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Copyright Dottie Gleason

Copyright Dottie Gleason

Dottie Gleason's work is colorful, creative, whimsical, and... dark.  Her creations are a dance macabre, filled with a strangeness that makes the cuteness of her characters so very appealing.  The work is whimsical with an edge; a carnival of images where you can expect the unexpected.  Read the interview with this artist of the magical and gain insight into her creative process.


What inspired you to create in this genre?

This genre has been inspired by many artists, but mostly Tim Burton’s work. I love the darker whimsical side of this work in particular; I feel it has more depth and emotion. This also shows my newfound love for this type of genre that I do.


When did you discover your desire to create art?

This happened when I was about seven years old. I actually painted my walls with Disney characters. Actually, if I recall correctly, it was Minnie and Mickey Mouse. My Mother was cooking dinner and was curious as to why I was so quiet in my room. So when she investigated, I had drawn a huge Mickey and was working on a Minnie. I thought for sure I would be so grounded, but instead my mother was so proud and she couldn’t believe I had done that at such a young age. She loved it, and I also loved it too. I actually fell in love with art and the freeness of creativity and how when I touch that pen, marker or paint, it’s an automatic spark within myself. Thus coming out in my artwork.

Copyright Dottie Gleason

What inspired you to create in this medium, and what inspired the design?

It varies with my moods, actually. Sometimes I feel like I may not achieve a certain look or a certain feel, so I am always switching it up. It’s very uncertain with me in which direction I go. Thus making it more sporadic and exciting.

How long do work on an image? When do you know it’s finished?

This also varies on my mood. Sometimes I can finish artwork in an hour or so if I know exactly what I am drawing. Other times it can take days because I feel I can always add or improve, but I have to stop myself from going overboard. So it varies with what in particular I have in mind.

What do you love about being an artist?

The freedom is very exhilarating for me. Creativity lets me escape from my daily normality to a world that is all my own. In a world with so much structure no one can tell me what to draw or how to draw. It’s all on my own, and limitless; it’s very exciting. It’s nice to escape to my own world of enchanting imagination.

Copyright 2009 Dottie Gleason

What is the most difficult thing for you as an artist?

Not having enough hours or having enough time to create. It’s very easy for me to drift into my own world and forget to make dinner or even eat.

In what ways to do you stretch yourself to make your work grow?

Looking at new talent and different artwork all over and where I can find it. Working a lot of art shows and meeting local artists, going to festivals. I used to go to a festival back home in CA with my family every year. It was called the festival of the arts in Laguna Beach. There, I met people who did artwork in different ways, such as rock balancing, glass blowing, and bringing artwork to life, which was called the Pageant of the Masters. Learning and seeing different kinds of artwork really helps me grow.

Who are your favorite artists or authors, living or dead?

My favorite artists, though there are so many, include Robert Eberz, Mark Ryder. Of course, some of the greatest artists who paved the way in the beginning like Da Vinci and Edgar Degas. Some of my favorite authors are Eric Alexander, a good friend who I just finished illustrating a book for; Madonna, Tori Spelling, Maurice Sendak, Stephanie Meyer, Tolkien and C.S. Lewis.

Copyright 2009 Dottie Gleason

Is this the only genre you work in?


No. I can create anything and everything ranging from my dark artwork, to pretty purple butterflies and ladybugs to my grandson’s jungle baby theme, to a science classroom mural. That’s my favorite about artwork; the imagination is limitless for me. 


Do you do most of your own marketing? How to break up the time with creating and marketing?


Yes, I do all of my marketing. My son in law and daughter help a lot too. For instance, we all do our part and bring something to the table. My son in law does my website work, my daughter helps with all the administration client relations. I am constantly seeking new art forums to join. I am currently affiliated with the Valley Fine Arts Association in Maryland, which also helps with marketing.


Do you attend trade shows to market your work?


Yes. All that I have time for. And the Valley of Fine Arts Association also asked me to volunteer artwork for auctions, local hospitals and benefits. I also do artwork for my church to showcase my versatility.


What’s next for you? What projects are you working on?

I would like to continue book illustrations with my good friend Eric. My current project is working on 21 canvas acrylic paintings at the Valley of Fine Arts Association. They will be displaying them in a hospital in Maryland, and continuing to build my name and website.


What venue to do use to sell or showcase you work?

My website has an online store. We also just created a Facebook page and I am a member of several art forums and online communities, as well as tradeshows.


Do you have a website or other contact information for buyers to reach you and view your work?


Yes. All inquiries can be sent through my website. Contact information is displayed there.


Do you do commissioned artwork for customer?



When you are working on a commission piece, do you find you have to dig deeper for creativity? The reason I ask this is because new artists may get discouraged when they are working on a commissioned piece because the inspiration is not there.

No, I never get discouraged. I constantly have to stop myself from adding and adding to my artwork. Creativity is almost there, and I never do a piece of work without some sort of vision in place.


What advice do you hove for aspiring artists?

To always follow your imagination. Always run with a vision when you get it, and let your heart and passion come out on paper. No job is too big or too small. Know your range and versatility. Never just stick to one genre. Stay positive, and always have that vision.

Copyright Dottie Gleason

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