Tell us about your background! What led to your job at Funko?
I’ve always been interested in art, and I wanted to be an artist ever since I was a child. I went to school at Academy of Art University for graphic design, with my focus towards package design. After that I had a few contract jobs (and freelanced), and eventually I ended up doing photo work for a company when my contract expired… I had 90 days of no plans, so I emailed Funko and said I would work for free. I really wanted to get more experience and I couldn’t think of anything more fun than toys and pop culture combined! They took me up on my offer (and decided to pay me to boot), and after 30 days I became a full-time employee.
What are your biggest artistic influences and/or who are your favorite artists?
My biggest influence is my mom; growing up she was always creating (sewing, quilting, painting, making furniture, cooking, etc.) and teaching me along the way. She was always 100% supportive of me wanting to be an artist. My favorite artists are J.W. Waterhouse, Mark Ryden, Fiona Staples (who illustrates Saga), Jim Lee, and Todd Schorr.
What are some of your favorite projects you have worked on at Funko?
I love anything Fallout related so working on the minis, Pop!s, and the Vinyl figure was just a dream for me. I get overly excited about anything Marvel, as I’ve been obsessed with the X-Men since I was about 8 years old and have Psylocke tattooed on my leg. I’m also pretty excited this year that I worked on both The Golden Girls and Rick & Morty.
What programs and/or tools do you use most often?
I do about 75 % of my work in Photoshop and the other 25% in Illustrator.What is your dream project?
Fallout was my dream project (shout out to my bosses for listening to me rave about Fallout non-stop and taking initiative)… if I could get any licenses I want I’d go with Mad Max (older or new movies, I love them all), Ghost in the Shell, Fullmetal Alchemist, Twin Peaks (which I made customs of), more X-Men (and X-Force, X-Factor, Exiles, etc), and Saga (graphic novel). I’d love to see a line focusing on comics/graphic novels as well (like Saga, The Wicked + The Divine, Rat Queens).
What do you collect?
Before Funko I used to collect anatomy and physiology books, comics, and porcelain animal figures. Sadly, most of those were sold years ago because I ended up couch surfing for a year and a half; but in my 3 pieces of luggage I took with me on that journey were a classic X-Men mug and two vinyl toys. Now I collect toys and anything Fallout or X-Men related. My desks at work and home are loaded with most of the toys I’ve worked on - I think that’s probably my favorite collection.What is your favorite medium?
I love to paint (usually gouache on illustration board), although usually when I paint I start out on computer and put things together how I want in Photoshop first so I have good reference.
Any advice for aspiring toy designers?
It’s never too late to start! I didn’t go to college until I was 25 and it took me 7 years of freelancing and contracts to find my perfect job… If you’re passionate about something, you should never give up on it!