But from first glance at her illustrations, I was a fan. Violet Clair, the company name for the illustrations and greeting cards Samantha creates, was everything I love- colorful and fun with a witty + biting sense of humor. Her drawings focus on the highs + lows (and in-betweens) of life- from the humor of dating to the pain of our own insecurities, and all in her signature candy-coated shades.
I chatted with her about how she got her start, the highs and lows of running her own business, and apropos title she won in high school... read on to learn all about the magic of Violet Clair!
1. WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT DO YOU DO?
I am Samantha Rothenberg and I do illustration, webcomics, and have a line of greeting cards.
2. HOW DID YOUR CREATIVE CAREER GET STARTED? HAVE YOU ALWAYS BEEN CREATIVELY INCLINED OR DID THAT EVOLVE LATER?
I’ve always been creatively inclined, but used to think it would be too difficult to make a career out of being an artist. It was after years and years of working at non-creatively fulfilling jobs, I decided to take the leap.
3. YOU HAVE SUCH A FUN, CREATIVE POINT OF VIEW- IT'S COLORFUL AND UNIQUE BUT ALSO SO RELATABLE (WHICH IS WHY IT'S SO FUNNY)! WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION? DOES THAT COME EASILY OR DO YOU HAVE TO WORK TO STAY FRESH?
I find that the best ideas come when I’m out doing non-work related things -- walking around the city, observing people, going to events, etc. So basically it’s important for my work to take time off of work!
4. AS WITH MOST COOL JOBS, THERE IS ALWAYS MORE TO THEM THAN MEETS THE EYE! WHAT DOES YOUR DAY-TO-DAY WORK LIFE ENTAIL?
About 85% of what I do on a day-to-day is run my greeting card company, and there are a lot of boring and non-creative moving pieces to that.
5. CARVING A CREATIVE CAREER PATH IS NOT AN EASY FEAT! HOW HAVE YOU BEEN ABLE TO BUILD A CAREER AS AN ARTIST?
In all honesty, by being shameless and persistent.
6. WHAT IS THE BEST PART OF YOUR JOB?
The projects that allow me to merge humor and art are my absolute favorite.
7. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES?
The pressure to create original and quality content on a daily basis can feel draining at times! I’ve had periods where I’ve felt creatively drained and had to step away and recharge.
8. PART OF WAHT MAKES YOUR WORK SO GREAT IS HOW REAL AND (sometimes) VULNERABLE YOU CAN BE WITH YOUR ART. DO YOU EVER FEEL CONFLICT BETWEEN PUTTING IT OUT THERE AND KEEPING A LITTLE BIT MORE SPACE?
Some of the ideas for my webcomics come directly from my life, but a lot of them don’t. Knowing that it’s not really me who’s being portrayed makes me feel better about it!
9. WHAT ARE YOUR PROFESSIONAL GOALS FOR THE NEXT 5-10 YEARS?
I’d love to keep growing the Violet Clair product line, and also publish a book or two of comics.
10. WHAT'S YOUR BEST ADVICE FOR SOMEONE LOOKING TO CARVE THEIR OWN CREATIVE CAREER PATH?
Don’t be afraid to embarrass yourself, and stay super persistent.
11. TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOU FEW PEOPLE KNOW!
I was voted “Class Daydreamer” in high school, though I don’t think that’s really going to shock anyone.
I love her comment about merging humor and art- I agree, it truly makes for some of the BEST end results! And her advice to creatives- don't be afraid to embarrass yourself! Ha, so true. No one- really, truly no one- is great at something from the start. Getting good at something and creating a real path for yourself is always the result of endless persistence, and most likely a bunch of screw-ups (or at least lame attempts) along the way. I love her honesty!
If you need more Violet Clair in your life (which let's be real, who doesn't?), you can find her and her work here: