Beejay Hawn is our latest Artist Spotlight! She is a long-time caricature artist who runs her own freelance company, makes TMNT fanart, and also works as a colorist for comic book writer and artist, Jim Lawson, on his graphic novel “Dragonfly”. Check out her story and art below.

Q: Where did you get your start, and how long have you been a caricature artist?
A: I started in March 1997 doing caricatures at Worlds of Fun in Kansas City, Missouri. I was 17. I came back again in 2002 after a short-lived stint in Chicago and ended up staying on part time all the way until 2016 or 2017. The company that works within Worlds of Fun is Kaman’s Art Shoppes. It was the best job a kid could have and I have met some of my best friends there.

Q: Where are you currently working?
A: I currently own my own freelance company called OODLES OF DOODLES LLC. I work from my home office doing commissions, fan arts, caricatures, and I work on independent comic books. I am also the manager of the Kansas City branch of Adam Pate’s SPEED SKETCHERS. I have been an artist with him for about 7 years now. We travel nationally drawing caricatures in about a minute for any corporate or private event but the cornerstone of the gigs is through Universities.

Q: What kind of gigs are you doing, if any?
A: Right now, I am doing virtual caricatures using Zoom as the preferred site. I am also starting to take on socially distanced events such as weddings, universities, and at public events in open areas like parks.

Q: COVID has had a huge impact on our industry. How has it impacted you personally, as a professional caricature artist?
A: Personally, it turned out to be an okay thing. A lot of people have used the phrase, “pause and pivot” to describe how they adapted. I was lucky enough SPEED SKETCHERS is subcontracted with a company that quickly marketed virtual events. We ended up taking on just as many events as we would have if the pandemic didn’t happen if not more. It cleared my calendar of several days a week of just traveling time so that I could take on some more personal projects and get more practice at digital commissions.

Q: What are some of the caricature skills that you continue to use in your studio work?
A: I use the abilities to draw very fast bodies in one shot and to keep backgrounds simple in my comic layouts. I also keep things light and use a minimal colour palette because I got used to only having a handful of Prisma Colourstix to work with for 20 years. It keeps things streamlined.

Q: Tell us more about your work in comics and TMNT fanart. What got you into TMNT and how long have you been making fanart?
A: I started making silly comics to depict silly things happening with gigs or Worlds of Fun so that my kids would laugh at them back in 2013 or so. At that point some local artist friends suggested Inktober art challenge. I tried a couple times but never finished. So in 2016 I decided to make a fan comic of TMNT using the word prompts. That way I would HAVE to finish. It ended up being popular so I made more TMNT fanarts and another comic. I have had steady fan art commissions since then, drawn for a handful of anthologies and other full indie comics that have yet to see print, did a #100 IDW TMNT comic cover variant, and got hooked up with Jim Lawson (who drew for TMNT in the 90s) to be the colourist for an IP of his called Dragonfly. Fingers crossed that it will continue to stay steady and I can get a table full of my own books one day.

Q: What skills does being a colorist require, and how does that mindset differ from when you are in control of the drawing or lineart?
A: Colouring in the pages someone else draws requires you to do some research into their style and the how & why of their style. I then provide colours & rendering that compliments their style. I definitely find it interesting to be plotting along and then come to a blank spot where trees or such is “implied” by the artist's scratches but I have to use my imagination to make trees but not draw them myself. It’s a welcome challenge.

Q: What are the dream comic(s) would you love to collaborate on or create?
A: I would like to do more covers for TMNT or participate in sequential artwork for any universe meant for younger readers. I would enjoy collaborating with so many artists I couldn’t even count. I am on a few creative teams now to make some sci-fi graphic novels and historical funny comics so right now they are the dream just because they see the dreamer in me.

Q: Are there things that you get from your studio work that retail caricature can’t provide? Do you like having the freedom to explore other topics and themes, for example?
A: Even though I have placed in the ISCA Speed competition a couple times I am actually a very slow paced artist because I want to toss in everything but the kitchen sink. Ah well, kitchen sink too. Studio artwork gives me the chance to sleep on ideas and take time to learn both new techniques with alcohol inks (copics) and with Clip Studio.

Q: What are your favorite tools for retail or digital caricature?
A: My favourite tools for retail caricature is basic Chartpak markers and colour sticks and finish the drawing off with a great black mat and plastic sleeve. I think it looks crisp every time. With digital, I am still a big fan of iPad Pro with Procreate. It has everything I need.

Q: What hobbies or passions do you have outside of caricature?
A: I keep myself busy with my backyard garden, my kids, and grandbaby.

Q: Who are your favorite women artists in caricature or in related industries?
A: The women caricaturists that I tend to stalk on Instagram are Arie Monroe, Sam Gorrie, Asia Draws, SketchNinja, and Kira Moore. Having met each of these gals via their eye popping fun artwork and fun exaggerations I can say each one will have a successful career in entertainment arts.

Q: Thanks again for participating in WIC's Artist Spotlight! Where can we follow your work?
A: My caricature artwork can be followed more on facebook and insta @speedsketcherskc
My comics, illustrations, and doodles can be found on facebook at @beejayhawndrawscomics 

You may also like