Interview with Megan Hughes, Trailhead Art Director

by Jill Brownlee Wolf 




A couple of years ago I was introduced to Megan Hughes and was immediately smitten. She is sweet, talented, and the perfect addition to our creative team.  Last week I interviewed her to find out more about her journey, inspiration, and craft.  Here is what she said. 


JB: What inspired you to become an artist? 

MH: My mother felt it important to expose us kids to the creative. Thus every summer we tackled a new creative challenge with classes, practice, and a healthy dose of laughter. We tried sewing, crochet, every kind of craft, dance, music, and art.  Dancing turned out to be humorous and art awakened me. 


JB: Tell us about your journey.  When and how did you know this is what you wanted to do? 

MH: I knew from early age that I wanted to be an artist; I just wasn’t sure what kind. In high school I had an art teacher who pushed me to apply to CSSSA  (California State  Summer School Arts).  I took the animation track and learned how to combine photography, art, and music into one. I loved it.  I applied and was accepted into the  character animation program at Cal Arts. 


JB: Tell us about Cal Arts. How did it train you? 

MH: Cal Arts gave me the opportunity to explore with art. Each year we had to make a film. The first year it only had to be 90 seconds and by year 4 it had to be 5 minutes. The medium was completely open.  But the experience forced us to collaborate with other art students to bring together animation, story, music, and more. It was an amazing experience. 

I explored animation and figured out that my real passion was visual development, which includes character and background design.  I like the artsy part of a film, designing the look and by extension the feel.  It brought me around to illustration. 


JB: What kind of art are you able to do? What is your favorite? 

MH: I can do anything that involves digital work in Photoshop and Illustrator, animation in After Effects, Flash animation, hand drawn illustrations with a pen or paint and paper-cut-out art.  Paper-cut-out art has become my favorite because it feels like I’m building something, kind of like doing a puzzle or shaping a scene. 


JB: Can you show us some samples? 

MH: I have a website that showa the paper-cut-out art that I do.


JB: How do you hone your craft? 

MH: I keep creating. I don’t stop for challenges; I work through them. I try variations on my artistic style, I look at the needs of the project, and I’m willing to evolve.  Together these 3 steps keep me growing. Each challenge may or may not become my style, but the challenge itself stretches me as an artist and makes me better. 


JB: What really draws you to a project? 

MH:The possibility of a project. Being a part of a project at the beginning when a blank canvas takes its shape.  I get turn blank white into whatever I want.  A project draws me if I enjoy the characters I get to create. If the moments with them as I draw them, cut them out and give them life invigorate me. Do I love getting to draw them over and over again in different situations? Do I love the storylines? Do I think this project has a chance to go anywhere?  If anything about the project makes me feel alive and like a creator I’m on board. 


JB: What is your dream job? Why do you want to do that? 

MH: I would love to do visual development or be an Art Director for a film or TV program.  I want to be involved with creating the big picture of a project versus the little guy hired to carry out the artistic assignments. I want the freedom to create the world and put stamp a bit of my heart into it.


JB: What would you encourage individuals to do who want to pursue art like this?

MH: No matter what anyone says, just keep creating art. Stay the course and don’t let people discourage you. It’s not easy, but it can work if you don’t quit. 

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