Alexandra Brodt with her Catcus plush

Interview: Oklahoma Artist Alexandra Brodt

Do you enjoy looking at nature and cats? If so, you should check out Oklahoma artist Alexandra Brodt! This cat and cacti-loving graphic designer and illustrator has a beautiful portfolio showcasing her love for geek culture and nature. 

Alexandra has been involved in her local Oklahoma art scene since 2008! She’s started her successful Cactus Plush Kickstarter that’s gone over its pledged goal of $7,000. Apart from creating her own designs, Alexandra does art illustrations from various areas of geek culture.  From Studio Ghibli drawings or portraits of her favorite anime characters, she doesn’t shy away from her inner geek!

Artist Alexandra Brodt with her Catcus plush
Artist Alexandra Brodt with her Catcus plush / Photo provided by Alexandra Brodt

I had the opportunity to interview Alexandra and dive more into her art career, love for nature, and her geek culture faves!

All images provided by Alexandra Brodt

Check out our interview!

What is your process for coming up with ideas for your design work versus your illustrations?

The process is fairly similar. Though after doing graphic design full-time for eight years at an office, I find myself doing all ‘sketches’ or digital comps in InDesign on my computer. Instead of starting out with a sketch in a book or in Photoshop with an illustration. With a design project, you have to know about the client you’re working with, and what their business is about.

I’ll create a mood board on Pinterest or in a folder on my desktop, which is a bunch of inspiration and has a feeling to the design that I want to create. With personal illustration, I normally sketch around in my sketchbook, see an idea, and decide to reproduce it as a final piece traditionally or digitally. That decision alone defines a style I want it to have, because my traditional and digital styles are so different. Lately, I’ve been experimenting with limited color palettes, digitally, such as in my new Stranger Things piece with Elle and Max.

Jiji with a butterfly illustration
Jiji with a butterfly illustration / Credit: Alexandra Brodt

You’re seeking illustration freelance in book covers and commission projects. Do you have any personal favorite book covers?

I grew up in a family that loved reading, and I personally grew up loving Harry Potter and the Dragon Riders of Pern Series by Anne McCaffrey. I would try to recreate the Skies of Pern cover dragon with my Prismacolor pencils when I was in middle school (During class… whoops!).

I think so many of the old fantasy and sci-fi fantasy novel covers from the 60s-80s are incredible works of illustration. I also love well-designed covers like The Alchemist anniversary edition, and always enjoy the Art of Disney, Pixar and Dreamworks books.

As far as children’s books in the current market that I love, I have to say ‘Mice Skating’ with illustrator Teagan White is one of my favorites to look at in style right now.

Catcus plush from the Kickstarter
Catcus plush from the Kickstarter / Credit: Alexandra Brodt

What is the art scene in Oklahoma like? What places in your area do you get inspiration from and are there any other places around the country that you would like to eventually move to?

The art scene in Oklahoma has actually grown so much over the last 10 years (the food scene too, yum!) with the revival of the Plaza District and the Paseo District. These two neighborhoods put on art festivals every year and have galleries and shops by local artists and small business.

More small business individuals offer art-focused classes. My friends Aditi Panchal, with her incredible hand drawn type workshops, and Jerry Bennett, who is just completing this month his year-long Artist in Residence at the Skirvin Hotel downtown, bring comics and cartoon workshops and events to locals. We have a local Ink and Draw event every Sunday at the Paseo Plunge, put on by local comic artist and teacher Eric Osborn at the Paseo Plunge, that also houses Literati Press, created by Charles Martin, a local publishing house that specializes in publishing comics for local authors and artists. Charles and Jerry just collaborated on “Glamorella’s Daughter.”

As for where I would like to eventually move to, I think California or Colorado. Their beautiful mountains and weather would be wonderful. For now, I’m able to own my small business, and a house right here in Oklahoma. I’m surrounded by incredible friends and other artist professionals. I’d say I have it pretty good right now!

What would you tell your younger self that was just getting started with her art career?

Draw more, So. Much. More. Work on anatomy and digital painting techniques far earlier than I did. And set a consistent working schedule. Though granted, I probably would have also told myself to work harder in school, get better grades and go to school in California and move to LA to be an intern at Disney or Dreamworks Animation.

Luna and the thestral illustration by Alexandra Brodt
Luna and the thestral / Credit: Alexandra Brodt

You have a lot of illustrations from geek culture on your site ranging from Harry Potter, My Hero Academia, and Game of Thrones. What are some of your favorite series, films, anime, etc that you like to geek out to?

Hayao Miyazaki, Studio Ghibli anything! The rich and sometimes dark fantasy worlds created by him are my favorites for anime films. As for all time anime series, Cowboy Bebop, it’s my absolute long lasting favorite, not just because of the characters (But I mean of course), but the soundtrack and very sci-fi idea. I mean, I loved Firefly too, and you can tell why!

I watch way too much TV, and it’s hard for me to watch a bunch of anime because I like to multitask when I’m watching. And for the most part, I prefer sub over dub when it comes to anime.

I like to rewatch Park and Recreation, the Office, Forensic Files, Veronica Mars and so on. Speaking of Veronica Mars, that has to be my all time favorite american show, and I enjoyed the novel adaptations and newly released 4th season as well! But lately, I’ve been listening to podcasts and audio books, that way I’m not gawking at the screen for a solid five (20) minutes while I’m trying to draw. Mostly true crime podcasts, but I’ve also been loving inspirational and learning ones like “Don’t Keep Your Day Job” and “Kwik Brain,” that I was recently told about by a friend.

One of Alexandra Brodts illustrations
Credit: Alexandra Brodt

Do you have a specific character in any realm of geek culture that you heavily relate to?

Haha, I’m definitely an April Ludgate/Leslie Knope. Because quite literally I was a full blown introvert growing up, and when I started doing conventions I was forced to be extremely extroverted and interact with people (But I was happy because going to conventions is like chatting with like you’re already friends).

Nowadays, I’m an ambivert, dead center on the scale of introvert and extrovert, and I really love that, because I get wonderful experiences from conventions and meeting new people, and then I spend two days cuddling my cats in my house.

As a girl in geek culture, what is some advice you have for women who might be scared to embrace their inner geek?

Being a geek is mainstream now! No one has to be ashamed for liking Star Trek, anime, or whatever anymore. I think just being your genuine self, and showing how much you love something, whether it’s geeky, cats, the outdoors or an obscure 19th century poet, makes you an amazing person that others will want be around.

Your illustrations and sketches have a lot of nature vibes to them. From plants, flowers, the cute cactus cat and even your Etsy shop has the word lotus in it! Does nature play a major role as inspiration for some of your work?

Definitely my three beautiful cats! Catcus definitely came from both my love of cats and cacti! My love of all plants and flowers, and absolute inability to keep them alive is probably why I like to draw them so much! It’s the only way I can have them!

Just like my adorable bird keychains, I have cats so I can’t really have birds but I love them so much I end up painting them. And my original Artist Alley name from when I started at 19 wasLotus Illustrations, and while I probably need to change my Etsy shop name to the rest of my social media, it was an homage at the time.

Artist booth at a convention
Artist booth / Credit: Alexandra Brodt

Are there any conventions or art related events coming up that you’re looking forward to attending?

I’m looking forward to LeakyCon in Boston in October. I’ve always wanted to go to Boston, and I’m thinking about visiting Salem as well, since Halloween month!

Anime Weekend Atlanta is over Halloween weekend this year! It will be my second time attending. And I adore my AirBnb hosts I had last year and re-booked with them again. I’m so excited to go back and eat some delicious food, and go visit the houses they used during filming of Stranger Things! I found out a couple months ago that’s where the kid’s houses in the show actually are!

You can catch up with Alexandra on her Etsy Page, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram. Don’t forget to checkout her website to continue seeing all of her work!

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