Local graphic artist Amanda (Ewert) Dameron has found a way to do something she loves and make a living from it all from the comfort of her own home in Marion.
“I am a contract artist for a company in Utah called Pinpros,” Dameron said. “Working from home is nice. I like it a lot.”
With a keen eye for detail and a sure hand, she draws designs for custom pins, belt buckles, key chains, and patches as well as other wearable artwork, using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, and a Wacom stylus and tablet, which is a digital device comparable to a pen and paper.
“There is a learning curve that comes to using the tablet,” she said. “It can be used like a mouse but there is something in your brain that just has to switch.”
Drawing with a mouse would drive her crazy, she said, and she compared it to trying to draw with a pencil that had been stuck inside a potato.
She says the tablet is better for the detailed work because it offers better control than a standard mouse. It also saves her a lot of production time.
“It also helps to know the key commands for the programs,” she said. “It saves me a lot of time.”
A normal logo takes her about 30 minutes to complete while bigger jobs take her about an hour. In a typical day, she estimated that she usually completes 10 to 15 jobs.
“Most of the time clients have a vague idea for their logo or maybe they will send a rough hand drawing that I refine and convert to vector format,” she said. “I get some freedom in the creative process, but I usually tweak their existing ideas and let them know if it will work or not.”
She has done work for a variety of national and club sports teams and the military, as well as Hollywood movie companies.
“I have worked on pins for The Hunger Games, and I did some K-State pins which was kind of cool,” she said. “I also worked on dog tags for the G.I. Joe movie that came out. I believe that was memorabilia that was for the cast and crew.”
The images Dameron creates are usually about 1 to 3 inches in size, but while working on her computer she enlarges the image to focus on particular details, ad color, and alter lines.
She said working from home allows her to focus on each job without answering many phone calls. It allows her more freedom. Her flexible schedule allows her to break up her computer time with chores around the house and tending to her family responsibilities.
“Some days I miss working side-by-side with other artists, especially when I get stuck on a job and need someone to bounce ideas off of,” Dameron said. “But it is peaceful and I was always more introverted.”
If she has any issues or needs help, she communicates with co-workers via e-mail or phone.
After taking classes from art teacher Jim Versch, Dameron graduated from Marion High School in 2001. Then she attended Labette Community College where she took graphic design classes and played softball for two years. After that, she enrolled in Pittsburg State University and received her bachelor’s degree in commercial graphics in 2005.
Before taking the job with Pinpros 2010, she worked for several screen-printing companies in Oklahoma.
In 2011, she and her family moved back to Marion and her boss allowed her to take on a company computer.
Drawing has always fascinated Dameron. She traced her love of it back to early childhood.
“Growing up my mom was an art teacher,” Dameron said. “It’s not that I wasn’t allowed coloring books, but Mom just thought it would be better if I drew the things that I colored.”