Elaine Villasper is from Daly City, California and wears many hats in addition to her creative one as an artist in our community!

Q: Elaine, give us a day in your life! When do you create? What else fills your days?

A: I am the Associate Director at a community center in San Francisco, serving primarily low-income and immigrant members of the community. Many of our clients are in crisis and in need of support, so my days are often long, hectic, and unpredictable! While my work is often stressful, it is also very rewarding to know that we make a difference in people’s lives.

I am also a mother to two rowdy sons, ages 6 and 1. It is always a challenge to find time to make art, but I find that what works best for me right now is late at night after everyone is asleep. I put the kids to bed, finish chores, get some emails out of the way, and even if I’m tired, I make a quick drawing in my sketchbook to help me wind down.

Q: How did your creative journey start?

A: My father is an artist and graduated with a fine arts degree, so he has always supported my artistic whims. I remember drawing together as a young child, and he would teach me how to draw simple things like a house, a mountain, a tree. I loved watching him paint, and I would often ask him to draw me random things around me, just to watch his process. My father passed on a curiosity for creativity, and I still carry that with me today.

Q: What has your creative practice taught you?

A: At some point life got really busy with many things, and I found myself not making any art for years. I would even hesitate about doodling mindlessly because I was so self conscious. Taking the SBS Beginning kourse helped to kick me out of my rut, and taught me to take risks. I found a part of myself that I didn’t realize was missing, and that creativity surrounds us if you’re willing to open yourself up to it, and intentionally make room for it in your life. Keeping a creative habit enriches different aspects of my life. Learning new techniques, playing with new tools, being inspired by the posts in the Skool Yard… it all contributes to seeing the world with a fresh perspective. Now I walk through my neighborhood and I see color palettes, shadows, interesting shapes. I think in images, and can visually convey my ideas more clearly. I’m more curious, willing to try things and make mistakes!

Q: If you could give one piece of advice to a brand new artist or someone who’s just recently joined SBS, what would it be?

A: Find your tribe. Whether it’s one friend, a sketch group, or an online community, the accountability and encouragement from fellow artists can help you with whatever troubles you are facing. Chances are, they’ve been through what you’re going through and have good advice. And what better company to help you solve your artistic problems than a group of creative people?

Elaine started her creative journey inspired by her father and now she not only finds encouragement here, but inspires lots of us in the Sketchbook Skool community!

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