• Jamie Rothberg

Create. Every. Day.

Amanda's family noticed her talent when she was just four years old. While vacationing at Disney World, Amanda and her family were waiting in line for a ride. Amanda, all cozy in a stroller, took a pencil and began drawing in her autograph book. She illustrated the Disney characters from memory.

"People in line started pointing at me that’s the first time we all realized it," Amanda explains. "I’ve been taking classes ever since."

Amanda Oleander was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It was her home until she was sixteen. Hurricane Wilma forced her family to move to North Carolina, where she finished high school. After receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts, Amanda spend one year working to become a full-time artist and have her work recognized.

This was no easy job. "I would say that year was challenging because I spent every extra bit of time I had in a day sending out my portfolio."

Amanda eats, dreams, and feels artwork. It is a constant in her life. Ideas can pop up any time, even while she is fast asleep.

"I wake up in the middle of the night and write it down in my notes."

The next day, Amanda will head down to her studio (a convenient few steps from her bedroom) and work on her dream state idea for roughly five hours straight. If it doesn't "feel right" at that time, she will "store it and work on another one." To this day, Amanda has over one hundred concepts of art ideas written down, explaining how she needs "a couple of lifetimes to finish."

Amanda starts of with a pencil sketch on final paper, slowly working her way toward ink pen and coloring in finishing touches. You can watch her time-lapse process on some of her Instagram posts or YouTube channel.

Aside from her realistic definitely-happens-to-all-of-us drawings, Amanda also works with brands. She writes down what they need and what their aesthetic is, and finally marching it with her vision.

In 2015, Amanda was featured in The New York Magazine. Shortly after, UTA reached out to her.

Amanda's work is vulnerable in the sense that she draws her personal experiences. However, her fans' feedback has been incredible.

"[The fans] feel very connected with my work and it's like I'm illustrating their life. It's nice to know that no matter what country or what language you speak we are all much more similar than what we think."

Amanda also does custom work, with her most recent favorite being the illustrations she created for the brand, Lipstick Lobby. This work was in collaboration with Gloria Steinem!

"I illustrated their packaging for the ‘In The Clear’ lipstick. 100% of their net profits from sales goes directly to the unPrison Project which empowers incarcerated women and girls by teaching them life skills, cultivating critical thinking, creating plans for life after prison, and helping them stay connected to their children."

How amazing?

When asked about her favorite piece of work, she couldn't give an answer. "I can’t pick a favorite. That’s like picking a favorite child." Makes sense.

Amanda now lives in sunny Los Angeles. Besides creating incredible artwork, Amanda enjoys long boarding and going to the beach. She loves to travel and trying out new restaurants. She can play a killer game of Scrabble and has quite the green thumb.

"Always listen to your inner voice. Follow it."

Amanda's last piece of advice for those pursuing art?

"Create. Create every day. Don’t cheap out on materials. Create what you wish existed and tell your story through your art."

Check out more from Amanda here!


Jamie Rothberg | Writer | Chicago

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