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Life & Work with Andy Clark

Today we’d like to introduce you to Andy Clark.

Hi Andy, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself
Growing up in a small town in Appalachia, I never thought I would end up in LA. I couldn’t imagine anyone, let alone my little hillbilly self, ending up in such a big, exciting city like Los Angeles. I never really fit in back home, either. I stuck out like a sore thumb; I was the kid who would sit in the back, drawing my little anime art on the back of my worksheets, not talking to anyone or making many friends. You can imagine how well that went! It was really hard on me. But despite that, my one solace was always drawing. I would draw every. Single. Day. without fail. (and still do!) Drawing was my happy place where I could put pen to paper and make all these intricate stories and characters in my head more tangible; I could live vicariously through the adventures of my characters when real life was hard to deal with.

I always knew I wanted to be an illustrator and animator from an early age- I just didn’t know the word for it yet. All I knew was that I liked cartoons, I liked stuff like Naruto, and I wanted to make my own show too. So my preteen self, genius that I was, googled something like “how to make your own anime show” and there I learned that I could have a job as an animator. So I decided that’s what I wanted to do! Now I’m familiar with the animation pipeline and I know there’s a lot of different types of jobs that go into animation that aren’t just animating. It’s a difficult industry to break into, but it’s still my dream to work in animation.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
It’s definitely not been easy. I’m my own worst enemy- there’s been countless times where I convinced myself I wouldn’t achieve the things I wanted to because I’m not good enough, or my art wasn’t good enough. I’m sure a lot of others have felt the same way, and it’s difficult to overcome. This thinking would get in the way of so many opportunities and keep me from making any progress with my work. I felt like my art wasn’t as good as the people around me so I would try to draw like these amazing artists I see online and fail miserably; I always wondered what I was doing wrong. Thankfully I had amazing people around me to encourage me and also give me important feedback. A pivotal moment for me was when I started posting my artwork on Instagram and Twitter, not thinking much would come of it, but now I have all these people who follow me and enjoy the art I make? I’ve made so many friends and been lucky enough to connect with so many talented people. It’s surreal! I would have never imagined so many people would enjoy seeing my cartoons and I am so grateful for it. But follower numbers aren’t everything, just getting your art out there and having a place where you can see all your work together can really help. I finally learned to stop trying to be like other artists and just draw stuff I love and what I’m passionate about and honestly, I just have fun with it! That’s what’s paid off the most and I’d give that advice to any other artist struggling with the same thing. Don’t try to draw what you think people will like- just draw what makes you happy and have fun.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I mostly specialize in illustration and animation! I use those as kind of umbrella terms since there’s a lot of stuff that entails. I especially love doing character-centric art as there’s just so many possibilities. I’m influenced by old cartoons and anime, retro design and fashion, but it’s not limited to that. (I like so many things!!!) I’m honestly kind of an “art chameleon.” If I want to, I can adapt my style to whatever I’m drawing or referencing. But I feel like online, I’m mostly known for being an aesthetic time-traveler and recreating the vintage feel in my art, and for recreating the animation styles and aesthetics of early 70s cartoons. Retro is an obsession of mine. When I illustrate, I always love using flat shapes and bold colors inspired by artists like Mary Blair. I love drawing these brooding feminine characters in Mod fashion, and I overemphasize the eyelashes on almost all of my illustrations regardless of gender. I tend to give the characters these fixed, doll-like expressions; On the flip side, I also love sketching fast and having fun, expressive characters too. I think my stuff has cheeky, silly or whimsical themes and sometimes creepy undertones; I love horror too! I really just love drawing stuff that I enjoy.

Can you share something surprising about yourself?
Even though I’m usually drawing glamour and fashion and I live in the big city, I’m honestly a country bumpkin. I said before that I grew up in Appalachia, and it’s a place very dear to me. I love going outside and getting dirty and I love being around nature. I love old country music, especially Dolly Parton, and I love my cowboy boots. I hide it well, but I still have a country accent around people I’m most comfortable with. I’m always saying my Appalachian phrases and then forgetting that a lot of people have no idea what I mean, haha. Appalachia is beautiful and there’s just so much more to it than what people assume it is. I miss it!

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