do it. create. walk and see. cut and paste. scratch and sniff.
do whatever you have to do to feed your soul.
this is my commitment.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013 artist interview

It is WEDNESDAY and on Wednesdays Create Everyday interviews another creative soul who is workin' it.  

I am tickled to introduce Anika Starmer as our featured artist today.  


Is there a particular rhythm you have around your creative work time?  If so, what does it look like?
I like to set up a creative mood, so to speak, and I usually put on some music or an audiobook/podcast. Then I'll make a cup of tea before settling down to work. In general I'm a night owl, so I most often find myself creating at night. Everything seems quieter, which I think makes it easier to focus while ideas bubble to the surface.

How many work spaces do you have and how/why do they work for you?
I have two dedicated spaces: a studio space in an extra bedroom where I work on smaller pieces and do my computer work, and a spacious area in the basement for big and/or messy endeavors. In addition to those official spaces, I like to work throughout the house, setting up temporary work stations to suit my mood and project. Sometimes I'll spread out my supplies on the dining room table, or bring a sketchbook and markers into the family room to draw while sitting on the couch. When the weather is warm and it's not too windy, I also love creating art outside!
Mixing up creative spaces works for me because the variety of locations encourages me to think differently all the time. I don't get stuck in the rut of always doing the same thing with the same tools in the same spot.

Do you do any "cross training" (activities that may enhance or spark your creativity)?
Photography makes me think about composition and color in new ways all the time, and helps me pinpoint subjects or color palettes that I'd like to work with. When I'm stuck or want to brain storm, going for a drive helps me clarify ideas. While I was commuting to and from college where I studied Graphic Design, I discovered that my mind wandered in creative directions when I was in the car by myself. I had a lot of "a-ha!" moments about school projects while on the road, and it's still a helpful tool when I want to mull over an idea or clear my head.

Where do you seek inspiration for your work?
Inspiration is one of those things that's tricky to pin down for me. I think most of my inspiration comes from paying attention to the world around me. Almost anything can spark an idea, whether something I see in nature, a feeling inspired by a manmade structure, or an overheard conversation.
If I am actively seeking out new ideas, I have a  few activities I turn to. I'll either go to the library and browse the non-fiction section, write a list of things I'd like to draw and start doodling until an idea catches me that I'd like to explore further, or I'll go for a walk and collect some leaves or flowers and draw them.

Generally, how long are your work periods?
On average I'd say I spend about 2 hours creating every evening. When I have a day to myself I'll make the most of it and create throughout the day, but there are times when I only have 5 minutes available at the end of a hectic day.
To make it easy for me to do at least a little something every day, I keep a small sketchbook (3in x 5in or smaller) and a pen next to my bed. Drawing for a few minutes in that sketchbook is an awesome way to wind down before I go to sleep!

When do you know that you need to "take a break" or stop working  (for the moment)?
I'm pretty good about taking short, regular breaks to get water or stretch while I'm working, but I know I need a longer break when I feel like what I'm working on is getting tedious. I make art because I enjoy it, so when I'm not enjoying it, I don't push myself to keep working. I'm more likely to make a mistake if I do try to press on, so I've learned that breaks are good and necessary!

Do you suffer from perfectionism and if so, what techniques do you use to manage this? If you don't, what experiences do you feel are responsible for taking you off the hook here?
This is a topic that I've thought about a lot over the years! I would say I am a reformed perfectionist. Although I never really saw perfectionism as a bad thing, over the years I've learned to balance out my tendency toward crisp, "perfect" lines with a looser style, embracing mistakes and inconsistencies that sometimes happen.
In the past, I'd often do several sketches in pen to work out an idea. Because I dove right in with a pen, there was no covering up or erasing errors. When I started the final version of the drawing, I'd work in pencil first, erasing and correcting as needed before inking the final. This produced a much smoother drawing, but when I shared all the process images, sketches included, most people responded more favorably to the initial imperfect sketches!
At the time, this really made me think and examine my own work. I wouldn't say I altered my style to "give the people what they want," but instead, the feedback I got allowed me to look at my rough sketches in a favorable light and appreciate the charm and personality they conveyed.
At this point, I don't often work with pencil as a stepping stone to a final image. At times I'll correct mistakes by redoing a drawing that went very wrong, but for now I enjoy working in a looser style that has room for imperfection.

Do you have a creative support system?  How important is this to your process?
To some extent, yes, I do, but I think it could be a stronger presence in my life. Much of my creative support comes from the online art community that I've found through twitter, flickr, instagram, and blogs. It impacts my process in that it helps encourage me and keep me going. My online community is a place where I can share and get feedback on what I am creating, see and be inspired by what others are working on, and generally "talk shop" or ask questions about new-to-me techniques.
In my day to day life, most of the people I know are not creative, and they don't really get what I do or why I do it. I would love to have a few more in-real-life artist friends, but I'm so grateful for the creative friends I've made online, and the richness they add to my creative life.

I’m a freelance graphic and web designer by day and artist by night. I live in Maryland, between Baltimore and Washington D.C. with my two dachshunds, Otto and Kasi.
I maintain a daily creative practice, and love to experiment with all kinds of media including simple pencil or charcoal drawings, painting with watercolor and acrylic, printmaking, collage, fiber arts, and more! I really like to draw plants and flowers, but I also enjoy sketching almost anything from life, and sometimes from photos I take. I'm equally interested in abstract art and very enthusiastic about patterns.


  1. It's exciting seeing my interview live on your blog! All official-like! Thanks for asking a bunch of awesome questions. They were fun to answer, and I hope fun to read!

  2. Fun interview! I ♥ Anika's work.