We asked Ohio-based Carrah Aldridge about her artistic style, using unusual objects as canvasses, and growing as an artist.
Tell us about your #CopicColors piece for July.
With my July Copic Colors piece, I was really inspired by typical summer vibes: outdoors, sun, beaches, water, etc. Because of the inspiration, I knew I really wanted to create something summery and cute and decided to create an ocean-themed piece. I have done drawings with scenes in hair for awhile and this actually wasn't the first time I created an ocean in hair; however, most of my hair pieces are simply headshots and not full body characters. I also thought the colors fit perfectly with a sea-life scene.
You tend to use a wide color palette in your work. What was it like using just three colors?
I actually enjoy using three colors in my work. I have done this numerous times because of the "3 Marker Challenge" that has been in the art community for a number of years. I find that when colors are limited, or picked for me, there is a bit less stress on "what color would work well with this" or "what color would contrast enough with this?". Honestly, I have so much fun participating in Copic Colors because not only do I get to try out colors I don't yet have, but I get to see how well some colors work together that I would have never initially paired.
You're a self-taught artist. How did you discover your love for art?
That's quite a long story. Before art, I was heavily into singing and acting and I truly thought that's what I was going to do for a hobby my whole life. When I was in 6th grade, I had a speaking/singing role in the school musical (this is a big deal for a 6th grader). Sadly, I got sick and my voice didn't come out on stage... there was a little bit of knock-back due to this that caused me to never want to preform again. Instead of doing anything that involved performing on stage in 8th grade, I decided to take art, and grew to love it very quickly. In my art class, we didn't "learn" so much as we received projects and had to do them (this is based on what I remember, though). I had always dabbled in art growing up, but I never truly became serious about my growth as an artist until I was 13. Since then, I've grown on social media, I've gone viral twice for my Starbucks cup art, and I've inspired individuals young and old to pick up a pencil and draw. It's been fun!
How would you describe your style and how did you develop it?
My style, I would say, is a mixture of manga and realism. I have always loved anime and manga since I was a little girl, so when I first started drawing, I drew manga. I drew in a traditional manga style until I started high school. Most times, we were assigned to create from realistic images and I was upset about it at first. Looking back on it now, my teachers pushing me to create realism was the best thing for me and my style. I started incorporating more realism into the manga style. At the age of 16, I came across a YouTube artist who goes by MissKerrieJ, online. Her style inspired me to add more detail into the hair of my characters which is why my hair is so detailed and, I would say, a staple in my style. Still, my style continues to subtly change over time.
You use some unusual canvasses, such as creating art on Starbucks cups. Where did this idea stem from?
In 2014, I started following a popular artist named Kristina Webb. I saw Kristina draw on some Starbucks cups and decided to try it out myself, but with more of my own personal look and style to the cups. My cup art was quite popular, so I continued to draw on them. They are fun and relaxing to do, especially when I have no inspiration for character designs. Occasionally, I will find other objects to draw on, such as cardboard, jars, boxes, etc.
You're also a college student. What are you studying and how do you balance your art with your studies?
I'm actually not taking any classes right now. I was originally in school for seismology and geology because I have an interest for plate tectonics and rocks/minerals. I found that there were no jobs really available in the field I wanted, so I decided to come home and study meteorology. Shortly after coming home, my artwork, on the Starbucks cups, went viral and that's when I decided I wanted to do something with art. I haven't entirely decided what I want to do yet, but I'm leaning towards graphic design and illustration.
What are your goals when it comes to your art?
My number one goal is to inspire others to get involved with art and create. I have done that already, but it's an on going goal of mine to inspire as many as I physically can until I can no longer create. I also would really love to become the "next Lisa Frank", as others have called it, and print my work on bags, cups, folders, notebooks, etc. I think it'd be so cool to see my work in a store some day.
Be sure to see more of Carrah's work on Instagram and RedBubble.