Megan Rose Ruiz draws inspiration from subjects around her.Megan Rose Ruiz
Megan Rose Ruiz, a traditional artist and illustrator, runs an independent business out of Los Angeles. Ruiz was originally from Mexico and moved to LA to work in the animation industry. She was a Visual Developer Artist for The Super Mario Bros. film. "I will never forget how she can plunge headfirst into a design using a black Sharpie and nine out of ten end with something worthy of framing on a wall. Travis Ruiz is the Art Director. Illumination Entertainment and DreamWorks TV and Feature Animation are some of her clients. Ruiz currently spends her time creating videos for social media and painting traditional art. Forbes' Megan Rose Ruiz talks about her diverse career in illustration and art. Goldie Chan, Hello Megan! What was your career path? Megan Rose Ruiz : My interest in art began at a young time while I was playing video games such as Kingdom Hearts, Final Fantasy and Atelier Iris. I would pause games to draw characters or copy the character art from the book. Ringling College of Art and Design was where I studied illustration. After graduating in 2019, my career as a Visual Development Artist and Character Design Specialist began immediately.
I really prefer working on shows when they're still in development. I like pitching what a show could look like, rather than changing my style to fit a franchise. I want my personal voice to be included in the projects I work on, and that's really only possible in the development stages. The only downside is that it could take 3-5 years for these projects to come out! Often, the projects never come out at all. In late 2021, I had to transition away from full time work in animation, due to severe mental health struggles. While working for a studio, I had a mental breakdown which manifested in almost daily meltdowns and flashbacks. In my experience, deadlines are deadlines. It didn't matter how nightmarish my daily life was, the work was still there for me to finish, and quickly. After a long stay in the hospital, I pivoted to being an independent artist and entrepreneur. I took a giant leap of faith, because I had no idea if it was going to work out. If the lovely people who follow me on social media hadn't been interested in my personal work, I have no idea where I would be today. I've owned my business for a little more than a year now, and I'm beyond satisfied. I love that my silly doodles bring so much joy to other peoples' homes. I have the incredible gift of making someone smile or laugh, and I do not take that for granted. Megan Rose Ruiz doodles creatures great and small.Megan Rose Ruiz
Chan: Which project has been your favorite?
Ruiz: Definitely my art book! Bloom is a collection of my paintings and sketches, and was only possible due to Kickstarter backers. I spent most of 2022 working on the artwork for the project.
While going through my sketchbooks, I discovered hundreds of drawings, experiments, paintings, and illustrations I had never published online. Drawing is my passion. When I posted my final illustration, I realized how little context I was providing. My sketches were more important than any social media post. They had amazing little creatures that needed to be taken care of. I wanted to create a book that featured my art, along with all the doodles that came before it.
Bloom is unique in that I am the owner of all the work. All of the images were created by me alone. Every image in the book was my idea, not a publisher's or agent's.
Chan: How would you describe your artistic brand?
Ruiz: I am honest first and foremost. Because I don't know the meaning of professionalism and manners, my brand isn’t faceless. My videos reflect my authenticity, which is what people love about me. The process of creating art is incredibly personal, messy and stressful. To share my art, it required me to let go of my guard and to learn to accept that hundreds of people would know intimate and vulnerable details about me. Even though I am acting as a business, or 'brand', I am very authentic.
My work is funny. I enjoy drawing funny little men with strange faces. My art is cute, whimsical and feminine, but most people would say that it's funny. I find nature, animals, and pretty women to be common symbols.
Chan: Which interesting projects are currently being worked on?
Ruiz: I am currently working on new products for my store! Although I love selling original drawings, art prints and artworks, sometimes it feels like I'm a paper saleslady. Plushies, figures and apparel feel more substantial. It feels more substantial to me when I make plushies, figures, and apparel.
Chan: With whom would you most like to be a partner?
Ruiz: I love universally-likable characters such as Hello Kitty and Pusheen. My goal is to make a character popular enough to build an entire brand around it.
There are a few brands I use daily as a traditional artist. I use Sharpies, POSCA markers and Copic markers to make all my designs. Procreate is another company that I would love for collaboration.
Chan: What industry changes would you like?
Ruiz: I really adore the art community. Artists are the most outspoken, generous, and supportive people on the planet. I love meeting other artists and entrepreneurs at conventions. So, there isn't much I would change about them!
Animation studios, on the other hand, have a lot to improve on. First, supporting and accommodating marginalized employees. Animated movies really could do with their casts looking more like the people who actually make the films. There is a noticeable lack of diversity in animated movies. That should definitely change!
Chan: What trends do you anticipate in 2023?
Ruiz: I don't know what will be most popular in the New Year! Artist Studio Vlogs are a great way to consume Artist Studio Vlogs via YouTube and TikTok. I enjoy hearing about the creative process behind art, products, and businesses.
Chan: Do you have any career or branding advice for the new year?
Ruiz: Artists should be able to focus on their interests and enjoy them. Do not worry about creating 'good art'. Just make what you enjoy looking at. Create fanart that is hyper-specific. I love artists who create extremely specific images. Each artist has a story and life that is unique, and I love to see that personality in their artwork.
Artists looking to sell online should make it clear on social media and websites that they are artists with products to sell. You can start small by selling just one or two products. This is exactly how I started!
Artists should use social media regularly, which I strongly recommend. A quick sketch, a photo of a workspace or a work in process are more valuable than the artist. It's worth sharing! Artists just starting out should consider this tip: If a post on social media gets more attention than expected and people are interested in purchasing, you can put up a preorder. People will forget that they want a product if it takes them a while to place an order.