Clipart is not my thing – I have always taken it with a bit a grain when it comes to genuineness and uniqueness, until I came across some very beautiful hand-painted watercolor graphics by a shop called Rosabebe. The style was so ‘me’ that I contacted the owner instantly and we soon sat down for an interview.
Let’s get started.
Me: When and why did you decide to become an artist? How did you start out and where did you learn it?
April: Since I was a little girl, I was always drawn (no pun intended) by colors and nature. I loved to look at the illustrations in children’s books and figure out how illustrators drew or painted images. Drawing was something I just loved to do – I would draw on everything and everywhere….For instance, on napkins in restaurants, on my notebook during class (which I would get in trouble for – but it was always worth it :)) My parents saw I had that passion and decided to enroll me in some art lessons, but truthfully told, I would say I more-or-less taught myself by looking at art and drawing books my father would buy for me. I come from a small town in Colima, Mexico, so I wasn’t exposed to a great variety of art until I went to college. It wasn’t until I took classes in high school that I learned how to draw and paint at a more advanced level. In college I decided to become a designer specializing in traditional Mexican arts and crafts. After college I got my first job as a graphic designer and that’s when I found my true niche!
Me: (Wow, that is such an interesting story!) What was your first big accomplishment/achievement as an artist?
April: I would say when I decided to start my own business. I came to the United States of America when I got married to my husband and I was completely reliant upon working for other people, doing commissioned work (both as an artist and a graphic designer), but that was becoming a burden rather than a joy. Once I had two little ones to care for in the home, all I wanted was to spend time with my babies so I decided to quit. A few years later, I was burning to do something with my creativity, something that would make my work known, I had so many ideas! I always had time for creativity, from sewing dresses for my daughter to decorating my home, but the dream of starting a business was always there. I really wanted to show others what I could do, so I had to think of something that could fit into my busy life as a mom. Eventually, I opened an online shop to sell hand-painted baby clothes and blankets, but that took a lot of time – and large amounts of time was one thing I didn’t have. I closed that business and thought next about digital art. I started with printables and then moved on to clip-art and that’s when success started! I don’t think success is measured solely by income, I’ve genuinely appreciated the people I’ve met – customers, fellow artists etc….Their words of encouragement, input, advice and ideas are priceless to me!I don't think success is measured solely by income, I've genuinely appreciated the people I've met - customers, fellow artists etc. Click To Tweet
Me: (I really want to buy your hand-painted clothes, would you show me please? And I am so glad we met!) What is your daily routine like? How do you find time for art?
April: My day starts with the kids. It’s the classic, busy, home-school mom schedule: We usually begin by doing chores, lessons for school, devotionals etc. But, they are kids, and they need a little playtime….which I sometimes enjoy as much as them (My husband says I’m absolutely brilliant with puppets….haha…I had to mention that since I’m supposed to be boasting about myself). After everyone goes to bed, I stay up late doing art (sometimes I wake up very early…But rarely, because I’m definitely NOT a morning person). To be honest, I’m terrible with setting precise routines. I do have a very basic daily routine with my kids, especially homeschooling (We HAVE to have a routine to survive)….But an “art routine”? Doesn’t really exist…Finding time for art is a major battle. There are some months when all I’m doing is diving deep into homeschooling. I really enjoy teaching my kids and seeing them learn and grow to love knowledge! Yet, there are other months that I feel completely consumed with creativity and I spend a lot of time doing art. I tend to have an “all or nothing” type personality. If I’m doing art, then I’m DOING art – sometimes even forgetting to eat or sleep. There was a time that I tried balancing my day between home-schooling and doing some art, but I just can’t work like that. If art doesn’t get my full attention, I just don’t “feel it”. In general, once I warm up to art, the ideas start coming I can’t (and should not) stop, otherwise the thrill goes away and I get bored and hate whatever I make. I know I sound chaotic, but it’s the truth! I’m a mess! 🙂 Seriously though, I do dream about one day having all things figured out – including a daily business routine. I think the creative side of my brain struggles so much with trying to be disciplined, because I just can’t command myself to be creative whenever I want – unable to box it into scheduled fragments of time. Instead, I tend to have a bursting accumulation of ideas, and if I don’t put them on watercolor paper with a brush, they just vanish and the momentum is gone! I believe “Art is jealous” – you either give it your full attention or you don’t get much from it.
Me: (Totally agree on “all or nothing” personality and art being jealous!) What is your creative process like? What materials and/or tools do you use to create your work? Do you have any favorite techniques or processes that you are willing to share?
April: I’m really led by seasons on the calendar. Due to the nature of my business, spring, summer, fall and winter provide the basis of most of my inspiration. Within those seasons, there are themes that can come up and I start looking for inspiration from things like books, fashion, Pinterest and even my own memories. When I go shopping, I take pictures of anything that inspires me. I love working with acrylic inks and watercolor inks…They save me some time because they are already in liquid form and a tiny bit goes a long way. I also love watercolor pencils and markers, primarily for time-saving purposes, but they are great for detailed work. I enjoy experimenting with just about everything – even my kids’ washable markers work great! I just recently got an Apple pen and an iPad and I’m thrilled! I don’t think I’m ready to ditch my paints and brushes quite yet, but the new technology seems like it will be a great time saver for me – once I get the hang of it.
Me: (So much to learn from you girl!) What is your favorite thing about being an artist?
April: Oh…. so many things! I am thrilled to know that people all over the world like my work. At the beginning of my business, I was a little insecure about my art. I’m not one to be very “trendy” or modern, I love antiques, vintage fashion, feminine & romantic styles…and it has been such a treat to learn many people love my art!I believe 'Art is jealous' - you either give it your full attention or you don't get much from it. Click To Tweet
Me: (Great!)How do you overcome creative block?
April: I take a break for a day and then get back to it. Once I rest for a little, I see things differently. Also, I’m a fan of going to Instagram (of course), Pinterest etc. to try to find a little inspiration. Sometimes just sketching things on pencil and paper and listening to music can do the trick! It’s all about having fun….And I believe, as an artist, if you are not having fun…Then you need a break.
Me: (Amazing tip, we all need a break, don’t we?) Where do you find inspiration for your work? And how do you make sure that whatever you create is unique?
April: I am probably at risk of sounding redundant….But I look for inspiration in many things – magazines, books (I love antique children’s books), Instagram, Pinterest, etc. I think my work is unique because I’m not led by modern trends. I try to stay true to myself and not create something just because everybody else is doing it.
Me: Show me your favorite piece of art.
My favorite piece is the “spa & beauty” clipart set.
Me: (That’s actually so beautiful!) Share your workspace.
Me: What is your best-selling product/piece of art?
April: My Spring and Winter clip art sets are my best selling pieces…I imagine the Spring sets sell well because a lot of ladies love the femininity of the florals and flowery dresses.
Me: (I myself love them!) Any advice for newbie artists? What would you tell your younger self?
April: I would say, dare to do it! Don’t give it much thought, sometimes we over-think things. We think our art has to be perfect, flawless, but you’ll get there. You don’t have to know it all to start, if you have passion and love for what you do, just go for it! More than perfection, people love uniqueness & creative ideas. Don’t be afraid of showing your individual creativity – I think it’s a trap to follow trends, thinking that’s the only thing people are interested in. In my experience, people just love beauty….So make beautiful art and you’ll have success. Stay true to yourself and have integrity, don’t compromise your values to make extra money, people will respect you for that.
Me: (Amen!) Future plans? Any dream project/collaboration you would like to work on?
April: One day I would love to make my own home decor and stationery products. I would also love to help my daughter start her own business, she is only 8 but she is my “mini-me”, she loves to draw day and night. As of now, it looks like she is going to be a much better artist than me!
That’s is really heart-warming! Thanks you so much April for such a wonderful interview full of advice and ideas. I wish you all the best and can’t wait to see more of your work.