maya graham

Steven Universe Podcast - From Fan To Crew - Thomas Sanders, Chris Graham, Maya Petersen, Amber Cragg, and Mario Piedra

Steven Universe Podcast - 9/21/17

Amber - Always knew she wanted to be an artist. Did a bad job with her schoolwork, but kept saying it was ok because she was going to art school, anyway. Luckily is worked out for her!

Maya - Didn’t really think about a career in art until after college. She did a published piece in a Megaman tribute book, which was a bit of a surprise to her. But after being selected, she thought maybe she did have more talent than she assumed, and worked hard on getting into the field more.

Amber and Maya - Both members of the fandom early on. They made lots of fanart. Amber felt a “spiritual” connection to the themes of the show. Maya loved the fact that the female characters actually had personality traits, and that being female wasn’t considered their personality. They all looked and acted different from each other.

Amber- Was doing a drawing livestream when Rebecca Sugar liked one of her SU posts. She promptly freaked out. Then, she joined a drawing chatroom where Ian and Rebecca were goofing around, and Ian corrected Amber on the way she was drawing Garnet’s hair. Amber contacted Ian the next day, saying “I’m the person who drew Garnet’s hair wrong, it was fun drawing with you!” and Ian asked her to do a test for a show.

Maya - Saw an open call on twitter in 2015, and did a board test. Waited a while, and was called back. Communicated mostly by e-mail. Much more low-key than Amber!

Maya - Walked into work the first day thinking “don’t get fired”. Work hard, work fast, work well!

Amber - Was sick her first day or work because of the climate change from Kentucky to California. She came in wearing her SU fan t-shirt.

Impostor syndrome - Happens to a lot of people coming to work in the field. You see this great new job ahead of you, and worry about how you will perform. You assume everyone else around you is much more talented, and together than you are. It took Amber half a year to shake this feeling.

Amber’s advise for fans - “Make your own stuff. Make your own stuff, put your name on it, put it online where people can see it. You can draw fanart if you want, you can draw your own stuff if you want. Showcase your ability to write and draw. And if you can only do one of those things, you can partner up with somebody who knows how to do the other thing. Or you could do both of the things, and get better at both of them together. The important thing is, you can’t be found if there’s nothing of yours to find.”

Maya’s advice to fans - “You can’t wait for inspiration, you just have to do the work. Fail alot, and fail fast. That’s how you get to success faster.”

Amber - “If you have an obsession with something… like a show, or a book, or an AU of some other thing you don’t even like anymore, but you love the AU… If you feel this passion for something, and you’re embarrassed by it? Don’t be! Use that as a reason to make whatever you want. If there’s a fire inside you, do something with it. Don’t be embarrassed. Embrace that, and use it to propel yourself forward. I spent 2.5, 3 years drawing just Homestuck fanart, and drawing Steven Universe fanart. Look how much time I spent drawing this stuff, but look how much better I got. Draw for love!”


“Save the Light” is the first console game for GrumpyFace Studio.
Both Chris and Mario tend to spend more time on their phones and tablets now, and haven’t been able to play as much console games as they did when they were younger. Both were big on cartoons and nintendo growing up.
They were shown the SU pilot before the show was given the greelight, and they said they wanted to work on a game for it because they knew it was going to be something special. They also got to see episodes before they aired while working on the game, so they were fans right from the start.
They not only admire the show, but the people working on it. They love lore driven shows like SU.

Working with the crew has been easy, since they also love video games. They understand references to older games, and how games work in general. It makes everything much easier.

GrumpyFace was not told about the “Save the Light” arcade Easter egg in “Arcade Mania”. They could not believe it, and they immediately called them when they saw it.

The crewniverse is a guiding hand for the games. They will tell them when they get something correct, and they tell them when they would do something differently with the characters.

In the first game, they tried an 8-bit style, but Rebecca suggested something cleaner. Rebecca also has a good sense of color. Steven Sugar has the master map of Beach City, and he knows where everything is located.

Making a 3D game is a lot harder than a 2D game. Mixing them both together is also very hard. No production is ever “easy”, you always learn something from it.
The game developers did not expect Squaridot to be as popular as she has been. They had made a bet that atleast one person would draw fanart of her on the day she appeared. That day, however, there was a LOT more than one piece of fanart. A lot of fans of the show are great artists.


Thomas Sanders is a huge SU fan. Touring the studio was a very eye opening experience for him, since he didn’t know that much about animation production to begin with. There’s a lot of little things going on that people don’t know about.
Since his online fans knew Thomas liked cartoons, many of them suggested SU to him. He saw some fanart, and watched it casually at first. After the heavy drama in “Maximum Capacity”, Thomas was amazed that a cartoon “went there”. It was so refreshing to him. SU broke a lot of barriers, and takes a lot of strides, and still does.

With his vines, Thomas tries to appeal to kids and adults and be relatable.
McKenzie Atwood got in contact with Thomas because of her video editing for the show. She introduced Thomas to the crew, and they were able to get together and make some vines.

All the voice actors are very nice people, and are very good friends with each other. 

Deedee is such a “mom”. Thomas had mentioned to her that he was nervous about driving a rental car in LA. After doing a singing collab with Deedee, she put a note on his backpack that said “Drive safely, let me know when you get back to Florida, Love, Bird Mom”. He keeps the note in his suitcase.
Thomas feels very influenced by SU in his life. He is able to go deeper into his own storytelling because of how he has seen everyone reacting to SU’s brand of storytelling. 

Thomas is curious about the fate of Lars, and how Sadie fits into his story arc. He’s also very curious about Pearl, since we don’t know as much about her as the other gems. We still haven’t seen White Diamond, either.

Thomas loves how everything in the show can be discussed further. Fusions, the music used, hints from earlier episodes that you didn’t even realize were hints at the time… He loves it all.

NEXT PODCAST: Leading The Way - Rebecca and Steven Sugar

On this installment of Graham Cracker Crumbs:

In Girl Meets Father, the fourth episode of Season 1, Maya stands to the side and watches as Rucas and their classmates middle-school-slow-dance. (Can you say stepping back?) When the camera pans to her, you have to wonder why she watches standing, looking rather sad as she claps half-heartedly, while Farkle sits smiling at the table. If you look closely at the angle of Maya’s gaze it becomes clear that she quickly shoots a look Lucas’ direction. Don’t forget that this all shortly after the “You put thought into our little game”…

I can’t help but think that this is one of earliest signs of Maya’s feelings for Lucas–even if she doesn’t recognize them yet herself. 

Any thoughts, fandom?

Graham Cracker Crumbs for Cory knowing about Lucas’s past:

(1) Cory telling Lucas that there can be consequences for telling the Truth.

(2) Cory in the background after Riley tells Maya not to tell her if she finds out what Lucas might be hiding. CORY OVERHEARD THIS.

(3) Cory’s reaction to “Mr. Perfect” as Lucas’s flaw.

The writers are planned WELL in advance, y'all. 😏