A little about myself…

I have had a love for art since I was young and still learning to hold a pencil. Art for me  has always been an escape. A world I create where  all the  problems of life can't bother me. As someone with anxiety and depression this is my happy place and a way to cope with the mental stress I carry. 

 I always knew I would grow up and become an artist someday. While in school I took a few art classes and found a passion for cartooning. In high school I won a few awards for some poster designs I made. During my years of being in school I taught myself how to draw over 30 animals. After graduating I started taking commissions, mostly for friends and family. This is when I started realizing this was my career and that I was a true artist. I took a few college courses and ended up dropping out due to anxiety issues, but during  all the ups and downs of this time I found my favorite medium:    markers.  

At the age of 20 I built my first online store using Zazzle. I also created my first children’s book (this book has not been publicly seen yet). I also created a few series    and worked on making hand drawn art work in the computer  as well as fit products. Around this time is when I really started to develop my art style and building my skills with creating textures. I spent the next 2 years building a large collection of art. I taught myself how to make 15 textures using Sharpies and learned how to draw another 70 plus animals.

At the age of 22 I ended up taking a break from my art, I stopped creating for the purpose of my career and lost a little of my passion. For 2 years I really didn’t create much, this gap is why I tell people my career is 8-10 years. This gap was a hard time for me and I really wasn’t sure I wanted to be an artist anymore. Then when I turned 24 I got back into my art and I had a serious moment of harsh truths with myself. I asked myself do you want to be an artist? Is this really your purpose in life? If you weren’t an artist what would you be? I realized that this what I wanted to do with my life, being an artist is my purpose and passion.

Once I faced my fears and made the decision to not give up, everything changed. I got an amazing day job where I could work on art while at work. I took this opportunity to really try and get my art out in the world.    I started to challenge myself, teaching myself new things and forcing myself to grow. At 25 years old I went out of my comfort zone, facing my anxiety head on, and I started to apply for shows. My first big show was 4th Fridays at the Starline Factory in October of 2017. That show lit a fire in my soul. I had found my passion again; I had found myself.

In 2018 I did 2 more shows at the Starline and at the end of the year had over 30 new pieces all created within 2 years,    as    well as a fully updated selection of art on my Zazzle store. Then came the year everything changed, 2019. I started the year off doing a show with the Starline Factory again, I was comfortable there. I had a simple goal for that year, I wanted to do 6 shows before the end of the year. I really started networking after that. I booked a show in Chicago with RAW: Natural Born Artists and another   show at The ArtBar in Aurora. The night of the show in Aurora    I walked all over handing out cards looking for more shows. From there I managed to get a show at the Art Initiative. After that things got really crazy;  I moved into a house where I had an art  studio and  started creating non-stop.     I was doing 2 or 3 shows a month as well, far surpassing my goal before the year was even half over.

By June of 2019 I had started my own website complete with   a   store   I could run from my studio.  At the same time  I started my site I created 2 coloring books, a line of color your own post cards, and had 25 art pieces made into prints.  I also started writing and illustrating my first comic: Punkin.    In July I started creating    The Bear Book (I call this my first children’s book because it’s the first one I had published.). The book was self published  in November,    just before the end of the year. While creating The Bear Book I also started my second comic: SHE-nanigans. 2019 was the year I really felt like I had started to make something of myself, I ended the year with my first job as a professional illustrator, several completed projects, a  self   published   author/illustrator with her own book,    and a whopping 25 shows. 

As of right now I can create 30 textures with Sharpies, 15 with Prismas, and 5 with Copics. I can draw over 125 different animals and I have found a new love with drawing cartoon food. I am also    starting to teach myself to  draw people. Every day I learn something new,    face my    fears, and grow a little more.    My career might have started long ago, but  it's  become so much   more   than   I   imagined.    I am so grateful to be able to share my passion for art with the world.

2020 story update...

I have continued to grow my career. Covid hit,     I managed to still keep my art going and even have done a few shows. I have learned 4 new textures with Sharpies and Prismas, but    I am still struggling with Copics.  I now have 4 separate    series I create that will be ongoing for the next few years.  My latest series that I started last year in October, the Art & Music series ,    has 10 pieces and I have turned the series as a whole into my next giant     coloring book.  This  is the year I  finally got into not one, but two galleries (so far), sadly one show was canceled mid show due to the pandemic.   Early 2020   brought another major accomplishment with it,    I    completed my first job as a children's book illustrator.   The book is   called    "Animals at the Office" and is    written   by    Sarah Sommer, to learn more about Sarah and this amazing book scroll to the bottom of the page.   This year continued with big things including 2 interviews with a local podcast Good Morning Aurora which gave me a chance to stand up as an advocate for people who battle mental illnesses. I also was one of the artists  interviewed and featured  during Alley Art Fest, the article was included   in the Chicago   Tribune.   In December I was featured on WGN 9 Chicago doing a live demo of my art at the Cottonseed Creative Exchange. I finished 2020 successfully participating in several more shows, getting my total to 43.   I also started my biggest project to date, illustrating  books at once, I hope to  release them all in 2021. Despite the challenges of 2020 it was still successful and I didn't lose hope that I can still  pursue my dreams in all the madness. 

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Art by Devan © 2021 All rights reserved.