Theresa Williams–Interview

Describe your creative space. Do you work at home, in public spaces, etc.?

I work at home. Since all our children moved out, I have taken over half of the house. In one room I have an art desk.  In another room I have my computer and most of my books. And in still another, I have a big table where with a paper cutter, various staplers, more books, and a tall tool box where I keep my art papers and finished work.

What kind of materials do you use? What mediums do you work in?

Water and Copic proof markers, Copic markers, colored pencils, pastels, and gel pens, mostly.

What is your routine for art? Do you always sketch first?

Not always. For The Diary of Lea Knight, I sometimes draw images on paper and glue them on the journal pages. That way if the picture doesn’t turn out as well as I’d like, I can try again. I think of it like doing a collage. Sometimes if I feel confident, I draw directly on the journal pages.

How long have you been making art? When did you start making art?

Since I was a child. I ALWAYS wanted to be an artist first. I got an undergraduate degree in studio art at East Carolina University. When I graduated, though, I got two Master’s degrees in English and upon graduation taught English courses at the university level. I thought it was a more stable path financially. I didn’t draw for a long time. I came back to it about 7 years ago. My plan all along was to somehow combine art and writing.

Who is your intended, or ideal, audience? Who do you make art for?

I make it for myself first. I make the sort of thing I’d like to see or to buy.  I want to have fun with my art.  I trust that my concerns are universal enough that they will connect with others. My ideal audience would be people interested in the inner life of a character, not so much lots of action.

What inspires you to create? If you are blocked, what do you do?

I get curious about how a person would handle certain difficult situations. I’ve written a lot about death because I think that’s the hardest experience for people to come to terms with. So a lot of my work has to do with loss and dealing with loss. The Diary of Lea Knight, for example, is about a woman who lost a baby and is in a rocky marriage. Her diary is her way of coming to terms with hard times.  If I come to a standstill, I read whatever interests me. I have lots of books and am always buying more. I also have lots of art books and I look at them to get ideas about subject and composition. I rarely get blocked anymore, but I do come to a pause sometimes, and then I need to think about where to go next.

What other things do you do besides art? Do you dance or play golf, etc.?

I’m really mainly consumed with art and writing. I don’t do a lot of other activities. I teach nine months out of the year, and that takes a lot of time. So when summer comes, I just want to be creative. I don’t want distractions.

What is your favorite part of the creative process?

The surprise. Each day is an opportunity to explore something different. I don’t like to plan too far ahead with my work. I have a rough plan but work organically. For instance, Lea’s birthday diary entry was only supposed to be four pages or so, but the idea grew as I worked. It took me places I hadn’t planned to go. It was exhilarating.

What is your advice to aspiring artists?

Just to do it. Inspiration is overrated. Your ideas come from working. You discover as you go. Work with archetypes. Use what’s universal but discover the personal, too. To find your personal archetypes, you have to draw and sketch a lot of pictures; that’s the only way. Don’t emulate any certain style. Forget about being Leonardo Da Vinci or anyone else. Find your own style.

 

Check out Theresa’s work in Volume 4, Issue 2, and upcoming in Volume 5, Issue 1.

Theresa won The Magnolia Review Ink Award for “From the Diary of Lea Knight” in Volume 4, Issue 2. Check out the announcement here.

Megan Miazgowicz–Interview

Describe your creative space. Do you work at home, in public spaces, etc.?

I usually work at home at my desk, and am most productive at night after like 10 pm. The only other place I manage to be productive is coffee shops, because of all the other people around. I feel like I am obligated to get work done because they might be watching me? And I feel pressured to work.

What kind of materials do you use? What mediums do you work in?

I generally use a Wacom tablet and Photoshop for my digital work, but for traditional work I’m pretty simple—just mechanical pencils, Micron pens, and ballpoint pens. Sometimes I use watercolor if I’m feeling bold.

What is your routine for art? Do you always sketch first?

If I am using pens, I just draw and accept the mistakes I might make, which I think is kind of fun because it forces you to keep moving and not linger on what might be problem areas. When I do comics, I always do extensive thumbnails before blocking out the panels and then do sketches before inking. I’m a huge sketching person. When I work in Photoshop I usually have 3-4 sketch layers.

How long have you been making art? When did you start making art?

I’ve been making art since I was a small child, and have always created characters and drawn animals and been interested in art. I’ve been making art with the intention to have a career in it since high school.

Who is your intended, or ideal, audience? Who do you make art for?

A lot of my art, as far as characters, is made for myself, or for my friends who I know will also be excited about it. I also want to create art for people my age and in younger generations who are looking for more representation in the content that they read.

What inspires you to create? If you are blocked, what do you do?

I am really inspired by a lot of the content that I grew up watching and the content I continue to get involved in; Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, fantasy, dragons, etc. Reading a great deal and always having a passion to write original content has also helped me to create stories that I want to illustrate. Usually when blocked I take some time for myself to do something else, or I browse Pinterest to get some inspiration. Sometimes I also browse Instagram, where I follow a lot of artists I admire.

What other things do you do besides art? Do you dance or play golf, etc.?

Besides art, I spend a lot of time writing out stories about characters I have created, or about comics I want to work on. Even though I’m not sure I’m the best writer, writing is something I really enjoy and have always done a lot of. I also really like to watch movies and catch up on shows, especially while I am working on artwork. Though I’ve had less time to read since becoming a college student, I’m hoping I can go back to reading 24/7 now that I’ve graduated. For me, reading is a good way to get inspired, escape from your current situation, and learn more about the world all in one activity.

What is your favorite part of the creative process?

My favorite part is always brainstorming. I love coming up with new ideas and characters, and then decided how all the characters interact, or how all the pieces fit together. I love brainstorming with other people for creative projects because of how fun it is to bounce ideas off of each other and come up with something amazing. Building off the enthusiasm of a creative partner is always so incredible.

What is your advice to aspiring artists?

It’s hard for me to give advice because I am still so new and still growing as an artist myself, but I guess one of the most important things to keep in mind is to remember how bad you want it; if you love art, and you really want to do it as a career, don’t do it because of the money. Do it because you can’t imagine doing anything else and being happy. Do it because it’s what you genuinely want for yourself. I think if you do that, your artwork will be more genuine, and will contain so much more of yourself, and in the end will make you so much more happy.

Check out Megan’s work in Volume 4, Issue 2.

Lonnie James–Interview

Describe your creative space. Do you work at home, in public spaces, etc.?

My favorite creative space is in my home at night after most of the world has long been in bed. I find that I’m most creative at night, so in my living room in between 1am and 4am seems to be the time and space when I feel most comfortable. Honestly, I think it’s the isolation. However, I have done a great deal of work in a studio setting within my college experience with 20 other people in a room where I just sort of have to phase everything and everyone out. I may be there in body but my mind has long gone.

What kind of materials do you use? What mediums do you work in?

My favorite materials to use are Pilot G-2 Pens and India Ink. I’ve also really started to enjoy the use of charcoal. So, I’m sort of all over the place because I think I’m still finding myself as an artist—but what is definitively clear is that dark colors, and lots of use of ink is a very distinctive characteristic that seems to be at the center of my style and/or chosen aesthetic.

What is your routine for art? Do you always sketch first?

My routine for art is to use it as a catalyst for expression when I’m unable to communicate my feelings orally…which seems to be often. I hold a lot of things in, and I suffer from various mental illnesses such as PTSD and Depression. When I’m having bad days, my art becomes my lifeline. It gives me a constructive way of dealing with the feelings and thoughts I’m experiencing.

How long have you been making art? When did you start making art?

I started when I was young and gave it up because of a lack of value in what I was doing. I didn’t think I was any good or that people would care about what I was doing, so I stopped. My professor at BGSU, named Theresa Williams, reminded me what being a real artist was about. It’s not about recognition, or money, it’s about self-expression, self-exploration, and honesty. So I started again recently in college because I started to realize that there is a whole world of people who are open minded enough to appreciate things that I can create.

Who is your intended, or ideal, audience? Who do you make art for?

My intended audience has really only been me up to this point. I never really thought that anyone else would care to see it much. I’ve gotten to a point in my journey as an artist that I feel it’s important to create my art for myself, and if others appreciate it, great, but my intentions for art are really just get my feelings out there in the only way I know how. It just took on this medium with the guidance of people much wiser than myself who showed me that I could do this to heal myself.

What inspires you to create? If you are blocked, what do you do?

My feelings are my biggest source of inspiration. Especially my sadness, and depression. I’ve come to the conclusion that I wouldn’t be who I am artistically without my sadness and depression. It’s sort of tragic to say in a way, but I’m thankful in some ways for having a hard life because I’ve survived, and now I have so much fuel to create things. It’s a double edged sword though, because it’s not easy struggling. If I’m feeling blocked I listen to music and watch films. They inspire me and make me feel things that make me want to create something.

What other things do you do besides art? Do you dance or play golf, etc.?

I’m a filmmaker, and a musician. I was in a Thrash Metal band for years, and then after that went south, I decided to go back to school for film. Now I have a real passion for creating films, and writing, as well as music. I’m also a big fan of video games. I don’t have as much time to play these days but I love to sit down and play a good Role Playing Game from time to time.

What is your favorite part of the creative process?

I think when I finish. (haha) Honestly the feeling I get when I’m done is such a relief and a sense of accomplishment that it has to be my favorite part. Other than finishing, my favorite is the moment your idea starts to really take shape. When you’re drawing and maybe at first you’re not really sure what you’re drawing, you’re just letting your hand free flow over the paper and then suddenly in the assortment and array of lines and shapes that you’ve created, you identify something coherent, and something that you didn’t think was possible. I love that “breaking ground on a new frontier” sort of feeling when I feel like I’m trekking into uncharted territory artistically. Every so often that happens, and I’m shocked at what I’ve accomplished.

What is your advice to aspiring artists?

I almost don’t feel qualified to give people advice. However, if I gave any advice at all, I’d say think outside of the box. Don’t always aspire to look exactly the way other people might do their work. I would also say don’t be afraid to really express yourself. Art isn’t always politically correct, and it’s not always about playing it safe. It’s ok not to stay within the lines, and it’s ok for something not to be perfect. Don’t allow the idea or aspiration of perfection lock you up like it has done to me. Just do something, anything. Put pen to paper. I highly suggest checking out Lynda Barry’s Syllabus because she comes up with some ways for anyone to make something even if you’re locked up and have creator’s block.

 

Check out Lonnie’s work in Volume 4, Issue 2.

Volume 5, Issue 2 Theme Announced!

The issue will be available July 2019.

The optional theme is Questions. See the Submit tab for details on how to submit. We accept photography, art, comics, creative nonfiction, fiction, flash fiction, experimental work, hybrid work, and poetry.

Diane Hoffman–Interview

Describe your creative space. Do you work at home, in public spaces, etc.?

I try to work in public spaces because I find at home to be too distracting. I also try to switch up the environment I work in because I find I tend to be more creative or just willing to write or draw whatever.

What kind of materials do you use? What mediums do you work in?

I like a fine tipped pen for making my lines, something like uniball. I recently have gotten into watercolor and marker more, but my go to tends to be colored pencil or just ink pens. I also love working with acrylic paint, but that’s not something I’ve ever used for comics.

What is your routine for art? Do you always sketch first?

I hate sketching first so I tend to nix that step if I think I can get away with it. For comics I tend to use one of those blue sketch pencils that won’t show the marks once the piece is scanned. But I hate sketching, I just want to draw something once and be done with it.

How long have you been making art? When did you start making art?

My mom grew up wanting to be an animator, so from a young age she has always pushed me to make art. I think around seven was when I started to actually care more about the art I was making. I started making comics around that age just for myself.

Who is your intended, or ideal, audience? Who do you make art for?

I try to make art for more of an older audience that likes to laugh or poke fun at things. I also just kind of make it for myself and what I think would be funny.

What inspires you to create? If you are blocked, what do you do?

Getting out of my comfort zone for sure helps me create more. Also being sad is usually when I’ve come up with some of my best ideas, although sadness and misery isn’t really ideal. If I’m blocked I usually take a long walk to clear my mind, and maybe settle down at a new location and start again.

What other things do you do besides art? Do you dance or play golf, etc.?

I’m a filmmaker, I like to direct, write, and edit. I’m also invested in the improv comedy scene. I’m moving to Manhattan in June, and I’m hoping to explore that scene more.

What is your favorite part of the creative process?

Being done! Having a thing to call my own!

I also like coming up with the idea, that part is kinda easy. I like making outlines and working out logistics when I’m writing fiction. It’s the executing part I’m not too fond of.

What is your advice to aspiring artists?

I’ve said it already, but get out of your comfort zone. Go somewhere new, try something new.

 

Check out Diane’s work in Volume 4, Issue 2.

Sandy Coomer–Interview

Describe your creative space. Do you work at home, in public spaces, etc.?

A few years ago, we expanded our kitchen to include a sitting area. We added lots of windows to two walls and the ceiling was elevated. I loved the light in that area, and the large free space above me. I decided to use one half of that sitting area for my “art studio.” I don’t use an easel, but work on a large bar-high art table instead. I put that table in the corner, added some storage cabinets, and voila, the perfect place to create! (And I’m very near the fridge and coffee maker – an added bonus!)

What kind of materials do you use? What mediums do you work in?

Recently I’ve started to work on cradled Gesso board and Clay board more than canvas. I love the harder surface, and the way I can better manipulate the paint. Plus, I’m finishing a lot of my work with epoxy resin, and I need the sturdier surface for that. I use acrylic paints, Golden heavy body. I also create mixed media art, using paint, pastels, ink, paper, and various embellishments to create an inspirational scene and message. I love hiding words in my art—leaving little secrets that require careful examination to find. Words like believe, blessing, dream, seek, love, dare, brave, and happiness. Also, I love birds. It’s not unusual for me to add a bird somewhere in the art.

What is your routine for art? Do you always sketch first?

I’m probably the most anti-routine person ever! I follow the muse, and most of the time I work backwards. I know in my head what I want to do and then I figure out how to make that happen. This means I have a lot of mess ups, but every mess up is a great chance to learn something. I’ve been working in the morning lately, immediately after waking, which is a switch for me. I used to work only in the afternoons. In many ways, I’m always thinking about art, and because I also write poetry, I’m always thinking about words. Any interesting color combination, design, texture, landscape, phrase, conversation, etc. is likely to become one of my many post-it-noted inspirational ideas for future use.

How long have you been making art? When did you start making art?

Selling art—about 3 years ago. Making art—forever. I used to draw as a child. When I had kids of my own, I was heavily into creating intricate pages for their scrapbooks. Then I started drawing birds with ink and using watercolor to paint them. Mixed media was my next addiction, and the basis for my first exhibit and art show. I love creating original covers for hard-back journals, and I sell a lot of those in art and craft shows. Lately, I’ve started exploring acrylic pour paintings and abstract landscape paintings. Obviously I find it hard to stick to one thing.

Who is your intended, or ideal, audience? Who do you make art for?

A lot of my mixed media art is geared toward children. The journals are for anyone who writes, draws, or keeps a diary. I make art for anyone who enjoys the creative nature of color and design.

What inspires you to create? If you are blocked, what do you do?

Nature inspires me. Language inspires me. Life inspires me. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed with all the many things I want to create that it makes me anxious to think I won’t have time to do them all. I am a detail-oriented person, and I notice everything, and so many things lead to new ideas. I rarely feel blocked, but if I do, I like to go to Pinterest on my computer and search for interesting color combinations or a new technique for some random thing. Usually 10 minutes is enough to get me going again.

What other things do you do besides art? Do you dance or play golf, etc.?

I write poetry. I’m the author of 3 poetry chapbooks and the founding editor of an online poetry journal called Rockvale Review. I’m a poetry mentor with the AWP Writer to Writer Mentorship Program. I’m also an endurance athlete and an Ironman. I just competed in the World Championship race for the 70.3 Half Ironman distance in Chattanooga, TN after qualifying for the race last year. My new goal is to complete a 50 mile trail race, hopefully in 2018.

What is your favorite part of the creative process?

Probably the idea phase. I love to think up a dozen things I want to create, jot down some notes and color ideas, and plan how I’m going to do them. Even right now, I’m looking at four rough sketches of landscapes complete with color notes that I want to create in the next couple of months. I also really like holding a finished piece of art in my hands, one I’m really proud of. That makes me indescribably happy!

What is your advice to aspiring artists?

Don’t follow the rules. I’ve never done anything the conventional way, and I like it that way. But I realize I might be a stubborn person for thinking like that, so let me say this instead: Don’t follow all the rules. Be free enough to take chances, to dare to color out of the lines. Believe in yourself enough to create the way you are made to create—from your own heart and the unique way you see and experience things. And put your art out in the world. You may be amazed at how many people respond positively to your creativity, and how your gifts might inspire, move, even heal someone else.

 

Check out Sandy’s work in Volume 4, Issue 1.

Diane Hoffman

Diane Hoffman graduated from Bowling Green State University with a Bachelor in Arts in May 2018. She majored in Film Production and minored in Creative Writing. Her most notable project during her time in college was the short film she wrote and directed, No One’s Little Girl, which ended up receiving Best in Show at the 2018 BGSU Film & Media Festival. Her interests include writing fiction, editing, painting, and directing. She plans to move to Manhattan to continue pursuing opportunities in film and writing.

Punk 4 a Day, Volume 4, Issue 2
Interview