Ep.129: Why you should welcome feedback for your art with Pernille Ørum

By Iva Mikles •  Updated: Mar 26, 2018 •  Interviews

Hey, guys! In this episode, I am chatting with Pernille Ørum, a freelance illustrator and character designer from Denmark. Her clients include Disney, Warner Bros, Mattel, and Nickelodeon. She was the lead character designer on DC Superhero Girls.

Get in touch with Pernille

Key Takeaways

“Drawing is hard work, but it’s also fun and rewarding, so if you can’t help it, just do it.”

“Show your work to somebody else as soon as you can and take in the criticism to progress fast”

Resources mentioned

💡 Please note: We are supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you! For more info, please read our disclosure.

Note: some of the resources below may be affiliate links, meaning I get paid a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you use that link to make a purchase.

Special thanks to Pernille for joining me today. See you next time!

All artworks by Pernille Oerum, used with permission

Episode Transcript

Announcer

Creative, artistic, happy! That’s you. There are endless possibilities for living a creative life. So let’s inspire each other. Art Side of Life interviews with Iva.

Iva Mikles

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the next episode of Art Side of Life where I chat with inspiring artists and create variety art related videos. My name is Iva, and my guest today is Pernille Orum and in this episode, you will learn about their art process and why it’s important to get feedback for your art early on to progress and improve,

Pernille Orum

take it easy, it’s gonna it’s gonna work out like I was always afraid that it wasn’t good enough. And I didn’t want to share my things until they were completely done. And then if somebody criticized them, I just didn’t want to hear it. And that’s what I learned from doing like six months of life drawing was that it’s like, show it as soon as you can to somebody else and take in the criticism that they have.

Iva Mikles

Pernille Orum is a freelance visual developer, Illustrator and character designer, currently located in Copenhagen, Denmark. She studied character animation at animation workshop in de Bourgh, Denmark and later switched her focus to be a character designer. Her clients include Disney, Warner Brothers, Mattel, and Nickelodeon. She was also a lead character designer on DC Superhero Girls. So please welcome Ben kneeler. And let’s get to the interview. So welcome everyone to the next episode of Art Side of Life. And I’m super happy to have Pernille here. Hi. Hi. I’m super happy that you took time off and join us here to share your artistic journey.

Pernille Orum

Well, I’m happy to be here. Super awesome. And

Iva Mikles

let’s just dive in right away maybe to your background, and maybe you can you share some either fun stories from your childhood, how you were creative, maybe you know, like drawing on the wall or which were kind of your creative outlets, maybe which influenced you.

Pernille Orum

Well, I started out like a lot of people my age watching Disney movies, I saw little mermaid when I was like three or four. And that definitely defined who I am now. And what I wanted to do, I remember seeing that, and I was like, I want to do that I didn’t know what it was. But later, I found out that it was animation and I wanted to be an animator, so I definitely I just you know, kept like freezing the VHS tape and, and drawing after that, and learning how to draw by like that. So yeah, that was a big influence and just you know, has kept on all the way through and who helped you

Iva Mikles

kind of define your goal that you want to do like, either characters in animation, you know, because there are like so many different aspects of art you can do, like, did you have a mentor or someone show the like, by the way you can do this?

Pernille Orum

Well, actually, most of it I discovered on my own, I really, I lived in a small town, there wasn’t a lot of people who, who were there to help me and guide my way, my dad was a big, like help because he really helped me and push me in the direction that I wanted to go. But I didn’t have a certain mentor like that until later on. But it was more for painting, I found a friend who was also a big fan of everything geeky and he was a painter, so he taught me about colors and stuff. So no for being a character animator, there hasn’t really been anything other than that’s what I really liked that like the acting part of it. I like the visual of a character and exploring people to see characters like that. So

Iva Mikles

and how’s that? How did you choose the education? You know, like how to the school or what to study online, you know, because as well, like someone advise you to like, Okay, you should go to the school or

Pernille Orum

I thought I had to go to the States to learn animation. But I found out in about eighth grade that about half away half an hour away from where I live, there was one of the best animation schools in Europe at all called the animation workshop. So I did an intern there in eighth grade. And I went straight there after high school. So it was very, very fortunate that it was right, you know, the backdoor, but I did search out like I knew I wanted to do animation and I knew I had to go to a school for it. But it was very surprised to find out that there was one right next to where I lived and yeah, is the one the Borg or Yes, yes. Yeah. Regression workshop. Yeah,

Iva Mikles

exactly. Because actually, a lot of my colleagues from LEGO as well they went there as well to that school and yeah, it’s like kind of almost middle of nowhere, but then it’s also had a lot of cool guests right from us as well. Different teachers. Yeah, it’s

Pernille Orum

a great school because it is so remote from everything else. So all you do there is just hang around with people who are interested in what you’re interested in. Then you just spend all your time being creative doing stuff. With doing workshops in the evening, learning improv if that’s what you’d like to do, and all the teachers are there for a short amount of time, so none of them, none of them are really tired in the business, they’re more in tune with what’s happening. And they’re just there for a small break and to teach other people what they know. And then back to work. So there’s always this good energy.

Iva Mikles
Yeah. And you did as well, that workshop there, right? Recently.

Pernille Orum

Yeah, well, it was more like, what to do when you graduate kind of class just like a small lecture about the journey from being an animation school into being a freelancer, which is what I’m doing now.

Iva Mikles

Maybe you can give us like, what advice? Like what kind of summary of your work show?

Pernille Orum

Yeah, well, I think my main point was that putting yourself out there, putting stuff online was a really big thing for me and also fight like finding your style, or like what you really, you really like to do, and just like, keep at it and go with it, because then people will notice you. because consistency is also one of the things that you will notice, if you make one good drawing in one style, and another good drawing in another style. It’s not really like they don’t they just hire you, because you’re good at drawing. But if you keep doing a certain style, and you are really good at it, then they’ll be like, Okay, we’ll need that. So we’ll pick her for that. Yes.

Iva Mikles

And when you when you started your Instagram account, did you post like every day? Or what was your kind of the strategy behind you know, like being visible on social media and consistent? Yeah,

Pernille Orum

well, consistency was definitely a big part of it. It wasn’t a strategy to getting more followers or anything like that. But it was more like a challenge for myself, I found out they put something out called as sketch dailies, which was like a daily sketch challenge throughout the weekdays. And I just, you know, I thought that was fun. And you know, you’ve got likes from it, because people saw that because they followed the dailies challenge. So like, kept you to the fire, and they that it made you want it to draw more, more. So it was a help for a challenge that I posed to myself to see if I could draw every day. And then all of a sudden, it became a habit. And now I can’t help myself, every time I see something, I want to draw it and I keep posting everyday now and that’s mostly for myself.

Iva Mikles

So did you give yourself some kind of constraints? Like you want to do like specific theme like mermaids or something else? Like every day, different character? Or kind of how did you define what to draw?

Pernille Orum

Yeah, well, the pushing was good for like mermaids, or was for me, and like Scottsdale ease, they had different topics. And in the beginning, it’s very much within your comfort zone, if I had to draw Skeletor, or I drew, female version of Skeletor, because I’m more comfortable drawing women. Now I’m pushing myself more. And I tried to define it more about what I want to draw. And then, like learning how to draw that, except instead of just you know, making it more comfortable for my style, so But definitely, you know, make a list yourself or find, there’s so many lists online, that’s definitely a way of pushing yourself and trying to get it done.

Iva Mikles

So what helped you to progress the most developing your art skills, you know, like, maybe, you know, how did you learn to observe and simplify? Of course, that’s a broad question. But you know, like, maybe something which, like, what’s your aha moment, like, oh, this really helps to improve?

Pernille Orum

Well, I think the, like, everyday has an aha moment of some sort, I really love looking at people’s drawings that I like, and it keeps changing what I save. Right now I’m saving a lot of people who do things that are very simple, very flat, a coloring and a lot of nice, different colors. But it can be like, for me, it was drawing every day. And that drew a certain way. And then all of a sudden, I saw something that look really cool, like a more abstract kind of drawing, and then you know, you push towards that and you keep you know, it’s still within my style is very unique. Like I have a very, like signature style. So it’s all within that. But it you know, keep you know, changing, because I see something new. And exploring that is definitely like so keep having these small moments like, oh, drawing lips like that. That’s pretty cool. And then next 10 drawings that draw lips very graphically, because I thought that was cool. And then I morphed back into my own style. But I’ve had that put into my visual library. So I can use that. Like going ahead,

Iva Mikles

definitely, because that’s how you can develop yourself when you study different artists or masters in the old time or from life. And then you as you mentioned, like pick and choose like your lips or eyes or whatever it

Pernille Orum

is from the I don’t want to emphasize that I’ve had been doing a lot of live streaming, I did a six month course where we did that every day. I do that often, as well. You can’t just copies other people’s stylistic choices, because then it’s just a copy. You have to like build your own sense of looking at something that’s in real life and then deciphering into something that’s graphical, if that’s the style that you like, but you can look at how other people did it but you just have to, like do your own discoveries as well.

Iva Mikles

Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Yeah, exactly, as you mentioned, because they will be my next question like, do you go for life drawing classes? Because of course, when you have a graphic style or simplification, you still need to know the skeleton behind the muscle structure, action line on everything there.

Pernille Orum

Yes. And I don’t do it enough. I just want to emphasize because I don’t think anybody does it enough. It’s like, anything else, you need to practice, practice, practice, but

Iva Mikles

I really liked the chance to do it now. Or Not anymore. Now.

Pernille Orum

Know, there are some evening schools here where you can do it, and I keep signing up for them. But then, you know, it’s like everything else, you know, life gets in the way.

Iva Mikles

Yeah, definitely. So how does your normal process look like now, you know, like, maybe the how do you do your, you know, research or, you know, thumbnails, or like simple sketches? Maybe like, what are your biggest bullet points, you know, when you start a new project, or new painting?

Pernille Orum

Well, for instance, today, I’ve been working on a postcard that I’m doing for my old school, we usually do Valentine cards together. So they give me like a pitch for something that they want to do. They give me like, we want people dancing, or we want a kid a different color scheme, or something like that. But then I do like sketches of it like three or four sketches, really rough, and then maybe a color thumbnail to define the colors that I’m looking for, and sent that to them. So it’s very loose, I usually do that within like half an hour and might have three or four sketches. If the idea is less clear, I might, you know, make the more details to the sketch to, to define it more, because then I’m exploring it as well. Maybe you need an actual facial expression to get it done. Then you send it over and they, you know, can comment on it. And you can like scrap the whole thing, you haven’t lost a lot by just sending it stuff like that. So and then you finish it up. So I broke really loose, like really, really loose. And that sometimes gets me into trouble. Because people are like, that’s not my thing. It’s like, no, no, no, but can’t you see, so I have to like tighten it up a bit. Because I really work loose when I send stuff out.

Iva Mikles

Yeah, and it did the sketches you do with like pencil paper, or do directly sketching Photoshop?

Pernille Orum

Well, it’s mostly Photoshop also, because then you can warp it and you can, you know, you can just sketch it, and then figure out the composition afterwards, especially when it’s for work, or when it’s for myself, and it’s just for you know, having fun. I do tend to do more on paper. Because then if like, if I like it’s done, if no, customers might no not always agree with what I like. So I have to change something that I might wouldn’t have changed. If it was,

Iva Mikles

like more frequent for them to try to publish, then you’re like, Oh, I worked on this so long. Yeah, for sure. Yeah. And when you do like the the concepts, do you like to work more in like a black and white, you know, kind of value structures? Or do you directly go to the colors and just define the different color themes.

Pernille Orum

I like to do that directly in color, but in really rough thumbnails. But I don’t do environmental stuff that much. If I did via environmental, I might do a bit more light and dark before and grayscale. But for just characters, I normally have a visual, maybe a pick like three or four colors that are really like to go with. And then I just have those on the side and pick from them.

Iva Mikles

Yeah. The simplicity with your characters. Do you prefer to go with like a selection tool and then a feeling and the colors? Or do you have like really clean brushes?

Pernille Orum

I just go with brushes and actually not that clean. I just zoom in a lot. So they actually have it’s all quash brushes. I don’t work with a round brush. It’s just all washed brushes. But my I think my tendency is always to make it really clean. But I never really used to fill a bucket or lasso tool or anything like that.

Iva Mikles

Because some people prefer to work with the lasso tool, and then maybe with brushes afterwards, and yeah,

Pernille Orum

yeah, I might go in and you know, just like if I want to do a gradient for selection, I might use the lasso tool for them. But main thing is just brushstrokes and eraser. Yeah. And

Iva Mikles

then you have some texture from the Yeah, the course brushes, as you mentioned, right. Yeah. And when you mentioned like the different projects you’re working on now. Is there something you had like the biggest experience, which is the most memorable for you recently?

Pernille Orum

Well, not recently, a lot of the stuff that I’ve been doing recently is is still secret you can’t talk about. But I did like working on the DC Superhero Girls, which is I did the character design for that, like 95% of the characters I designed and the look of the show with the characters. It’s one of those things where I look back on it now it’s such a big deal. But while I was working on it, I didn’t really know it was such a big deal. So it was I just had a lot of fun with the directors coming up with outfits and and making them you know, cute and powerful and, and the whole process of making that world was a lot of fun, especially with the main characters in the beginning and defining the whole show. That’s definitely one of those. Like things I’m proud of and worked on and so much fun.

Iva Mikles

In the storytelling around the then everything.

Pernille Orum

Yeah, that was so much fun.

Iva Mikles

So what is the most important part for you when you’re designing the character? Is it like the background story of the character, the emotion, the colors or shape? Or how do you go about that? Well, I

Pernille Orum

think it all goes together. I think the more I know about the characters, the better they’re going to be. I haven’t had like hard ones to design where it’s just like, she’s eight years old, and she’s ethnic. And she likes purple. I’m like, Okay, what was she? Like? I don’t know, like, what is ethnic? Like? It’s one of those were like, the more know about the person, the attitude? How would that person react to something, the more I know about that, the more fun it is, to me. So I like doing the sketching part, the most when you know, have to find out who the character is, and like, how she would act to different things, making small like scenes with her. But most of the things that I work on, don’t have enough budgets for me to explore like that. But when they do, it’s definitely way more fun.

Iva Mikles

Exactly. Yeah. Because as you mentioned, if someone likes to run in the mud, then you can design the mud on the shoes and have already something.

Pernille Orum

Yeah, something that defines it, but most of the time, I just have to do like one pose of the character and just standing and it’s still fine. But I love doing exploratory sketches of who they are.

Iva Mikles

Yeah. And so how do you now combine your income streams working with either Is it the client work? Which is the most part of your time? Or is it like selling your art prints? Or your art book? Or you know, what is like maybe the the main focus on the art of like living?

Pernille Orum

Well, living, it’s definitely still clients, I think about 80% of my time is spent with the with doing client’s work. And, yeah, it’s still it goes pretty well with like, with, with my book and stuff, but I would never, that’s always like a second income. I don’t calculate that into like, how much I need to work every year and stuff. That’s just like, because sometimes I use the money that I get from math to create new stuff. So it’s like a whole second unit.

Iva Mikles

Yeah. So back to business again. Yeah,

Pernille Orum

it definitely does. Definitely does.

Iva Mikles

And you did it with the Kickstarter, right?

Pernille Orum

Yes, I have two books. I’ve done both of them with Kickstarters. Besides that, I do have some like prints. And I’m like, done small bags and wallets and stuff for when I go to expos and stuff, which is so much fun to make those. So

Iva Mikles

yeah, exactly. So how do you plan your time? Because you do so many things like as well, as you mentioned, the conventions client or again, books?

Pernille Orum

Yeah, well, I’m pretty good at being in the office during normal workday, like work hours, and maybe a few hours more actually, I really like being here. But structuring back and forth, when I do want is very loose. Some, some weeks, I might work really hard on a client’s project and not really have time to do my own stuff. But most of the time, I do something for a client for like three or four hours, and then I send it out. And if I don’t have anything else for a client, I might do my own drawing. So it’s very fluid. And it’s not something like if I had a boss that I had to define my time for it, it wasn’t like it wouldn’t work at all. It’s very, it’s very, like it’s all part of each other. I’ve draw something on this and something on each other. I think I’m working on like four things right now. So I tend to have like more projects at the same time.

Iva Mikles

And you’ve write down maybe the task at the beginning of the day, or like the week to look at the week, like what are the biggest chunks of your time?

Pernille Orum

Well, I have two two lists, I have one that’s a day list. And then I have one that’s like a week list where you have like dates written down and stuff. So which I, every Monday, I move the lists and see what which one of them I had done and which one I didn’t have done. So it’s a lot of lists and an email communication and stuff to get things to work together. So as long as they don’t have anybody hired here or anything, it’s all working out. But it’s definitely just, I’m the only one who no one knows what happened. What’s happening.

Iva Mikles

Yeah. And then you put the constraints for yourself, like how long can you work on the artwork, or when you work with the clients, then you have like different constraints. So maybe how much time do you put also aside when you work on your own art and compared to the client work?

Pernille Orum

Yeah, well, I tried to be really hard because sometimes it’s also you know, if somebody doesn’t have a big budget, I might be able to solve it, but not not, you know, to complete you’ll be like, Oh, we can do it like this, but then it’ll be cheaper. But then I also have to stick to that and that sometimes that’s harder, you know, if I just did two more hours, it would be better. But that’s not in the agreement. And you know, having those restraints is really hard. But also necessary, I think, because otherwise you’re going to run yourself to the ground. So if you agreed on something, if somebody’s like, I have 10 hours, I can pay you 10 hours and like, don’t go beyond those 10 hours. Because just you know, make sure that you, you’d be like leaves time and the end to have backs and forth, because there’s always going to be back and forth and in, you know, take, like, take care of yourself when you do

Iva Mikles

it. Like some time off, and yeah, yeah. Do you think like weekends off? Or do you work the whole week? Or how do you kind of recharge?

Pernille Orum

I try to I try to take the weekend off. I’m seldomly here during the weekends, and I don’t have a computer at home, so I can’t really work from home. So, yes, I mostly take them off. It is. So it depends on the project. Sometimes I have a project that’s really, really tough. And I really want to get it done. Right. So I would come in here, but I try not to book the weekends. They’re more like a buffer. But I am in a space right now where I’m both allowing myself to take time off. But I’m I’m also not using the weekends. Yeah, exactly.

Iva Mikles

And what would you suggest the younger starting artists, you know, when you mentioned like, either the hourly rate is better, or like charging per project or, you know, per day? Or what would you suggest them to like

Pernille Orum

try out? Well, I usually I have a day rate, and then it becomes becomes cheaper if I go for a week. And if they hire me more than one week, like maybe a month, then it also has a like a decrease. And if they want me for half a day, like I don’t work in hours, really I work more in in days, I have days, days and weeks, I think those are like my price range. So that’s a good way for me to keep a track of what things cost when you. And also if you give people a discount. If you think sometimes some people come over with a project that seems really cool. And it feels like something that I could I could grow working on it, and it would really be something good for me. But they don’t have the same amount of money that I would usually charge, then you can negotiate them with them and be like, This is what I would take to do this. But because I get this and this and this out of it, I am willing to give you this discount. And then they’ll also know like, so if you know what you’re usually charged, it’s easier for you to like, give discounts for instance.

Iva Mikles

Yeah, so you can also see like, what is the is something which can contribute to your either the portfolio or the growth, right?

Pernille Orum

Yes, yeah, something that’s just fun. Sometimes it’s just fun to go over projects that that’s really just, you know, fun to do. Because doing freelance is really, really hard. Because you take a project and you think this is gonna be fun, I know exactly how I’m going to do it, you do it, and then the client comes in with notes on it that you don’t agree on, and then it’s just gets harder for every note that comes in. So you have to be prepared for that. It’s some is harder than you think. Especially when you’re sitting on your own. You’re just sitting there and think you know, better and sometimes, like what they want you to change makes the product better for them. But it’s still a hard process to, you know, go through every day.

Iva Mikles

Exactly. Because and then you think about like, okay, there will be like one revision included or something like that, or this is how many characters you get per I don’t know, they are weak.

Pernille Orum

Yeah, yes. Yeah, I do. Yeah, I do that too. i Oh, also, if it’s a character, it’d be like it make might take five days to make this one character. But then I can do a three sketches. You can revisit and revise the sketches, I’ll do another sketch, you revise those, then I do a color thumbnail, you revise that, and then I go into final and you can’t do anything more than that. That’s usually how I do it. But it’s really, really hard to enforce it. So that’s why should leave time in the end. Because there’s always you know, something something, always something.

Iva Mikles

Exactly, in so when we talked about the recharging, is there something you do daily, you know, which contributes to your success, like meditation or other stuff.

Pernille Orum

Now, I wish that were, I’m a big podcast listener. So that gives me a lot, just, you know, to relax my head on the way I ride my bike to work. So that’s always really, really nice. But other than that, it’s just I wish it did more. Right now it’s really busy working. So I like to hang out with my friends and exercising and I like to do color studies of nature plein air painting, but that’s still within the realm of going Yeah, so it’s like it’s all goes hand in hand. And then I have found that freelancing has given me time to travel. So I have been traveling a lot last year visit over 12 countries. So yeah, so that’s how I like get my inspiration. Right. So

Iva Mikles

what was the most inspirational like maybe the culture shock somewhere or what was the cool place? You’re

Pernille Orum

like, well, I did Japan last year. So that’s kind of Yeah, Oh, nothing beats that. That was amazing trip. I took a lot of stuff home with me. Inspiration wise, I have so many pictures of signs. They have so many signs and

Iva Mikles

cool colors. And he’s so cute.

Pernille Orum

Yeah, so it just you know, I have so much stuff with me that I use for reference now when I’m coloring to try and make like different color choices. Yeah, so like, Japan was definitely one of them.

Iva Mikles

Did you manage to go also to some cafes like Alice in Wonderland cafe or robot Cafe on these places? Yeah,

Pernille Orum

I went, I went to the robot, a robot.

Pernille Orum

Something like the robot cafe.

Pernille Orum

I went there to the show there. And I did some. What’s it called? Like meat cafe? Yeah. Yes. Very crazy. were crazy, but so much fun. Like, it was so much fun.

Iva Mikles

Yeah, exactly. As I mentioned, I think I went two years ago. And then also the signs on the roads and everything is like, you know, is this possible?

Pernille Orum

Yeah. And you’re like in this strange little village and all of it is like, so? Yeah. So different than designed. Everything is designed so, so nicely. Yeah,

Iva Mikles

exactly. Now, do you do like a moodboards from it afterwards? Or do you just pick and choose? You know, like, what do you like with the colors?

Pernille Orum

Yeah, I don’t do a mood board. But like I would do for project maybe. But if it’s just for inspiration, I might be like, Oh, I saw that sign. Where’s that picture? And then I take that out?

Iva Mikles

Do you have like a sketchbook with you as well, when you did maybe notes or something, as you mentioned, like colors, every

Pernille Orum

time I go, I have a sketchbook with me. And I’m so prepared to make the sketchbook the most cool travel sketchbook ever, but I am so bad at it. Like most people, like some people are really good at. So in all of them. But I like I make like five drawings and like, yeah, like so. Yeah, it’s just yeah, so no, I wish it was.

Iva Mikles

But yeah, I’m sure people would love to see it. If you do more of the sketches. Maybe you can share it on twitch or like Instagram Stories?

Pernille Orum

Yeah, well, yeah, I do post some of them, but not all of them. Because if if if all of a sudden is a thing that I have to post, then it becomes a pressure. And then I liked it just to be mine. And for fun and write down different things and stuff. Again, I’m not really good at keeping it.

Iva Mikles

But how do you then find the time for Instagram or keeping up with with everything? Like, do you like do it like every two days? Or do you set yourself special time or just like when you remember?

Pernille Orum

No, I just wing it, it’s like you don’t really have a plan. I think the most of the plan that I have is that I tend not to pose before too. Because of time difference I have. I have a lot of followers in in the States. So I think if it’s around two or later you’d like it hits both ways. And so I think that’s my, my main thing. Otherwise, it’s just I had a time when it was a lot of pressure. And I felt like I had to I had a post every day and I had to achieve something. But now it’s just like a thing that I do for fun. And sometimes I don’t post for a few days. And then like, right now I’m working on a quick post for Scalia Mulder, because I’ve been watching X Files but it’s more like no see something and then I just don’t feel like drawing that and like spend an hour doing it and posting it is it’s fun. Yeah.

Iva Mikles

And did you think about it at the beginning maybe like how you do layout like now I do, I don’t know, phase than I do the full picture or like now I take picture of my tools or something like that or not at all?

Pernille Orum

No, no, not at all. It’s it’s kind of like, again, bringing it back to the one that I’m using now I’ve thought it would be fun to have like a split screen like it’s it’s one two color here. And then it’s all black here because they have these shoulders, and then just their head popping up. So that’s what I’m working with. So I see that idea. And then I want to draw it so so if I get something visual where I’m like, this is a cool pose, or this is a fun color. Or

Iva Mikles

Guess what I’m in force for Instagram feed you know, when you kind of trying to structure the posts

Pernille Orum

to go in there. It’s a big mess. I think what’s working for the flow of it is that I have a very I have a like signature visual style. So just everything just goes together because it’s all like bright colors and and flat colors when it’s my drawing like it’s all like within the same style.

Iva Mikles

And do you have maybe as well as some other people with developing the art style, how many years did it take you or you know, like some people can get impatient like I need to have my art style?

Pernille Orum

Yeah, well, I did. I worked in that for a lot of time actually. Some of my talk was also about that showing that when I went out from school, I was working in the effects. I did backgrounds I did class, classical portraits, I did all these different things and trying to figure out What I wanted to do, and it wasn’t until one of my friends His name is John Keane Mortensen. He’s also a famous artists. And he’s very has very unique style. He just started doodling into ruse on post its, and now they’re bigger but it’s the same style. And he was like, it wasn’t until he just had something that he really liked to do and just went with it, that he started to get noticed for jobs because it was the same style. So when he said that I was like, okay, so if I just draw, how does it look like, and it was very inspired by you know, of course, Disney and in the Renaissance clat as Disney Renaissance style, like Aladdin and learnmate. So I just, you know, just, you know, did that and just kept going with it and kept going with it. And as I mentioned, before, every time I did something, saw something that was pretty cool, I implemented into my style, instead of like, changing my style to them, I took what I liked from theirs, and put it into mine. And then, you know, slowly, if you go back to my earliest drawings, it’s still the same, but just not as good. Like, you can see there is like, just keeps going. Yeah, progress and like how good I am. But it’s still the same style. So just think it’s something like what you like what you really like, your if you keep if you always draw, you can tell that from your style from your drawing, and just, you know, be confident and and just keep going with it. And they’ll slowly find its own path. So I’ve been working on it since I was like five, I think, but not been aware of it until six years ago, I think.

Iva Mikles

So perfect. And so and how did you start getting the first job? Did you start with commissions, maybe from social media? Or how did you do networking for the bigger clients afterwards?

Pernille Orum

Well, I, I worked in a gaming company. And when I was contacted first by Mattel, and then by Disney to do some small jobs in a district those in the evening. And then I got contacted by Warner Brothers while I was still working. So they found my stuff online and contacted me and then I just ended up you know, working for them full time for three years. So I quit the other job and became a freelancer, with Warner Brothers taking another clients and then it’s just been going slowly after that in the beginning people found I haven’t applied for a job yet. I’m very fortunate. As a freelance I haven’t applied, I’ve only been contacted. So in the beginning, people saw my stuff online, but now it’s worth mouth is more like we work with her. She did something cool. You should check her out. So

Iva Mikles

yeah, because it’s definitely much better than the applying because then they’re hiring you for your style. And they don’t expect something else.

Pernille Orum

Yes, yeah, that’s what I really like. It’s like, we liked what you did with this. Can you do that over here too. And it’s not like people who sometimes things might be restraining but it’s not because it’s not like copy this is more like we like the confidence in your line and, and the attitude you give to the characters. It’s not it’s not like copy this is more like we like the attitude that your characters have. Can you call up the attitude? And that’s a fun, fun challenge to do.

Iva Mikles

Because also then you know how your process looks like what can you actually deliver within the time for the expressions and emotions and everything right? Yeah, and

Pernille Orum

if people contact me because they saw something I did online, I usually ask them to point out which artwork made them contact me because then it’s different. It’s very different and it’s oftentimes we’re like oh, they probably contact me because of this drawing. And it’s it’s never the drawing that you think it is because the ones that I like or not really the ones that people like they tend not to like what I like it’s it’s fun so that’s a good way to like people contact you via something you did ask them which which it is and what they liked about it

Iva Mikles

yeah also maybe on the convention right that some actors are more popular. Did you have the one which was sold out right away? Or was it

Pernille Orum

Yeah, every year have one I never expected to be that one that’s selling out so yeah, it’s it’s fun to is like that’s what I like about putting your stuff out there is it’s getting the feedback and you’re like all they’re gonna love this. I spent a week on this drawing and there’s no nobody no really responds to it. And then you do a quick drawing before you like head out in the evening and it has a lot of like so it’s difference what captures people’s interests

Iva Mikles

in when you are working on the art pieces. And when you said like you do like specific like colors maybe? Are you trying to differentiate the artworks also by color and the story or you know, like how do you learn your personal artworks or is just what do you see around you?

Pernille Orum

Well, I love experimenting. Like for instance being okay with her skin was green, like what could work with it. That’s actually what I’m finding more fun by doing now like now it’s really quickly do some kind of drawing because I want to get into the coloring and I don’t want to use you know Have regular skin tones. I want to use something different and pushing it and okay, if I want to do this drawing and only three colors, how can it look and in trying to make it more designed, more fun, and it’s not income, like it’s not compared to other drawings that I’ve done. It’s more like the process right now that I’m enjoying. Yeah.

Iva Mikles

And you, as you mentioned, you have the art space, or you’re sharing the studio with other artists or it’s like within your house.

Pernille Orum

I’m sharing with other artists. Yeah, I would go crazy at home. Yeah, no, I’m sitting, I’m sitting in office with other people. Yeah.

Iva Mikles

Do you also have something like a mastermind group, you know, of like people, you can bounce off ideas? Like, as you mentioned, the other artists? Do you know, when you maybe meet once a week or something like that, or

Pernille Orum

no, no, actually not. It’s one of those things that I’m really missing. I have a lot of friends here who were animators, because I used to study animation. So those are like good friends to talk movies with and stuff. But design people, I don’t have a lot of them here locally, which is why I really enjoy going to, for instance, CTN Expo in LA, where I’ve made so many friends who were amazingly talented at what they do. And it’s, it’s nice. Last time I was sitting, I was talking with the buoy sisters like Lorelai and Nisa, and noticing there and being like, okay, so when I do this squash thing, I can’t solve this small problem. And they’re like, Oh, we usually do this, like, bouncing the ideas with each other with people who have similar interest and style is, is something I love going over. So I wish I could be there more for sure.

Iva Mikles

Yeah, you can always Skype with them, right?

Pernille Orum

Yeah, but everybody’s always so busy. So that’s

Iva Mikles

true. Yeah. Because the mastermind or just every job your people around you that can influence your progress or everything, right? Yeah. Yeah, definitely. And how did you find the space to work with it someone like, recommend you to, like, share the workspace or the studio? Or?

Pernille Orum

Um, well, where we’re sitting right now is a friend of mine who started it with his cousin. One is an architect, and the other one is a graphic artist. But I just, I just found my own place that I’m starting next month, actually, Oh, yes. So that’s pretty new. It’s with an animator friend. It’s going to be just a bit closer to where I live the now. Because I need I needed more space, I have a webshop. And I need like more room for that. And I’m thinking about hiring somebody like an assistant to help me out with the webshop. And with all the PR and stuff. So I needed room for her to so we’re starting up a whole new space together, we went to the same school. So I’m very excited about that. So you adventure. Yes. New Adventure? Yeah.

Iva Mikles

Oh, perfect. Yeah. And when you actually like, kind of look back on your art career, is there something you would advise yourself, you know, like, you know, when you were young or something like that you wish you knew?

Pernille Orum

Yeah, well, take it easy. It’s gonna work out. Like, I was always afraid that it wasn’t good enough. And I didn’t want to share my things until they were completely done. And then if somebody criticized them, I just didn’t want to hear it. And that’s what I learned from doing, like six months of life drawing was that, like, show it as soon as you can to somebody else, and taking the criticism that they have? Because that’s just gonna, like, I started, like, my process was like this. And then when I started asking people, it just did, like, did a big jump. So the sooner you get comfortable with showing your artwork and listening to what people have to say, because if you want to work in art, it’s you’re gonna have to deal with it, whether you like it or not, you can’t just sit with your own stuff until it’s done and see, isn’t it pretty? can’t work like that. So the sooner you learn that, the better you’ll be faster. And these you’re going to be to work with as well. So I think that would be my recommendation. Yes, totally

Iva Mikles

agree. And you think about also the kind of difficult time What would you consider the most difficult time because that’s the time where we usually learn the most, and maybe you can share like key takeaway from the time?

Pernille Orum

Yeah. Well, when I left school, I went to, I went to London to do VFX because I thought I was gonna be a 3d animator. And I worked double negative working on John Carter for about six, seven months, until I quit, because it wasn’t the right path for me. And after that, I didn’t know what I was going to do. And that’s when I had the whole you know, What style do I have? What do I want to do? Do I want to port do portraits for museums, which was one of the job offers or do I want to do backgrounds for animation? Or do I want to be an animator again, or like I had? I had a lot of struggle, figuring it out. So it wasn’t until that again, I found my path. I wanted to be a character designer and wanted to work Hard to Be character designer. That, so that was like a really hard task for me, you know, not, I thought it was better to be all around artists, the more that I’d be able to do, the easier will be to hire. But it also means that you don’t really have something that you, I think, and it is that I was I think, actually, it was harder to hire a new ECU to pay less because I could just draw, I didn’t have a certain thing that I contributed with, which is what I do now. So that was my heart time that was, you know, putting a really good job that I was the one that I thought I wanted, and then not knowing what to do and struggling with that afterwards. Yeah, that’s about a year that was searching. Yeah.

Iva Mikles

So yeah. So you figured out what you don’t like? And then what would be your goal? And what would help you to get there? Right?

Pernille Orum

Yeah, it will probably win one of those journeys, normal people would have done during the actual school. I did it after school. Yeah, later

Iva Mikles

than ever, right? Yes. That is true. Yes. Yeah. And what about the future, what will be your dream scenario, you know, in five to 10 years, you cannot fail. And this is how everything looks like?

Pernille Orum

Well, I would love to do a short for instance, like find some good friends and make a short together. And it’s going to be hugely successful and redefine how you design I don’t know. But something like that, where you own it yourself. And it’s, it’s, it’s a property that you have developed with somebody else. Also, this year, I’m starting. I’m starting a comic book, the very first comic book I’ve ever I’ve ever I’ve ever done, which is big scary, which is written gonna be written by Kevin Smith, the movie director and a guy called Eric Carrasco. I think it’s pronounced who did do the scripts for Supergirl than me, we’re all working together on a comics. So in five years, it’s going to be huge success, it’s going to be great. So that’s actually what I’m going to be working on. Now, while you know having jobs and stuff.

Iva Mikles

And you are planning to stay in Denmark, right?

Pernille Orum

Yes, for now. My boyfriend who is an anthropologist really wants to move away, and I’m fine with it. Like, I can work from wherever. So we have considered trying somewhere else he wants to live either in, in East Africa or in LA, and I’m open to both as long as it’s different. There’ll be different. Different, but as long as they’re warmer, and there’s internet, I’m like, I’m fine. Like works.

Iva Mikles

But yeah, it can be warmer, a lot of places.

Pernille Orum

That mark is not warm, that’s for sure.

Iva Mikles

Perfect. And what about like super far, far in the future? Like the epic question, you know, like, what would you like to be remembered for?

Pernille Orum

Oh, um, well, I would like to be remembered for my art, like, from my artwork, from my style, it would be awesome if, like a lot of years from now that my book is still maybe not relevant. But it was like, Oh, she did this book and, and hopefully have done more so that people know me through my artwork, and through projects that I’ve done. We all know, different artists that were really like, this is the big one. So I’m not comparing myself to those at all. But we all know, like, what Mary Blair contribute to for Disney. So if I had done something where people feel like I have inspired them to maybe pursue art or being animation or designing, and if, if my style has done something that they found inspiring, so

Iva Mikles

Oh, perfect. Yeah. Really nice. Yeah, I mean, it’s perfect. I’m looking forward to see all of your future projects and everything. They’re like, Okay, this is good. And before we say goodbye, maybe you can share last piece of advice or key takeaway, and then we will slowly finish.

Pernille Orum

Well, it’s hard work if you want to draw, but it’s also fun and rewarding. So it’s one of those if you can’t help doing it, you should do it. And keep getting inspired by other people. And don’t be afraid to ask people, everybody is so helpful and so willing to both inspire and bring so it’s a big community. So yeah.

Iva Mikles

Yeah, that’s amazing. And thank you so much, again for being here. It was so fun. So thanks again. And thanks, everyone who joined today and see you in the next episode. Hey, guys, thank you so much for listening. I really appreciate you being here. You can find all the resources mentioned in this episode at artsideoflife.com. Just type a guest name in the search bar. There is a So a couple of free artists resources ready for you on the website as well. So go check it out. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and leave a review on iTunes or Stitcher so I can region inspire more artists like you. If you want to watch the interviews, head over to artsideoflife.com/youtube. Continue to inspire each other and I will talk to you guys in the next episode. Bye.

Announcer

Thanks for listening to the Art Side of Life podcast at www.artsideoflife.com

Hi, I am Iva (rhymes with “viva”). I am an artist, illustrator, founder of Art Side of Life®, and Top Teacher on Skillshare. Since 2009 I've worked as an illustrator, character designer, art director, and branding specialist focusing on illustration, storytelling, concepts, and animation. I believe that we are all creative in infinite numbers of ways, so I've made it my mission to teach you everything I know and help either wake up or develop your creative genius. Learn more about me.

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