Alyssa was very fun to interview. Not only was genuine and sweet like her website suggests, she was very passionate about her art and being apart of #TeamColorworld. Although I recommend listening to the entire interview for all of our artists, I specifically love her honesty about working with Brad Kelly. She brought a lot of energy to the interview. (Listen to the entire unabridged video here. This video was made before we decided to start making youtube videos. Be prepared to hear some raw conversation.)
Currently living in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, Alyssa is an illustrator, cosplayer, and Colorworld artist. In addition to making art with Team Colorworld, she is currently taking private commissions for her artwork. She also showcases her work at comic con events and through her Etsy shop as PlumCupcakeArts. Alyssa asks her followers to refer to her as Plum and describes her work as quirky and sweet!
Alyssa’s first memory of creating was in middle school art class. She started to create different types of art and used lots of mediums. This was really when she began to form meaning from her artwork. In addition to creating physical art, Alyssa has also experimented with writing and poetry, and played percussion in high school. She was also bad a** enough to run with that skill in play in the marching band. Interestingly, it was her band teacher who really encouraged her to pursue art.
“I started [drawing] because it’s a way of self expression. It’s a way to express myself physically. It gives people a mindset of what is going in the world of Alyssa… As I grew up, it was like a safety blanket.” While it’s not difficult to talk about being an artist, Alyssa often feels insecure about her artwork. Which makes sense since her art is so closely tied to her expression.
Currently Alyssa is focusing on illustration. She says, “90% of my life is devoted to Colorworld at this moment.” Colorworld contacted her through a mutual friend Brandon. After seeing one of her art pieces on Facebook, Brad told Brandon that she could send some art to Colorworld.
“One night Brandon was like, if you don’t message Brad, I am going to message him for you… So I drew something he wanted, and he gave criticism back and forth… it got me into the mind set to know who he was going to be as a boss. [It was hard] to meet his standards.” She then goes on to explain how it is to work with Brad, “The first think I think about after the lines, is color. I have to remember that these are going to be printed and so the color has to be exaggerated. When I am working on it, visually, it’s not appealing. It is like drawing out of your art style. You know it’s like using your left hand when you’re a righty.”
There have been times when Alyssa received feedback that she did not love, but typically it makes an awesome end product. “Believe me, I know that what is he (Brad) does is super hard. I give him all of the praise. It’s got to be hard keeping up with 18 plus artists (actually 21)… being an artist is really hard. My art is like a baby, [and then you give it someone else].”
Alyssa doesn’t let the fact that she is one of the youngest artists on #TeamColorworld. Most of her commission work for Colorworld is anime characters, and Alyssa is pumping out the artwork. She explains, “Brad has been assigning me ore of the anime artworks. I have no problems with that at all. It is a style that I have been practicing since I started drawing. It’s my comfort zone.” Alyssa loves working with anime style art because she enjoys the exaggerated expressions, and creating things that are impossible in reality. Working with Colorworld has been a growing experience and she has started to have a lot of fun creating with them.
In addition to doing commission work for Colorworld, she has also started to franchise Colorworld Books. While she admits that working as an artist can be a struggle financially, it’s more stressful to be branching out and starting to franchise Colorworld Books. Despite the stress that managing an inventory brings, she’s excited to be branching out in new areas. Branching out is less stressful for Alyssa because she believes in Colorworld’s mission to make the world better.
Alyssa expounds on this thought, “Having someone come up to you say, ‘I remember you from last year’s show,’ and I am thinking, ‘I have not idea because I just started!’ …It makes me proud to be apart of the Colorworld Team. And when they buy some of my artwork… it makes me feel really good.” Alyssa is most excited for the Rhode Island Comic Con coming up since she lives nearby to that large Comic Con. Since working for Colorworld, Alyssa has missed cosplaying at conventions. “It’s such a wonderful form of self expression.”
Managing a work life balance is often difficult for Alyssa. Art is how she pays the bills and that has to take a priority. That responsibility often weighs on her. In a very genuine and brave moment, Alyssa admitted that she struggles with mental health. She says, “There will be days when I think, ‘ugh, I don’t have the mental capacity to do this right now.’ Drawing can be draining. [While I have one good friend to hang out with nearby], I unfortunately always have work in the back of my mind… It’s something that I am more nervous to admit, and embarrassed… I have to realize that this something that I am living with. I want people to realize that this is a thing, and you’re not alone in that situation.”
As if figuring out how to be a successful artist and franchise was not hard enough, Alyssa has yet to have an in person experience with either Brad or Rachel Kelly! All of their communication has occurred remotely. Alyssa keeps pushing through these challenges because she believes that her art is making a difference in both her life and others lives. This belief keeps her motivated to keep working when things are difficult.
One day Alyssa hopes to travel and have a small shop in Provide Rhode Island… maybe serving Boba tea. She wants the world to know that she is her own person and is always herself.
Of course in true Colorworld Books style we had to ask Alyssa if she was team Brad or team Rachel. Alyssa answered, “Team Rachel all the way. First of all badass mother… from what I hear is that she does a lot of the business work. And she’s the author. From what I hear about her, she is really chill and you can have deep conversations with her… I mean you can with Brad too… but there’s just something about her.”