Creative Series: Danielle Gundry-Monji

With a cute picture like that how can you not love Danielle Gundry-Monji and her whimsical illustrations. Check out the latest Q&A Creative Series with Danielle, where she gives insight into the benefits and challenges of being an illustrator.

Creative Moxie: When you aren’t drawing you are...?
Danielle Gundry-Monji: I love reading.  I work at a bookstore in San Francisco and I get a lot of inspiration there. I also enjoy photography. I usually try to take my camera with me whenever I leave the house just in case. I also explore. I love to wander the city aimlessly alone or with a friend. 

CM: Favorite Materials to work with?
DGM: Paper and ink are my primaries.  I color almost all my works with photoshop or from time to time I use watercolor.  I love the organic feel of watercolor which is so opposite of digital to me.

CM: What is your process and how long does a typical illustration take?
DGM: Since I usually try and write down ideas when they come into my head, or sketch them the first step is picking out an idea if I have a selection of them. I start out with a light pencil sketch on paper and then  ink it over. Then it is scanned and taken into photoshop to be colored and manipulated.  The drawing itself takes very little time.  More often then not its the selection of colors and coloring in the work that takes the longest. The typical illustration takes anywhere from 2 hours to 4 hours to get a completed  piece depending on how prepared I am with the idea.

CM: How do you promote your work?
DGM: I use facebook for much of it. I have a great core of friends on there who support what I do.  It seems that sometimes a friend of a friend will also like something I do and the circle of support just gets bigger. I use twitter as well and my blog. Twitter seems to be a good way to get to the masses.  

CM: The hardest part of being an artist?
DGM: The hardest part for me is finding the time for everything I need to do along with my job.  I have to make sure that I try to find inspiration at work as well as in my free time.  It was hard for me to believe in myself at first when I started on etsy and its still a struggle at times. I have to remind myself not to give up and to keep on drawing and dreaming.

CM: Best part about being an artist?
DGM: Using my imagination.  I love when a piece comes together and the colors work and the print to enjoyed by others.  There is a certain freedom to what I do now that I enjoy.  I was so use to being an art student and doing homework for classes. Now that I’ve graduated there I can draw what I really want to, which is unbelievably freeing.

CM: Any advice for new artists?
DGM: As corny as it might sound...remind yourself to believe in what you are doing.  I find myself and many other artists can be very hard on themselves and it helps to keep focus.  Get a camera.  Carry it around with you, you wouldn’t believe how much the pictures you take can inspire you.  

CM: Anything you would like to add?
DGM: When I started at art school my style was so different from what it is now.  When I started out towards the end of my art school years I was drawing like crazy. I was also terrified though that my style would not be accepted by the director of illustration at my school.  When I went in for my evaluation I was so surprised to find that he loved my work and even put me in his honors class for my senior year. I left that meeting crying.
In a good way of course.  I had doubted myself so much only to be shown that I was so so wrong. I try not to doubt myself like that anymore.

Find out more about Danielle

Check out past Creative Series:
+Laura Di Francesco
+Ryan R Thompson
+Delia Jalomo
+Cory Graves
+Anthony Williams