Hi, I’m Michael, and welcome to Let’s Talk Process, Issue No. 6! Thanks so much for joining me for the latest issue of my artist interview series. You can read more about me here.
My goal for this series is to dig deeper and explore how various creative people specifically approach their daily work. With that in mind, the questions for Let’s Talk Process center around the unique creative processes of artists & authors, how and when they work, routines, and inspirations.
This issue, I’m excited to have artist and author Konnilaree Sanders as my guest!
Hi Konnilaree! To start, tell us a little about yourself and your art.
I have been an active artist for the past three years. Before that, I was an accountant. But, once I became a stay-at-home mom I started to draw a bit more. It was first with the kids, and crayons were my medium. Then it turned into drawing stuff for my kids to color. Then I started illustrating my own children's books and then branched out to various art pieces. Someday I wish to go back to school for Art. I have no professional training. I learn by studying other's art, watching YouTube, and reading books and online tutorials.
As my art started with children's literature, my work is often illustrations geared toward kids. But, I like dabbling with sketches, landscapes, and painting. I aim for cute, funny, or classy.
I am mainly working digitally these days. With 3 small children, it is more difficult to bust out the art supplies. Usually they take over the supplies, and I end up with too much refrigerator art. But, with a tablet, I can draw and hold a sleeping baby.
As of today, my tools include my Samsung Tablet a Mixoo stylus and the Android Apps Ibis Painter X and Infinite Painter. I also use Photoshop on my desktop and laptop to clean things up a bit. Someday I would love to have a real drawing tablet and also be able to include more traditional mediums.
Describe your creative schedule. When do you work on art? What does your normal daily routine look like?
I fit in my work when I can. I am lucky not to have a day job that brings me out of the house, but I have an 8, 4, and newborn at home. I usually do my drawing after the kids go to sleep. I stay up way too late drawing and snuggling a cat. But, I love the calm. I usually do any computer work in the morning, book formatting and updating my blog posts.
Do you think there are certain times of day that are more conducive to your creativity?
Definitely at night when the house is quiet. I am very much a night owl and find it a relaxing way to end the day. A sketch pad and coffee isn’t a bad way to start the day.
How much planning goes into your creative process? Do you set self-imposed goals or deadlines along the way?
I do usually have some sort of plan. If I don't have a due date, then I procrastinate. Before this 3rd baby, I was pretty organized. It helps with anxiety and feeling overwhelmed. When I am on my game I keep tons of lists in Excel workbooks. Some with to-do lists, some with schedules, some with blog posts ideas and when I plan on posting them. I also love creating forms to save for the next project. That methodical accountant is still in there.
Do you have any particular rituals, locations, and/or favorite tools that are necessary for your creative process?
I never post anything without the approval of my 8-year old daughter. She is an honest critic and has helped me tremendously pick facial expressions, composition, and colors. She too loves creating, both writing her own stories and artwork.
I work where I can. I do most of my work digitally, but sometimes it feels great to sketch with pens and pencils. It helps spark creativity in a different way then my tablet. For this I like Faber-Castell pens and smooth sketching paper.
When you have a creative block or lull in your process, what are some things that help you get back on track?
When I get stuck, I talk to my kids and utilize that imagination. I made them, I should benefit from it. I also visit social media; when I see other artists work, it can be inspiring. I also just scan through Google images and sometimes I find something I love and create my own work from there.
When is a piece of art “finished”? How do you know?
Knowing when it is finished is one of the hardest decisions. I suppose when I run out of ideas to improve it. It is so easy to mess it up at the last minute. Sometimes I know when I get excited to share it, and other times I just stop and accept it as a “practice piece.”
Does social media help or hurt your creative process? In what ways?
Despite taking time away from creating, it has been very helpful. Connecting with other artists makes me feel less crazy for pursuing this line of “work.” Also, it is fascinating to see so many styles; it has helped me find my own. Also the challenges that I participate in keep me drawing, even when I can't think of what to draw.
A big thank you to Konnilaree Sanders for being a part of Let’s Talk Process!
Where to find Konnilaree and her work:
Blog posts related to art (behind the scenes), coloring pages, and other interesting info, tools, and activities.
You can buy art prints as well as cool merchandise like notebooks, pillows, mugs.
All of Konnilaree’s books are available on Amazon.
Twitter @ storiesbymom
Facebook @ storiesbymom
Instagram @ konnilareesanders
If you enjoyed this interview, feel free to like & comment below and share the interview link on social media!