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Rising Star Sam Sawyer: “Our words are powerful, and I think people need to start understanding that more; One simple smile or kind word can change someone’s life”

I think right now amongst the chaos of the world, it’s important to show kindness. One simple smile or kind word can change someone’s life. Our words are powerful, and I think people need to start understanding that more. Let’s create a movement where we speak kindly to others, and encourage our neighbors, family, and […]

I think right now amongst the chaos of the world, it’s important to show kindness. One simple smile or kind word can change someone’s life. Our words are powerful, and I think people need to start understanding that more. Let’s create a movement where we speak kindly to others, and encourage our neighbors, family, and friends to talk about their stories.

I also want to inspire other people to create. Our world needs more art, more stories, more creative energies at work. There are so many stories out there that people haven’t been able to tell. I want to help others feel confident enough in creating and sharing their stories.


As a teenager in suburban Phoenix, aspiring artist Sam Sawyer couldn’t stop thinking about a story about a monster searching for an identity — an animated series that would feature a non-binary character as a hero.

Fast-forward a few years: now a successful comic artist and visual designer, Sam has created the animated series “SALEM: The Secret Archive of Legends, Enchantments, and Monsters,” featuring the vocal talent of Rob Paulsen (“Animaniacs”), Laura Bailey (“Critical Role” and “Dragon Ball Z”) and Adam McArthur (“Star vs. the Forces of Evil”). It’s the story of a “cryptid” (creature) named Salem, raised by the Boogeyman, who learns that they are adopted. Without a gender and without a core identity, Salem embarks on a journey of discovery among the world of faeries, goblins, and other cryptids. But Sawyer isn’t only determined to bring back the edgy animation of her youth; she’s also a veteran comic book artist, a published author, and designer of three Tarot decks. She appears at over 20 Comic Con events per year and was an artistic collaborator on the new Lindsey Stirling music video, “The Upside.” With her pink and purple “hombre” style haircut and bright personality, the queer-identified Sawyer knew she was an artist from a young age. Despite leaving home early, and even being homeless for a time, her determination and talent allowed her to find a space for her unique artistic vision and gave her the confidence to keep conquering new frontiers.


Thank you so much for doing this with us Sam! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

Iwas born in Chicago and moved to Phoenix at a young age. I grew up with a fascination for all things mythical, magical, and the unknown. I never thought I’d be an artist when I grew up even though I was always drawing comics, creating characters, or doing plays and skits. I would get the neighborhood kids together and put on shows for our parents. I was always told it was a hobby and I’d never make it, but I’ve proved them wrong.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

I went to my first comic con when I was 17 years old. I had no idea what they were like or what they would turn into for me. I went into the artist alley and spoke to many different artists. It was then that I realized I could become an artist too. Originally, I wanted to be an actor, but when the chance to be my own boss and be an artist came up, I jumped on it. That first convention really changed everything for me. I was so inspired by it, I wanted to jump headfirst and make it happen.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

One of the most interesting and exciting experiences was being asked appear on a panel for “women in comics” at San Diego Comic Con. I couldn’t believe that I was being asked. It was such an honor.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

One of the mistakes I made when first starting out was learning how to network. I was always a people person, but I didn’t know how to network. I was given an invite to a webtoon party at SDCC, and had no choice but to go alone. When I got there, I walked around for a bit, but didn’t say hi to anyone and left! I was too shy to make any connections on my own without a friend by my side. I realized later, that I should have stuck it out and said hi to someone.

The lesson was to come out of my shell. I shouldn’t have been worried or shy.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

One of the most exciting projects I did recently was doing the artwork for an official Lindsey Stirling music video. I did 13 full color illustrations to be featured in her comic style music video. I have always been a fan, so getting to work for her on this music video was beyond exciting!

Another project I am excited to be working on is the animated series SALEM, which I created. We are going the indie route to create our first episode to launch our series! It’s very different from comic cons, but in the best way possible.

We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

As someone who identifies as queer, I want to see characters similar to myself in the media. There are so many different kinds of people in the world and I feel that everyone should be able to see someone like themselves portrayed. Diversity can help influence and inspire younger creators to create. To me, this can only improve our society and help to spread awareness of different people and cultures.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

Some of the five things I wish someone told me…

1. Never compare yourself to others. It will only lead you to unhealthy competitions and self-doubt.

2. Comic book conventions are EXHAUSTING, so be sure to eat, take care of yourself, and don’t over work yourself.

3. The art world is very up and down as a freelancer in the beginning, so until the work is steady, be sure to have something to fall back on. Whether it’s another art gig or something else.

4. Draw every single day.

5. Surround yourself with people who inspire you, rather than put you down.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

I think it’s important to work at your own pace and be know how much you can fit on your plate. Some people can handle much more than others, as we all figuratively have different sized plates.

A great way to avoid burn out is to work on passion projects. Put your energy into something that gives you joy and excitement.

The quote: “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” is somewhat true and work is work, but the work will be enjoyable rather than draining. It will be exciting to move forward and see what happens.

Breaks are important. I may need half a day to rest and relax, then I’m ready to go full force the next day. Where others may need a few days to recover and get moving again.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I think right now amongst the chaos of the world, it’s important to show kindness. One simple smile or kind word can change someone’s life. Our words are powerful, and I think people need to start understanding that more. Let’s create a movement where we speak kindly to others, and encourage our neighbors, family, and friends to talk about their stories.

I also want to inspire other people to create. Our world needs more art, more stories, more creative energies at work. There are so many stories out there that people haven’t been able to tell. I want to help others feel confident enough in creating and sharing their stories.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I have met so many people along my path that have pitched into help me get to where I am today.

A few people in particular come to mind.

When I was first starting out, Brian Pulido (the creator of Lady Death) took a chance on me and gave me my first big comic book cover deal. I worked for days making that cover right. It was a bit out of my skill set at the time. But I worked past that and really delivered something I was proud of. After that, I started getting recognized as a comic artist and began getting more work in the comic world.

Another person who’s really changed my life was Randy Abrams (my executive producer on SALEM, my animated series). We connected after he saw my artwork and decided to work together on creating an animated series. He’s helped move the project forward and bring my animated series to life. It’s been such a wild journey already, I’m excited to see where we go in the future!

Swampy Marsh (Creator of Phineas and Ferb) also helped me. He has given me great advice and opportunities as an artist. I am very thankful to him for his confidence in me.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote?” Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

One quote I feel really connected to is “If you aren’t scared, you don’t really want it.”

There will always be challenges and roadblocks, but it’s so important to us to push past them. Our fear should inspire us to fight for what we want to achieve. I purposely always put myself into bigger challenges because I want to keep growing.

There’s so much we can do, but if we live in fear, we may never know what we can really do if we push ourselves.

Am I afraid right now with my projects? Of course! Every day is new and I don’t know what’s around every corner. But that’s ok, because I know whatever it is will lead me to bigger and better things.

I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety my entire life, and sometimes you really have to learn how to kick those to the curb and keep fighting.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

It’s hard to come up with someone. I’ve met so many amazing people and been honored with the experiences.

Even though we have already met and worked together, I would honestly just love to sit down with voice actor Rob Paulsen. He has been such an inspiration and has become a friend. His story and everything he stands for hits close to home, and I love nothing more than listening to his wise words. Rob has really inspired me to move forward and press on with my crazy journey!

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Twitter: @samsamsawyer

Facebook: sincerely Sam

Instagram: @samsamsawyer

My website: mysincerelysam.com

You can also check out my animated series at these links:

Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, insta: thesalemseries

This was very meaningful, thank you so much!

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