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12 Things About Artist Kennedy Tarrell

While she hails from the heartland, artist Kennedy Tarrell recently spent some time in Los Angeles as an intern on The Simpsons between semesters at school. A sophomore at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, she is currently studying film. As seen on Kennedy Tarrell, however, the multitalented Tarrell has skills in everything from traditional illustration to 3D modeling, and of course, animation.

We asked Tarrell to share a dozen insights into her life as an artist. Here’s how she enlightened us about her home state and more:

1.) I bought my first tablet when I was 14. It was rain-damaged and the pen often leaked battery acid. I saved up for my first Wacom soon afterwards.

2.) I’m an avid fan of action gesture drawing. Los Angeles is wonderful because there are many professional dancers and musicians who are willing to let artists sit in on rehearsals to draw.

3.) Contrary to popular belief, my home state of Nebraska is not devoid of art and culture. There’s no better inspiration than the wide-open Nebraska sky.

4.) I love storyboarding as a career because it allows (or rather, forces) me to work quickly. This way I don’t find myself over-analyzing the flaws in my work.

5.) I’ve held some odd jobs in my life so far, the top two being an over-the-phone steak salesman and a roadside corn vendor.

6.) As a child, I was set on growing up to be a “cowgirl art teacher”. Storyboarding isn’t too far away, but now I just need to figure out that cowgirl part…

7.) Oddly, my favorite traditional media to sketch in is ballpoint pen. A fantastic teacher of mine once showed me how the permanence of the ink forces active thinking about the lines being put down on paper.

8.) I find the transition from traditional to digital media in story art to be very exciting! Not only does it save paper, it allows for quicker editing and faster delivery.

9.) My artistic process isn’t necessarily additive or reductive. I sometimes just hack away with the brush tool until I find the shape I like. Time saving? No. Extremely fun? Yes.

10.) Teen Titans was the first animated show that really inspired me. I used to spend hours doodling comics about the characters in my notebooks.

11.) I’m not a fan of the traditional 4-year college route. I look forward to a future in which students can get an education from online resources and mentoring without accruing debt.

12.) I’m quickly learning that your strongest asset as an artist is not your skill or your work ethic, but your support system. Working alongside those who care about what they do is the world’s best motivator.