Meet Peta-Ann (Pee-Tah-Ann):

Hi! I’m Peta-Ann Smith, the head cook and bottle washer behind Langi Lala Studios. I love illustrating and I’ve been doing so professionally since graduating college in 2012. I’ve also enjoyed working with others to add vibrant imagery projects; so far, I’ve applied my talent and skills to a children’s book, an international calendar submission, an educational parenting manual, and collaborating with a fellow creative islander on her business cards and web banner.

More About Peta-Ann (Pee-Tah-Ann, because people rarely get it right the 1st time):

I was born in Kingston, Jamaica, in the decade of Jheri curls, fluorescent-coloured everything, and Thundercats. I spent my childhood watching a lot of cartoons, reading a lot of books, and drawing on any scrap of paper I could get my hands on. But there was one thing that I  noticed very early in those cartoons and books - hardly anyone looked like me or my friends, and none of the places were like my country or any other country in the Caribbean. It also didn’t help that the few local children’s books available back then weren’t nearly as pretty and eye-catching as the U.S. and English imports. Things were even worse with my school books, believe it or not. True story : when I was a 9 year old 4th grader, I  had to read aloud to my class that Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be ‘our National Bird’. Gentle people, that was really messed up. But there was one thing I knew: one way or the other, I’d change the situation - when I got bigger, that is.

The Langi Lala Studios illustrator in digital form.

Now here comes the shocker - even though back I had promised myself that I’d change things, I never considered pursuing an art career as a main profession. Growing up and going to school, art was implied as something you did during your spare time, on the side of far more rational and sensible jobs. Otherwise, artists were either people who had their works hung or lauded over in galleries or they made and sold knick-knacks to tourists. This was before the internet came along and opened my eyes while blowing my mind, so I didn’t even know that graphic design existed much less that it was an option since it was never brought up (quite a change to now with high schools finally including it into their curriculum, but I digress). There was a long stretch between 5th grade and 9th grade where I rarely drew anything that wasn’t connected to school work. Things began to change for me around 10th grade when I remade friends with someone who had art energy pouring out of her eyeballs (Hi, Kat!).

Becoming more connected to my art side made the rest of high school more bearable. My art influences grew and changed: my childhood picture books, long shelved, were finally replaced by comics and manga; and my favourite Western animated series rode side by side with their Japanese counterparts. Yet, even with all these changes, my path to an art career didn’t become any straighter or smoother. It took me bombing my ‘safe and rational’ choices twice before I remembered that 9 year old girl in that 4th grade classroom and followed my true calling. It’s been a rocky road, but my time has come and I’m ready to go as far as I can.

Behind the name Langi Lala Studios (Lan-Gi La-La Stew-Dee-Os):

I was dubbed ‘langilala’ as a child and teen because of my stick-thin level of skinniness. I'm no longer as thin, but I decided to put the long-lasting nickname to good use.

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