Website: Debbie Drex
Biography: I work as an illustrator and comic creator in Santa Rosa, California, about 50 miles north of San Francisco. I used to do all my painting with gouache, but about four years ago I bought a Macintosh computer and now I do everything but the preliminary sketches in a program called Illustrator. I resisted making the switch but once I did I was smitten and love working digitally. When I’m not painting I spin my own yarns to knit and crochet fun stuff like hats, socks, sweaters and purses. I also sew and tend a very small garden.
What do you do and how did you start?
I’m an illustrator. I began when I was very young, drawing my own illustrations in the endpapers and margins of my childhood books.
How old were you when you realised you wanted to do what you’re currently doing and how old were you when you actually began.
I knew that I wanted to illustrate books when I was quite young–elementary school, I think, and I began when I was in my late 20’s.
What jobs did you have before you went out on your own?
I worked as a checker in a grocery store, in quite a few bookstores, in a restaurant, then I began working for newspapers, starting with alternative monthlies, working up to a city weekly and then a few years working at dailies.
How steps did you take to create your own business?
I got a large severance pay from my last job and used it to spend a couple of months refining my portfolio and then sending it out.
What kind of formal education, training or experience do you have that applies to what you do?
I studied design in college for approximately 3.5 years.
How did you first begin to sell/market your work?
Sent my portfolio out to magazines I wanted to be in. I also began making postcards and sending them out periodically, once I got some work.
What is the most rewarding aspect of what you do? The most frustrating?
The most rewarding aspect is that I get to draw for a living. I can’t think of anything really frustrating about my work…oh, okay, sometimes the deadlines are way too tight, but that’s about it.
Do you have any fears about what you do, and if so, how do you deal with them?
Yeah, well there’s always the fear that no one’s going to call. I send out another postcard, and if I’m feeling really scared, I’ll buy a mailing list to supplement my own, so that the card goes out to more people.
What kind of work environment do you have?
I work in a small studio (about 10 ft squared) that’s built onto the back of our garage.
Who or what are your inspirations?
I’m inspired by the world around me, both the good aspects and bad. I draw inspiration from many and varied sources, from soap operas on television to classical music. I could give you a list but if you asked me again in a month it would be entirely different. I try to pay attention to everything!