Super special interview alert! I was lucky enough to have some correspondence with the amazing Aimee Stewart! If you know puzzles, you know Aimee!

Here are the questions I asked and the answers I received. Please enjoy and thank you, Aimee!


What got you started in creating puzzles?

I've always enjoyed puzzles.  I grew up accustomed to seeing my mom pull out the 'puzzle table' every winter so that we could work on several during the snowy months here in the middle of Washington State.  But I never imagined I would become a puzzle artist!  That all came about after I had my art out on the market as greeting cards and such for a while.  MGL Licensing spotted my artwork and liked it and saw potential in it for the puzzle industry.  My artwork was already all about bright, vivid color... but I was creating in terms of wall art, not the highly detailed puzzle art you see today.  I signed with MGL and they took me under their wing, giving me the confidence to really reach out and tell stories with the detail in my artwork.  It really clicked with me.  I am a highly prolific creator, and I have a tremendous amount of patience when it comes to designing.  What you see today is the culmination of all of those things.


Do you do all the art or have a team of artists? 

I often laugh and wonder if people think I have a team, because I am very prolific!  But no - this is all me, and I am very proud of that.  I like to think of it as my superpower! I live and breathe artwork.  What you see as puzzles is really only the tip of the iceberg.  When I'm not making puzzle art, I'm making my own artwork for the sheer joy of it, occasional commissions, and traditional crafting and art at my studio.  I rarely watch television. I do enjoy reading but it takes a lot for me to break my attention away from my art to do so.  And if I'm traveling, exploring, shopping, or any other thing that takes me out of the studio... I'm thinking of art.  I'm formulating projects in my head.  I'll walk around an antique store for hours, and it may seem like I'm just spacing out... but what I'm doing is working on my current piece of art in my head, so that when I return to the studio, I'm full of inspiration and the fire it takes to create.  What I do have in place is an incredibly supportive network of friends and family, as well as an amazingly talented husband who shares my passion for this industry.  We bounce ideas off one another, and we have a shared photography studio just for ourselves to do stock photography and art photos in.  It makes it super convenient and fun. I am an artistic generator; I can just go and go and go... It's what I feel best doing and connecting with people who enjoy the outcome is my fuel to keep doing what I do!


How do you do the images (draw, photo, computerized)?

Everything I create for puzzles is done on a computer, but it is a combination of photographic and digital elements, hand drawing and painting, and everything in between.  I primarily work on something called a Cintiq 24HD Pen Display, which is a giant digital tablet that I can draw on using art programs like Adobe Creative Cloud.  I have an iPad that I can use on the go, and then always have notebooks and such to sketch ideas in.  My biggest goal is that once I am done, you don't think about how many elements went into a piece... you just see a seamless work of art that transports you past the creation, and into the story it is telling.


What is your inspiration for puzzle art and has it changed over time?

My puzzle art used to lean more towards fantasy... but it evolved over time, and is now all about shared experiences and nostalgia.  And when I say nostalgia, I mean primarily my generation...Gen X.  1970's, 1980's...into the 1990's. But also earlier generations too - there is such an abundance of ideas when it comes to nostalgia!  I also adore creating things that pertain to people's passions and hobbies.  There are countless beautiful things to research and collect out there, so many fascinating subjects to invest time in.  If I can capture those passions in artwork, it makes me so happy!  I still make fantasy art, but that is mostly for myself - but who knows, maybe that will surface someday in the future as puzzle art for those who prefer things less detailed.


Is your artwork published in other forms besides puzzles, and if so, what form?

My artwork can be found as cross stitch charts (Exclusively through Heaven and Earth Designs), Diamond Painting, wall art, giftware, greeting cards and stationery, as well as my latest venture which is designing for fabric companies!


Do you and Lars Stewart ever collaborate on puzzles and/or artwork? If no, have you considered doing so?

Other than dreaming up ideas over coffee, and occasionally helping each other with photo shoots (someone needs to unpackage all that candy...hehe), we have not yet collaborated.  We critique each other's work before it gets sent off to our agents, because we know we can be honest with each other, which helps tremendously.  Will we collab someday?  Never say never!     


Do you have a favorite puzzle or artwork that you have created? If so, which one and why?

That pretty much changes from year to year. lol  My current one always tends to be my favorite.  I have one I recently made that hasn't been released yet that I adore!  But I think I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for "Fairytale Fantasia" - my very first bookshelf image.  That one catapulted everything, and it will always hold a certain magic for me.


Have you ever regretted an image being published after the fact?

Not regret so much as I wish I could have had the skills I have now, then. lol But I think every artist tends to feel that way.  I look back at some of my early ones and am appreciative that I've grown as an artist.


Do you enjoy doing puzzles? Do you have a favorite artist/series brand?

I love doing puzzles! And I adore it when my family puts together my puzzles, it helps me refine how I create and provide a better experience for puzzle fans.  I actually collect vintage puzzles, especially from the late 60's and early 70's when psychedelic and Mod designs were plentiful.  American Greetings put out some real treasures on that front!  I'm a huge Peter Max fan, so collecting any Peter Max puzzle I can find out in the wild is one of my favorite things.  I'm sure people who check out his art will see where I get my love of color from!


How do you see your work evolving and how has it evolved since the start?

All I hope is that I keep growing as an artist.  That I always push myself to learn new ways of doing things, new techniques, new technology - and most importantly keep integrating my heart and passion into it as I go along.  That's really the key.  The technical aspect of what I do isn't a big mystery...the real key to making it sing is that I pour my heart, dreams, and positivity into it so that hopefully when someone comes into contact with one of my puzzles, they can feel it.  I want it to be more than just a pretty image... I want it to lift them up, to inspire, to become a shared experience of happiness.  That's what satisfies me most as an artist, and I hope to keep that growing and evolving long into the future.