1) Who are you, again?
I'm Kessie Carroll, artist, writer, mother of three, wife of one. I live in blistering central California where the grass is brown and the fruits and nuts are plentiful. I have an art-and-everything blog located here.
2) Do you have any art training or are you self taught?
I've been in art classes since I was old enough to attend one, and I've been drawing since I could hold a pencil. Now that I have munchkins, I have to study art from books and from kind teachers online. Fortunately, many artists have written entire goldmines on their blogs, like James Gurney or Stapleton Kerns.
3) Do you take commission work?
Yep! I have to work digitally these days, because setting up a canvas and oil paints in a tiny apartment with three munchkins gives me the shivers. I charge $25 for a full-color digital painting, less than that for sketches or inked drawings.
4) I hear you're writing a book! Tell us about it.
My husband has had this story and a bunch of characters in his head for years. But he's never got around to writing them. One day, in a fit of pique, I sat down and wrote a scene in which one of his characters beats up some bad guys. It eventually became the first of several books in the Spacetime Complex series.
Spacetime is urban fantasy set in modern-day Phoenix, Arizona. The heroes have time and space powers, and there's lots of other worlds and monsters, oh, and fast cars. No big guns, though. Who needs guns when you can shoot fire and lightning from your hands?
5) What's up with all the Sonic the Hedgehog stuff on your site?
Heh, I've been into the Sonic the Hedgehog fandom for years and years. I learned to tell a story by writing fanfics. They embarrass me now, but there's such passionate enthusiasm in the stories that I leave them online. That's why my website is called netraptor.org, because NetRaptor has always been my screen name.
6) Does your Christianity leak into your creative pursuits?
Yep, it does. I experimented with it for years in my fanfics, trying to figure out how much preachiness was too much. (Any preachiness, I found. There's people who still won't read my works because my earlier stuff turned them off so badly.) But the Christians who found my fics flocked to me. Go figure. (Christianity in Sonic the Hedgehog? Yes, it can be done.)
For Spacetime, I'm still kind of waffling. My previous draft had a huge religious subplot (is all magic from God or demons, and if it's from neither, are you still damned?) But that subplot wasn't working the way I wanted, so I've backed it way down in this draft.
I'm of the opinion that story comes first, and my beliefs will leak into the work. So I'm not sweating making the story Christian right now.
7) What's your best advice to aspiring artists?
Surround yourself with people better than you. If you hang around with people at your level or lower, you'll think like them. When I find myself on a plateau artistically, I go look for the Greats and study their ways.