It was my privileged to interview Maria Morris. Maria is a local independent artist with many talents from Photography to Graphic Design and Illustrator. I consider Maria one of the most talented and fresh designers I know with great wisdom and understanding of her craft. Maria designs her work to inspire, encourage and glorify God. She works from her home in Kansas City while her kids are in high school and her husband is working at there church. Maria has 30+ experience in all forms of visual art. Her websites are mariawatercolor.com and mariawatercolor.etsy.com to find her on instagram: @mariawatercolor and on facebook.com/mariawatercolor
Where did you grow up? I grew up in the Washington D.C. area.Did you grow up in a creative home? No, but my Dad was very creative. I just didn’t live with him.Where did you go to College? Pensacola Christian CollegeIn College did you design?Yes, I majored in Commercial Art which gave me fine art and graphic design classes.When did you know that this was something you wanted to do? When I was 6. I’m the youngest of ten children and we would have drawing contests. I would always win.What is a typical day like for you? Take my kids to school. Spend time with God. Get on the computer to catch up with correspondence and social media. Paint. Exercise. Eat lunch. Go to Lowes. Take photos of my work. Update my Etsy shop, blog, etc. and work on promo. Make dinner. Chill.What inspires you? Really creative people on Instagram inspire me. Certain Christian women leaders inspire me. Nature inspires me. Do what I love inspires me.
How did you learn what you do? I do a lot of things from logos to watercolor portraits, to oil painting on wood. I would say I really learned painting and computers/graphic design in college and with my work/study program. I learned social media marketing, photography and running a business in the last 3 years just from doing it, making mistakes, asking questions, going to workshops, making more mistakes... What do you love to design? Floral quotes. I’ve always loved flowers and I believe in the power of words. What gets you out bed in the morning? My sweet kids and all the fun projects I get to do for people. How long have you been designing? I started designing in 1984 when I attended a trade school in 10th grade. They offered graphic design back when we use exacto knifes to lay out pages. What is a normal design process for you? Look on Instagram. Look on Pinterest. Sketch in my sketchbook. Design it in illustrator. Paint by hand while looking at computer design I created. I will use tracing paper for hand lettering. What advice would you give someone still in school? To be sure and take business classes. All the creativity in the world won’t help you negotiate with clients or balance your bank account. What is your favorite project? A watercolor I sold in Paraguay when we lived there. It was about 30”x40” portrait of a local woman selling bread from the basket on here head. (also my biggest regret, not keeping it or a good photo of it)
What would you recommend to someone starting there onen business? I would recommend getting started on Etsy. It’s a low-cost way to present yourself and make sales. I would also recommend taking local workshops and even going to some fun conference like Christy Wright’s Business Boutique. Have you ever worked for a design company or a company that you design in house for? if so how was it? Yes, I worked for 3-4 years at A Beka Book Publications, where I illustrated children’s text-books on Apple computers. It was fun and a great learning experience for me. When do you know that the project is done? When the client approves it. But, I only present to the client work that I am proud to post on social media. When is it time to stop working? When I’m too tired to design anything pretty. Any thing else you would like to add? 3 years ago I started a photography business. I’ve never learned so much about business. But, it also strengthened my design knowledge. Creating a good photograph requires composition skills and it’s easier to see that through a camera lens than on a blank canvas.