Heather Edwards
Heather Edwards

Heather Edwards didn’t choose art. Art chose her.

“I wanted to be an artist since I could pick up a pencil, since I was a kid,” recalled Edwards.

Today, the San Diego resident has her own company that supports other artists and that sells her art featuring beloved characters from the Disney universe.

“Elegant Warrior” by Heather Edwards

Edwards’ art is on display at the exhibit hall at WonderCon, the annual pop culture convention that kicked off Friday in Anaheim.

Although Edwards has been participating in Comic-Con for 21 years, that wasn’t her original plan. She studied the works of great artists, including the Renaissance masters and wanted to be a fine artist with works featured in art galleries.

Then in 2011, she met a Disney representative who asked if she wanted to illustrate their characters and properties. She joked that she didn’t want to be a sellout, but realized that living in San Diego is not cheap so she began her new collaboration.

The result are works illustrating Dumbo, Cinderella and Snow White, but also more modern characters in the Disney world, including Wonder Woman and Mulan.

“I discovered that I could create very interpretive pieces that are meaningful to others,” she said.

The paintings are sold online at her company store,  www.thedoganddragon.com. Disney also sells her art online.

She’s not a Disney employee, but is licensed to recreate their characters. She has other pieces that are not Disney, including fantasy, religious and wildlife art.

“I took things that were fantasy and tried to make them as real as possible,” she said. “To me, fantasy should be believable.”

The artist who initially wanted to be featured in galleries has now seen her art hung in galleries from Disney Parks to New York and in international exhibitions in Spain and Italy.

“I don’t necessarily want the viewer to have the same response to my painting as I have,” she said. “Instead, my hope is that the expression I paint on the board through hours of observation and execution of detail will speak to them in a way that ignites thoughts and feelings unique to them.”