Lydia Noble is an artist who loves making comics, and is also branching out into printed products like shirts and bags. She talks about finding work right after school, investing in her own career, and staying motivated to build her own business.
LN: I graduated a few years ago with a BFA in Entertainment Design with a concentration of Comics in Sequential Art. Nothing makes me happier than making comics. Comics is a way I can express my wildly varying emotions with my love of illustration. The comics I’ve made have varied from one panel digital comics to a 50-page water colored graphic novel. Lately I’ve been working exclusively with my tablet drawing digitally. When I moved back to the Twin Ports I was told to invest in myself as an artist, so I bought a large Wacom tablet. I draw on the tablet and it pops up on Photoshop, where I can swiftly change colors, draw and re-draw lines, experiment with fonts and textures. It makes the process of drawing and illustrating much more effective- especially when working with clients and doing freelance work.
In high school I would tape large watercolor paper to cork board and tote around paintings and drawings to all my classes. My teachers just let me work on that stuff too. I would finish a piece a day. I started college at the University of Wisconsin Stout in 2011 then spent 6 years in school changing art majors where you dip your hands into anything you ever wanted to. Sculpture, oil pants, life drawing, animation, collage, graphic work. I took my first comics course in 2013 and after that, it was always comics. I could use any medium I want and still make it into a comic. I could still use paint, charcoal, collage, tablet with Photoshop, found objects- and I did.
I love working in water color but it can be more painstaking and ultimately frustrating for me. In college, you had your own studio and hours and free periods to delicately layer wet color and work on something more fragile and time consuming. But then you graduate and you have the 8-hour work day and you come home and it’s dark… and the last thing you want to do is paint. I’m still working that part out. You come home and you need to do laundry and make dinner and figure out how you’re going to afford an apartment. The last thing you want to do is try to make a painting. Especially when you haven’t in a while. There is a fear that creeps up in you wondering if you can even do it anymore. I guess you could say the tablet is a curse and a blessing. It satisfies the parts of me that feel like I need to create everyday but in the same ways breeds the sheepish part of me that wonders if I’m not doing myself any favors.
I graduated college I moved back to my hometown here in the Twin Ports. I started working as bartender just like I was doing in college and got fired in the first few months. I spent the whole summer trying to figure out what my plan was going to be. I applied to every job in the Twin Ports that even seemed even slightly applicable to my major and it seemed like I was just waiting for someone to cut me a break and give me full time work in anything that had to do with design. In the meantime, I was approaching any business I could think of that I thought I could convince they needed freelance illustration work done. Even now a year later that is how I’ve gotten most of my freelance work, I just went into businesses and asked. By the end of the summer I was hired at a custom t-shirt shop in Duluth and am still working there as a Graphic Artist and Operations Manager. Eventually I’d like to freelance fulltime and have my own workspace or studio. Ultimately just like everyone else, I’m still trying to figure it all out. The balance of work and personal work.
I told myself that I’d do any and all events that were offered to me- So I try to be at any event in Duluth or Superior that has vendors. I have some artwork including my graphic novel about the Lake Superior Circle Tour at Art on the Planet in Superior. Check out my portfolio website and store at lydianoble.com as well as check me out on Twitter and IG @lydianibsnoble.
Currently I’m working with the Great Lakes Aquarium designing a bag for their gift shop. I will be selling books, bags, and bar prints at all the Art On Tap events this summer. Check them out on Facebook and Instagram! I’m searching for a Farmer’s Market to be involved in this summer to sell my work at too- So if anyone has any leads, let this lady know.
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