We had the good fortune of connecting with Samantha Hernandez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Samantha, do you have any habits that you feel contribute to your effectiveness?
Some habits that I feel have greatly helped me in taking steps closer to my goals are pretty simple: write out my plans, create something every day, and to share what I’ve finished, no matter what. Sometimes just writing my plans down for that day/week/month gives me a sense of grounding. A commitment to a task or deadline I assigned myself. There would be no one to blame for the lack of work shown except for myself! It’s not that being hard on yourself is the only way to keep yourself on track, but sometimes your own opinion carries more weight than the opinions of others. Plus, it helps when after chasing one of my many furry critters, to look back at my planner and remember what it was I was doing an hour ago, haha! Many creatives tell me that sometimes, they just can’t draw the stuff they are suppose to work on that day. I get those days too, but I still sit myself down and will do other things. I may doodle; I may watercolor; I may make friendship bracelets or outline a story. I feel that keeping my brain active and productive is what helps me keep my engine going even when I’m technically not moving forward on my projects. I think I have helped myself avoid ‘artist block’ many times by simply switching gears and focusing on a different creative avenues for a day or two. A lot of artists have told me how their biggest hurdle is just being willing to show what they have created. “It’s not right” or “It’s not perfect” is something I hear a lot. As someone who likes to be a perfectionist, I totally get it! I want to show my absolute best work! But I also know that if I were to spend all my time perfecting one piece, I would never share it. Worse, I can probably find something that I could have fixed and fret about it for days to come, so why even fret over it? No one is going to notice, but me. To me, I think it’s far better to be engaging with my community more frequently with art that I’m happy with, than popping up once every month with a single illustration that I “perfected”. I once heard someone say this and it rings true to me: ‘An artist isn’t working unless they are sharing what they’ve done’. Who is going to know what you can do if you never share what you’ve done?
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
It was quite challenging for me to get where I am now. I am the typical introverted artist who struggled for many years to display my art or skills. I was simply content with posting my art on my website and social medias and stopping there. It took talking with other artists, going to artist markets, believing any praise my art received, and honestly being more bold and overt with sharing my art to get to a place where I was seeing actual momentum. One non-art related lesson I learned was from my years as a fitness instructor: Be loud and be proud, even if you just tripped in front of the class. I’m going to mess up, but that’s okay so long as I get back up and keep going! It’s certainly made me feel more confident to talk about my art to others. If they end up not liking my art, that’s fine. I can’t win them all, but I at least got them to look in the first place. Another lesson I learned is: don’t hesitate to try new things. My ‘new’ thing was posting art on TikTok after a year of being discouraged or convinced it wouldn’t work. It placed me in front of a brand new (and very enthused) audience that really enjoys my art! Wow! It was really encouraging, because all I want to do is create art that tells stories or give people that sense of awe that all fantasy artwork gives off. To see that positive reaction, it meant so much.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
As a Texan who has only ever lived north of Dallas, I’d probably take them to see places sprinkled around North Texas. I’d definitely start with the museums: Perot and Dallas Museum of Art. If they wanted to do something outside I would take them to the Dallas Arboretum, Fair Park, the State Fair, the Dr. Pepper Ballpark in Frisco, or historic Downtown Plano! If they wanted to be entertained indoors, I’d take them to our Medieval Times or any conventions at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center! However my go-to activity with friends is meeting up at a good Strikz or Main Event. You can’t go wrong with competitive bowling, pizza, and the occasional laser tag. If they never rode a horse before either, it’d be mandatory to take them on one of the trail rides.
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?
First, I’d like to shout out my family. They’ve have stood beside me while I pursue an artistic career since day one. I’m forever grateful. Second, would be to my best friends who I play D&D with every week! Not only have they kept me sane during 2020, but they also were so supportive of me when I decided I wanted to venture into the world of fantasy illustrations! And third, I’d like to thank my professor and mentor, Tom Lyle. He was always there for me, supported me, and told me how proud he was of me. Though he has now passed, I work hard every day to keep making him proud.