I didn’t really plan on becoming an artist. I studied music as a kid. I played the piano, the flute, and loved to sing. I did a little acting and dreamed of a career on the stage. When I left for college, I signed up for all the music theater classes I could take. Soon into my studies, however, I lost my enthusiasm for theater and questioned my direction.
On the advice of a friend in my acting class, I took a terrified step into a basic drawing class. I enjoyed drawing, but I could only draw by looking at something—I had the misconception that artists draw only from their imaginations. In class, we set up objects to draw from and I learned that artists use visual reference! A new world opened up to me and I changed my major. I studied both graphic design and illustration, but decided to complete a BFA in illustration.
After college I worked with a studio of artists creating educational software and books for children. I spent my days at the office illustrating, and my nights in my studio painting work for my portfolio. After 4 years, I quit my day job and signed with an artist representative in New York City.
I thought illustrating was all I wanted to do. But after a while, I missed working with artists in a studio environment. So when I was invited to teach part-time at BYU-Idaho, I jumped at the chance. I enjoyed the energy of the students and realized I loved to teach. I taught basic drawing, perspective, design, color, figure drawing, narrative and conceptual illustration, and children’s book illustration.
While teaching, I pursued a master’s degree through the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University. A few months after I graduated, I began teaching full-time at the university level. Making art and teaching art has proved to be the right combination for me.
I create my illustrations with a variety of media including oil, acrylic, watercolor, pen & ink, and colored pencil. Sometimes I use the computer for composing drawings and planning colors, but I enjoy working traditionally the most. As a teacher I emphasize excellence in drawing, painting, and design. I believe each person has a unique artistic voice, and I encourage my students to seek it through looking, drawing, and experimentation.