Pencil brings out best in artist

Aug. 23, 2014 @ 02:07 PM

Despite drawing ever since she was very young, Gina Rugito-Anderson recently chose to make it more than a hobby.

She enjoys creating artwork using both pencil and colored pencil and often does portraits today.

A lot of times she will work from photographs so her subjects don’t have to sit for long periods of time as the artwork is completed, Rugito-Anderson said.

“I just basically stuck with it as a hobby and then about seven or eight years ago, my favorite rock band in the world was reunited for a tour,” she said.

That band was Genesis with Phil Collins. She was determined to meet them and decided to draw a 4ft. by 5 ft. drawing of the band and take it to a concert.

“I met some of them, not all of them, but they all autographed it and people started to notice my artwork,” she said.

After that, she began creating more artwork and did a drawing of her daughter that she entered into an art show at Presbyterian Hospital and won a prize for it. One day her husband chose to surprise her for her 40th birthday with an exhibition of her artwork. He had a lot of prints made of her work and the event also featured a silent auction for some of her work, she said.

“He convinced me that I could do something with it (her art) financially,” she said.

As a result, she began taking classes online to learn how to build a website as well as how to start and run an arts and crafts business. She also began joining professional art organizations and working to put both herself and her artwork more out into the public. She also began entering art competitions and was able to win a few awards for her work. Though she has drawn and made artwork throughout her life as a hobby, she has only been an artist professionally about two years. She has enjoyed taking her artwork from being just a hobby to the professional level and is glad she finally chose to do so, she said.

“I’m not making a lot of money but I enjoy it,” she said in reference to her artwork.

Though now a professional artist, she often works on her artwork part time while at the same time works a full-time job outside of art, she said.

“I’m constantly learning how to get better. My goal is to be able to do something so realistic that it looks like a photograph,” she said.

Another goal of hers is to move beyond doing mostly portraits into other types of artwork. For her, one of the hardest things about being an artist is that she is somewhat of a perfectionist and is never satisfied when it comes to her work.

“Even when it’s done, I have to force myself to say it’s done because I always see something that needs work,” she said.

What she enjoys most about being an artist though is seeing her patrons happy when she finishes a piece for them, she said.

In addition to creating art, Rugito-Anderson plans to soon instruct a Techniques in Colored Pencil class at Mint Hill Arts in October.

For more information about her and her artwork visit or call 704-807-2657. She can also be reached by e-mail at For more information about her upcoming class at Mint Hill arts visit