One-on-One with Lisa Lindsay

Boneshaker Press is proud to introduce you to Lisa Lindsay. You can connect with this avid learner on her website and through social medias such as (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, YouTube) by following “@LisaLindsayArt”.

What’s your background?

I am a freelance video game artist/illustrator from Edmonton, Alberta. I went to the Art Institute of Vancouver in 2008 and got a Game Art and Design diploma. I have taken some fundamental art classes at Alberta College of Art and Design (2012) and lately I have been taking online mentorship classes (mainly at the Oatley Academy).

I’ve worked at a few Edmonton based indie studios where I did a bit of everything: concepts, modelling, texturing, rigging, animation, lighting, advertising, UI, you name it. Recently, I switched to freelancing in the hopes of specializing my work towards illustration.

attic projector face
Background for the point and click game “Projector Face”.

What got you interested in the arts to begin with?

I’ve always been pretty interested in creating. When I was a kid, I would pause the cartoons on TV and draw the characters, and then I would staple the images together to make a coloring book for my younger sister. Even now, every time I finish an image, I step back and have a magical moment (or maybe just a mad scientist moment) where I go, woah that was once a blank page, and now it’s an image (mwa ha ha it’s alliiiive).

Resurrection Spell

There are times where it’s like my art is going where it wants and I am just along for the ride, and there are times where I really really struggle and cry and fight for the image, but in the end it’s always pretty exciting to look back and admire the finished product (even if it doesn’t always turn out the way you thought it would).

When did you decide to dedicate yourself to art?

In high school, I knew I wanted to be an artist. In college, I thought I had figured out a nice straight art career path for myself. After working professionally, I realized that there are many paths to many goals and many ways for me to make art and be happy. Did that answer the question?

Do you remember your first piece of art you were really proud of? The one that made you say yes I am an artist!

There was a particular moment in my life, that I remember making that switch from someone who does art—to artist. I don’t remember the piece I was working on—I think it was just your average Jr. high art assignment where you replicated something from a picture—but something suddenly clicked with me. You just draw what you see! Drawing wasn’t about teaching my hands what to do, it was about looking and observing. Suddenly I was able to draw because I was able to see; drawing became much more intuitive and I was addicted. It sounds really silly and I won’t try and explain it all here, so if you want to know more, I highly recommend you read Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards.

“Hey you dropped this.”
“Hey you dropped this.”

Do you collect anything?

I guess I collect video games. I really love asking people about their favorite games, especially old games from their childhood. When someone mentions a cool sounding game, I write it on a list and I keep an eye out for it. Sometimes it takes a few years to find a copy. I was extremely excited to finally find a copy of Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker for Sega Genesis.

Do you enjoy collaboration work? What qualities do you look for in collaborators?

Yes. One of the big things I miss since I started freelancing is working with other people. I try and look for people who have a skillset different than my own, so we can utilize each other’s skills and strengths. It’s also really great when you have a working relationship already—being able to fully trust someone to do what needs doing

What sacrifices have you made on behalf of your art career?

I quit some good paying art jobs in order to push myself towards artistic growth. Also, I used to play the drums, but I quit drum lessons in high school to take oil painting lessons instead.

Umbrella girl
Umbrella girl

How do you measure your level of success/achievement?

Every time I feel like a failure, I look back on my life and go ‘I have earned a living as an artist for X number of years’, and that in itself is a success.

But in general, I try not to “measure myself” if I can help it. It’s hard to measure a level of success without comparing yourself to others and that is not a very healthy thing to do on a regular basis. Either you get an inflated ego or a crushed spirit and both tend to lead to negative behavior and unproductivity.

What themes/ideas do you pursue?

I jump around a lot—from cute to intense and from painterly to graphic; some people have pointed out that I am kind of all over the place. I like to paint people, I love to paint faces and I am definitely interested in capturing interesting moments.

There is usually one thing that tends to happen while I paint. I like to put in something that amuses me. It’s usually not an obvious thing, and usually my sense of humor is a bit… strange, but nothing revives my vigour for a painting quite like an inside joke with myself. For example, The Lobster Sirens is a creepy illustration, but when I was looking at references, trying to figure out the type of boat and sailor I would have, I decided to make it a lobster fishing boat. I think I snickered to myself the whole time I was painting it.

Lobster Sirens

What is your dream project? If there were no time/money restrictions what would you create?

If I had all the money, I would start my own game studio. I would hire all the people I really enjoyed working with in the past and we would just do our best to try and create new and interesting games for the world to experience.

Also, I would write and draw more comics. Nope, I would just draw comics—and I would hire a writer.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

When you hate how your own work looks, it’s actually a good thing. It means your eye and your artistic tastes have improved and you are just waiting for your skill to catch up.

What’s your main challenge when beginning a new piece of art?

The very start—the blank page. If I haven’t yet started, or if I haven’t yet figured out my idea, it’s the most intimidating part of any project and the most likely time for me to procrastinate. When I start anything new, I usually just try and doodle or scribble. I let it be bad—very bad. I use printer paper so I can toss all the evidence when I’m done (into the recycle of course). What’s really important are the ideas that come out of the terrible drawings, which will usually lead me to gather reference, and then doing studies, and then doing some less awful doodles.

Consciously I know I can do it, but sometimes I am so intimidated (There’s probably something wrong with me. Maybe it’s Imposter Syndrome.), I have to look at my previous work as evidence that I can do it again.


What is the most vital/indispensable tool in your studio?

My Wacom Intuos tablet. Even when I do 3d modelling I use it instead of a mouse. Also I seem to prefer the Intuos, to working on a Cintiq. I like having my arms down and my head up while working;  it doesn’t strain my neck, shoulder or back.

What are you working on right now? (Other than this project) What are you currently obsessed with?

The history of Lucha Libre. I love learning about other cultures, and right now, I am fascinated by Mexican culture and luchadores. I am currently working on a comic about women wrestlers (Luchadoras).

Personal comic book project about a wannabe Luchadora.
Personal comic book project about a wannabe Luchadora.

What advice would you have given yourself ten years ago?

Don’t be a workaholic. Settle for a B+. It’s ok. In the end grades don’t matter. Instead, go hang out with your friends. You don’t need to stay up all night at the school or at work. Life is more than just your work and your art, and actually living life will make you a better artist. Don’t work harder, work smarter.


7 thoughts on “One-on-One with Lisa Lindsay

  1. Melissa McClanahan

    Fun art Lisa! Those lobster sirens are both awesome and incredibly creepy!

    Amen on ‘Working Smarter’ not harder. Too often throwing tons of hours at work (whatever that may be) doesn’t do anything for you except stress you out!

    Liked by 1 person

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