Your Friendly Neighborhood Art Nerds: Mitzimaru (FLORIDA EDITION!)

Artist Feature


Mitzimaru, AKA Staci Durden is a freelance artist/illustrator from Northern Florida. Her works boast myriads of bright and ethereal color combos– her themes mostly whimsical and airy in nature. She’s just recently broken out into the world, but she’s been drawing ever since I’ve known her! (so like, since she was 12.) She describes herself as a 20-something with an interest for video games, cats, anime, and girls with gravity-defying hair (if it wasn’t already obvious).

Staci’s go-to art supply is her neon yellow Gelly Roll gel pen– for that extra pop of color. When it comes to food, she’s all about the tuna subs. But let’s get down to some deep, nerdy inquiries.

Who/What inspires your work? Why?

I’d say my biggest inspiration is probably all the cool female characters I grew up with like the Sailor Scouts, Zelda, Cardcaptor Sakura, and Sango from Inuyasha! They were all so strong and graceful and I like to think my art represents that a little. I also pull a lot of inspiration from other artists that I know personally and those I follow on Instagram. 
Do you have any advice for those who want to “learn how to art” but don’t know where to start?
Just draw what you’re into and stick to it; along the way you’ll learn everything you need to know! And don’t be afraid to experiment!

Be sure to check out her Instagram Page for more of her amazing work!

She is also currently selling on her Redbubble and is making her way to table at local conventions in the North Florida area!

Want to support her directly? Hit up her ko-fi!

Your Friendly Neighborhood Art Nerds: no_hard_felines (issue #01)

Artist Feature, Updates

Don’t you love cats? Are you also a big nerd? Well… hope you’re at HeroesCon this year!

Merryn Kepchar, AKA no_hard_felines on instagram, is currently creating detailed and extremely nerdy cat portraits for all to enjoy (Including me!).

Kepchar, 28, has lived in the Greensboro area for most of her life– a true NC native! Graduating from UNCW with a BFA in Studio Arts, she also gives credit to the Art Alliance of Greensboro for aiding her kitty craft. After her time in Wilmington, she popped back to the ‘boro to crank out these wonderful pop-culture cats.

“My long time love Chris was the one who came up with the idea, I had always done much more serious, traditional landscape, portrait and still life painting and drawing but this project just has a magic and a fun about it that was so inspiring and freeing to me, so here we are!”

She and Chris currently live together with two cats, and a tiny 14 month-old human son.

Kepchar currently leans toward her medium Intuous Pro Wacom Pen Tablet when it comes to favorite art supplies. She applauds the efficiency of working with digital media and how forgiving it is when it comes to shading/coloring her scanned work. The Silver Paintbrush Line runs a close second to her favorites list!

Who/What inspires your work on this project? Why?

“This project is inspired by a combination of John Singer Sargent, for the beauty of his drawing and the drama of form he creates with line, Ralph Steadman for his fun attitude and his brave nontraditional images (especially his series of dogs) and by Nicktoons of the 90’s that made up my first notion of what cartoons “should” look like.”

Do you have any advice for those who want to “learn how to art” but don’t know where to start?

“When you start out you have to train your eye and mind to see things as big, generalized shapes and start your drawing by mapping out these large rectangles, cylinders, triangles etc. When you do this you can compare things to each other in a simple way that lets you understand the placement of different elements in relation to each other and to the whole composition (proportions). Don’t jump into details until the end!”

Favorite Food?

“Pizza, any pizza!”

Merryn will be running her first table at Heroes Con 2017 this year. Don’t miss out! Until then, be sure to check her out on Instagram or her website.

Need to contact Merryn Directly? Say “Hey!” at or 

artwork by Merryn Kepchar

Stay tuned for artists every other week! They’re everywhere!