Maya Kern
BFA in Comic Art
Freelance Comic Artist and Illustrator, Musician
New York, USA

<--break->What do you currently do for a living?

I am a freelance comic artist and illustrator, a musician, and a contract artist for Gaia Interactive.

What is your favorite thing about your work?

I like being able to work at my own pace from wherever I want. It's nice to have that freedom and control.

Where's your favorite place on campus?

I have an unending fondness for the comic studio. Every comic student has spent more than a few late nights there and you can always count on finding someone there, whether you go at 4:00 a.m. or 1:00 p.m.

How did MCAD prepare you for life after graduation? 

More than anything else, MCAD taught me how to work. I've always been driven, but being in such a demanding environment taught me how to schedule my time for deadlines and how to juggle multiple deadlines at once.

Best thing you ever found on MCAD’s free shelf?

I've found a lot of really weird junk on the free shelf in my time. I once found a stash of nine how-to-use Adobe Suite books and one of my friends found a fake bull head wall mount.

But my favorite thing I found on the free shelf is completely mundane. Sophomore year I really needed a rag to wipe my nibs on (because paper towels will get paper fibers in the nib) so I raided the free shelf and found a sad looking pillow case and I've used it ever since. I still have it, I can see it from where I'm sitting now.

How do you find inspiration when you are feeling stuck?

There are times when drawing is hard or when working with a certain client is hard or when I feel exhausted or burnt out, but what I've learned is it's not really about inspiration. Since I work in the more commercial/entertainment side of art and not in fine art, it's really more about problem solving. Often when I find myself struggling with something, it's less about inspiration and more about being smart with how I approach a situation.

What's your favorite thing to do in Minnesota winters? Summers?

In winter, snow tubing is really fun! But my favorite thing was always snuggling indoors with a large blanket and a nice book and a cup of hot cocoa. I'm from Texas and we don't go outside when it drops below 20º. My other favorite thing to do was to see how many crazy northerners were still riding their bikes in January!
The best part of Minnesota summers is listening to all you natives complaining about how hot and humid it is when back in Houston I know it's 105º with 85+% humidity. In the words of my people, "Y'all ain't seen nothin'."

Current obsession?

Brooklyn 99, Orphan Black, Steven Universe, The Amazing World of Gumball, Last Week Tonight, things like that. I also have a terrible addiction to reality TV because it is the perfect background noise for while I work.

What advice do you have for current or prospective art and design students?

Work. Keep working. You can't accomplish your goals if you don't put in the effort and the hours. Breaks are necessary sometimes but there is nothing so poisonous to artistic growth as lack of effort.