Interview by Savana Ogburn
I first stumbled upon Megan Schaller (aka @megandoods)’s art while making my daily rounds on Instagram (aka laying in bed, scrolling through my endless explore page, avoiding getting up). I was instantly drawn to her work- something about her minimalist portraits in dreamy pastel hues was so inspiring to me (even as a self professed maximalist!). Megan was kind enough to be interviewed for SB, and I am SO THRILLED to share her words of wisdom with you! Read on, and check out Megan’s killer work on Instagram and Redbubble.
What is your favorite thing about making fan art? Basically- why are you drawn (pun intended) to making art about the musicians that you like rather than some other subject matter?
I was an itty bitty music nerd who was searching for an outlet to share my love of music and celebrate the musicians I respected so greatly. For somebody who is inept at all musical instruments, it’s hard to find an outlet to let out an intense love for music outside of a mosh pit.
As a high school underclassman, I would use Microsoft Paint on my clunky school-issued Toshiba laptop to doodle the musicians whose music was stuck in my head – a lot of mini Andrew Vanwyngardens, a lot of little Sky Ferreiras – while cracking out math problems and speed-reading my textbooks. It was typical classroom doodling – with the exception that I shared them online.
At first, I didn’t share these doodles with anybody. However, as I began to find communities of like-hearted music enthusiasts on social media, I started sharing. It was a way of supporting and embracing my inner music geek through creative artistic process… and outdated online painting programs. Musicians are the poets and composers of our lives; I want to celebrate how they have shaped me, by shaping “them” with lines and color.
How has making fan art played a role in your growth as an artist?
There’s only one way to master drawing the human body: practice. When I was younger, I would practice tracing the shapes of these musician’s heads and eyes and noses until I could repeat the shapes independently. The repetition of these simple drawings has helped me develop a greater understanding of spatial relationships and human anatomy while drawing. Likewise, it has taught me the importance of sharing your work online… and the unexpected joy that simple artwork can bring so many people.
What is your favorite piece of fan art you’ve made + why?
Oh, man. I’ve made so much that it’s hard to choose a favorite. It was fun working on a series of individual pictures for each song on Albert Hammond Jr’s latest album, “Momentary Masters” – which is a spectacular compilation of kick-butt music. I’m also partial to a particular drawing called “Drake & Josh” with Drake Bell replaced by Drizzy. Drake & Josh has always been a favorite show because I’m a sucker for anything with a character named “Megan”.
Tell us about the first time you ever made fan art! What inspired it? How old were you?
The whole Megandoods project really began when I was a bored, baby high schooler (age 14). I was in physics class and had MGMT stuck in my head, so I started drawing the band. It felt creepy drawing strangers, but it was also exciting to put a digital face to the noises that soundtracked my life. It was my own way of thanking the musicians for the impact their music has made on me.
How have your tastes changed over the years, and how has that manifested in your art?
The Megandoods color scheme never expands beyond the same 7-or-so pastel colors. In reality, I’m not a huge fan of pastels (although my interest in pastel pink did pique with the Hotline Bling cover art). I like moody neons, cool reds, and lots of black. The pastel thing started as a satire of internet teen culture, a culture that was draped in black-lined artwork and baby hues. I’ve decided to keep using these colors for the Megandoods project as a means of continuity. In personal artwork outside of Megandoods, I avoid these colors completely.
Which medium is your favorite to work in and why?
I love Microsoft Paint. At first I used it because it was the only digital drawing tool I had, but I soon realized I could use it to pay homage to my own upbringing. Every digital kid spent hours and hours playing on Paint as a kid. Why did we ever stop? Anyone can make art. You don’t need fancy Photoshop and Illustrator – you just need a half-working laptop and hands.
Has your fan art ever been noticed by the subject of the piece (i.e. A band member seeing a drawing you did of them)? What was your reaction and how did this affect your confidence in your art?
Yes! It’s a very humbling experience. Ryn Weaver – who is this reincarnated Joni Mitchell-esque, glam-pop goddess – found my art and asked me to work with her on designing her own tour merch. That whole experience was amazing.
Another absurdly exciting experience was illustrating an interview with Julian Casablancas – the sonic superhero whose music has impacted me more than any other person/place/thing/idea – for my friend Fiel’s zine Elision. Knowing that Julian would see things I drew was terrifyingly brilliant. I’m embarrassed that I gave him some drawings once when I met him. I hope he doesn’t think I’m a total loser.
I’ve had my art noticed by a lot of artists through “likes” and social media. It’s hauntingly cool to realize how interconnected we really are. If you send something into the internet void, people will see it. Musicians aren’t these abstract, faraway heroes anymore; they’re real, living people that can hear your voice from a click away. I worry all the time that I’m creeping artists out, but I want to do what I can to honor the voices that have had such an intense impact on my entire being. It means a lot to me to have the power to share these little drawings with musicians.
Who are some of your favorite fan artists and why? Shout ’em out!
- @sashaagordon is my favorite young artist in the entire universe. She has a lot of absurdly phenomenal art of The Strokes buried within the artistic labyrinth of her Instagram. She’s so talented, and her art is so crazy good.
- @somescallywag is also a super cool art gal. Like Sasha, she also has a lot of kickbutt The Strokes art – as well as a lot of other great stuff! I want her to illustrate my entire life.
- @sailoralien is too good to be real. I’m so obsessed with their hand-drawn art that hits the perfect soft-spot between cartoon and realism. I’m essentially having a fangirl moment about all of these artists that I admire so much.
What is your best piece of advice for aspiring artists?
Embrace the internet! Post everything in the world that you feel comfortable sharing. If you want people to find your art, they will. Even if you don’t think something is perfect, it’s worth sharing. The interwebs are the most incredible sounding board for everything in the universe. They’re a beautifully supportive place. Share! ✿