We had the good fortune of connecting with Emily Larrabee and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Emily, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I’ve been drawing and creating since I was about 3, spending hours at my kitchen table doing all manner of projects, so that passion was always there. I watched other kids in school “grow up” and become interested in other things, things that in a small town in Georgia felt like attainable interests, while I doodled in class. In high school I was given a career goal project where I was asked to research what I wanted to do after graduation. I knew that animation was a career path but again, living in a small town that often undervalued the arts, it felt like something that probably wouldn’t happen for me. I ended up going with it though because I had nothing else I remotely was interested in and figured it was a 10th grade poster project and I just needed a good grade. When researching though I found so much opportunity even nearby, with SCAD being in state and a strong animation scene in Atlanta, that I had no idea was available. Then, with social media the world became so much smaller and suddenly the idea of moving to California or even Vancouver to pursue animation became not so scary. So I applied to SCAD and got in, and my road to pursuing artistic endeavors was clear from there. Even in my times of feeling like it won’t happen and doubting myself I still can’t tear myself away from my sketchbook, just like when I was a little kid at my kitchen table. I just knew from early on that art was what I was supposed to do.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Hello! I’m Emily Larrabee, a character designer and children’s book illustrator. My love for animation and storytelling for children’s media has evolved my style into something that is often more kid-friendly and vibrant, and my proudest work is anything when I’m able to convey a character’s personality or some form of storytelling through my design. I look at a lot of mid century and folk art inspirations for my more illustrative work, and enjoy blending the shape based style of the former with the colorful, repeat patterning of the latter. Some of my character design inspirations are Mary Blair, Eyvind Earle, Pernille Orum, Brittney Lee, and Al Hirschfeld. I know I have a long way to go before I’m at that level but also know that working hard and drawing as much as I can is the best way to achieve that level of craftsmanship. To that, I’ve gotten to where I am today through that mentality, I draw everyday and am always looking at what I can do better. This way of thinking is a double edged sword however and as I push myself to be better there’s always times when I question my abilities and if I’ll ever “make it.” That’s not to say I’m not proud of the work I’ve done, I think just knowing I want to be in animation and getting into animation being a difficult task, the more time that passes without a breakthrough makes it easy to get discouraged. I get through it with help from my family and friends who have been hugely supportive and through my knowledge that I don’t want to do anything else. I know that I should be in a creative field because I’m passionate about it. I just keep that in the back of my mind and use it to push myself to look at my portfolio again and continue to move forward. I guess what I would want the world to know about my work is that I’m a work in progress, always looking to learn and grow and evolve. I pour as much effort and care into my work as I can, and am always editing, reworking and improving. I want to be better today than I was yesterday, whether it’s drawing a hand better or making a more energetic pose or even making a better color choice for a character.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Gotta grab some Baba or Panels Coffee to start the day and visit all the shops in downtown Carlsbad. I love shopping so we’re probably going to Irvine Spectrum center one day. If Disney was open that would be necessary! And San Diego Zoo and Old Town, I love walking around Old Town. For food… Board and Brew, just so so much Board and Brew. Knockout Pizza is a must and for dessert I would either want French Corner in Carlsbad (that coffee cake!) or I might would drive to get Milk Bar in LA one day if I was feeling up for it but realistically would just order it in for a movie night haha!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My family and my friends, for always supporting me in every way possible and giving me encouragement when I feel lost. Cyndi Gryte, Amanda Doster and Jasmine Bonner, for trusting me with their stories.

Website: https://www.emilylarrabeeillustration.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/emilysketch_/
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/emily-larrabee-1493b8171
Twitter: https://twitter.com/emilysketch_

Image Credits
For the photo of me: Chase Burford Photography

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