One on One with Maritza Lugo: HelloGiggles' Illustrator Extraordinaire

For those of you who don’t know, and come on, you’re on this site all the time so you totally know… Maritza Lugo is HelloGiggles’ illustrator extraordinaire. She’s responsible for the always funny, always on point, always relevant Illustrated Tweet of The Day, as well as the illustrations for HG’s UCB Comedy Nights and some article illustrations, too. I’ve gotten to know Maritza on a personal level, and she is an amazing, funny, uber-talented woman with some pretty incredible things coming up in her life. Maritza’s work will be showcased in the Bear and Bird Boutique + Gallery’s Starter Art from April 26 – June 23, 2013 (more information can be found here).

Maritza does more than just draw for HelloGiggles, though. She also has a blog called I’m Terribly Awkward with Boys, recounting trials, tribulations and heartbreak with the opposite sex. If you haven’t checked it out, you are seriously missing out on some great work! Maritza has a way of really boiling down the existence of the young modern female in a true to life way, while still maintaining her wicked sense of humor. I am very lucky to call her a friend!

We had a lovely chat about her blog, her inspirations, her aspirations and how she got involved with HelloGiggles as their in-house artist.

When did you start drawing?

I’ve been drawing since before I can even remember. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to and it’s the thing I’ve loved the most. When I was three I took a pen to my mother’s high school yearbook picture and still have not lived it down.

Who was your artistic inspiration when you started drawing? Has it changed over time?

What really got me practicing more or honing on fine-tuning my stick figures as a kid were the Archie comics my grandmother would buy me in the supermarket. Particularly Betty & Veronica. I saw them and really wanted to be them. They were these cool, popular girls..and their clothes! Once I was hooked, I started out by tracing them and then drawing them freehand. That’s how I learned how to draw girls. My biggest influences are comic books, pop art, and Roy Lichtenstein. One of the first books I ever owned was this children’s guide to Lichtenstein and I instantly fell in love. He’s my biggest influence, and my favorite artist.

How has your style evolved?

I get asked this a lot on tumblr/twitter/etc and I always say the same thing: Practice. I constantly think of that one question: How do you get to Carnegie Hall? And it’s really true. I vividly remember drawing blobs/stick figures as a child, and now I’m much, much farther than that. It takes a lot of hard work and again, practice. It’s all very broken record of me, but you can’t jump from point A to Z. No one starts out as a Pro, and it will take someone to get to that level, and even then you have to keep working to better it.

My style evolves by what I’m inspired by. I’m a major pop culture geek and can be inspired by movies or music. I’m also a fan of researching other illustrators and seeing their work. It makes me a tad more competitive but more than anything it makes me want to be a better artist/illustrator.

I’m also completely self taught. I saw things I liked and wanted to duplicate them. I’d practice by seeing things and just drawing them or tracing it to get a better understanding of the figure. The only real art classes I had were in high school and a couple when I went to the Fashion Institute of Technology.

What sort of tools/implements do you use? 

I work with mixed media, including my Wacom tablet, but my favorite tools are Staedler pencils and Prismacolor illustration pens.

When did you start I’m Terribly Awkward With Boys?

I started ITAWB in 2010. The idea came about talking about boys with my best friend and of course, complaining about them. ITAWB is only three years old but it’s gotten a great running start. When I think about it’s readership, I’m really blown away. I really love the feedback I get from it.

Why did you start it, inspiration, break up, stupid boy interactions?

Like I said, it came up because I was complaining about boys, or a boy in particular. He was my crush and didn’t like me back but I later found out he started going out with someone who was very (seemingly) similar to me. I definitely channeled that rejection into the very first ITAWB drawing. Rejection isn’t the best feeling but it definitely inspired some of the drawings on the site. A lot of themes in ITAWB come from just being awkward with guys (obviously). I’m a total dork with guys and I’m absolutely okay with that – I like me, even in my romantically perplexing state. It really turned out for the best because there are so many girls who can relate and I’m so pleased with the realization I wasn’t completely alone in my awkwardness.

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