UpClose with an Artist Mom
Interview by Mary Darr
Emily: Artist Mom
Emily Yoder Kanalz is a SAHM who works as a freelance graphic designer, digital colorist (comic books and children’s books) and photographer. She’s a Co-Coordinator for MOPS St. Elizabeth Seton in Carlsbad, California (San Diego area). She lives in San Marcos with her husband, Hank, and their three children, Nathaniel (9), Raquel (6) and Jeremy (2).
Describe your job and what you like best about your profession.
First and foremost, I’m a wife to my husband and a mother to my children. But I also work as a freelance artist, graphic designer and photographer. I like that I can be creative, express myself through art and crafts and work from home. My challenge is balancing being a mom and working from home as an artist. I work when my toddler is napping and again after the kids have gone to bed.
Was your dream to one day become an artist?
From as early as I can remember, I knew I would do something with art when I grew up. I graduated from college with a major in Fine Art and a minor in Art Therapy. I started off heading into a career in Art Therapy because I wanted to work with children and resolve issues through art. But God guided me in another direction as a digital artist and graphic designer, and I feel so blessed this is something I can do from home.
How has being an artist helped shape you as a mom?
I know my children are in essence painting their own life canvas. I help them by giving them the tools (paint and brushes) that they need. I pray for them as they make (paint) their own way (painting). I tell them that God loves them and to always do their best and let God do the rest. I’ve loved seeing my children grow with their own unique personalities (paintings).
Do you hang out with moms who are like you or different?
I have some friends who are so creative and others who feel they have no creativity. But I learn from all of them. Even my Co-Coordinator is different from me. She’s more of a scientist. Once a month I get together with some friends for a craft night. We try new crafts and teach each other things. This is something I do just for me.
Do you see signs that your kids are following after your passion?
My children are creative and have great imaginations. Nathaniel (9) loves to take pictures. Raquel (6) loves to draw, and Jeremy (2 1/2) loves to get his little hands onto everything. It’s a fun time for my children because we do creative things together: painting, making sock puppets, creating cards for Daddy or taking pictures. And sometimes my daughter draws a picture to express her feelings after we’ve had a disagreement. She gets all of her frustration out on paper and then we talk about it.
How does being an artist impact your marriage?
Because we are both creative people, my husband and I tend to think outside of the box more when resolving issues. We’re in sync when it comes to our children, and we have similar solutions to problems because we do think in the same way.
Emily in the Beginning
Childhood interests and hobbies: I drew all the time. Starting with a blank piece of paper and creating something gave me such satisfaction. Taking pictures was another passion.
Favorite childhood game: Clue, which I’d play often with my little sister. I loved to figure out who, what and where based on the information that I had.
As a child, my parents said that I was: gentle, quiet and thoughtful. I easily got my feelings hurt, which made me more sensitive to others.
TOP LEFT: Nathaniel, Raquel and Emily. ABOVE: Emily doing her graphic design work in her home office. HERE: Emily watching Nathanial, Jeremy and Raquel create their own art.