Meg: THANK YOU! So happy to chat with you.
MW: As a kid for sure. When I watched cartoons I was always curious how the characters moved, who drew them, and how the technology worked. I think I was 6 or 7, and remember getting our first printer back in the 90s. I’d print out scenes from Scooby Doo and would trace over them for hours until I got a good feel for how to change his motions and expressions so I could do it by hand. My parents were mad about all the ink I used, but in hindsight I think that’s where I got hooked.
MW: Make a mess first, then clean it up! I think this is a tough time to come out in the field as an artist or illustrator--in a time where you’re constantly being fed curated feeds by artists at all levels of their careers. It’s hard not to feel like you’re behind or too all-over-the-map or not niche enough, or whatever. I was definitely a victim to this, since I got a late start on starting an Instagram feed. I kept thinking I had to only post certain things that met a style. So when I worked, I felt stifled in my creativity. Instead of letting myself go with what felt right, I tried to fit it in a box. I probably did that for a year or so before I realized how much I was limiting myself.
Once I recognized that and allowed myself to create a little more freely, that’s ultimately how I found my most comfortable style. I definitely lost followers along the way, but that’s not a big deal and you have to remember that. So, allow yourself to be messy, to bounce around and experiment with colors, textures, mediums. Create often, create authentically, and eventually time will reveal your path. Once you get to that place of authenticity, the career comes… along with some followers who really dig your true style ;)
MW: Since I had already previously worked with PERIOD., I had a pretty good idea in mind of what I wanted to illustrate to help represent what they do. I always start with pencil & paper sketches, then work in Procreate or Illustrator to digitally draw a few options. Again, I always work messy first, then clean it up. So my artboards look scattered and have all kinds of versions of possibilities in layout, colors, design, etc. Then I stare at it for awhile, leave my computer for a few hours, come back and--almost every time--I take one more look and can decide which one or two to pitch.
Since this design was going on a scrunchie, I wanted it to be a little more playful, but also to represent the seriousness and importance of what PERIOD. does for girls and women in our communities. I think that’s what my work does best is juxtapose lightness and heaviness, so it felt natural to me.
MW: I grew up very poor in the suburbs of St. Louis with a single mom who worked 3 jobs and had a hard time being present for all that comes with raising 4 kids. I remember starting my period at a young age, I was only 11, and I was too embarrassed to talk to anyone about it because--well because of the negative stigma associated with periods.
As girls we are/were taught to hide our periods because they are gross. Boys and other people don’t want to see, hear, or know that you’re menstruating. So, I didn’t want anyone to know. My mom was working so much I couldn’t find a good time to tell her, so I went my first few periods only using toilet paper and some of the pads I found from my older sister’s bathroom cabinet. I wasn’t old enough to have a job to pay for my own tampons or pads, and I didn’t know how to use hygiene products properly anyway. No one had ever shown or taught me. I felt gross, embarrassed, and isolated. I would excuse myself from class and go sit in the bathroom alone for as long as I could to prevent any leaks.
I just remember that feeling and I know that there are so many girls and women in poverty that experience the same shame and lack of access to hygiene products and miss school for it, or working opportunities. It’s something men don’t understand and will never experience, yet they continue to tax hygiene products for additional profits, making them less affordable to young and impoverished females. When I heard about PERIOD. and what Nadya was doing, I was so impressed and excited to support her movement to normalize periods and educate folks on how lack of access to hygiene products prevents schooling and working for women. If you want to talk about living in a country that favors equality and equity, this has to be addressed, and I was happy to help support in some way to get the message out.
MW: Yes! I am very passionate about a few things: Social equity, the environment, and art. So I follow, support and try to donate to many organizations I think are doing good work in those fields. Some of my favorites are: ActionAidUSA and ActionAid International, The Ocean Clean Up and Oceana, as well as United States Artists. I also like to pivot my purchasing to businesses that benefit causes I align with as well, such as Toms, Sea 2 See, Who Gives A Crap, Thinx, andGlobeIn
MW: I run or exercise often for natural endorphins and good energy. That’s a big one for me, because I often struggle with restlessness and fatigue. Exercise in the past has always been “another thing to add to the list to do” but I finally changed my mindset and enjoyed the benefits. Now I view it as my time to honor my body and I enjoy it. I also meditate daily, which greatly improves my mental clarity and helps find some stillness in a very busy world. Also, lots of dark chocolate.