Tracy Campbell



atomik cupcake designsIf you’re looking for fun designs from a carefree artist, then Tracy Campbell is your gal. Truly a cool chica, her cartoons and tattoos remind you not to take life so seriously. Although she does create art with deeper emotional tones, her relaxed approach resonates with me. Her tattoo designs are out of this world! I’m contemplating traveling to her state just to showcase her work on one of my limbs. She’s creative and funny and her cute Etsy shop is buzzing with adorable designs to choose from.

Learn more about her, the process she goes through to create such amazing work, and get inspired by her overall awesomeness….. and if you’re in the Denver area check her out in her first ever art & gallery show at the Pancakes and Booze Art Show in Denver on November 18!

ARTist's Spotlight Feature

Tracy CampbellHi, my name is Tracy Campbell. I’m 27 years old and an artist based in the Denver, Colorado area. I’ve lived in Colorado my entire life, and I took up drawing as a hobby as soon as I was old enough to pick up a pencil and not try to jab it into anyone’s eye. I’m an only child that grew up in a small mountain town with like 10 people in it, so it was a great way to entertain myself! Disney was a huge influence on me when I was younger, and as I got older I began to really admire the style of anime as well. I would say that my forte in the art world lies within illustration—cartoons, stylized illustration, realism, you name it! I just love to draw things.
I’m lucky enough that I’ve been able to turn my life-long passion into a career— when I was 19, I pursued an apprenticeship to become a tattoo artist, which I have now been doing professionally since 2010. I absolutely love my job; I get to help people by designing and applying a piece of art on their body that will last an entire lifetime! The tattoo industry really helped me branch out into new mediums and styles of art as well. My second passion is in the world of digital art and graphic design, and I’ve been pursuing an AAS degree in this part-time for a couple years now (I’m halfway there!). My love for graphic design, which developed when I was a teenager and I discovered that the Internet was the best thing ever, has led me to create designs for t-shirts, which I currently sell in my Etsy shop, Atomik Cupcake Designs.

Follow Her On Social Media:
Facebook: Instagram: Etsy: Portfolio: Tattoo

The More You Know:
1. When and how did you get involved with art?
As I mentioned in the summary up above, I most likely got involved with art as a means to entertain myself when I was a kid, and I just happened to be pretty good at it! I remember when I was 5, I read a book about a magic pencil, where anything that you drew with it would come to life. I wanted that to be real so badly, so I would draw things ALL THE TIME that I wished could be real things. That story always sticks out to me, and I credit it for my initial dedication. =DTracy Campbell
2. Which art style do you most identify with?
That’s a tough one, as it has changed throughout my life, but I would say that right now I’m really drawn to Art Nouveau. It is just so beautiful—bold lines, normally a soft color palette and calm subject matter—I dunno, it just makes me feel happy and inspired to look at it.
3. How would you best describe your work? Please let us know why you are passionate about it.
All of my work has a little piece of myself in it, whether it’s the subject matter (for instance, I love to draw and paint animals and nature because I grew up in the Rocky Mountains), the style, or the subtle meaning behind it. My favorite thing about this in relation to my tattoo career is that I can collaborate with someone else’s personality, and together we can create something that has a lot of intimacy behind it. For my personal work, I love this because it’s a great outlet for me to share pieces of who I am with the world in a way where they might relate. Art is all about the emotional connection!
4. How did you develop your style?
When I was a kid, I was obsessed with Disney, like every other child in the Western world. I also loved video games, my favorite of course being Sonic the Hedgehog. The idea of anthropomorphic characters was the greatest thing ever to me because I love animals; I first started out by pausing the Disney VHS tapes at scenes where I really liked the expression or movement of the character, then I would trace it. Later I would try on my own to replicate what I’d traced. I distinctly remember that my favorite characters to draw were foxes (like Todd from Fox and the Hound or Robin Hood) and Lola Bunny from Space Jam. =DTracy Campbell
5. Which other artists inspire you and why?
Glen Keane is a god of all things ever. He is my muse. =D Also Jhonen Vasquez, creator of Invader ZIM, is actually a great inspiration. He is weird, he is unorthodox, and he subtly implies his loss of faith in humanity in ways that we can all identify with. He is a brilliant storyteller and he has a very distinct style! Shepard Fairey is also pretty inspirational simply because of how he got started, how distinct his graphic style is, and how his art sends a message and makes people think.
6. What is your favorite art work done by another artist? What is your favorite art work done by you?
It is hard to pick a favorite anything, but right now pretty much anything by Alphonse Mucha is pure gold. This is one of my favorites of his:
My favorite thing that I’ve done? Oh jeez…I have so many things that I don’t even know. XD I guess one of my favorites would have to be a piece I did for my college drawing class final. I wish I had a better picture of it! r0.jpg.html

Tracy Campbell
7. Is your craft your full time Job?
Yes! Drawing and art is a part of my daily life in the form of full-time professional tattooing, which I’ve been doing for 6 years now.
8. What does your daily routine involve? And what time of day is the best time for you to work on your craft?
I wish I could give a more sophisticated answer for this, but I’m just going to be honest and show you how boring my routine really is. XD It goes something like this:
-Wake up and stare at my phone until I feel awake enough to start getting ready for the day. Eat breakfast while watching Game Grumps on YouTube (if you haven’t heard of Game Grumps, you are missing out!)
-Take my dog Molly, a cute husky mix, for a walk, then feed her and my two kitties, Link and Navi.
-On work days, I go to work, hastily trying to do all of the drawings that I slacked off on during the last week because I’m a procrastinator, and I do my best work under the pressure of an unrealistic deadline that I have no one to blame for but myself. Do awesome tattoos, or, when I don’t have any appointments scheduled, maybe do some digital art, read a book, or engage in weird conversations and shenanigans with my coworkers.
-On my days off, I tend to make a half-hearted effort to clean my house, read some more, and try to get out into the world for longer than to just buy groceries. When I’m holed up in my house, I do a bunch of random things like try to learn to play guitar, dabble in tarot card reading, attempt to learn Japanese, play a bunch of old video games, draw or paint, and dance around the living room in my underwear. This is probably more than you ever wanted to know.Tracy Campbell
9. What are your favorite art supplies?
Micron pens. Micron pens for days. I’ve also grown fond of watercolor paints
lately—I don’t have a specific brand, but the liquid ones that come with a dropper are very nice and smooth. I also couldn’t live without my trusty Wacom Intuos tablet or my Adobe Illustrator!

10. How is your studio or art space organized?
What is this…organization you speak of? I am so bad at organization, but I’m trying really hard. My house has an extra room in it with two desks, countless drawers of paper and art supplies, and an enormous Epson laser printer. It’s kind of like a studio (I have a ton of my art hanging up in there), but I don’t actually make art IN it—for that I use the dining room table, which looks like a Hobby Lobby threw up on it. My tattoo space is located at a tattoo shop called Parlour Tricks Tattoo, and is slightly more organized because I’m supposed to be a professional and all. But I still have a pile of drawings on my drawing table there that is getting kind of out of hand. =D
TL;DR: I have no organization. I do not adult well all the time.
11. What do you do before you start a piece?
A lot of people are very organized about how they do projects, and I’ve learned of this method in my college classes: draw up thumbnail concepts, rough a few of them out, and when one really starts to take shape, invest into completing it.
Yeah, I don’t do any of that. For graphic design I somewhat force myself to, especially for logos and commission work, and even some tattoos, so that the customer has an idea of what they’re going for, but for my own personal work and most of my tattoos, I just wing it. Yep. Total professional here. =D

Tracy Campbell
When I get a concept in my head, I’m able to visualize really well exactly what I’m going for, so I’ll strive to sketch something out based on what I already see. I don’t experiment with color palettes or different angles or any of that: I just go for it. Remember how I said I like to work under pressure? My best work has always happened when I dive into it with a somewhat specific concept that I have in mind.
12. How has your work changed over time?
Sometimes I’m surprised by how much my work really has changed; it’s pretty noticeable to me. My cartoon style has been something that’s mostly stayed with me, but when I was a teenager, I really started getting into anime and drawing in that style. When I started my tattoo apprenticeship; however, was when I really noticed the change. My designs became more defined, with more traditional tattoo elements incorporated into it. I was really into new-school art there for a while because it combined these traditional elements with the cartoony style that I loved, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve started drifting away from that and back
into a more illustrative style, which is no doubt influenced not only by my tattoo career, but also my pursuit of graphic design.
13. If and/or when you feel frustrated with a piece, what do you do to get out of that funk?
Often, my creative blocks come when I’m doing too much art for other people. Sometimes, it’s fun to step away from all that and just do some weird, silly doodles or something like that, something that no one else has to see and where I’m not trying to make a masterpiece, so that I can rediscover having fun with art. I also like to look at the work of other artists that I admire when I’m stumped so I can get some inspiration.

Tracy Campbell14. What do you most love about your work? Is there something you don’t like about it?
I love that I can see an improvement in my work every time that I do something new, and I love when I can accurately reflect what it’s my head down onto paper. As far as things I don’t like—I feel like every artist on the planet will always think they can do better. =D
15. What advice would you give to a young artist aspiring for a career in art?
I would say that you have to be smart about it—there’s nothing glamorous about being a “starving artist.” Be realistic about how you can apply your artistic skills to a career. A lot of people strive to be in galleries, own their own studios, maybe even work from home doing art—and that’s great! But there’s a ton of research that goes into it. Treat it like a small business—you’ll want to see what niche you can work in to provide an in-demand product. Most of all, though, remember to enjoy it. Many find that when a hobby becomes your job, it can take away some of the fun. Always remember why you became an artist in the first place!

Owl Sketch by Tracy Campbell
16. What is the biggest obstacle you face when it comes to your work?
I would definitely say that my biggest obstacle is coming up with original ideas for my personal art. Because I’m a tattoo artist, I’m constantly drawing other peoples’ ideas and hoping that it’s close to what they see in their head. Many of my clients are awesome and want me to put my own style in there too, but some of them don’t, and it can be hard when you get used to making art for other people all the time to come back and just do something because you want to.
17. Any advice for the creative entrepreneur?
Being self-employed for the past 6 years, I can definitely say that networking is going to be your biggest friend in a creative industry. You have no idea how many people are out there doing the same thing as you until you start asking about it— it’s amazing! Those people sometimes have connections to other people—gallery owners, art supply companies, printing shops, bloggers, festival organizers—I cannot stress enough how important networking is. Social presence also integrates into this concept; make yourself easy to network with! Be active in the art community with your peers. Not only will it help your career, but it’s very inspiring to meet other like-minded people.
18. What do you feel is the biggest accomplishment of your career thus far?
Honestly, I’m just happy that I have a career doing art. =D My biggest accomplishment is that I can pay all of my bills doing something that I love doing.

Earthen Beauty by Tracy Campbell
19. Where are you headed? What are your plans for the future with regard to your craft?
I’ve thought about this one a lot, and I still have no idea. XD I’m always pursuing several things at once, and I’m never sure how they’ll go. BUT, once I complete my graphic design degree, I would definitely like to do some freelance graphic design work, preferably with logos, branding, and as always, illustration. I would love to continue working with my t-shirt designs as well and see if I can get somewhere with that! However, I absolutely love tattooing and will probably continue with that for as long as my body lets me (specifically, my back and my hands). I’ve also considered the possibility of web comics and children’s book illustration in the future. I guess we’ll see!

And the best random question is?…
20. What is your favorite color and why?
I can never pick a favorite color; I love them all! However, my living room has a lot of green stuff in it, and my bedroom is decked out in red, and I’ve always toggled between the two in the past, so maybe those. =D


Don’t Forget To Follow Her On Social Media:

Facebook: Instagram: Etsy: Portfolio: Tattoo

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GRAB IT HERE —>  Free-adult-coloring-page






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