You’ve seen her on TeePublic as DIHA and now we have the pleasure of interviewing her, ladies and gents meet Dianne.
Tell us a little about yourself, Dianne.
I’m a part-time artist, part-time nurse, and full-time nerd living in Boulder, Colorado. A lady never tells her age, but I’m old enough to dress myself, and stay out past 10 without having to call home to check in. Most of the time.
When and how did you first start getting into design?
A friend of mine showed me TeeFury back in 2011, and it didn’t take too long to go from, “Wow, those shirts are all really cool!” to “Hey, I bet I could do that….” Within a few months I was trying my hand at my own designs, and then getting them published. (I mean, I’d been drawing since I could hold a crayon – that’s just how I started drawing for tee shirts.)
What does it take to be a good designer?
If you find out, let me know. Heh.
I think it’s some combination of working really hard, but still enjoying what you’re doing, until you finally find your audience. I graduated from a fine arts program at a public college, and while I won’t totally write that experience off, school kind of made art less fun for me, and I went through a slump after I graduated where I just didn’t make much for a while.
Again, I’m declining to totally reveal my age, but when I started college, there was no Facebook, or Twitter, or Instagram, or YouTube – we didn’t even have MySpace yet – so being able to show your work and get critiques from other artists wasn’t what it is now. Now I can make something and instantly have it seen by dozens of other artists and art directors who can share their thoughts and give tips. Learning is so accessible now, and if you’ve got passion and talent, I don’t think the school you went to is going to be your make-or-break point anymore, at least not in the arts. I feel like it’s more about practicing and just making lots and lots of stuff, and putting it out there in the world that gets you somewhere.
How long did it take to start getting noticed and actually selling your artwork?
I feel like I got amazingly lucky – my second or third attempt at shirt design (which was “Chat Noir de la Lune”) got picked up by Tee Fury, and is still one of my most popular creations. Of course, there have been plenty of ups and downs since then. I still feel like I’m really trying to get myself established.
If you were to pick a favorite design you have created, which one would it be and why?
“The Sword and the Sith” is my favorite, even though it’s never been sold on a daily tee site. It features characters that meant so much to me growing up – and still do – and so it was something I really did for myself more-so than with any thought to sell it. And I think those are always the best pieces, the ones you do for you.
Tell us about your creative process, from the beginning of a typical piece to its completion.
I tend to keep an evolving ideas list that I can pick from at any given time, but will also jump on something if it comes to me and just demands to be done NOW. I work pretty much 100% digital for my designing, and Manga Studio has become my favorite program. I’ll use Photoshop for geometric linework (like in my art nouveau designs), but I do almost all my sketching in Manga Studio, then ink and color the image there as well. Then I’ll bring it back to Photoshop to adjust any colors that need it, and to create halftones for the tee shirt sites that require it for screen print. Throughout this process, I will probably change my background noise-source at least half a dozen times, and drink far more coffee than is smart for a human my size.
Tell us something interesting about yourself, quick!
I have a Masters degree in nursing, which I guess is kinda cool. I also lived in Nagoya, Japan for a few months, have toured Europe with a metal band (merch bitch 4 life), and I have watched every single episode of “Grey’s Anatomy” since it started airing 12 years ago. That last one I’m not as proud of. Probably shouldn’t have admitted that.
Do you have any good advice for emerging artists?
I guess the best advice is to just keep working, always have a project – or two or five – going. The only way to improve is to keep making crap until it slowly becomes less crappy (and most of us make a lot of crap along the way). Also, make goals for yourself and what you want from your art, and then keep working toward those, but don’t feel defeated if you don’t achieve them immediately. Celebrate the small victories along the way. And have fun, because life’s too short to not enjoy what you do.
Thank you, Dianne, for an awesome interview.