Turning Life Into Cartoons

In my opinion, the world today is so strange and doesn't always look so pretty. There is so much uncertainty, mainly because the entire world is trying to figure out how to stop Covid-19. Because of the situation, there are so many people out of work trying to figure out how to make money in such uncertain times. I think that brings people a lot of stress and anger since the world we once knew is gone for now. Hopefully, one day we will feel like we are back to normal whatever that means.

Creating my Instagram for my dog Teddy brings me a lot of happiness, and I think feeling happy is something we should strive for in such hard times like now. People that know me understand that I like to do something to the best of my ability or not at all. So I decided to make Teddy's Instagram page look as professional as possible. I wanted his highlights on his page to look cute, fun, and consistent, so I reached out to my friend Maury, and he recommended that I reach out to his girlfriend, a talented artist. Amanda Pruitt created my highlights, and she was such a pleasure to work with that I wanted to get to know her more. I never met her in person and wanted to understand how she got into cartooning.

Getting to know Amanda Pruitt

Where did you grow up? I grew up in Searcy, Arkansas, but I've lived in Knoxville, Tennessee, for wow, 11 years now, I think.  How did you get started into drawing? Honestly, it's hard to remember a time that I wasn't drawing. It's what I've been doing my whole life, as soon as I could use a crayon. There've been times in my life I wasn't drawing as much, but I've always been a doodler.  When did you realize you love to draw? Do you have a favorite drawing that you have done? I've always been drawing and watching maybe too many cartoons has played into my love for cartoons and illustrations. I think for me, I've re-learned to love drawing in the last 3-4 years. I went to college at Harding University, and I drew comic strips and illustrations for the school paper ... it was easy to get my work into the paper since I was also the editor for a year! After I graduated from college and moved to Tennessee, I really put the breaks on drawing, mostly because there didn't seem to be an outlet to show my work. I was working in sports and drawing cute animals didn't really have a place. That really changed when my friend let me borrow his computer drawing tablet, and digital art was perfect for me. I could suddenly create and share finished drawings with my friends, and it's opened up styles that weren't possible for me before. I'm not sure I have a favorite drawing (yet), but I've been really excited that my art has moved into a retro-inspired, mid century look over the last year. It gives me a more unique style in an online world full of great artists.  How do you get your inspiration for your work? When in doubt, I always draw cute animals. That's probably why drawing Teddy was a perfect project for me! I usually get a random idea and then research it. Even though my art isn't very realistic, I do a lot of referencing online.  Last month for example, I drew a purple giraffe. Now those don't appear in the wild — at least I'm pretty sure — but I looked at dozens on giraffe faces online and then looked at how 1950s illustrators drew giraffes or other similar animals to give me reminders of how to make the shapes and curves of the giraffe look more simplistic and smooth. I also like to look at character designs from Hanna-Barbara, the studio that made Scooby-Doo, the Flintstones, and a TON of other cartoons. While my art looks like my own thing, I feel like I can always learn from their bold geometric designs.  What type of materials do you use to create your artwork? Almost all of my drawing is done on an iPad Pro, using a program called Procreate. All the brushes and effects that I use in Procreate are from an online store called Retrosupply Co.  Do you have a favorite childhood cartoon? ALL cartoons. Cartoons are the one thing I never stopped watching. My favorites as a kid were TaleSpin, Ducktales, and Hey Arnold! Did you go to school for art or taken art classes? I went to school for journalism. In high school, I took a couple art classes, but I'm otherwise pretty self taught.  Any words of advice for an amateur drawer? Rule No. 1: don't compare yourself to other artists online. Art is not about competition (unless you are specifically IN an art competition), and it can get discouraging fast. Also, there are a ton of opportunities to become a better artist with tutorials online. Find a YouTuber you like and get drawing! 

To see more of Amanda's work check out her Instagram @akpcreates


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