Exclusive Access To: Artist Misty Belardo

When I think about the artistry of Misty Belardo, I think of this quote by Henry Moore: “To be an artist is to believe in life.” Her artwork breathes so much life into the world that I am always inspired creatively when I see it.

You know her as @Mistygirlph on Twitter and Mistygirlph on Facebook. She is one of the kindest souls living on the internet. She is online almost all the time, spreading joy and laughter in her own way. Living in the Philippines, Misty uses the internet to inspire people all over the world through her love of art.

I first became exposed to Misty’s art when I met her on Twitter back in March. She started sending me little samplings of her artwork as she was creating them, and I was blown away. What she could sketch in just a few minutes was fascinating to me.

The real aspect of Misty that makes her so special is the empathetic human side to her personality and her artwork. She doesn’t just draw; she takes the extra step to show exactly how she did it, all the time encouraging others to explore their own creative side. She has a way of saying, “I’m just a regular girl, and if I can do it, you can too, and I’ll show you how!” Her humility is always present in everything she creates.

I am delighted that Misty allowed me to interview her, to give us all some insight into her artistic mind. Sit back, relax and enjoy getting to know the artistic side of Misty Belardo in this all access interview:

When did you become interested in art? I have loved sketching and drawing since the early age of 6 or 7 years old. I would watch cartoon shows and then try to draw them. Later on I started creating my own characters. The first ones I made were paper dolls. I got bored with the ones that were available in the stores, so I made them instead.

How did you discover your talent? I never really thought of it until I went to school and noticed that not everyone could draw. My dad was the one who believed in me and encouraged me to draw. My parents believed in honing our talents so whenever there was workshops they would let me participate.

What types of artwork do you enjoy creating? I love to draw characters, avatars and logos. I also like fashion design, the woman’s figure is very intriguing for me. My imagination runs wild with the sort of clothes that she can wear. A simple stroke can make a big difference. Which one is your favorite? Cartoon characters and logo design is my favorite. With Cartoon Characters I can play with colors, shapes and features. With logo I can play with fonts.

Where do your ideas come from? I’m one of those that find it easier to get ideas when I am in the mood. Hmmm, really depends, I love going to bookshops and just browsing through the art section and also I browse through the works of other designers and how they do certain things. The materials I see around me usually serve as inspiration.

Can you walk us through your creative process? The creative process I follow really depends on what the assignment is. Here are some mandatories I set for myself. The must in terms of procedures: I would usually sit down with the client and get a proper briefing. If the design requires a lot of research, I would usually do a lot of reading on the subject, if it’s a logo I would dig up some facts about the company or if its an avatar, then I will get some information about that person. After I am satisfied, I do some compre or rough studies. I hand-draw all my design assignments first. Sketching helps me build on ideas I have. Then I render.

I’ve heard many artists say that their art tells a story. Does your art tell a story and if so, what is it? I’ve always believed that my art is a form of self expression. I like it to show who I am and what I believe in. I have always encouraged other people to give in to their passion. Give it a try, be creative.

Which piece of your art are you most proud of and why? My new icons and my Misty featured in my Twitter background are so far my favorite art works. There are so many paintings and graphic pieces that I did in the past, but most of them I did because I had to. Most of the works before were projects for school. The icons and the Misty avatar were made because I did it for me. They are like ‘coming out’ pieces.

You see, after college, most of my energy was focused on other creative endeavors, not really focused on design or art but more into videos and events. My career took a front seat since I needed to help support my family. When my father passed away, I wanted to be able to give my family what my dad gave them when he was alive, plus get my youngest brother through elementary school, high school and college. Now I am happy that I have fulfilled his dreams and my promise, and now I can give my first love, design, a chance to progress and develop.

What challenges have you faced in your work? The biggest challenge is basically translating my hand drawn works into digital pieces. But this is a challenge that is most welcome for me, I love experimenting and I’m always open to learning. What is so wonderful about the time we live in is technology and the openness to explore new media.

In your opinion, how does the internet affect art as a whole? The internet has given artists the venue to get a lot of exposure. Before the digital revolution, most artist works were constrained to galleries and museums. But being on the internet can also be a bit of a challenge, most specially because the information is so vast and the consumer’s concentration can be distracted. If the artist lacks knowledge of new media, then his work might be drowned out or ignored.

What advice would you give a young artist just discovering his or her talent? My first piece of advice is, don’t let money or earning be the sole purpose of your art. It should be something that would make you smile and proud at the end of the day. It should be something that would inspire your generation and future ones to also be creative. Experiment. Be yourself and practice, practice practice.

When I was in college, most people thought I’d be a painter. I did get a lot of good grades but it was not what I really wanted to do. I was into mix media, but it was not the trend then and people thought it was silly. I did not give up and I’m happy today that I didn’t!

Do you have any favorite art supplies that you would recommend to a new artist? Are there any books, websites or other resources that would help new artists? I use Prang for my water colors. I use Steaedtler for my pens. I basically use mechanical pencils to sketch – but a no no for others I know LOL – but it’s what I am most comfortable with. I rarely have art books around but I do check out the web for inspiration. I am now a student studying PhotoShop and I love it. I use the software to compliment my hand drawn designs. As I said earlier, it’s a challenge translating my handrawn images to digital form, but I am continuously learning. I check out tutorials and get inspirations from the following sites:

http://www.linotype.com/5/fontfinder.html – font finder

There really is a vast amount of information out there for new designers to get valuable insights and inspiration.

Are you working on something special now? Can we get a sneak peek into your next creative endeavor? Yes, I just finished a logo for a friend of mine who bakes and sells cupcakes. The name of the site is Sweet Tooth Fairy. I loved working on this one. She just said she wanted a character that would instantly tell her customers what her specialty is. I am also now working on a new Twitter background for another friend. I can’t wait to start on that one!
You can find me at Sketches and Scribbles, and of course, I’m a writer here at BitRebels, and there is an online portrait c/o MonoExpressions. Of course, you can always find me on Twitter at @Mistygirlph.

Thank you, Misty, for allowing me to interview you. Your insight is thought provoking, relevant and fun. I am looking forward to following your art career and watching you grow, as you continue to inspire creativity in others. You are a bright star!