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.