Recently I had the overwhelming pleasure to interview the utopYAcon goddess behind the lens, Regina Wamba of Mae I Design. Not only is she super cool, but she is astoundingly talented. Once again, Regina and Mae I Design will be a part of utopYAcon, and we at utopYA HQ couldn’t be happier. For those who don’t know this amazing woman, allow me to introduce you…
boutique book design company that packs a lot of punch. Having been interested in art most of her life, Regina studied Visual Communications and Graphic Design at Brown College which helped
hone her skills in painting, drawing and photography. One day, her love for art fatefully intersected with her love of books and that is how
Mae I Design was formed! Specializing in unique book cover design and cover photos,
Mae I Design is your book’s one-stop shop for becoming a star!
It’s obvious you have a strong love for the visual arts. For those of us who follow your Facebook feed, we’re often treated to random photos and/or sketches. I personally geek out over the sketches.
Yes! I have a passion for creativity. Especially the random painting, photograph, and or unique cover. LOVE late night sketches!
Has art always been part of your life? Were you a young artist or did you ‘discover’ your art later in life?
Gah.. for as long as I can remember. Painting in 2nd grade? My poinsettia won an AWARD! 😉 I have sketches from middle school, a portfolio from high school and college. Drawing and painting were my base. Photography grew later in high school. I had to develop my images with a duct taped bathroom in COMPLETE dark!
HA! Creative and resourceful. Who influenced/inspired your art as you grew as an artist?
Okay, I watched Bob Ross like a happy fool! Who didn’t just love his happy trees and his amazing talent for whipping something together!? I really loved Kincaid’s work for his light. LOVE his lighting work. Then Disney. Because imagination is everything. I love Fairytales. That magic inspires me everyday.
Right? Happy trees and fluffy clouds. Love that man. Not only do you have some major talent with a sketching pencil, but you’re an amazing photographer. Like, amazing. And photography is tough! Not everyone can pick up a camera and knock out quality shots. There are oodles of things to take into consideration: light, shadows, glare, negative space, the infamous red-eye…
Did you always have a love for photography, or did you transition from one art media (traditional drawing media) to another (photography)?
Well, like mentioned above… Photography really started to grow on me when I was about 15 years old. Out of all the mediums, photography was probably the hardest to learn… and am DEFINITELY still learning… Though, who isn’t?!
I’m just head over heels for all of the art I practice. Though, as digital takes over the world, I don’t get to sit down with a pencil and paper as often…but my goal is to have my own studio. I want a place that splattering paint of the floor won’t have me going into shock! 😉
How has having a strong art background aided you in photography?
Oh! That’s a good question. I really think it’s helped with the overall process of the details, to light, to color theory, and playing with positive and negative space. 😀
As an official sponsor at utopYAcon 2013, you were one busy woman. If any utopYAcon alumni don’t recall seeing her, it’s because she was posed behind a lens for most of the weekend. Once again, Mae I Design is a big part of utopYAcon.
What’s it like taking on this wild-n-crazy weekend of bookish peeps?
Well, it’s definitely a haze of faces…familiar and unfamiliar! A LOT of energy and passion is just coursing through the air, and it’s something that feeds us all. I for one am HIGH when I’m there, and then get home and felt I ran a marathon for about 3 days straight! Haha. It’s fun, it’s positive, and it’s creative — three things I take very seriously within my personal and business life!
Did you meet any new clients at utopYA?
Oh yes! To this day, I still get inquiries saying they had my pen, card, or that they personally met me at my table (when I was there! hahaha!)
What has been your biggest accomplishment in the last year for Mae I Design?
Well, I think I grew a lot. And starting to really offer the custom photography as an option to authors series. I think being able to add that creative option is huge for authors and publishers alike. ☺
Part of what Mae I Design is about — aside from being a phenomenal source for quality photography and book cover design — is you also provide custom photography for book covers! This is epic! Most of us know there are tons of websites out there providing a plethora of stock photos for cover use. The problem (since it’s pretty darned embarrassing sometimes) is that an author will see their cover models…on another author’s book!
What made you decide to venture into the world of custom photography for book covers?
Honestly? I was approached by a couple authors asking if I took photos, too, and it was something I never really had thought about until they asked if I would just take the images for them so that they would just have their characters, and not have to do the big stock search and HOPE that it wouldn’t show up a million other times. This sparked what is now Mae I Design today. And I couldn’t be happier for those who’ve pushed me and encouraged me! I wouldn’t be here without you!
That’s amazing! Kudos to your circle of encouragement. How has this help shape the vision of what you want Mae I Design to be?
HUGE! I get to be a “One Stop” resource for the visual part of your book! I get to bring characters to life. LOVE to life. I get to create magic. I only want to grow and be able to offer more resources to authors and publishers.
And because I know everyone’s thinking it, but won’t say it, how awesome is it to work with some serious eye-candy that will soon grace the covers of our favorite book?
Ahahah. It’s so fun! From meeting these quirky, fun loving people, I have learned their passions, their tips on staying healthy, their creative eye into the modeling world, and met more creative photographers, makeup artists, and models.
We have TONS of eye candy, and it’s getting bigger and bigger everyday! Keep an eye out, more will be gracing the page and covers soon!
Oh, we will keep an eye out. Finally, and keeping with our other-worldly theme for utopYAcon 2014, do you have a favorite alien? Past, present, or future?
Oh, I’m kind of in love with Roman on StarCrossed right now. Hello Roman!!
A-men sister. A–freakin–men.
Connect with Regina and Mae I Design!