Who is Iris? And what’s up with this whole Rainbow Tiger thing?

Iris is a character I invented that somewhere along the way became the mascot of this site. She’s a boisterous 9 year old rainbow striped tiger living in a family of orange tigers. She and her 11 year old sister Jane push each other’s buttons quite a bit, but way down deep they really do love each other, I swear! Iris is a nonconformist and thrives on doing her own thing, while straitlaced Jane constantly worries about what people think and always follows the rules. I chose Iris as the mascot of this site because I wanted to let people know that it’s okay to be yourself, even if you’re different from how people expect you to be. Rainbow Tigers aren’t meant to be orange tigers, anymore than orange tigers are meant to be Rainbow Tigers. There’s room for everyone in this world, and we can all learn from each other. But if you do feel the call of the Rainbow Tiger, don’t ignore it. Embrace your inner tiger, and dare to be rainbow. The world doesn’t have enough of us as it is.

Is is true that Iris Tiger Tails is based off of your childhood?

Ohhhhhh yeah, big time! I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s, literally the last generation before the tech boom really started to hit. In the 90’s we had dial-up internet (hello, AOL!), and I didn’t get a cell phone until I was in my 20’s. Pagers were the thing when I was in high school, although I never had one. And I was nearly 30 when the first iPhone launched! So you may notice that Iris and her friends aren’t glued to their phones like the children of today often are, and there are lots of other little Easter eggs I’ve included as a nod to my childhood, and to the childhoods of others in my generation (Xennials!). I also based a lot of the characters off of people that I knew while growing up.

Which are you, Iris or Jane?

I’m actually both! Much like Jane, I was one of the “nice girls” in school with a lot of friends. I dressed well, was good in school, and rarely got into trouble. Having said that, much like Iris I was always a bit of a freak. I was so smart that half the time my teachers didn’t know what to do with me. A lot of my school papers from back then have drawings all over the margins and even on the back because I’d finish my work so fast and wouldn’t have anything to do so I’d draw while I waited for everyone else to catch up. Either that or I’d work on my latest poem or story– I had a pretty impressive collection of them by the time I finished middle school. I said and did crazy things to make people laugh, like making trash sculptures out of the remains of my lunch, or running through a line of kids trying to pet everyone’s hair. I guess you could say being a Rainbow Tiger is in my blood!

How can I contact you privately? Will you respond to me?

You can send me an email at: emily@iristiger.com, and you can also send me a private message through the Iris Tiger Facebook page. I will definitely respond to any inquiries that require my attention. And I will try my best to respond to any personal messages, but please understand that due to my working schedule I may not always have time to do so.

Where do you get your ideas?

My mind is a lot like a stew, always simmering with ideas. Sometimes when the stew is ready I just open up the pot and something delicious comes out.

I love your art style! Will you draw _________ for me? Can you illustrate my book?

While I’m flattered that you enjoy my art so much, I’m very sorry, but at the moment I can’t take art or illustration requests. I need to have time to do my own work.

How long have you been drawing and telling stories?

I have been doing both since I was a very little girl. Art was always my favorite class in school, and even in other classes I was usually drawing pictures in my notebook instead of paying attention. I also enjoyed making up stories while playing. At first I used my stuffed animals (and sometimes My Little Ponies!) as the characters. Then as I got older, I started writing my stories down. And I still keep a rather large herd of ponies.

Which do you like more, art or writing?

That’s just it, I can’t pick! Hence why I do both. Art is something fun that I love doing. Which is not to say that I don’t work hard at it, but it’s mostly a joy to me. I enjoy drawing so much that most of the time it doesn’t even seem like work, if that makes sense. Writing stories is a bit harder for me, although I do enjoy it too. I’m great at making up characters, but coming up with actual plots for those characters is something that I struggle with. But then there are those moments where it all comes together, and that makes any struggling completely worth it.