Tell us a bit about yourself: Did you go to school for art? Are you self taught?
Yes; I attended The Columbus College of Art and Design and I majored in Illustration. However, I ended up going into animation as a clay animator for Will Vinton Studios and then traditional 2D animation for The Walt Disney Studios. I spent the bulk of my professional animation career between the Disney Florida studios and California studio working on feature films such as Lion King, Mulan, Lilo and Stitch and The Princess and the Frog. Disney abandoned 2D animation right after Princess and the Frog so I explored the world of children's book illustration and illustrated several titles like "When the Leaf Blew In" and "Wake up Rooster". I also produced an online cartoon strip called Wild Unknown for a couple years before my current strip Kicky Brand.
Do you work in just one medium? Several?
I learned art the old school way, but I have transitioned almost entirely to digital for it's ease and time saving capabilities. I do sculpt, and I am interested in learning more about 3D printers. If I work traditionally it's with ink and dyes.
What inspires you / where do you get inspiration from?
I love animals and have plenty of them around me. I remember falling in love with figure drawing once I began looking at how the anatomy of my dog was put together. A light went off for me and it translated instantly into understanding the human form. Afterwards I took four and a half years of figure drawing just because it felt so good. Today I have a pit bull/mastiff mix named Orem. He is a perfect example of athletic perfection and it's easy to see the blocky shapes that make up his anatomy (he has the coolest feet). I am inspired by other artists that I have had the privilege to work with like Chris Sanders, (Lilo and Stitch) Aaron Blaise, (Brother Bear) and Byron Howard, (Zootopia, a film I helped develop and sell the early concept for) from my time at Disney and many I have discovered online like Florian Satzinger, Goro Fujita, Hyperbole and a Half and Tumbleleaf by Bix Pix Entertainment.
Mostly though I love humor and cute, I spend most of my brain time there.
What are you working on now?
I am trying my hand at licensing. I think it's what I always wanted to do but, only I just became aware of it in the past couple of years. Like everyone else, I am busy creating collections while I try and navigate the learning curve. One of my collections centers around my studio Kicky Brand which started out as an online cartoon about horses. Those cartoons and other horse art I've created migrated onto t-shirts, I then took the next logical step and became a "company" that helps people show their love of horses through design. I hope to grow it into a recognizable brand in the equine world. I just licensed some work with Leanin Tree - a personal goal of mine made possible by being part of The Art Licensing Show. ArtLicensingShow.com
You can find Kicky Brand it on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Kickybrand I have an evolving online storefront: www.kickybrand.com and I also have some prints on Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/people/kellielewisart that are of mixed subject matter.
Anything else you would like to share with us?
I have had (and am grateful for) a professional career that dreams are made of, oddly however, I have only just now found real creative happiness by following this path of licensing. My only regret is that I didn't know it was possible sooner. Now I just need to become more technically savvy.
Are you an early riser? or night owl?
I tend to get up early (mostly because I have animals to care for) because I think I am at my most creative at that time, and I am generally drinking hot chocolate and that my friends, is my real muse.
What is your favorite food?
(Just one?!) Hot chocolate... the real answer is probably sugar in the form of hot chocolate.
You can find Kellie:
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