Hi and welcome back to another week on the Chrissie Murphy Designs Blog. It’s great to be back after a couple of big weeks moving house. We’re still not finished, so I’m finding I haven’t got a lot of spare time for drawing and blogging, but I couldn’t go past the Artist Interview I had scheduled in for April. My Artist Interview this month is with Brittney Jernstrom of Brittney Ann Art, and you’re going to love her! Brittney is a graphic designer and artist and her work has a real Disney flavour about it. So put on your favourite Disney princess outfit and join me for this month’s Artist Interview with Brittney Ann Art.
Welcome Brittney, tell me a bit about your background and how you got into this style of work?
My name is Brittney and I am a twenty-something year old artist, illustrator, and graphic designer. I’ve been an artist my whole life and have been drawing ever since I could hold a pencil. I’ve been a lifelong fan of Disney and would often draw my favorite characters as a kid, and honestly not much has changed. Drawing those characters as well as other cartoon favorites such as Garfield, Charlie Brown, Scooby-Doo, Looney Toons, etc. helped me learn and develop my art skills into what they are today.
Another big factor and inspiration to my art has been my love for animals, specifically dogs and cats. There hasn’t been a day where my family and close extended family haven’t owned some kind of pet. These animals have always been my constant muses, so combining animals and art just really made sense for me.
I actually didn’t really seriously consider pursuing a visual art career until the tail end of high school. I’ve always been fascinated with movies and actually wanted to do something related to that industry. I was the dweeby kid who would check out all of the “Making of Star Wars” books from the library and watch through the behind-the-scenes extra DVDs that showed how the movie was made. I went to college for an Associate Arts Graphic Design degree and focused primarily on that for a few years while doing art as a hobby on the side. I’d occasionally post my sketches online for fun and after discovering some other artists and the work that they posted, I started to realize that maybe I could realistically do traditional art and character design for a living too.
So, I started focusing more on that and worked on growing my skills and developing my style. I had to stop working an actual job due to some health problems, and when that happened I decided it would be a good time to focus on achieving my goals at my own pace alongside trying to heal. That’s still where I am today and I’ve been able to build up my art skills and business in the midst.
Where are you located and what sorts of things in your area inspire your art?
I live just outside of Tampa, Florida in the United States. I love being outdoors and am always inspired by nature. Even though I’m not much of a landscape or scenery artist, being amongst trees, flowers, greenery, rivers, and lakes is my favorite place to be. There’s something about the beauty of creation that helps recharge and inspire me creatively. Along with the greenery, we also have our wonderful Florida beaches which are inspiring to me as well.
My favorite thing to do on beach days is to lay in the sand with my sketchbook in hand and go to town. I’m also drawn in by the sights in the large cities too. There’s always so much to see driving through downtown Tampa. Also downtown St. Petersburg has amazing murals around the city. There’s really inspiration everywhere you go.
You have developed a unique style to your work, what would you say is your favourite piece?
That is a tough one! I get attached to a lot of my work, if not all of it. I think if I were to narrow it down my absolute favorites would be my Inktober piece of my black cat Mickey, my Star Wars Boba Fett colored pencil drawing, or a recent pet portrait commission of dog and cat siblings. Just to name a few.
What are your favourite and least favourite tools for creating?
I tend to go through phases with favorite tools. For example I’ll be on a colored pencil kick and use almost nothing else for the longest time, then make the switch to pen and ink, graphite, and so forth. Right now I’ve been working almost exclusively in digital and watercolor. Since getting the iPad pro about two years ago I haven’t been able to put it down. I think it’s safe to say that that’s to blame for my current digital obsession.
Watercolor has been a favorite go-to of mine right now as well. It was one of the latest mediums to actually learn as I hardly had any experience in it before and struggled with it. Now that I know how to use it effectively it’s currently my preferred traditional medium. I also am in love with the convenient water brush pens to use with the paints as it eliminates needing to have a cup of water to dip your brush into.
To my memory I’ve never used an art tool I haven’t enjoyed working with. But if I had to choose a least favorite, it’d probably be acrylic paint. Mainly because my procrastination tendencies make me horrible at making the time to clean out the brushes and supplies once I’m done. I always prefer to do it later and by the time I actually do get around to it, the paint is dried into the bristles or my brush tips are bent from sitting in the water cup for too long. I also tend to be super conservative with squeezing paint onto my pallet for the colors I need, so when I run out and try to mix again it’s rarely the exact same hue as before. But that being said, I still do enjoy the medium!
What has been your greatest triumph as an artist/designer?
My greatest triumph so far as an artist and designer has probably been the personal confidence I’ve gained in myself. Displaying my work online for the world to see, taking the leap to starting my own business, offering my artwork for sale not knowing if people would buy it; those were all super challenging aspects for me at first. I’ve always been an introverted and private person, so putting myself out there has been a challenge. Even typing out a simple Instagram caption used to make my palms sweaty. However, it has gotten easier as time goes on.
I’m also still in the process of learning not to care what other people think, as long as I’m happy with my own work that’s what’s important. Fortunately the majority of people I’ve come in contact with have been nothing but friendly and supportive, and interacting with a community of these people on social media has been encouraging.
It’s also been rewarding to see the progress I’ve made with my art and developing my own style. Posting your artwork on Instagram gives you a timeline to scroll back on and you can see firsthand the quality of your work get better and better with each post. That’s especially helpful to see on days you just want to throw in the towel. I’m proud of myself for the progress I’ve made both personally and artistically.
What is the greatest lesson you’ve learnt as an artist/designer?
Probably the greatest lesson I’ve learned as an artist is to keep on keeping on. Keep creating, keep learning, and keep drawing in order to improve. Generally I’ve been trying to draw at least something almost every day for the past while. Looking back at even work from just a few months ago I can see a ton of improvement, which is super encouraging. What you draw, whether it’s actually decent, or whether or not you’re even in the mood doesn’t really matter, as long as you just put in the effort in and do something, as much as you’re able. This habit has been super helpful to me in the long run.
What can we look forward to from you in the future?
Hopefully lots! Plans are in place to continue growing my brand and Etsy shop, which will include more products and animal character design artwork for sure. I have so many ideas for animal print series and designs I want to produce; the trick is finding the time to actually create everything in my head. For additional products I’m looking to introduce stickers into my inventory. Also, other exciting projects and collaborations are in the works that I can’t really share until later on. Other than that, we’ll see what the future holds!
And lastly, tell us where we can find you…
So that’s a wrap on my Artist Interview with Brittney Ann Art.
I’ve spent quite a bit of time reflecting on what I really want to say about Brittney and her art. I have even searched for quotes that summarise what I’m thinking, but nothing seems to truly express what I am feeling well enough…. So after much deliberation, I’ve decided I’m just gonna say it.
Brittney conveys something in her art that I believe the world is starving for. She conveys joy.
When you look at art on a global scale, joy is not something that’s being portrayed regularly these days. A Google search of the highest selling art for 2018 provides you with a selection of moody, political, glitchy and abstract work that’s ripe for interpretation. There’s nothing wrong with this type of work, it’s very engaging and it means different things to different people, so it’s quite personal.
Full of joy!
But Brittney’s work is personal too, very! Pet’s are about as personal as it gets, but Brittneys work is different because it’s full of joy. And I believe the world is hungry for it. It is an incredible gift to be able to instill something so wonderful into another human being. And Brittney seems to do it effortlessly.
A while ago I made a decision to champion fellow artists, to build them up, to share their work, to get behind them and show them that what they’re doing matters. It’s so easy to get caught up in believing that what you do doesn’t matter. But carrying a gift that can change the life of others does matter. It matters big time! And Brittney carries joy.
I believe the world needs joy. It needs it now more than ever before, and here’s an artist that’s sharing it daily. I’m behind this woman and I recommend you do the same. Share her work, book her for a pet portrait, tell your friends about her. We need more of what Brittney’s doing in the world today, I can’t talk highly enough of her. She has a wonderful gift for spreading joy that needs to be shared.
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Until next time, listen to your heart and sharpen your coloured pencils. A masterpiece awaits!
Bless you my friend