Q: Where did you get your start, and how long have you been a caricature artist? Where are you currently working?
A: I got my start as a caricature artist in Seattle working for Dexter and Nolan at Over the Line Art.  I still work with that group and I love it!  I moved to the Pacific Northwest in January of 2017- to Portland.  At the time, I was doing vector based illustrations for a startup app company remotely.  I lost the job when the company went under in February and was afraid I’d have to leave just after moving there!  I applied for illustration and art based jobs where I could, and landed an interview with OTL.  
I took a leap of faith and drove all the way to Seattle.  I said during the interview that I would be more than happy to move up if I got the job.  A little while later I heard back and was hired, so I packed up and moved to Seattle and pretty much started training to be a caricature artist right away.  It wasn’t long before I fell in love with it!  There is a certain rush I get when things are busy and I get into a good flow; it feels as though I’m flying.  I work with a lot of talented artists and I’ve learned so much over the 4 years I have been doing caricature.  I love traveling, working outside, and getting to know other really talented artists.

Q: What kind of gigs are you doing, if any?
A: The gigs I do are around Washington, mostly in King County.  I regularly work at Seattle Center, right by the Space Needle, and at the Waterfront Park, which is nearby Pike Place Market.  My crew and I do quite a few fairs and festivals in the area as well.  The Washington State Fair and Monroe State fair are the big ones.  There are also Folklife in Seattle, Apple Blossom Festival in Wenatchee, Taste of Tacoma, Bite Of Seattle, Anacortes Arts Fair, and a ton of others.  Summer keeps me on my toes.  Aside from fairs, companies often have us for events.  I've done gigs for Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, and even The Pokemon Company.

Q: COVID has had a huge impact on our industry. How has it impacted you personally, as a professional caricature artist?
A: Unfortunately, I haven’t done caricatures live in a whole year because of COVID 19, however; I have kept up with caricature with a number of commissions and a digital event or two.  I’m getting my second Vax shot this weekend and I just heard from the guys that we will be starting up again soon!  Mostly this year for me has been occupied with working on my graphic novel, Vanquished.  I have drawn over 400 pages and published 2 volumes.  3,4, and 5 are just about finished so don’t miss out!

Q: What are some of the caricature skills that you continue to use in your studio work?
A: I’ve learned so many skills through caricature that my art is on a whole different level from when I started.  In studio work, I apply line quality techniques, speed, color, and style that I picked up through caricature.  I owe my caricature experience for having figured out my style for Vanquished!

Q: What are your goals with your studio work? 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: My goals for studio work are pretty much the same as with retail caricature.  I want to provide the best work I can and I constantly push myself to go further.  Shat I like about studio work, as opposed to retail, is that I can take my time and really produce a finished looking piece.  With digital work especially, I can really focus on likeness and exaggeration.  With studio work, I can focus on what matters to me, without worrying about whether or not it will sell.  My personal work tends to focus on finding unconventional beauty in the unique features of each subject.  I also just like to do cool fantasy drawings; I am often requested to draw my friends Dungeons and Dragons characters haha!

Q: What are your favorite tools for retail or digital caricature?
A: My favorite tools in retail caricature are, believe it or not, Crayola black markers for line work.  They do not have the best quality ink, but the tips on the markers have incredible versatility for line weights and shapes.  I often use em up, then fill them with Copic ink.  The markers themselves end up looking pretty gnarly, with splotches of ink, but I find they draw like a dream.  For coloring in retail work, Neocolor One pastels are the best- but they are hard to find.  I usually end up using Prismacolor Art Stix when I’m hard pressed for Neocolors.  Crayola colored markers make for fabulous accents and highlights.  
Digital tools for me are much more simple.  I do EVERYTHING on my iPad, using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.  It’s free and it’s powerful.  Sketchbook can do a lot of what Photoshop is capable of, and the ability to draw directly onto the screen using my Apple Pencil feels incredible.  The Whole Vanquished comic and most of my studio work is done using Sketchbook on my Ipad.

Q: What hobbies or passions do you have outside of caricature?
A: As for hobbies outside of caricature, and art in general, I am a runner.  I run 4-5 miles each day.  It keeps me in shape and is a great way to relieve stress.  It also gets me outside on days where I have nothing better to do!  I’m an avid fantasy reader.  I started with Lord of the Rings in college and fell in love with reading.  I read a new book just about every month.  It expands my imagination and takes me to different and fantastic worlds.  I prefer reading novels instead of watching the tv series based off them because I really enjoy envisioning what happens myself.  To me, reading is a unique and intimate experience.  
As if I couldn’t be more of a nerd, another huge hobby of mine, (thanks to being homebound all year), is D&D.  Since the pandemic started, I’ve joined 3 different virtual tabletop groups.  I’ve played multiple characters who are all strong willed and quirky women- the kind of person I strive to be haha!  I even run one game as Dungeon Master- Mwahahaha!  Tabletop gaming is a great way for me to stay connected to social circles while being creative, daring, and even vulnerable. 

Q: Tell us more about your comics. How long have you been making comics? What are your favorite kinds of stories?
A: Ah, Vanquished.  Where do I begin?  Vanquished is a fantasy and action graphic novel following Valorie- a transgender princess runaway, and her posse of fellow queer adventurers.  The story focuses on each of them as their stories weave together.  I started Vanquished with my best friend, Ben, in 2019.  It's a groovy fantasy adventure story, with dinosaurs , robots, and  magic that focuses LGBTQ related themes derived from our own experiences.  Myself as a Transgender woman and Ben as a gay man.  I had just started HTR when we started working on Vanquished.  Valorie has to go though many of the things I faced; such as, coming out and getting on hormones.
Ben and I had been trying to make a comic together for years, but I went through a bunch of challenges and changes in my life between collage,( where Ben and I met), to then.  It was my dream since high school to be a comic artist on my own series.  Life is life though; I had been through so much and I doubted I would ever accomplish that dream.  I accepted that.  I was ready to move on.  Then Ben Calls me up one April Morning and says, “Let's make that comic.  I’ll write and you draw.”
I said okay, but we are gonna make the story we want to make.  We are not gonna care about what others think of the themes and the art- it’s gonna be our story.  Well, we finished the book- we actually DID it.  We were gonna self publish but we submitted all over anyway.  Markosia Press, a leading comic publisher in England got back to us, we got Vanquished published, and my dream actually came true!!  I love Vanquished.  I hope you do too.  My dream now is for people to read it.  For more info, check us out at:

Q: Who are your favorite women artists in caricature or in related industries?
A: There are so many other women artists I love and look up to, both in and out of caricature.  The artists who inspire me most for caricature are Kelly O’brian, Kiko Yamada, and Kim Truedsen.  I’ve had the pleasure of working with these fabulous ladies on numerous occasions.  Kim and Kiko especially are really good friends of mine!  I am constantly pushing myself to get on their level.  The main reason I work so hard at improving my caricatures is because they inspire me so much.  

Q: Thanks again for participating in WIC's Artist Spotlight! Where can we follow your work?
A: Thank you so, SO much for interviewing me.  I’m looking forward to diving back into caricature full time this year- I miss the rush and the joy of working with great people.  This interview inspires me to push myself further and further.  
You can check out my caricature art @felicia_of_mars on Instagram.
For more about Vanquished, find me @vanquishedcomic on Instagram.​​​​​​​

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