Artist Spotlight: Emily FitzPatrick
Emily is a Big-Apple-based character designer and illustrator. She loves animation, Japanese pop culture, and the shows and video games she grew up with. When she’s not drawing for fun, she works in production for the animation team at Sesame Workshop, where she hopes to help kids grow smarter, stronger, and kinder.
Can you describe the time when you first realized that creating was something you absolutely had to do?
Like many artists I’ve been drawing and creating since I was quite young, but I think it’s only been recently that I’ve discovered it’s something I absolutely have to do. I started seriously pursuing art as a career in college, particularly character design and illustration. Discovering that this was a viable career field made a big difference for me – I don’t think many people know that it’s a whole industry that exists and is populated by creative, talented, hard-working people! Even outside of work, I’ve always been absorbed with my own passion projects, usually driven by whatever I’m excited about at the time. Making time to create is a wonderful thing, and I’ve come to believe it’s necessary for all people, even those who don’t consider themselves “creative” types.
What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever created?
That’s a great question – and the answer changes all the time! But as of this writing it might just be my Pigment coloring book. I had so much fun drawing inspiration from my experiences, 90s aesthetic, and shojo anime. I just really wanted to create something that my younger self would have loved to see. I’m also working on a picture book that comes in a close second.
What’s the best advice you ever had about how to be more creative? A teacher once said to me that “creativity is memory in disguise.” And I think that’s so true – everything you create is subconsciously pieced together from a combination of your life experiences, the art and media you consume, and the things that inspire you. It can be really fun to dissect where your style comes from and identify the influences that shape your art. And the opposite is also true – you can choose to shape your creative output by being mindful of the art and media you surround yourself with. It’s helpful to understand why, on a technical level, you’re drawn to certain pieces so you can incorporate those techniques into your creative process.
Are there other coloring book artists or illustrators that inspire you?
I’m inspired by many different kinds of artists! Illustration-wise, the big ones are Mary Blair and Joey Chou. I’m also a big fan of Yoshiki Haruhana, who established the look of The Wind Waker.