Christina Baggett’s artwork is as bright and fresh as a morning in spring. Through her artwork, she gives in to her inner child who looks upon the world around her with wonder.
In this interview, we learn more about Christina’s love for nature and animals and her plans to write a children’s book.
Hi Christina, it’s a pleasure to have this conversation with you, tell us more about yourself.
Thank you so much for interviewing me! I was born in Alabama, USA, where I live with my pets, parents and lots of siblings! Right now I’m still recovering from severe Lyme disease, which I caught from a tick bite in 2009, so I’m really blessed to have such a great supportive family. (Even if it gets very loud and wild sometimes!)
Your artwork features nature in abundance. Does nature hold any special significance to you?
Oh yes. I have always felt drawn to animals and nature. My parents encouraged this with our variety of animals, family camping trips, and generally spending time outside. I’m lucky to live in a small town where there are woods out my back door. The cycles of nature are an endless source of inspiration. And personally, I think one of the most calming things in the world is laying outside, staring at the treetops and listening to animal sounds.
How did you realize that you wanted to become an artist?
I think I was a dedicated artist as soon as I could hold a pencil! I remember a “career day” event in kindergarten, where we dressed as what we wanted to be when we grew up. I was four years old and had a hard time choosing between artist and veterinarian because I wanted to be both equally. I haven’t changed much!
Talk us through your creative process. How long does it take you from the moment you form your idea to the moment you complete it?
It varies. My head is always swimming with ideas but I have a hard time choosing one and finishing it! I usually grow an image in my mind for a few days before putting it on paper. Once I start, it depends on how distracted I am, and how I feel physically. I have to work around chronic fatigue, pain and arthritis. If I feel good and I’m focused, I can do a simple colored illustration in one day, but more often I take two or three days. Especially if it’s a commissioned piece because I want to make it as good as possible without rushing.
Familiarize us with the tools you use to get the desired output; we would also love to have a glimpse at your work station.
Most of my work is a mixture of traditional and digital art. I like to sketch in pencil, make my ink line art over the sketch, and then scan it onto my computer where I touch up any mistakes. If I decide to color the picture, I do this digitally in Gimp. I enjoy taking scans of real watercolor or paint textures and applying them so that even my digital coloring has a traditional feeling.
I hope to have a dedicated art workspace soon. For the moment I do most of my drawing at the messy computer desk in my bedroom.
How do you manage to divide time between personal projects and commercial work?
My commercial work is all small-scale right now so it hasn’t been very difficult. I often have a week with commissioned work, and then a couple of quiet weeks to do my own thing before the next commission order comes.
Are there any artists who have influenced you significantly?
I suppose I’m influenced in little ways by everything I see. I spend a lot (probably too much) time browsing art online. A list of my favorite present-day artists would take many pages! Speaking of classic artists though, I’ve definitely been influenced by impressionist and post-impressionist painters. I also love classic fairy tale illustrations – I have a book of Russian fairy tales with Ivan Bilibin’s illustrations that are just wonderful.
What do you think about India and the artists here?
India seems like a beautiful country, filled with extremely talented, skilled, and diverse artists! I have so much to learn about India’s history and culture, but the rich art and creativity is evident. I’m so glad that the Internet has allowed us to connect more easily with artists from other countries. One of these days I hope to visit and see it all in person!
Are you working on any projects currently? We’d love to know more about your work.
I keep promising I’ll make a book. A coloring book, a children’s book, an illustrated novel . . . Right now I am really and truly working on a small picture book with some of my original characters. I’m also participating in Inktober, where I attempt to make 31 ink drawing in the month of October. If all goes well I’ll compile those into an art book too.
What does success mean to you?
That’s really hard to define! I suppose my goal with my art is to make other people smile. There usually aren’t really deep meanings behind what I do. But if my drawings of cute animals or pretty landscapes can bring a little light and laughter to someone then it’s a success.
How important is music in recreating visions off your mind?
I go through phases with music. Sometimes I listen to it all day long, but then I might go a month and barely listen to music at all. If I am listening I try to get something that fits the mood of my work. It’s hard to draw innocent puppies if I’m listening to the battle theme from a film soundtrack!
What would you describe as your dream commission?
I love it when I’m asked to draw one of my favorite animals and given a lot of free-rein in terms of the scene. When the client trusts me to take their basic directions and create a world in my own mind, the results are usually a lot better than when I have to try and draw what they have in their mind.
Procrastination-What’s your relationship with it? How do you deal with it?
I have a very intimate and very unhealthy relationship with procrastination! In other words, I procrastinate a lot. When I’m doing a commission I fight it and try to focus all of my energy into my work as soon as possible to avoid the procrastination trap. I’m not that disciplined with personal artwork though. Between procrastinating, my health and my short attention span, I’ve built up a huge pile of ideas and plans that may never make it to paper. It’s a weakness I am trying to overcome!
According to you, what is your greatest work so far?
It’s hard to choose. Like most artists I’m my own worst critic, and very soon after completing a piece I notice lots of flaws and things I wish I had done differently. I’m still pretty fond of “Peace in the Woods” though. I did the picture, from idea to sketch to final color, in one day. It’s simple, but as I said earlier I love to lay beneath the trees and relax, and for myself at least this picture captured that warm and peaceful feeling.
If you could wish for one, and only one superpower, what superpower would you chose?
Telekinesis – the ability to influence and manipulate things with your mind. I think it’s one of the most useful and versatile superpowers.
If you weren’t an artist, what do think you would be doing?
My other love is animals so I would definitely just work with them. There are a lot of areas I’m interested in, from behavior to rehabilitation or just general caretaking.
If you could give one piece of advice to budding artists, what would that be?
Create art that makes you happy. Of course it’s going to be difficult and frustrating at times, but overall you should focus on mediums and subjects you enjoy. Other people may say that still-life is dull, or comics are juvenile, or fan-art is pointless, and so on. Don’t worry about what they say and don’t feel pressured to do things a certain way. Art is supposed to be a pleasure. Your passion (or lack of it) will show in your work.
Lastly, how has the journey been with Cupick thus far?
It has been great! I have felt totally welcomed and valued. The Cupick team’s friendliness and helpfulness is really great and I’ve been introduced to a lot of new artists and beautiful artwork!
Visit Christina on Cupick to check out more of her work.