've already done a few.  I'll be at Heroes Con in June, RobCon in July and Cincinnati Comic and Toy Expo in September.  I've had to cut my con list a bit this year, too many great cons and never enough time to create stuff for them!

As a full-time artist and crafter, what are the best and worst parts of your job?

I'll start with the worst because there really aren't many things to list.  First of all, it's a business so keeping proper bookkeeping and tax paperwork is time consuming and mind numbing.  And time.  Time is the worst, there's never enough and sometimes I work for 16 or more hours a day and often 7 days a week.

Now as for the best parts... I get to do what I love, in my pajamas, at my home, every single day.  not many get to do that, so that's pretty awesome.  Getting paid to do these things in the cream filling and sprinkles on top.  there are days I struggle with design or ideas or creative block but even that is not the work part, because at the end of the day, I'm still living the dream I started as that little girl with a box of crayons and a stack of coloring books.

Any tips or tricks for aspiring artists?

Tips yes, tricks not really, sadly this is a hard job and it's a dog eat dog world so you have to grow a thick skin and practice your skills.  It's important to learn to take criticism and give it properly too.  If you feel you are good enough, you probably are not.  Never give up, never let anyone tell you can't do what you want... but always remember there are 50 others out there trying to do the same things.  I draw in a sketch book every single day, I take notes and make lists every single day, I look at other art and artists every single day to stay inspired and to give me hope.  Find your happy place and live there, even if it's in a tiny corner of your cluttered mind.  And don't give up.  It's hard to stay focused when there are bills to pay and time is never on your side.  But it's worth it... just keep drawing or painting or sewing or crafting or whatever it is you love to do!

In the spirit of mixing things up: if you were restricted to only ever doing one type of art/craft in the future, what would you choose and why?

Not sure if this is a fun question or a mean one!  I think I'd choose Mixed Media, which is, artwork made from more than one medium.  That way I could still add a bit of crafting to my paintings.  Best of both worlds!

You can find Beck in all sorts of places online such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Redbubble, Zazzle, PInterest, Etsy, and of course her website!  Don't be afraid to drop her a line, she doesn't bite... most of the time.

Look for an in-person siting of Beck at Heroes Con this weekend Friday June 7-Sunday June 9 in Charlotte, North Carolina at table AA-31 (straight back and along the back wall of the convention hall).

Beck will have all sorts of Adorkable items with her including a limited selection of her latest collection of Ponies and Heroes prints and stickers!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the interview and for all plugs! you're super cool! :)