We had the good fortune of connecting with Abby Mitchell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Abby, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
At its simplest, I pursued an artistic career because I wanted to spend my life following my deepest passion. I knew that I wanted to be an artist for a living ever since I was a very small girl. I remember growing up, I would be constantly spending my time illustrating stories I had written for myself, designing colorful characters, and watching animated films/staring at concept art religiously so that I could recreate what I had seen. I even began steadily selling commissions when I was only 14! As a young adult, I lost some confidence in my abilities and tried branching out into other more “stable” career fields for a few years, but my heart always led me back to art. I realized that I needed to spend my life doing what makes me happy, even if it involved uncertainty and risk. Deep down I knew that my passion lead to fulfillment and success. Pursuing a freelance art career has honestly been one of the best choices I have ever made in my life: because I’m happy.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m predominantly known for my expressive characters, use of vibrant color, and artwork depicting women in fantastical settings. Inspired by my love of animation, comics, fantasy, and beauty, I strive to make each art piece invoke a sense of whimsy and vivacity in the viewer. I work mostly with digital art and occasionally dabble in inks and colored pencil as well. I have been drawing cartoons and designing characters my entire life, but I began seriously studying art when I was around 12 years old by religiously looking at comics, concept art, and animation stills. By the time I was in high school, I was selling portrait commissions to clients, opened an online shop, and began preparing to go to art school. However, as a late teen and young adult, I survived traumatic experiences that caused me to lose my entire sense of self. I had lost confidence in my ability to do pretty much everything, including pursuing my art career. I closed down my shop, deleted all my social media, abandoned the idea of getting an art degree, and drew almost nothing for years. I tried pursuing other career paths, but ultimately none of them felt fulfilling. As I healed, I slowly rediscovered my passion for art and began drawing frequently again — and I very quickly realized that I still wanted to pursue it as a career, just as I had my whole life prior. But I had deleted everything. All of the work I had done to build a client base and get my name out there had been gone for years. A big part of me felt like I had blown my chance to pursue my dream of being an artist. But an even bigger part of me dreaded the idea of returning to a regular 9-5 job, wasting my life doing something that I knew wouldn’t make me as happy. So I took the risk and decided to follow my heart for the first time in years: I dropped everything and restarted my journey as a full-time freelance artist. I re-opened my shop and immediately began networking. I took the risk to drop money I barely had on a website and art supplies. With passion, hard work, and a little courage, I managed to re-build my client base and have found both financial and personal success in creating artwork for others to use and enjoy. I am now so privileged to be able to draw everyday for a living and spend my time creating art that makes people light up with excitement. From my experience, life is short; which means anybody who wants to do what they love, should start doing what they love to do, now. Pursuing one’s dream is almost never quick or easy, but that never means that it’s impossible. I can say with confidence, despite risks and challenges that come with being a professional artist, that I have found genuine success and happiness from following my passion: creating art.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would take them each day to my favorite places to go to in the whole city (where I’ve already taken most of my friends lol): the Museum of Natural Science (especially the halls of Paleontology, Ancient Egypt, and the Americas), the Museum of Fine Arts, the Houston Zoo, and Space Center Houston. If the Houston Rodeo and Livestock Show are in town, I’d of course take them there too! For food, I’d take them to the Original Ninfa’s on Navigation, Velvet Taco, Bubba’s Burger Shack, and the Lord-of-the-Rings-themed restaurant Hobbit Cafe. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Shout out to my partner and best friend, who encouraged me to pursue my dreams and feel proud of the artwork that I create like no one else has. From gifting me art supplies to encouraging my talents, he helped me find the confidence I needed in order to become a full-time freelance artist. In a world where so many view becoming an artist as a waste of time, people like my partner, who recognize the importance of not only the arts but in the importance of doing what makes life worth living, make it so that artists feel comfortable taking the risks they need to thrive. I likely would not be where I am today without his love and support.
Other: Business Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
All art created by Abby Mitchell in Procreate.