Maker Monday: Young@Art

Happy Maker Monday! 

This Monday we are featuring Danaye Shiplett of young@art! We love how Danaye speaks through her art. Her pieces are an expression of herself as well as a story she’d like to tell. The imagination behind Danaye’s work leaps off the page. Each character has personality and a message for the viewer to interpret, an attribute that is sometimes lost in more commercialized art. Danaye stays true to her artistic roots and desire to create for herself, and gives her customers the opportunity to share in her creative journey- something we think is truly special about maker’s shops! Read on to learn more about Danaye and how young@art came to be.

: Tell us a little about yourself.

: Every introvert’s dreaded nightmare! (Kidding.) So, my name is Danaye Shiplett and I am a 30-something geek, bookworm, introvert… well, you get the idea. I’m married, live in the South (though I was raised on the East coast), and have two adorable fur-babies. I can’t have children so they really are my kids. (I don’t dress them up or anything, though. Promise.)

: How did young@art get started and what was the process behind getting it off the ground?

: young@art stemmed from my desire to create a professional brand around my art. Something that people see and immediately get a sense of who I am and what I create. It fits me. I am a huge kid at heart and my creations (I hope!) reflect that sense of wide-eyed innocence and wonderment that we have during our early years. I like to think I’ve kept a little (lot) of that even as an adult.

: You have been creating art since you could hold a pencil. What drew you to art and eventually making it a career?

: Art never gave me much of a choice – it kind of grabbed on and never let go. Even as a little girl it was how I expressed myself. It still is. I speak better with a pencil and paper than I ever will out loud. Back then, I would read picture books and think, “I want to make stories like this,” so I did.

Choosing to make my art a business progressed naturally from then on. Why not share my creations with others? I don’t create to make money. But, I figured it couldn’t hurt to throw stuff out there to be available for someone should they have the desire.

: There’s a lot of fun, magical and spirited aspects to your work. How did you develop this style of illustration?

: Disney. Anime. Cartoons. Fairy tales. Lots and lots of books (especially illustrated) – fantasy books, science fiction books, and comic books.

: You’re also an author and book lover. How has writing and being an avid reader inspired some of your artwork?

: Honestly, I don’t think my imagination would be nearly so large without having read so much as a child (and to this day). I tell stories with pictures and paint pictures with words. For me, they will always go hand-in- hand.

: You work with a variety of mediums including watercolors, colored pencils, ink and acrylic paint. You also do some digital painting. What do you like about creating with these different tools? Is there a particular one you find yourself picking up more these days?

: I love all types of art media – so much so that I can never decide on one over another for long. Traditional art was my sole creative outlet until I discovered digital painting. Digital painting became everything to me until I rediscovered traditional art.

Really, I love to use whatever combination of tools best gets the message across. My newest art combines watercolor, ink and marker, and colored pencil.

: You also do custom artwork. What do you like about working on a client’s idea?

: I love when a client comes to me with something so unlike anything I have created before. For instance, right now I am doing a Steampunk piece – with an alien subject! I would never have thought of that on my own, but I am having the time of my life and that type of joy and excitement always shows through in the finished piece.

: The characters you draw are so expressive! Do you think of their personas before you create them?

: Thank you! Characters in an artwork should feel real, shouldn’t they? I mean, I want them to come alive off the page. For made up characters, I tend to don my writer’s cap and create little backstories to help me flesh them out. Often I will model them after aspects of real people I know.

: You have a line of Socially Awkward Greeting Cards. How did you come up with this concept?

: Socially Awkward cards came about as a fun little idea for Valentine’s day. Honestly, I was tired of looking at the same old sappy romance cards. I wanted to see something fresh – I love those snarky e-cards that are popular but I wanted mine to be more like what a person would say who has no social graces.

: Any advice for those wishing to pursue artistic endeavors?

: L’art pour l’art. Art for art’s sake.

First and foremost: create for you, not for everyone else. Pick up a pencil, or pen, or whatever your tool of choice is, and just do it! If you’re not sure about something, learn. If someone tells you that you can’t or that you’re no good, try harder. Always strive to be better, but recognize the value in your own work.

And whatever you do, DON’T. EVER. STOP! ♥

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