AsherBee started submitting t-shirts on TeeHunter a while ago and what better way to support her work than by interviewing her and giving you some AsherBee “behind the scenes”. Without any further ado, let’s get into it.
Who is Ashley?
Oh, that’s a good question! I’m still figuring that out myself. She’s an artsy weirdo with a love of shiny, glittery things. She likes toys, collecting cool art and shirts, and eats Skittles like they’re her life blood. Basically Ashley/I might be a magpie…who eats way too many Skittles.
I went to Cab Calloway School of the Arts in Wilmington Delaware for high school, and dived head first into college, attending Delaware College of Art and Design located also in Wilmington, Delaware, I finish up with an Associates in Animation. From there, I made my way to Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York to complete my Bachelors in Fine Arts with a concentration in Traditional Animation. I fell in love with concept design work during this period and started to dabble in Adobe Illustrator. I was very fortunate to have the teachers I had. I was approached by company to do a few years worth of work that really opened my eyes further to games and later, to the toy and apparel industries. I’m currently in school for my Masters, working towards a degree in Industrial Design with a concentration in Toy Design.
I freelance quite a bit, and I can say that each experience adds more depth to my work. It would be great to work in-house at some point.
I also frequent the convention scene and I’ve tabled at New York Comic Con, Phoenix Comicon, Salt Lake City Comic Con, Mega Con, and Dragon Con just to name a few. I love pop culture and geeking out with other fellow nerdlings and art peeps. I’m down for a great action movie, and when there is a precious second to myself which is highly irregular, I’m usually sketching, gaming, museum hopping, manga and comic reading, or walking my dog Raider (of the lost Bark). Don’t worry though, he found it.
Where are you from?
I hail originally from Wilmington, Delaware, but I’m currently living in Laveen, Arizona. I am ready for a change of location though. California? New York? Only the future knows.
How old are you?
32, I’m old lol. (No, you’re not!)
Where can we find you online?
Can we see you?
How did you first get into design?
I started getting into design more so in college. Having a stronger foundation of basics made it easier to create what I really wanted to convey. Never bulk at the basics kids! They’re such a big help later on.
What made you to become a designer?
Honestly my mom had a whole lot to do with my enthusiasm towards art and wanting to pursue it as a career. I was so fortunate that my mother and grandmother were encouraging and basically my biggest cheerleaders growing up. They were honest with me, told me that it was a difficult road I wanted to travel, but that they were very proud of me and wanted me to be happy. Of course it didn’t hurt that they knew I was a hard worker, who kept my head on and thought realistically about my goals and how to get to them. That’s pretty important.
How you started drawing/sketching?
My first drawings were probably not your typical type of drawings. I started not with stick men, but with stick cranes or flamingos lol. By the way, I’m sort of obsessed with flamingos. I remember my mom buying me my first colored pencils, a pretty large box if I recall and drawing the picture that was on the back of the box. It was a brown horse in a field. Mom started me off pretty early with colored pencils because I was afraid to color things in. I was worried about making mistakes, and crayons were really permanent. I still colored in lightly at first, but as I went to digital coloring, I learned how to color “loudly”.
Educated or self-taught?
I think I’m a mixture of both. I had to have an idea of what I was doing to get into my high school. Cab Calloway School of the Arts has you audition or send in a portfolio to see where you are and how to help you best. By the way, if you want to live like you’re part of the tv show GLEE…Cab is basically the classy version of it! I’ll never regret my time there and I’m proud to be friends with quite a few of my teachers as well as the best darn principle you could have for a school. Delaware College of Art and Design gave me life-long friends and again, I still keep in touch with my professors. Pratt Institute was great for fine tuning my Adobe skills and character building. I loved it so much, I used to joke with campus security that I would just build myself a cardboard box condo next to their booth and live on there forever. Apparently the rent wouldn’t have still been high, so I gave up on that plan.
Anything memorable from the very early days.
I remember staying up way too long to work on my projects. I think we’ve all had that moment where you’re so tired, you feel like you’re dying. Well, I really enjoyed working had during school. I loved being able to show off a new project to my classmates, brainstorm with them, and kick out more work.
I love attending cons and working my Artist Alley tables. I love seeing faces of new people and people I’ve met before coming up to greet me, to see what new piece or product I have available after a whole year away from them.
I love being able to look at all of my past art, because each piece means something in my life journey.
Do you remember the first time you sold a piece of your art?
I think the first thing I sold by myself was a commission of someone’s cat. I was in my first year of college and I worked part time at the Delaware History Museum. I had just enough time in between to work on this portrait, the entire time worrying about how she would feel about it when I was ready to hand it to her. I think she actually cried, because this had been a picture of her cat that hat recently passed. It was a nice feeling to see someone moved in a good way about my artwork.
If you have a photo/media about it, that would be great, it puts things into retrospective
Unfortunately it was so long ago, I didn’t even have a cellphone yet. I wish I had taken a picture.
How much was it?
I think I sold my first pencil sketch of that cat for $25.
Who bought it or where it got sold?
It was commissioned by a coworker at the time. I can’t remember her very well anymore, but I remember how we both felt after she received it. Good feelz.
Tell us a bit about your process when you’re designing a new t-shirt?
My process is usually finding something I’m really into and I’ll make a sketch of it first and scan it into my computer. I use Adobe Illustrator because it give me life, but that wasn’t always the case. I actually hated it, but I had an amazing teacher who took me under her wing…her very patient wing and helped me figure out the basics.
Favorite place to sell your work?
TeePublic and Etsy.
Favorite piece of design you made?
Currently, How Long is Forever
Favorite design style?
I love Art Nouveau! I love that it’s made such a big comeback as a style.
Where can a new designer start learning online?
I highly recommend EvantoTuts+ I even have a few tutorials up there myself! DeviantART was a big part of my growth too.
Equipment you currently work on?
Inspiron 15 inch laptop. Windows 7 64 bit Operating System
People are going to love this section, tell us all about your specs, tables, wacoms, Macs etc.
I use a Logitech MX Master Wireless Laser Mouse for all of my renders in Adobe Illustrator. Yep, I said it… MOUSE. I have a Wacom Intuos 4 Large Tablet for Photoshop work, but rarely use it since I’m faster with a mouse and I’m hardcore in love with Adobe Illustrator.
Tag a designer you’d like to be interviewed next and tell us why?
Kishia Houck is an amazing artist with a unique line of characters that I can’t wait for the world to fall in love with. I think her “Astro Paws” are great, but I’m extremely impressed with her “Nummy Bunnies” Series. If you’re into kawaii, ultra cute things, then this is your gal!
Let’s end up with a piece of advice for fellow t-shirt designers because I know they are going to watch this interview
After years of frustration, and persistence I’ve learned to finally enjoy the ride. Take a moment to evaluate where you came from and where you are with your art, and realise that you’ve done a good job. You’ve made progress, it may not be where you want to be yet, but you’re still trying. No effort, no progress.
Take criticism from good sources and if you’re fortunate enough to have teachers or tutors or mentors, don’t take their knowledge for granted. Surround yourself with encouragement when possible, and if it’s not physically there, reach out in other ways.