Content creator Raven White produces the art that she wishes she had growing up. With Internet-famed recreations of cultural icons such as Pokémon, Chance the Rapper, Beyoncé’s dancers and most recently ABC’s Black-ish star Tracee Ellis Ross as the Magic School Bus’ conductor Ms. Fizzle. White’s work fosters a nostalgia and warmness all 90s babies can connect to. In 2010, White began working as a freelancer and independent contractor in Atlanta producing animated short films and sequences, graphic designs, logo designs, and Illustrations. 7 years later, she is still committed to authoring authentic stories with Black people represented and acknowledged as the heroes of their own tales.
Blossom: Why do you create?
Raven White: Because when I don’t, I don’t feel whole. There are so many images and stories in me that want to be brought to life–so when they feel ignored it hurts a bit.
Blossom: Tell us about the moment you became an artist.
Raven White: My memory is fuzzy but I had a preschool teacher and her name was either Ms.Grape or Ms. Gray. It was probably Ms. Gray but I called her Ms. Grape because she had purple glasses. Anyway, I remember sitting with her at these too small tables, mimicking the way she would color (which I thought was way prettier than scribbling) and challenging myself to draw the characters in those coloring books without tracing because [I thought] ‘I can do that. I wanna do that too’ and I did. I remember it feeling like home, it was just something natural. I’ve drawn ever since then, and it wasn’t until the 10th grade when I realized I could do it as a job too.
Blossom: What are your career aspirations? What is your dream job?
Raven White: Producing and directing animated productions. Whether it is music videos, a short series, or feature length film.
Blossom: You direct, storyboard, character design, comic, write and animate. Which do you enjoy most and why?
Raven White: You’re asking a Libra which thing they like the most (laughs). Presently, [I like] comics and storyboarding because it combines storytelling, writing and drawing.
Blossom: What do you think is the biggest misconception about content creators?
Raven White: That just because we love and enjoy what we do, it’s not considered “real work” which, in turn, has some people expecting you to pump out quality work quickly, easily, and often or you’re approached to do work for free.
Blossom: What advice would you give someone that wants to become a content creator?
Raven White: Do what you love and your audience will come but you are your first and biggest fan. Study your peers, see what works and doesn’t work but don’t compare yourself to their success. Get used to the reality of working hard but don’t get discouraged when your progress isn’t going as fast as you’d like.
Blossom: You have been freelancing since 2010. How do you get work and stay motivated?
Raven White: Showing work I’m proud of, word-of-mouth and shares both online and offline is how. This is why it’s so important to credit an artist if you’re planning on sharing their work. As for staying motivated, I set goals, have student debt to pay back, and a mouth to feed–which is my mouth. It’s me.
Blossom: Recently Tracee Ellis Ross recognized your artwork of her as Ms. Frizzle on social media. What kind of feedback have you received?
Raven White: It’s been pretty positive and supportive. Friends were messaging and texting me ‘Congrats!’ and my Pokémon celebrity art series picked up popularity again, so more of my folks were like, ‘Aye, you famous now!’
Blossom: What works/projects are you most proud of to date?
Raven White: I’m proud of “CFBG Tips;,” a self-reflective web comic about being a “carefree” black girl since I got the black part down and sharing those tips for those that want that too. That project has helped so many feel validated about their feelings and mental health so it’s a very special project to me. The Poke Celeb Series is a lot of fun too.
Blossom: How do you leverage social media as an artist and content creator?
Raven White: I look at it as a tool [and] an extension of my resume. Everything I post should, in some way, benefit me as an artist and content creator and push me further to completing my goals. It’s also a great tool to connect with my peers. I’m still being myself and it can be such a good time but I’m mindful of the fact that I’m being watched by those who want to work with me.
Blossom: Why do you think the world needs your work now?
Raven White: I’ve noticed it makes so many people feel seen and happy, and with the way the world is right now? We need all the happiness we can get.
Blossom: What’s the hardest part of being a creative in your opinion? What’s the best part?
Raven White: The hardest part is struggling with being your own worst critic and adversary. The best part is when you’re creating without being your worst critic and you’re having the time of your life.
Follow Raven online at @RaveyRai and RaveyRai.com
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Lauren is an actor, multimedia journalist, recovering tomboy and media junkie. She is an advocate of social justice, to-do lists and kind people with big dreams.