March 15, 2011

Interview with Stephanie Fizer

I "met" Stephanie randomly online. I honestly can't remember if it was through her Twitter, Etsy, Facebook, what have you. Regardless, she has been an inspiration to me for several years now. She is driven and knows what she wants. An amazing artist and inspiring business-gal.
Thank you so much Stephanie!
owl in lavendar
Where are you from and how did you get started doing art?

I’m from a small college town, Huntington, WV.  I actually didn’t become interested in art until about 2003 but it was love at first sketch and by 2008 I was leaving my day job to focus on art/illustrating as a full time career.

hummingbird 2
When did you first discover your creative talents?

I’ve been involved in one creative pursuit or another pretty much my entire life.  I studied ballet seriously until I was 20, attending UMass-Amherst to study dance; and I also explored a flitting interest in writing for several years.  I’d always been a bit of a doodler, but never really considered exploring the world of art until a dear friend gifted me with a sketchbook, pencils and a how-to-draw-cartoons book back in 2003.  She’s noticed my habit of doodling on every scrap of paper I could get my hands on and thought that I had a bit of natural talent that should be developed.  In hindsight, that sketchbook was probably the best gift I ever got!  I was hooked very quickly on drawing and found a passion for art that I’ve never had for any other creative pursuit.  Three years later, I was very slowly beginning to share and sell my artwork online.  By 2008 I was busy enough between my Etsy shop, commissions and freelance work that I was able to leave my office job and I haven’t looked back since. 

Wherever the March Winds Blow
What inspires you?

So much inspired me, almost everything even!  But specifically I’m incredibly inspired by nature.  I live in a lovely town surrounded by forest so I’m very often inspired by the trees, the flowers, the birds and the sweet animals I get to see every day.  I’m also vastly inspired by colors, patterns and textures and am constantly examining and exploring them.  Other inspirations include books, music and vintage children’s illustrations. 

A Peppermint Wonderland
What is your favorite thing about being an artist?

I love the idea that I’m sending little bits of happiness out into the world, that every time someone gets a product with one of my illustrations on it, they will find a smile on their face and in their heart :)

There's Always Room For You Under My Umbrella
What is your dream project?

Eventually, I would very much like to illustrate a children’s book!

Professionally, what is your goal?

The simple answer is that I’d just like to continue growing my business.  My Etsy shop or some other form of online shop will always be part of my equation but I am focusing more and more on licensing opportunities that will bring my work to larger audiences on more varied products.  I’m always on the lookout for something new and exciting, a different way to share and explore my work. 

The Wicked One
What memorable responses have you had to your work?

Because I sell my work online only, I find that I miss out on the initial reactions to my work that I might get if I sold elsewhere.  That said, I’m lucky to get lots of great feedback and email, all of which make me so happy.  A lot of my artwork is being used to decorate nurseries all around the world and it just thrills me to know that little ones are going to be growing up around my work and I hope that it inspires them in some way. 

The Good One
Describe a real-life situation that inspired you.

My grandmother passed away a few months ago.  I was very close to her, especially as a child so her passing left me feeling a bit empty in some ways.  But as I thought back on the years, especially the long walks we used to take down the country roads around my childhood home, I found that I was very much inspired by the memories.  In response to that, I’ve been slowly piecing together a story and some illustrations that I’m hoping to work into a children’s book eventually.  I’m not sure that I’ll ever actually share the book with anyone other than family, but the experience of sorting through memories, working out a story and starting to draw it has been incredibly helpful in my healing process. 

Why do you do what you do?

I do what I do because I can’t imagine doing anything else.  It took me years to find my path, I studied dance and also finished a degree in history before I really sank myself into art.  But once I found myself immersed in my artwork, I found myself feeling at home in my career for the first time ever.  I know that I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing and that’s just the best feeling!

Winter Bunny and Chilly Penguin
Lastly, any advice for an artist just starting out?

My best advice is to just be yourself.  It’s difficult to find your own voice as an artist when you’re starting out and I think it is tempting for a lot of people to just emulate a style that is successful for someone else, especially when you’re first starting out.  But the best thing you can do for yourself and your work is just to really immerse yourself in your own inspirations and experience until you find a style and voice unique to you. 

Don't forget to check out Stephanie's Etsy shop.
You can also connect with her here: