For Artomatic, we’re reviving the Artist Interviews. These are written interviews that will appear only on our Facebook Page. Please keep your responses in the question & answer format.
1) Who are you and how long have you been an artist?
Mishka Jaeger: I’ve been an artist since I could finger-paint with my mashed peas and pureed chicken. I love creating and I’m scatter-brained. I’m not sure if that’s a bug or a feature because my media are inconsistent. In general, I like telling stories through my art. My focuses are children’s’ book illustration, women, food, music, and spirituality.
2) What medium(s) do you work in & why?
Right now it’s colored pencil. I didn’t realize I liked it until fairly recently. I’d been struggling with mixing watercolor and digital art with moderate success but I’m not really a watercolorist. In 2015, I began a series of illustration challenges where I needed to work faster and be more portable so I thought I’d give the pencils a try. Turns out they’re awesome!
3) What is your creative process like?
See “scatterbrained.” I tend to have too many ideas at once and many projects in the works at one time. I’m working on dialing in the focus and boiling everything down so I can be a bit more prolific. But I don’t really rough sketch. What purport to be my sketches tend to be more polished (which is why I’m showing some of them in my AoM display), and my sketchbook tends to look more like a journal. I often write out what I intend to draw instead of rough sketching because with rough sketching, I can’t always read my own visual handwriting later on. Once I’ve got a sketch that I like, I usually put it on the computer and noodle the layout around until I like it. A varying process of printing, light-boxing, inking, and re-digitizing are involved to clean up the lines. I use colored pencil over a 10% K-tone printout. I outlined this process in a little more detail while creating Art Deco Cinderella on my website blog in September 2015 (“Enchanted: A 1920’s Cinderella”).
4) What is the best art-related advice you’ve received?
Really it’s from Jane Yolen who is an inspirational master of organization, focus and creation, and a phenomenal human being and author. Her main thing is “butt-in-chair.” That is to say, you need to do the work. You can’t do anything if you don’t do the work. After that, it’s that art is a business and if you want to succeed at it, you need to treat it as such.
5) What is the biggest challenge you face as an artist?
I still have small children at home, so actually finding the time, energy, and focus to do the work is a challenge. Apart from that, my challenge is to generate a following and then monetize my work (you wanted honesty, right?). I need to tell a better story so that people want to hear more from me. And then I need to tell it louder.
6) Choose one piece that you currently have on display at Artomatic and tell the story of that piece:
I’d been working through the 100 Days project when I had the privilege of attending a workshop with yoga master Tao Porchon-Lynch who turns 99 years old this August. She told us many stories about her childhood in India between the wars. One of her more popular stories was that she’d lie on the ground and listen to the grass grow. She said she could really hear it. That story inspired the first of my Little Yogi illustrations, and I drew my version of a young Tao lying and listening to the grass. Later that week while cleaning out my 20 years of magpie-collected papers, I turned up a bookmark that read, “I breathe in and out and my whole body calms down.” It was fortuitous. Now there are two things I strongly believe we need to do to live happier, healthier lives. The first is to get a good night’s sleep (and I’m still not so good at that). The second is pausing to breathe mindfully. It gives you time to think before you act, and deep, slow breaths do calm you down. So “Breathe” became my next Little Yogi. Now you can have a card to remind you to breathe too. Pick one up in my AoM space #3402 behind the theater.
7) What is your favorite part of the Artomatic experience so far?
It is always meeting new local artists, seeing what they’re working on, seeing what we have in common, and learning from their work and creative processes.
8) How can people find you online?
Always by my name: