Artist Interview: Jerrod Maruyama


Jerrod Marayuma is a freelance illustrator and creator of kawaii pushing the boundaries of cuteness. He’s a longtime favorite of Supahcute and one of the sweetest people you will ever meet. I’m proud to feature Jerrod in my latest Supahcute Artist Interview.

How do you manage the balance between freelance work and personal work?

Freelance work is my day job. That’s my bread and butter and I devote at least eight hours a day to that work. The evenings are usually reserved for personal projects and art shows. As I’ve become busier with just about everything I’ve found it helpful to schedule time to work on specific projects. I have to break down work into manageable sections to accomplish everything on time. Of course, this is a fluid project. Things change. Other projects pop up. Life interrupts. But in general, I have to schedule everything out as much as I can. Long gone are the days of finishing one project before starting another – which is what I prefer. But I’m not complaining.


I’m always impressed with how you’re always on top of things. What’s the secret to your success?

In all honesty, I love what I do and I feel extremely lucky to be creating for a living. That motivates me to work hard. Over time, you start to see where your time and effort is best spent. Promoting work, creating new work, staying inspired – this is my job. It’s not optional. When you’re self-employed, there really are no vacations. If I’m not working, I’m not getting paid. I find it very easy to stay motivated because if I coast, the repercussions are felt instantly. Again, I’m not complaining. I enjoy the work immensely –not all of it of course. But drawing and creating are what I live for. The other stuff – paperwork, taxes, schedules, etc – are just part of the job. To me, that stuff is just common sense. Hit your deadlines. Pay your bills. Promote your work. Those are easy because there’s nothing to think about. It’s very clear what needs to be done. They’re all connected.


What upcoming project are you excited about right now? Or is it super-secret?

I will tell you and then I will have to kill you. I’m involved in a lot of long term projects at the moment and that’s great. Been working with Disney Baby on a line of books and that’s been ongoing for a few years now. I’m working on new things with WonderGround Gallery all the time. I’ve got a few other projects that I’m excited about but will wait to say anything more. It’s not that I’m secretive – it’s that I’m completely superstitious. I feel like talking too much about a project before it’s out there will jinx the process. I’d much rather promote the finished piece than explain why it didn’t happen for whatever reason.


What is the biggest lesson that 2016 has taught you?

That’s a tough question. The older I get, the more I see that opportunity is out there. You have to grab it. You can’t wait for the Universe to tell you “Now is the time”. That’s never going to happen. I don’t just mean getting started in a career. I think it’s true for every step of your career. How and when you take your career to the next level is up to you. I think we are often sidetracked by the fear of the unknown. We’re all very good at creating elaborate excuses for not doing something. We’re also very good at procrastinating. We tell ourselves we have to research this first or think about this or that. In reality, you have to just jump in. You have to do it. I’m not advocating a reckless approach. You still have to be smart and work hard. But there’s a big difference between talking about doing something and actually doing it. There will of course be challenges and failure. But no amount of planning can side step that. It’s part of the process. I struggle with this every day but once you start seeing the benefits of being out there and doing what you love, the rewards outweigh the risks. I can’t say there was something specific that happened in 2016 to make me think this way but I definitely thought a lot about this in the past 12 months or so.


You can only ride one Disney ride for the rest of your life. Which one is it?

It’s a small world. Yep, I can ride that thing over and over and never get bored or even tire of the song. I love the look and feel. There’s so much to see. It beautifully represents the work of Mary Blair in a way few artists are represented in that park. There might be more exciting rides for sure but you can’t say any of them have more going on than in it’s a small world.


Visit Jerrod’s website to see more of his work.

Artist Interview: Adrianna Bamber


Adrianna Bamber, aka A.Bamber, is an artist and designer who is also pretty skilled at operating a sewing machine. Adrianna is both the author and illustrator of “My Ukrainian American Story” and she just launched a Kickstarter project to publish it.

Tell me about “My Ukrainian American Story.”

My book is about a Ukrainian American girl who shares fun tidbits about her life and culture. Working on this book has been an emotional cultural journey for me. From reminiscing about my childhood to pondering cultural identity – mine and of Ukrainians and the Ukrainian American community. Maintaining focus on a self authored and illustrated project is challenging; edits to both text and illustrations can spiral.


What is your dream children’s book project?

My dream children’s book project is to illustrate a magical, fun book (possibly containing ponies) to be published with a licensing deal for character toys and an animated show. What a dream!


Which artist inspires you right now at this very moment?

I am inspired by a mix of artists, illustrators and designers…as well as experiences, “non artist people”, travel and nature. The illustrators I’m into at this moment are Tor Freeman, Benjamin Chaud, Jean Jullien and Jayde Fish.


How will the rest of 2017 unfold for you?

I’m planning on publishing my first children’s book and getting started on my next book! Yay!

My Ukrainian American Story” is Adrianna’s first children’s picture book. Adrianna’s other illustration work can be viewed at and on Twitter and Instagram.

Artist Interview: Nina Palomba


Nina Palomba is a Los Angeles artist working in all painted realms from small toys to large scale murals. Her style involves a heavy use of original characters, bright colors and light hearted whimsical narratives. Read about Nina’s world in my latest artist interview.

Nina Palomba Spread Your Light

You shared a few glimpses of Nina’s World in last year’s Tiny Wonderland show. Tell me more about what we can find there.

Nina’s World is a comic diary. It is filled with illustrated glimpses into my personal life through whimsical paintings. I think of all things I make as a freeze frame of sorts, capturing a moment in my life despite it being one that is positive or negative.The text and phrases I share are those that I keep in the back of my mind on the daily. All my work is different due to this, each piece has a story to tell.

Nina_Palomba mural

You made a name for yourself in the Chicago street art scene. What brought you out to Los Angeles? 

Chicago was the beginning step into what I am doing now. Developing my style and having the freedom to explore street art and my illustrated work definitely gave me the confidence to grow and press forward with what I do on a larger level. This ended up being the reason for moving to LA. I wanted to push myself in a city with no limits. I love LA! It’s been amazing. I’m so grateful and humbled from my experiences here this past year. I’ve accomplished things I’ve dreamt of doing since a kid. My work has gone into many new realms including miniatures and has developed immensely in a more mature direction. I feel being here has really made me view my work more seriously as well, wanted to truly nurture it and make it really stand out and speak for itself.

Nina Palomba mural

Do you think it’s more difficult for female artists to become known in the street art world?

I think now more than ever there are larger amounts of opportunity for women to share there creative voice on a larger scale in street art and public art, specifically murals. In the past I feel it was harder for women to break into and out of the world of graffiti which would then lead them potentially into street art and the gallery scenes. I feel a lot of that has become meshed together due to murals being completed by artists of vast backgrounds. Within the street art community I have become a fixture in, I am generally one of the only women working in my aesthetic and in the scale that I do. There are many amazing women in street art doing wonderful things, but I have yet to really connect with them.

My journey has been very interesting in that way. I’ve definitely been immersed in the more male driven end of it. As an LGBT artist, that is where this conversation has become more relevant for me. Going beyond gender and into an artist’s identity and how that has become a bigger narrative in art making. Through creating work and having these conversations I finally feel I have built the platform to share my true self, as well as share the things I feel most passionate about.

What’s next for Nina’s World?

So far 2017 has been great! Lots of good things stirring. A couple big murals are lined up which is always nice. I am mostly excited about working towards a Nina’s World cartoon this year as well as a comic strip.


Nina’s original “Life is but an Adventure” for The Mary Blair Tribute Show is on view at Leanna Lin’s Wonderland through June 11. Learn more about Nina’s artwork at her website.

Artist Interview: Katharina Stenbeck


Born in Stockholm, Sweden, Katharina Stenbeck grew up with an early interest in experimental theatre. She studied at acting conservatories in Stockholm and New York City, subsequently working as an actress, before a chance encounter plunged her into the world of music. Fronting a Brooklyn-based electronic band for several years, she found a platform where she could marry many of her artistic means of expression into one and the same project. Katharina relocated from New York to Los Angeles in 2015. In LA, she began to actively explore her painting, primarily working in acrylic on canvas.

Boob Circle by Katharina Stenbeck

Congrats on being part of the recent LA Art Show! Can you tell me a little about the experience?

Thank you. Like many creatives, I hardly ever stop to take a second to appreciate progress I’m making on my artistic journey. Accomplishments are often achieved on a smaller scale and they blend together with the day-to-day hustle. Having a piece in the LA Art Show this year was one of those moments when I wanted to make sure to acknowledge that I’d achieved a goal I’d set for myself. I was at the LA Art show 2016 and thought “I’d love to have a piece here…”, and this year, I did.

As a multidisciplinary artist, how do you balance the different types of projects you’re working? Do you like to focus on one medium at a time or do you like to switch things up?

My background is in theatre and that informs my other artforms in many ways. My work in music always incorporates theatricality in some way, whether it’s in my lyrics, my song arrangements or my live performances. My visual art can get woven into my other artforms as well, with my paintings and sculptural works often popping up in selfmade music videos and/or as wearable creations for use on stage. In this sense, I don’t necessarily feel that I have to focus on a single artform at a time, but I do try to focus on a single project at a time. Usually, my projects incorporate many of my artforms all under one umbrella. For example, for a music video, I would have written and recorded the music, most likely made the clothes and props for the shoot and would also be the one performing in it.

Hands with Red Thread by Katharina Stenbeck

What’s new on the horizon for 2017?

I do try to stay busy and always prefer to keep momentum going, especially if I’m working on a particular project and know the steps I need to take to complete it. That sense of “completion” can mean many things, it can come in the form of laying the final brush strokes on a painting, adding the last dabs of glue to a papier-mâché sculpture, mastering a finished song or performing something that’s been in rehearsal for several months. This year, I’ll be launching my first solo project in music after many years in a band, and I’m really looking forward to sharing the songs. I’m aiming to have the first single and accompanying music video out this spring.

Dalecarlia by Katharina Stenbeck

I’ve been enjoying your Creamy Humans and Animal Hybrids series. Do you plan to continue any of the series? What new series will you be working on?

Thank you. Their origin stories are interesting to me, I had been painting animals for quite some time and then found myself drawn to the idea of painting animal heads with human bodies. That was my first step toward painting humans. After having painted several animal human hybrid pieces, I felt it was time to explore what a “normal” human might look like, with his/her own head attached to the body. It felt scary at first, I wasn’t sure what my own artistic interpretation of a face would look like. A face can be rather intimidating to take on as an artist. Someone once said “The face is the mirror of the mind”, and there’s a lot of truth in that. I had sketched and doodled so many faces throughout the years, but I found that they were often emulating faces I had seen in comic books, famous paintings or magazine illustrations. I think that’s why I chose to make my faces so simple, linear and flat when I finally started painting “real” humans. My painting style in general has lately been exploring the folk art aspect of linearity and flatness, so it was a good fit. In some ways, I think my Creamy Humans series are all self portraits, too.
Regarding my next series, I’ve found myself drawn to trying out some more abstract motifs, with paintings incorporating only aspects of the human body such as hands and feet and ears, letting the body parts interact with each other as well as with shapes and colors across the canvas.


In 2017, Katharina will be launching her first solo project in music. Find more about her and her work at

Artist Interview: Angela Song

Daily Drawing Series – Fuel for Adventure

Angela Song is a storyteller and professional illustrator based in Los Angeles. She works on several projects – children’s books, webcomics, and her Daily Drawings & Illustrations – all with the purpose of sharing her stories with the world and making people laugh and smile every day.


I’m impressed with how prolific you are with your Daily Drawings. How do you stay so disciplined?

Over these last 5 years I developed a few “rules” that work for me, which are:

  1. Don’t play the catch up game. What I’ve learned from my early attempts is that this rule is a big deal. If you miss a day you feel guilty, and if you let it add up it just becomes painful, and the project ends up feeling like a chore instead of something creative and fun.
  2. Don’t let the Daily Drawing interfere with my life. I decided I would post whenever it was convenient, or plan ahead and get it done early if I knew that I would be out late or something.
  3. The day doesn’t end until I go to bed. That way I don’t worry about turning into a pumpkin at midnight and missing the day.
  4. Be consistent in style…if you want (aka: be flexible!). This one I’m still struggling with as it’s a new one for me! I only broke away from my pen and grey marker look for watercolors last year, and before that it was a year of sitting on the fence about whether I should change or not. I’m determined to have all my dailies tell a story, but now I’m letting myself tell it however I want, whether it be one panel or two, in greyscale or color.
  5. The most important rule: For why do you do this? You have to have a goal that keeps you going. Novelty will wear off very quickly. I’m fortunate as my personal goal doesn’t have an ending. For me the one thought that has never faded is, “What story do I want to tell today?”



Daily Drawing Series – The Definition of Frustration

What would be your advice to artists who are contemplating Patreon?

Patreon is a fairly new beast for me! I knew about it for years but only started out myself last year, so I’m still learning the ropes myself. The first thing I will mention is: it’s free to create a page on Patreon. The second important thing is: be sure to mention on your front page that your patron can cancel their subscription at any time.

Because my focus is on storytelling, I’m planning my Patreon be more of a long term project. I’m working on several stories that will have lots of exclusive content in the Backstage Blog and will constantly be upgrading my reward tiers which I hope will draw more people in! You have to show that you’re serious about your work so people can seriously support you!


Tell me about the process of putting together a book by hand. How did you learn bookbinding?

I was first introduced to bookbinding by my printmaking teacher in college. She had a book she had put together herself and I was instantly fascinated by it and ended up on Google and YouTube looking up any and all tutorials I could find. The one I was most attracted to was the Coptic Stitch binding since the books would lie flat and not damage the spine, and the binding looked awesome! When I first started, I made a couple sketchbooks for myself. But I really applied it to my first Daily Drawing book out of financial necessity. I couldn’t afford to print the books in bulk anywhere so I decided to make them myself.

I really have to be a one woman army when I put a book together, as I do my layouts in Photoshop, do test prints, if they require a hard cover I have to print out both sides to glue over backing boards, cut them, assemble the signatures in correct order, bore the holes through the board/papers for the thread, sew them together, trim the edges, sign them, take photos, create a listing, advertise, and then have a drink.

If you choose to use Coptic stitch, I recommend that you create a little physical template to number each page as it can get confusing which image or text would go on which side of the paper as the book is put together in signatures. It’s a time-consuming process, and sometimes a bit frustrating (I love how the hardcovers turn out but I always dread assembling them!), but I find stitching the binding to be meditative and the end result to be stunning, so for me it’s always worth it.


What 2017 project are you most excited about?

I’m the most excited to work on my storytelling projects – whether it’s another children’s book or one of my webcomic stories. I have so many ideas in my head, and several I’ve been sitting on for several years! 2016 had been a year of discovery for what I really want to do with my work, and the year where a lot of things clicked together for me creatively, so at the moment I’m just trying to calm myself down from excitement and decide which story I want to work on first. It’s a crazy world we live in right now, so I’m hoping my stories can, at the very least, bring a chuckle and a smile to the people who read them.


Connect with Angela online at her official website and check out her Patreon page. You’ll be able to find Angela at Wondercon 2017, so look for her in the Small Press section.