Have you ever studied art and school/college?
I just graduated (this week!) on Design college, were I had basic lessons on drawing - shapes, shading, perspective, material rendering... But for my personal drawing style, I was mostly self-taught – a slow process through several years, always trying to improve my art bit by bit.What appealed to you the most about being an artist?
I love to read good stories, as well as to admire drawings and paintings. Creative, beautiful artworks always inspired me, so drawing, as well as writing, are things I love to do, because they allow me to create my own stories, characters, places… worlds! Even with the difficult parts of the creative process, it’s always fun and rewarding to see my ideas taking shape and coming to life in the paper/screen. I did notice in your gallery you are influenced by Japanese culture. How did you find an interest in Japanese culture? What appealed to you the most?
As many westerns, I was introduced to japanese culture through anime/manga, an aesthetic that I still love – specially in its more delicate, semi-realistic side – and that heavily influences my style. However, a few years ago, I decided to take a new step on a story I was drafting (and that would eventually evolve into Kisetsu), changing it from a fantasy, japanese-inspired work to a more deep, historical-accurate novel. I started to research more carefully on japanese history and culture, and ended up fascinated with the subject.
There are many things I find inspiring on japanese culture – the subtle, elegant aesthetics, the valorization of simplicity, the intricate japanese ancient etiquette, and many other… But if I have to choose, one of the aspects that captivate me the most is the wafuku/kimono culture. Not only I find kimono beautiful in its shapes and amazing colors, but also very interesting in its historical evolution. The deep meaning in every detail in a kimono, and the way it takes seasonality in such harmonic, elegant account, is to me absolutely fascinating.Has learning another culture affected your artwork or your view on art?
Absolutely. I believe everything an artist learns and feels inspired by adds up to their art, and helps them grow – both creativity and technique-wise. Anime greatly influenced my drawing style, and my interest in japanese culture and aesthetics reflects in my work through things like palettes, composition, thematic… Other influences (like the french rococo, Disney, western historical fashion, fairytale illustrations, korean hanbok, and so on…) also add up and contribute to my art. What is the process you go through when starting a piece of work till it's final state?
I start from an idea of what I want to portray. Then I browse for inspiration – on my image folders, my Pinterest boards, around the internet… This helps me think of possibilities for poses, ideas for palettes, accuracy of historical elements... Then I make a quick sketch for getting the general shape of the drawing – anatomy and details are not vital, I worry more about composition and the naturality of the pose.
Next, I refine my sketch, adding details, changing elements, correcting anatomical errors… Then I work on the lineart and colors. I usually fill in the drawing with plain tones to get the overall palette, then, when I’m happy with the result, I proceed to shading – my favourite part!
Finally, I add the last details – a decorative background, sometimes a soft filter, my signature and websites… and voilá! ^^ What is your 'Kisetsu' project? What are your aims for the novel?
Kisetsu is a period novel i'm currently writing, set in 15th century Japan. The story is divided in four volumes, each one named after a season of the year.
The story follows two rival families of the upper military nobility (the samurai class) and the delicate balance of power between them and the central government of the shogun. With a war in the North as a background, an intricate web of political disputes and personal relationships begins to spin, involving characters from several sides of the conflict. A world filled with subtlety, were grudges and affections are veiled by fragile masks of formality, and conflicts of duty and desire, loyalty and distrust, honor and ambition entwine lifes and feeling in the ephemeral cycle os seasons.
The first volume, Spring is currently available as an ebook at Amazon in portuguese - my native language ( www.amazon.com/dp/B00NT9OFCS
). I'm currently working on the second volume, Summer as well as translating the first volume into english. My goal is to have all the four volumes both in portuguese and english available eventually. ^^
In the meanwhile i'm also working on illustrations for the novel which i post regularly on my DeviantArt account.What are your plans for the future?
My main goal is to follow my career as Interior Designer, for which I just graduated – and to keep on my work as an author. But I plan to also work as an illustrator as well, as time permits. Apart from that, drawing will always be one of my main hobbies.
8. What is the main software you use?? And what would you recommend for learning artists? Know of any cheap/free software for newbies?
I used to use Photoshop exclusively for several years until I found out Paint Tool SAI, which, in my opinion, is far much better both for inking and painting. I still use Photoshop a lot for final editing and details, like making patterns and applying filters, though. Paint Tool SAI would definitely be my recommendation for learning artists because it is really “shaky hands-friendly” for the lineart. Also, it has the great feature of allowing you to flip and spin the screen as you work, which helps a lot with noticing and correcting mistakes. Is there any advice you could give to learning artists? Is there any learning materials, artists, books or references you would recommend?
I guess the main advice I can give to young artists is “work hard! ^^” Even if you think your art is far from perfect, don’t feel discouraged. Keep working! Watch carefully your favourite artists’ work and try to understand the structure of their drawings (don’t trace! That doesn’t help! If you must, you may copy a drawing or photo to try understanding the shapes, but don’t post the result as if it was an original drawing. It’s for exercise only!), read tutorials, observe from life and stock photos, and practise a lot! Even if slowly, you will start noticing you’re improving! ^^
For anyone who’s interested, here are:
# Kisetsu – Spring (in portuguese) on Amazon: www.amazon.com/dp/B00NT9OFCS
# My art & kimono blog (with several articles about kimono, and a few artworks I don’t post on DA): maihanami.blogspot.com.br/
# My pinterest account (with many boards on kimono, traditional Japan and other pretty/fun/inspiring things) ^^: www.pinterest.com/maihanami/
And last but not least, I want to thank
for inviting me to this interview. It was fun to answer! ^^