Posts Tagged freelance

Wednesday Guest Blogger: Freelance Illustrator & Figure Athlete, Alejandra Diaz Mercado Chavez

Creative entrepreneur, freelance illustrator, creative director, lifestyle and business coach, personal trainer and amateur figure athlete, Alejandra Diaz Mercado Chavez

Phew, that was a long title! But I’ve got to cover it all with this busy and talented lady. Alejandra pretty much does it all –  so of course I had to feature her as this week’s guest blogger! Ale is another ol’ Sheridan pal, and I have always admired her whimsical illustration work. I noticed recently that she had taken a new creative path, however… all these photos of her stunning bod, which is a masterpiece of it’s own, kept popping up in my Facebook feed! And I was like, WHO THE HECK – OMG IT’S ALE!!! I couldn’t help be inspired by her incredible new feat – and her ability to mange both illustration and a fitness career, is really just remarkable. You know how I love awesomely motivated and dedicated ladies! I’m excited to share her beautiful work – both on canvas and her physical self. Enjoy 🙂

nerdbiskit: So, what’s the story? Who are you, and what do you do? How did it all start? Short bio!

Ale: Long story short: my real name is Alejandra Diaz Mercado Chavez (which not a lot of people can pronounce properly), I am originally from Mexico City and I lift heavy weights and art brushes.

It all started when I was born into a family with an overdeveloped artistic talent on my mother’s side, and an array of outstanding physical abilities on my fathers side. Arising from this unnatural combination of traits I’ve had to develop a split personality in order to nurture both sides of my brain.

In 2003 I came to Canada to study art as a business practice and graduated from the Bachelor of Applied Arts Illustration from Sheridan College. Since then, my life has been defined by continuous change where the only constants have been art and fitness. I started exploring the corporate world of art and design where I had a couple of very bad work experiences. These resulted in a very dark period in my life where I became overweight and depressed. I will always be thankful to the person that decided to see my true beauty and propose me to do my first fitness show, because thanks to her I am where I am right now.

I am currently exploring the corporate world of fitness working as a full time personal trainer and running my illustration freelance business part-time. Interestingly the more success I have as a personal trainer, the better I do at my art business as well.

Even though I am originally from Mexico I do not like tequila, I do not like Salsa dancing and no, and trust me, I do not miss the heat.

Image copyright Alejandra Diaz Mercado Chavez 2012.

nerdbiskit: Why do you do it?

Ale: I do what I do, because I do not imagine any other way of living my life. I refuse to do things that I don’t like or that I do not feel passionate about and I refuse to die with regrets.

Image copyright Alejandra Diaz Mercado Chavez 2012.

nerdbiskit: What’s unique about you and what you do? What sets you apart from the pack?

Ale: What is unique about me is the fact that I have to live two separate lives (although not a lot of people know about this), like I said before in one life I literally kick people’s butts all day long as a personal trainer and act as an amateur figure fitness model, all this with a big sociable smile on my face and on the other life I am a true antisocial hermit where I sit for long lonely hours in my art studio weaving dreams and materials to bring into this world things that only exist in my mind.

When I say “I have to live to separate lives” I mean it. I have tried to give up one or the other and I always end up in heart break. It’s like being in love with two people and not able to decide for one or the other.

At some points in my life one takes precedence over the other, but both have to be a part of my life in one way or the other.

nerdbiskit: What/who is your inspiration?

Ale: I am inspired by the mysticism and humour of mexican art. I approach art through the innocent and naive eyes of a child who marvels from fantastic details that adults typically overlook.

My current favourite artists are Nicoletta Ceccoli, Joe Vaux, Dave McKean and Alyssa DeVille.

Image copyright Alejandra Diaz Mercado Chavez 2012.

nerdbiskit: What are some of your favourite things? (To do, to eat, to think about, etc.)

Ale: My favourite things to do are causing myself serious pain by lifting heavy weights and preparing for 6 months for Figure Shows where I am only 6 minutes on stage. I love food above everything else, and by this I truly mean everything else, including sex, but I also give it up when I am preparing for fitness shows. Among my favourites are peperoni pizza, all you can eat sushi, and towers of husband-made pancakes topped with bacon.

I love to make To-Do lists, half of which never get done, love the idea of books more than reading them and love Apocalyptic movies and tv series.

And of course my most favourite thing/person in the whole world is my HUSBAND, just thought it was about time he knew this, hahaha

nerdbiskit: How do you know Lisa Bell of nerdbiskit? Do you think her mustache obsession is a little ridiculous?

Ale: Went to school with her, she caught my attention when I noticed she was a little strange. She had a doll-like beauty to her and her sense of style definitely set her apart from the crowd. I also noticed that her strangeness later developed into obsessive mustache behavior, which I have been secretly following through her social media. I also thought it was fair for her to know this by now, hehe

nerdbiskit: That about wraps it up!

Leave a Comment

Long Overdue, Thursday Things I Dig!

Well folks, it has been a while since I have written a blog post that wasn’t from a guest blogger… so I figured I would fit in a Thursday Things I Dig! I am sitting here, enjoying tea and oranges, and ready to give you an update on what’s been up and why I’ve been so MIA 🙂 Here’s my long overdue Thursday Things I Dig!

1. ENGLAND tomorrow!!! I am finally venturing across the seas to Europe, though only for a short time – just a week. I am going with 2 people who will be backpacking around for a month or so, and I only joining them during their first week in London. I’m finally EXCITED! It just hit me today when I actually got around to packing… I have 7 dresses, cardis & tights all lined up on my love seat and am ready to roll. (Miss Greta will not be packed into the suitcase, unfortunately. In place of her there will most likely be rain boots.) There will be plenty of sight-seeing, tea drinking, museum meandering & vintage shopping ahead! I plan to come back with a sweet vintage dress 🙂  I promise I will share it with you all!

2. My 2013 nerdbiskit pin-up ‘stache calendar is under way! In case you missed it, I am designing a calendar featuring 11 lovely ladies (myself as the 12th) who share my love of ‘staches! All the mustaches have been mailed and I am anxiously awaiting the pinup photos to start rolling in. This is going to be AWESOME. I’m hoping to have it ready to start selling at FanExpo in August. Part of the proceeds are going to my friend, Tristan’s, MS Charity. I’m stoked that so many people are as excited about it and just as eager to participate as I am! Each lady will receive (or already has) a wearable nerdbiskit mustache and in return, will send me back an AWESOME pin up shot of them wearing that, PLUS a super cute retro dress (or retro something-rather.) Then I will get designing the layout! 😀 I can not even wait! I’ve been busy sewing & mailing out custom coloured ‘staches all week!

3. Nerdbiskit.com is well under way and I am hoping to launch it when I return from my trip. I’ve been busy web-designing for the past 2 weeks, off and on or course, and am about 70% complete. I’m pretty excited to share it with you all! During this process, I fell in love with a new program called Adobe Muse. It is one of the easiest programs for web design I have ever used! My site is nice and simple of course, so combined with a nice simple program, this has been a breeze! Here’s a sneak peak (and yes, there are plenty of ‘staches):

4. New ladies night dinner parties are under way with the ol’ work girls. (In case some of you didn’t know, I left my design job a few weeks ago! (Time to nerdbiskit & freelance design full time for the summer, woo!) Because I love my work ladies so much, and was so used to being with them 40 hours a week, I simply could not be without them – so we started a dinner party club! Our first one was last weekend. The host, Miss Tea, made the main course – almond breaded chicken with quinoa risotto & asparagus. I brought the kale salad, and there were also delicious apps & desserts from the others – and plenty of wine! SO DELICIOUS. I can’t wait for the next one, I think I will host it in mid June – I just have to come up with something equally as delicious as the last one!

5. I don’t know if you knew this about me, but I sort of love any excuse to get dressed up… so last night I was invited to be the eye candy/DD at a film screening & awards ceremony, so I rocked a classy black dress and some curls. The dress itself was 30 bucks and I went ahead and altered it by adding a peek-a-boo polka dot hem along the bottom to give it a little extra pizazz. Anyway, here’s me at my attempt to be classy with a 50’s vibe! I promise I didn’t make this awkward winky face in public.

6. I confirmed my first freelance design client! We’ll be meeting up when I return from England to start working away on projects. I am so excited! Freelance designing combined with nerdbiskit-ing for a while is going to be a blast – and a much needed and exciting change!

Ok, that’s about it! I am waiting on a customer to stop by and pick up some ‘staches, and then it is back to packing! I’ve been busy with custom orders lately, which is awesome! Oh, and if you need custom buttons for your weddings and bachelorette parties coming up, let me know – I’ve got some designs ready to go and will be posting them on Etsy when I return. Message me if you need anything 🙂 (INAPPROPRIATE GRAPHICS BELOW)

xoxo Lisa

Leave a Comment

GUEST BLOGGER: Freelance Illustrator & Cartoonist – Britt Wilson

Freelance Illustrator, Britt Wilson

What can I say about this lady and her witty, whimsical (I love using that word, I even created this alliteration based around it) and wonderful work! Britt probably doesn’t even know it, but I’ve been following her blog in secret for a long time and admiring her illustrations and comics from afar! And not always from afar, I sometimes even approach her if I run into her at a show, and check out her latest books and goodies. One time she even had mini cupcakes! Her hand illustrated type BLOWS MY MIND. I want her to write all over my body with those mad skills! I have also been admiring her cat, Panties, for a VERY LONG TIME and I love him as though he is my own. I am honoured that he loves my catnip toys! We also share a love of mustaches, Twin Peaks, TED Talks… and Vicki Nerino (if you haven’t read Nerino’s guest blog post yet, get on it!) The 3 of us definitely shared at least one or maybe two laughs during the ol’ college days… and Britt tells a pretty good one below! Enjoy! 🙂

nerdbiskit: So, what’s the story? Who are you, and what do you do? How did it all start? Short bio!

Britt: It started when I was born. Hairy and jaundiced. A few years later I discovered crayons. That’s when my parents knew it was over. The chances their daughter ever had at a successful, normal life, were shredded and a little soggy, like the paper wrapper I ripped off those crayons. Move forward a bit more to now, with my BAA from Sheridan (received a scant year after the lovely nerdbiskit herself) which I placed lovingly in the envelope it arrived in, and promptly lost, I’m a freelance illustrator, cartoonist, and work the dreaded part-time day job to keep the other pursuits funded.

nerdbiskit: Why do you do it?

Britt: I do it because I am simply not good at anything else. Including things like “small talk” and “patience” and “tolerance” which are three essential traits for working an office job. I like the immense feeling of satisfaction I get after completing something difficult. And I like to be able to hold it in my hands, and say “I made this.”

nerdbiskit: What’s unique about you and what you do? What sets you apart from the pack?

Britt: We are all perfect little snowflakes or some shit like that, right? What makes my work different is all the different media it intersects/borrows from. I usually paint with my hands, and real paint in bright colours, reminiscent of children’s books, with very animated and lively characters. I’ve often been told I should have been an animator, but sucks to them, they draw the same thing all day. Also technology is allergic to me. My comics and graphic stories are also very animated, and though child-like in sophistication, they often contain enough violence that most parents give me dirty looks while they herd their children past my table at conventions.

I’ve recently also gotten into hand drawn type in a BIG way. I’ve always loved drawing letters, but I’ve started going at it like a mare in heat! In an attempt to improve my lettering skillz I’ve been fumbling my way through old-school calligraphy. Using a scratchy old nib and ink to address all my Christmas cards, and sometimes even my grocery lists!

AND, I’ve been doing pattern design for textiles or your desktop, whatever! I have my fingers in ALL the pies. My gooey fruit-fingers are what make me special.


nerdbiskit: What/who is your inspiration?

Britt: I have too many artists that I love and who’s work I gobble up like some sort of troll living under a fan-girl bridge. But also I am inspired by my friends. More precisely by my desire to be better than them. It keeps me working very hard. So far, most of them are still better than me, but that’s good, it keeps me motivated to keep going and trying new things.

nerdbiskit: What are some of your favourite things? (To do, to eat, to think about, etc.)

Britt: I’ve been swallowed whole by pinterest. It started because I got engaged, and a friend recommended it for keeping track of all my ideas, and the next thing I know, ADDICTION. If I ever manage to leave my desk, I love to walk around Queen West (in Toronto, where I live) and go to all the little cafés nearby. I have an insatiable sweet tooth, and love nothing better than good coffee, a pastry of some kind, and a comic book in my hand.

I love to BAKE. I don’t get to do it very often outside of Christmas-time lately, but cookies, cupcakes, PIES, I am THERE.

Recently I can’t stop watching nature themed TED talks. And Twin Peaks, and Futurama, and historical dramas, and audiobooks. I listen to audiobooks while I work, and I go through them like crazy. Currently, I’m listening to “The Unbearable Lightness of Being.”

nerdbiskit: How do you know Lisa Bell of nerdbiskit? Do you think her mustache obsession is a little ridiculous?

Britt: Lisa and I went to Sheridan together, I transferred there partway through the program from OCAD, and was scared to death when I walked into class and this loud, tall (I’m short), fashionista with giant hair and very red lips was sitting there probably saying something gross and/or inappropriate. I remember one day, towards the end of our last year (I had to come back for 3 random credits the next year) we were all sitting around goofing off during one really stupid class, and Lisa had an orange shopping bag with two clementines in it. I believe it started off with the doodling of balls all over Vicki Nerino’s sketchbook, but it ended up with Lisa dangling the bag of clementines between her legs and thrusting around to make them swing back and forth. I thought I ruptured something that day. Hopefully that isn’t too awful a tale to tell. Lisa, I give you permission to edit that. Here’s an alternate version: I like Lisa, she has pretty hair and my cat likes her cat toys. I also like moustaches, so I think she’s alright in the head, mostly. (note from nerdbiskit: I KEPT BOTH STORIES – chose your own preference! I liked both!)

nerdbiskit: That about wraps it up! Check out more of Britt’s work via the links below!

xoxo Lisa

Leave a Comment

Oh my BLOG, it’s a guest post by Freelance Illustrator, Vicki Nerino!

Freelance Illustrator & Pervert, Miss Vicki Nerino

What to say about this woman… where do I even start?! I remember when I first laid eyes on Vicki during my first year of college – her wild coif blowing in the breeze as she rushed down the hallway to catch her bus – I thought to myself, I will drink, laugh and tell inappropriate jokes with that woman one day. Not long after, we bonded over 90’s nu-metal, being born in Thunder Bay, David Duchovny, potty humor, making people laugh (or at least each other), and of course art and illustration! There have been many good times shared with this woman since then, so naturally I am excited to feature her and her incredible work on my blog. As hilarious and vile as her illustrations and comics can be, they are also extremely creative, original and even BEAUTIFUL! I’m sure she will hate to hear that, but yes, they are oozing of mad, gooey talent… among many other kinds of fluids…

So, what’s the skinny?

Vicki: My name is Vicki Nerino. I was born and raised in the deep snowbanks of North-Western Ontario. When I wasn’t fighting bears and riding elk, I was painting boobies on cave walls with charcoal and sap. I moved to the big city of Toronto, and when I finally recovered from the culture shock and shook the birch bark out of my rats nest of a hair-do, I attended Sheridan College and got myself a degree in Illustration with the nerdbiskit Queen herself. Since then, I draw wieners and boobies and butts for myself and others. I’ve had my work in galleries, newspapers, magazines, on t-shirts, pinned to backpacks, stuck on urinals, and posted all over the internet. Not bad for a Thunder Bay troglodyte, am I right?

So like, how come and stuff?

Vicki: I am totally hooked on making people laugh andor tugging their collars awkwardly and backing away slowly. It makes my day when I get to watch people giggle while reading my terrible comics, and I love sharing them with all of my friends. Lately, I’ve been finding comics the most rewarding. All the friends I have made in the community are totes amazing, and it really makes it all worth while. Well, besides drawing more wieners than ever before.

What’s you’re dealio? Why do you think you’re so special, huh? Eff!

Vicki: Well jeebs! I just like to have fun! Whether it’s a freelance gig or a short comic, I really like to put my own dirty spin on things. If I’m not enjoying it, or laughing at it when it’s done, then golly jeez, it’s not really worth it.

What/who is your inspiration?

Vicki: There are tons of people and mediums that I draw inspiration from. I love Ralph Steadman, Harmony Korine, Werner Herzog, Michael Deforge, Nicolas Presl, Johnny Ryan, Wes Anderson, and all kinds of other talented folk. I really encourage googling some of these names if you don’t know them. Thems be some cool dudes. And I can’t forget about all the AMAZING ladies in comics who inspire me every day to keep on it. Super chicks like Kate Beaton, Jess Fink, Emily Carroll, Meredith Gran, amongst many MANY others.

You like stuff, don’t you?

Vicki: Of course I do! I like jokes, David Duchovny, Dylan McKay, upper lip sweat, fish tacos, dates (the kind that you eat, and the kind that you go on), cheap ballpoint pens, a cup of hot tea with lemon, loud farts, and pie.

So like, what’s your history with that dang Lisa Bell woman?

Vicki: As I mentioned earlier, Lisa and I met in those crazy college days. We went to parties and drank in parking lots and made more boner jokes than anyone who ever existed before. I think her mustachio obsession is very becoming, I think she looks best with a little upper lip coifiture. Speaking of which, there was once a time when Lisa would cut my hair for me and wear my rats nest clippings as real human hair mustaches. Perhaps it was a sign of the wonderful furry things to come…

That about wraps it up! Learn more about this talented wiener drawer via the links below!

xoxoxo Lisa

Leave a Comment

GUEST BLOGGER: Freelance Make Up Artist – Kristen Harper

Freelance Make-up Artist, Miss Kristen Harper

This Wednesday, I would like to welcome Miss Kristen Harper, a lovely and talented freelance make up artist! I met her a few years back, when she hired me to take her place as a visual merchandiser. She left some pretty big shoes to fill, but I did my best and she was an excellent trainer. I’m excited to see how well she’s doing with her freelance work, and can’t wait to hire her for my wedding one day! (Hopefully this happens before I’m too old and wrinkly, though I’m sure she would make me look fantastic even if I am) 🙂

She does fantastic work, and I love the amount of creativity she puts into her photoshoots! My favourite was Twisted Disney – make sure you take a peek after you read the interview! ❤ ENJOY!

nerdbiskit: So, what’s the story? Who are you, and what do you do? How did it all start? Short bio!

Kristen: My name is Kristen Harper and I am a Makeup Artist. I guess it all started when I was a kid. I would spend my days drawing pictures and cutting out images of celebrities from every magazine I could find for inspiration. I used to get into my mothers makeup and perform makeovers on the neighbourhood kids. Once I started wearing makeup, I decided to be really creative with it which resulted in many strange looks from my classmates. When it was time to go to college I decided to take a makeup course to improve my skills. I excelled in all of my courses and started to work professionally following my graduation. Over the past few years as a Freelance Artist, I have worked on many weddings, photoshoots and short films.

nerdbiskit: Why do you do it?

Kristen: Because there’s nothing better than the feeling you get when you help make someone feel great about themselves! Plus it’s like playing with Barbies everyday! I love it! I get to be creative and display my artwork on my clients faces everyday!

nerdbiskit: What’s unique about you and what you do? What sets you apart from the pack?

Kristen: I’ve been told by many photographers that my application skills make me unique. It is very important to me that skin still looks like skin. I don’t think anybody should ever look overly made up. Over the years I’ve perfected my technique of making my makeup look flawless in person and in photographs. I don’t think there are any rules to makeup. I believe being yourself makes you the perfect artist. No artist should ever try to be like another artist.

nerdbiskit: What/who is your inspiration?

Kristen: Everything inspires me! I find inspiration in anything that grabs my attention. I’m always getting random photoshoot ideas from watching TV, reading magazines or just walking down the street. I read a lot about other Makeup Artists and how they got started. They inspire me to never give up and continue to work hard to try and get my name out there!

nerdbiskit: What are some of your favourite things? (To do, to eat, to think about, etc.)

Kristen: I am addicted to movies and celebrities. It’s quite the obsession! I am in love with everything vintage and truly think I was meant to grow up in the 50’s! I like to read every free chance I get and draw in my sketch book. Most people know me for my ice cream obsession. I can eat ice cream all day, every day. My favourite is Super Kid from Laura Secord.

nerdbiskit: How do you know Lisa Bell of nerdbiskit? Do you think her mustache obsession is a little ridiculous? Do you have any cool stories you’d like to share?

Kristen: I first met Lisa a few years ago when I worked at a clothing store. I interviewed her to take my position in the store. She seemed like she would be a perfect fit because of her creativity. Eventually we both had to move on to start our artistic careers!

I’ve been watching Lisa’s business grow and think it’s pretty awesome what a little mustache can do!

nerdbiskit: That about wraps it up! Check out more of this fantastic lady’s work via the links below – perhaps even hire her for your own wedding! 😀

LIKE Kristen on FACEBOOK

FOLLOW Kristen’s BLOG

xoxoxox Lisa

And here’s The Daily Dress:

Leave a Comment