REAL GEEK MOMS: Artist Leslie Doyle
The goal of my “Real Geek Moms” series is to show the world that moms can be geeky too. When you think of a mom, you don’t always wonder if they’re geeky, but you know what? They might just be! I’m here to let the world know that moms DO know what they are talking about. They can be geeky too, maybe even more than their kids! Plenty of mothers in the world love teaching their kids how to embrace their inner geekiness. I’m on a mission to find them! I’ll even talk to pet owners and how they like to embrace the geek with their pets. Prepare to meet amazing women all over the world.
Meet Leslie Doyle! She’s a geeky mom with a passion for art and creating wonderful work! She’s loves painting images of pretty much everything, which includes pop culture characters we love and whatnot. I got the chance to talk to her and learn more about her passion. Before you check out the interview…head on over to her website, follow her on Twitter , check out her Youtube page, and ‘like’ her Facebook page!
What does being a geek mean to you?
It means being passionate enough about something you love that it affects your life and the lives of those around you in some shape or form (hopefully positively most of the time lol).
What’s your take on the fact that there are still people out there thinking girls are fake geeks?
It’s amazing to me there are people out there who believe that in order to be a fan of something, you have to like it as much and in the same way that they do. Like, you don’t get to decide how other people enjoy things? It seems like a simple concept.
It would be like if I LOVED orange juice – I drink it every day with every meal and in between and then you tell me that you only drink it once a day with breakfast and I’m like “WHAT!!?? THAT’S WRONG! YOU CAN’T POSSIBLY LIKE ORANGE JUICE IF YOU ONLY DRINK IT ONCE A DAY! YOU MUST BE A FAKE ORANGE JUICE DRINKER!”
How ridiculous does that sound?? That’s what people who talk about fake geek girls sound like. Everyone gets to decide what they like and how they like it and whether or not they call themselves a geek/nerd/fan etc. and it doesn’t have to affect anyone else.
Fake geek girls don’t exist, there’s just people who like things to varying degrees in different ways. Also, it ties in greatly with how conventionally, in society, things that are seen as girls interests, (fashion, cooking, sewing, makeup, hair, boy bands, etc.) is looked down on as frivolous or trivial. And it seems a lot of the type of people who subscribe to that idea, believe that if girls like the same thing as them it must trivialize it somehow? Which of course, is complete and utter nonsense. More fans = more people to enjoy your interests with, stop shooting yourself in the foot by trying to gatekeep.
(Sorry for the rant but I have a lot of feelings about this.)
Are you married? Kids? Their age(s).
I AM married, my husband and I have two children – our son Aidan is 8 and our daughter Lily is 5.
Do/does your kid(s) have any obsessions you encourage them to show off?
Absolutely! Aidan LOVES Minecraft and Lego Batman and Sonic at the moment, we play Minecraft together quite a bit – our world is called Aidan and Mummy world and we’re almost done building a very fancy house that we collected a lot of resources to build because we like to play in survivor mode. It’s the highlight of our weekend when we get to play together and right now when he grows up he wants to be a Let’s play Youtuber. He also LOVES reading and gobbles up any new comic I get him, currently, I am reading Harry Potter to him – we read a new book every year – we’re on book three. Lily is an artist like me, she mostly draws a lot of her imaginary friends like the Disney princesses and Spider-Man and Jack and Sally from Nightmare before Christmas, she also LOVES My Little Pony and collecting Funko Pop Figures and asks me to pick her up a new one every time I go to a convention.
Do you feel like parents should ever tone down their obsessions?
I don’t think parents should tone down obsessions (how MUCH they love something). But I do think striving for balance is a healthy example for kids. My son and I only play Minecraft on weekends, after both of us have finished homework/house chores etc. Getting a new comic/pop figure is a special treat or reward, not something they should expect on a regular basis. My kids see me work on my art/read comics/play video games/watch my shows in my spare time because I have a job and responsibilities at home. I travel to conventions and I try and keep a balance between the things I want to do and the things I need to do – luckily they intersect quite a bit most of the time. I’m excited for when they get older and I can share even more of the things I love with them (Star Wars, Indiana Jones, The Walking Dead, other video games etc. etc.).
How long have you been into art?
Oh, I’m pretty sure I was drawing before I was talking and things like art and animation captured me long before I knew people were behind the creation of them. It was always a way to express myself, tell my stories and share my loves. Funnily enough, I started with photorealism – I would steal my parents National Geographic magazines and draw the people and animals out of them, then at 13 I discovered Anime (Sailor Moon) and that swept me and my art away for quite a long time, I never went to art school and actually dropped out of grade 10 art because I didn’t like the teacher. I went to conventions as an attendee and shared my art online for years, then in 2009, when I was living in the UK I decided to start working at conventions, I moved back to Canada in 2012 and I was inspired to try photorealism again in 2013 and since then, my art has transitioned from a hobby to a (nearly) full-time job and I love it.
Are there any artists you look up too?
Oh probably too many to count. When I was young I was heavily influenced by the manga art of Sailor Moon by Naoko Takeuchi – I collected all the art books and poured over them for hours on end. I also admire so many of my friends who work in different fields of the industry (illustration, animation, comics, graphic design etc.), I surround myself with hard-working creative people to help inspire me to follow my own art journey and they help me to strive for growth and challenge myself. Some that come to the top of my head are Katie Shanahan, ALB, Megan Kearny, Meaghan Carter, Sanya Anwar, – on the more photorealistic end of the scale the artist Euclase influenced me heavily and today I use some of the tips and tricks she has shared to help create the photorealistic portraits I do, and then, of course, the amazing Drew Struzan (known for the iconic Starwars/Indiana Jones/Harry Potter movie posters), I also really look up to Kelly Sue Deconick who has kids (a daughter nearly the same age as mine) and didn’t start in the comics industry until her 30’s – she inspires me regularly.
What are some of your favorite TV shows?
Currently? The Walking Dead, Supernatural, Doctor Who, Sherlock, The Good Wife, Game of Thrones, Agent Carter, Agents of Shield, plus the stuff I enjoy with my kids, Stephen Universe, My Little Pony, Octonauts, Batman, etc. At conventions, I get asked a lot if I’m watching a certain show (Hannibal, Jessica Jones, Arrow) and I tell people I have a giant list that I need to get caught up on but it just seems to keep growing – there are not enough hours in the day!!
If you could create portraits for Marvel or DC, which would you pick and why?
Well, I’ve already done Agent Carter and I got to meet Hayley Atwell at Fanexpo last year and give her a portrait and get one signed, she tweeted about it later which was awesome. But really I’d love to do any of the Marvel/DC film characters, especially Wonder Woman or Captain Marvel – my dream job would be to create movie posters or comic covers/splash pages using my photorealistic portraits much like the great Drew Struzan.
A lot of your portraits are based on pop culture and shows like The Walking Dead, do you tend to do portraits more for pop culture or do you just do whatever you find interesting?
I tell anyone who asks that for me, I have to know a character before I can draw them. For example, I get a lot of requests for portraits from Hanibal (the show) but I haven’t done them because I haven’t watched the show. It’s really important to me that I not only capture a character’s likeness but also their personality and overall mood in the pieces that I create. It’s much more difficult to do that if I don’t have a feel for the character. Plus it’s still a way for me to share what I love, I draw my favorite characters/villains and then I get to share that love with the people who buy my prints – I get to have conversation after conversation with people who are just as passionate as I am about the shows/characters that we love and that’s my favorite part about going to conventions! Having said that I have a MASSIVE list of characters that I want to draw and sometimes when I’m trying to figure out which to do next it helps me to look ahead and see what guests are going to be at what conventions so I know what majority of fans will attend and have prints that they would be interested in, but even so, if it’s not something I’ve personally watched, it’s not likely to end up on my list. Even for personal commissions, I try to gain as much information as possible because capturing a portrait isn’t just about making it look right, it has to feel right as well.
Any favorite comics?
Currently, I am LOVING the new Jem and the Holograms comic. I love the new designs (the body diversity!!!!<3<3<3), I love the characters, I love the story, everything about it – I want to cosplay Stormer SO BAD! Also currently on my pull list is Zodiac Star force and Lumberjanes (love me some diverse and interesting lady characters!)
Do you take inquiries and requests? Perhaps if someone wants a portrait of them done or just of something they like.
Absolutely! Any commission inquiries can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org – I do personal portraits, family, kids, pets as well as character portraits – I offer a special discount rate if it is something I could also sell at conventions!
One thing I do ask people to keep in mind is that a single portrait can take me anywhere between 10-15 hours to complete and are priced accordingly, I often have people save up to commission me – especially for family portraits (makes a great wedding gift!) 😉
Working on anything for the future?
Ohhhh to many things. I always have at least a few projects on the go so if I get bored/stuck with one I can jump to the other – currently, I am working on colour paintings of Captain Kirk (William Shatner) with the Enterprise and Mal (Nathan Fillion)/Serenity for my Captains and their ships series (to match my Picard piece) as well as a Three portrait Loki piece (mmm Hiddleston is a delicious study of features/expressions) and I’ve got Moriarty on the go to complete my Sherlock/John set. Plus more Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Supernatural and Doctor Who (eventually I want to do all the Doctors and companions in one MASSIVE piece!) XD I try to have at least one or two new pieces for each convention I do – which at the moment is one a month between March-October.
What’s your advice to all the girls out there who might be to scared to let their geek shine?
Never be afraid to be yourself – the people who want you to be someone else aren’t the type of people you want in your life anyway. By being yourself you will attract the people who will love you for who you are, and they are the ones who will stay with you and support you your whole life. Every good person in my life right now I’ve met through our shared passions (or obsessions) whether it’s comics, art, anime, movies, gaming, fandoms, Tumblr etc. and I couldn’t be more grateful for each and every one of them. Shine your light, find your tribe, love yourself.