Becoming Animated with Stacie_Draws!

Hello Everyone! We’re back with a brand new Creator Spotlight Interview to start the new year with a bang! In the last interview, I had a chance to explore the dynamics of Comic Book Relationships with Brad and Lisa Gullickson of Comic Book Couples Counseling. Now, we’re going to be featuring another member of the ZU Studios crew. Her name is Stacie_Draws, and she creates Anime Artwork!


Red: How long have you been drawing?

Stacie: First off, thanks for the opportunity to do this interview and for selecting me to be a part of your CREATOR SPOTLIGHT! I go by the artist handle, ‘Stacie__Draws’, and I’ve been drawing for pretty much my entire life. I would tell people even as a child, “I want to be an artist when I grow up“. I became even more serious about the idea of an art career after getting hooked on anime as a teenager. I drew frequently during that time. I initially considered a sequential art degree (to pursue drawing comics) after completing a summer art program at SCAD. This was right before my senior year of high school, but then I changed my mind later. I moved out to the west coast to attend art school at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, California, where I received a BFA degree in Illustration. Much to my dismay, anime-style art was really discouraged by all of my instructors, so I shifted more towards realism for a while, and then ended up focusing on graphic design. (I like graphic design, and it’s also what paid my bills, but I did miss drawing anime fan art. I wish I had kept up with it more back then.) I worked various full-time time graphic design jobs after graduating, and then later on as a seasonal contractor & freelancer.

StacieDraws Introduction
Image Credit: StacieDraws

After a cross-country move back to the east coast in 2019, and then a pandemic turning the world upside down, I rediscovered my love [during lockdown] for traditional art and anime fan art. I started an account on TikTok and began posting process videos of creating marker and color pencil illustrations. I then revived my instagram account, @Stacie__draws, and started posting my artwork regularly there too. My two favorite mediums to work with right now are alcohol markers and colored pencils.

I was thrilled to recently announce on my pages that I’d been invited to do a brand collaboration with the popular art marker company, Ohuhu. I created 2 new illustrations with the markers sent to me by Ohuhu. The feedback + support I’ve received from my followers/mutuals continues to motivate me to post my work on social media, even when life gets so busy that I can’t post as often. So to those that are following me, I appreciate you, and I hope you’ll stick around!

Red: You mentioned that you have worked as a Designer for the Tabletop Game Company, ZU Studios. What are the challenges in working in the Graphic Design Industry?

Stacie: Yes, to clarify, I am currently working with ZU Studios as their Social Media Designer on Instagram. There is a talented art team that I want to mention & credit for ZU Tiles: Hime.  53C is the illustrator, the art director / executive producer is T.R. Racki (@Oeleditor), and the senior design director/package designer is TJ Frias. I’m glad to be working with everyone, and once again with the game’s creator, Josh Bakken. We go way back to before the game was even called ZU Tiles. The design for the tile backs was made by me, and remained unchanged since the game’s earliest version, under Josh & TJ’s art direction, back when I was a newly graduated intern. It still blows my mind, as a fan of the anime series Fruits Basket, to see this newest expansion of the game become a reality. It’s licensed from Crunchyroll in partnership with JAPANIME GAMES. There’s currently a KICKSTARTER running until March 2nd if you want a chance to own a 1st Edition copy, plus some bonus limited-run collectible goodies. The website is here: if you’d like to check it out!

But back to talking about the challenges… One of the challenges I’ve had while working in the graphic design industry was frequently trying to explain to clients the difference between a vector and a raster image (& why saving a 72 dpi JPEG as an EPS didn’t make it into a usable high-res vector file of their logo.) LOL 😅 In all seriousness though, I’ve found as a graphic designer I needed to be familiar with a lot of different software and skill sets to stand out and get hired. In my various graphic design jobs I’ve been able to work on so many things, such as product packaging design, large format printing, events/tradeshow design, advertising/marketing, brand identity, logo design, digital signage, product mockups, & pre-press production. All of those things required a solid knowledge of the expensive software called Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustration, InDesign, etc.) and every version update too.


Red: What was your inspiration for becoming an Artist?

Stacie: Many factors inspired me– I feel fortunate to have had so much support for my dream. My parents were supportive of my art school decision (although I’m pretty sure they preferred seeing my realism charcoal figure drawings over my anime fan art, lol), and also my grandpa loved to paint. I have a fond memory of my grandpa showing me as a child how to paint trees & clouds with my first acrylic paint set. I also have to thank my amazing high school art teacher, who not only encouraged me to pursue art in college but also first introduced me to drawing with Wacom tablets.

My love for anime, manga and video games has probably always had the biggest influence & inspiration for my art style though. In particular, I spent countless hours drawing characters from Sailor Moon by Naoko Takeuchi. (I still have some of that old cringe fan art and have shared a bit on my page.) It’s interesting that while I deviated to graphic design as a career, I’ve returned to drawing fan art on paper. But more as a hobby, than a job. I fluctuate back and forth between my desire to work digitally on the computer, or traditionally on paper. Now I’m continuously inspired by manga artists (such as Eiichiro Oda, the creator of my favorite manga/anime, ‘One Piece’), as well as many artists I’ve befriended through social media, to keep drawing and improving.

  • Nene&Hanako
  • YashiroNene_Mermaid
  • FruitsBasket_Tohru&Kyo
  • StacieDraws_MyDressUpDarling
  • ChainsawMan_for_Ohuhu
  • JujutsuKaisen_holographic_print
  • ASL_OnePiece
  • Yamato_OnePiece
  • Uta_OnePiece

Red: What was the toughest obstacle you’ve faced being a Designer, and Freelance Artist?

Stacie: I’d have to say there were/are two big obstacles I’ve faced in this journey. The first obstacle was getting my foot in the door of an entry-level art job after graduating from art school. Some of my best designer gigs came later on through networking ( *cough* Ubisoft *cough*😁), but when I was first starting, it was rough. It’s a competitive field, and the pay varies widely. I wouldn’t have even considered freelancing in the beginning, because the lack of steady work would have meant not having enough money to pay my rent or buy groceries. But now that I have experience under my belt, the toughest obstacle has been juggling work/life balance & family obligations. It feels like there are never enough hours in the day to accomplish all that I need/want to do.

Red: What advice would you give artists or creators that want to create art as their business?

Stacie: To be completely honest, I don’t feel qualified to offer much advice about the business side of creating art. It’s something I’m still struggling with myself. My art is more of a hobby for me right now though– something I do to de-stress for self-care and enjoyment. I know some artists do fairly well with art commissions or artist alley tabling, so that’s two possibilities to explore. (My art commissions are currently closed, but occasionally when time allowed, I’ve opened a slot.) For now, I’ll continue to sell my art prints in my Ko-Fi shop and I’d love to have more opportunities to work together with brands!

This concludes our interview, unfortunately, but fear not! There are ways for you to support and follow Stacie’s Artwork. Listed below are links for her work and more!

Thanks for reading! If you have any suggestions, news tips, or questions, email them to:

Thank you for reading what I’m offering, be sure to visit the Ko-Fi page and support the website!

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