I am back from Craftcation, and inspired to make, and learn, and do. Being surrounded by so many creative people is so incredibly awesome. Hearing their stories, and listening as they share how they have gotten to where they are makes me so happy. It also reminded me that everyone’s story is different. I am lucky that I get to hear from all sorts of creatives while doing this Maker series. I like to hear how people mix their creative self with their everyday lives. I think that Meagan has a great combo of jobs. Being able to split her time between her two loves sounds like an ideal (but tiring) situation. Meet Meagan and check out her illustrations!
Please introduce yourself.
I like to describe myself as an artist, educator, and adventurer! I grew up in Sonoma, CA, and after spending some time in New Zealand and India, I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2010. I love the incredible diversity of this community–art, food, music, nature, whatever you’re looking for, it’s here!
I’ve always loved kids and reading, ever since I was little, so becoming a teacher seemed natural when I started college. Then I took my first art class, just for fun, and absolutely fell in love. Eventually I switched majors, and now I’m lucky enough to spend half my year as an artist, and half as a summer camp director.
What do you make or do?
Most of my artwork is pen & ink illustrations, although I love to experiment. My biggest series is called “Endpapers,” a collection of drawings and text in which in piece could be the last page of a story–it’s up to you to decide what came before. The originals are actually drawn and typed on blank pages from the backs of old books.
When I’m not making or selling Endpapers, I do a variety of custom illustrations for clients. I’d like to illustrate books as well, and am working on building a solid portfolio for picture and chapter book illustration.
Where can we find your creations?
It’s all on my website, www.meaganmoore.com.
How long have you been creating and is it your full-time job?
My year is divided into seasons: summer (all camp, no art), fall (all art, no camp), and winter/spring (a little of both). I really love it, and wouldn’t do art 100% of the time even if I could afford to. Through my summer camp company (Galileo Learning, Inc.) I have an incredible network of people who challenge and inspire me. I get to wear a chicken hat and get pied in the face. I get to hang out with kids and watch them be challenged and inspired.
But all this takes a TON of energy, and by the end of the summer, I’m totally ready to wave goodbye to all the people and go be alone in my art cave for a while. I get 4 months to myself, no schedules, no phone calls, just me and my sketchbook in a coffee shop (although things do get a little crazy around the holidays with all the craft shows). By the time January rolls around, I miss all my camp people and can’t wait to dive back in, slowly ramping up the energy until it’s all-camp, all-the-time again.
Is creativity a luxury or a necessity for you?
It’s both! Creativity in general is definitely a necessity–I could never feel fulfilled in a life that didn’t challenge me or require me to use my mind in different ways to solve problems. Art is also a necessity, in that I feel the need to beautify my surroundings, to make things and spaces that make me feel a certain way. Sharing is also a necessity, for me–I need people around me, and have a hard time creating or being happy with what I’ve created unless I show it to someone!
But drawing? Illustration as a career? That is an INCREDIBLE luxury. I’m amazed that I get to do it, that things like clean water and a warm house and food and good health are enough of a given in my life that I’m able to devote so much time to telling stories through pictures.
What inspiring advice would you give to other creatives be they established or just starting out?
Unless you have a patron or are independently wealthy, (and maybe even then!), I think the most important thing you can do as artist is learn how to run a business. It’s great to follow your dreams and “do it now, the money will follow,” and there’s definitely truth to that! But the more you learn, practice, and “worry” about money now, the less you’ll have to worry about it later.
I worked my tail off for years and couldn’t understand why I never seemed to have money, even though lots of people were buying my stuff. I sort of shrugged and said, “Oh well, you’ve got to make sacrifices to do what you love.” Then I got married, and suddenly the reality of how much the life I wanted cost (house, kids, dog, vacation, etc.) vs. how much I was making hit me. I started taking a serious look at my finances and making some changes.
For example, I used to sign up for every craft or art show I had time for, no matter how big or small. When I crunched the numbers, I found I could make twice the profit at larger shows, even though they were more expensive, than at smaller shows for the same amount of time and effort. I started doing fewer, more selective shows, which left me more time to make new work and keep up my accounting and expenses!
I still have a long way to go before I’m as profitable as I’d like to be. The whole business side of things used to really intimidate me, but once I tackled it, I was surprised to find that I kind of enjoyed it! I mean, not THAT much…but I felt so much more empowered and confident and equipped to make decisions for the future. Spending some time learning the boring things ended up giving me so much more worry-free time to create.