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Art & Life with Annie Ruygt

Today we’d like to introduce you to Annie Ruygt.

Annie, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
Ever since I was little I wanted to do two things: be the voice of a Disney princess and animate the heck out of that character. What are the odds of being able to do BOTH? Big dreams, yes, and I found my way into doing music and art in my own way.

I performed musical theatre growing up and studied art. When I left for college I chose to follow the path of illustration, but continued to foster my love for music, storytelling, and character, through songwriting and writing picture books.

I released an album and EP and published my first picture book shortly after. Since then I’ve been in love with crafting character and expressing meaningful experiences through children’s literature.

After working in tech as an in-house designer, I moved home briefly, and then to New York where I soaked up inspiration and tried to hit the publishing world hard. Easier said than done! New York is a big city, and I found I missed the familiarity of California, and realized I can nurture my publishing career anywhere in the world.

I find myself back in Orange County where I am focusing on developing new stories and building community. In my off time I do lots of yoga, love to read, and be outside as much as possible.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I do everything under the sun for clients, but for my personal work, I love to work on children’s literature and paint. Painting is therapy, and the books are how I relay my experiences back to the world. When I was young, I was completely transformed by books that I’m so passionate about them, even though I never considered myself an avid reader!

My hope is that people will see themselves in my work and realize how incredible they are! Life is messy, but it’s a part of the process of discovering our value and beauty- which is pure joy.

Artists rarely, if ever pursue art for the money. Nonetheless, we all have bills and responsibilities and many aspiring artists are discouraged from pursuing art due to financial reasons. Any advice or thoughts you’d like to share with prospective artists?
Oh gosh! I think you have to listen to yourself and find what works for you. I’ve heard about some people that quit their jobs and live with their families so they can focus on their work. I chose to do paid client work (mostly graphic design) and move across the country so I could test my survival skills. It was scary. I’d say, save up money, take it slow, enjoy what you’re doing because any stress that might flair up must be worth what you’re doing.

The more you can support yourself with good people, savings, a safety net of some kind, and a good work ethic, the easier the transition will feel. Even though it’s art, it’s work, and work is good for all humans. But don’t confuse work with play! You need to set aside time for both, and know that sometimes art will be the work, and hanging at the pool will be the play. When I was young, it was the other way around! So, working as an artist was an adjustment, but since I’ve accepted this, I’m grateful for what I get to do.

When it comes to *making the art*: I believe everyone can be successful as a creative person. Find the people who are looking for what you like to do and reach out to them. Start there.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
I’m thinking about doing a patron since I’ve just started a video series on YouTube. Until then, I’d say, purchasing a book, zine, or sharing my work is so helpful! Leaving comments and sharing feedback, topic ideas, or suggestions is also incredibly beneficial, since working as an illustrator can sometimes be isolating. I’ve very interested in building a community and having conversation!

People can also see and support my work via my website and Instagram: @annieruygt,

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Erika Cole Photography

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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