Hello everyone! This weeks interviews are with Mellanthe
! Have you ever studied Art at school or University? Are you self taught?
Actually, much like a lot of other artists on DA I am self taught. Haha, I basically learned through trial and a lot of error!What appealed to you the most about being an artist? Where does your inspiration come from?
What appealed to me the most would have to be being able to put my imagination down on paper. That and bright colours. REALLY. BRIGHT. COLOURS. A lot of my inspiration comes from the Tales Series games actually which many people really wouldn't notice unless they looked really closely.What genres and styles you use? Why draw Manga?
I mainly draw in manga/anime style with a hint of semi-realism at times, but people rarely get to see that. As for why Manga? I think it's because cartoons, anime and Disney made up some of my earlier childhood memories. What is the process you go through when starting a piece of work till it's final state?
Ahaha, if you ask people who know me, they would tell you I have the absolute weirdest art process, that's all over the place. I'll draw the legs, then lineart them, then sketch the torso, and go back and colour the legs. The process continues....if you can even call that a process? I noticed in your gallery you draw a lot of Vocaloids. Why draw Vocaloids? Doe's music have any influence in your work?
I do tend to draw a lot of Vocaloid. I think fanart of Hatsune Miku was the first piece of fanart I ever drew. (Which is surprising since I like the Tales Series art and still haven't drawn fanart of it to this day) Mainly vocaloids though because it's amazing to realize that mostly hobbyist musicians, composers, artists, animators and singers can make such amazing stories with Vocaloids. Music isn't a huge influence on my art, but it can from time to time. What is the main software you use? Do you draw any work using traditional tools?
I mainly use Paint Tool Sai for all of my art. I've also recently got Photoshop Elements but I haven't used it in any of my gallery art. I rarely work traditionally too unless it's doodling with a pencil. Oh! In case anyone is wondering I use a Wacom Pen Tablet. What would you consider to be the most important points to think when drawing or painting manga art?
I think the most important thing to think about is how to balance technical art knowledge with your imagination. Sometimes I may have the coolest composition - in my opinion - and have to sit down to fix the anatomy because I know it's highly unrealistic, unless they really are suppose to have a twisted ankle and broken arm that is. Is there any advice you could give to learning artists? Is there any learning materials, artists, books or references you would recommend?
My advice would be to start from the basics, pick up an anatomy book or stare endlessly at artists with good anatomy. I wouldn't recommend a lot of Manga/Anime How to books, especially for English speakers. However, what I saw from a friend of mine, Mark Crilley's Mastering Manga books could be very helpful.
Something I would like to mention is that currently, I am working with an insanely talented team of people as the Art Director for an indies JRPG game we are making called Remnants of Twilight. If it seems interesting to people, please support us and let us share our passion with you! We are going to have a kickstarter campaign soon, but until then, feel free to give us a like and follow on our facebook!www.facebook.com/TwilightTeddi…
As well, thank you to the lovely Katie for this interview, it was really fun!
Interview with Negshin Have you ever studied Art at school or University? Are you self taught?
I do have a degree in Film Studies and an MA in Animation (specializing in Sequential Arts) however both were very heavily focused on theory development and not really art related in terms of practical skill sets so I am as self taught as they come. I learned how to paint and draw from endless trial and errors, from carefully studying other artists’ works, books, videos and tutorials online.
I’m still learning like that by myself, it’s a never-ending quest. How did you become an artist? What appealed to you the most about being an artist?
I grew up on manga and anime just as much as I did on Disney, DC, Marvel and other international comics and animations, it was just part of my childhood and not something I really thought of as a separate style. I just picked it up, just as I picked up many other things that have helped me along with my career.
Even from a very young age, I knew I wanted to be an animator so I went after that dream with a very tunnel-like vision and passion. A bit further down the line, I discovered that I wouldn't really be happy just doing animations. I wanted to draw, paint, do character designs, tell stories, do anything and everything from storyboards to special effects XD
I guess that’s what appeals to me the most about being an artist, all the endless possibilities when it comes to creation and storytelling. Being a manga artist fits me well because usually the work from start to finish, is one artist's creative vision What are your inspirations for your work? What genres and styles you use and why?
LOL tough question... goodness.
To this day, I still think my biggest inspirations come from films and animations, especially animations. I get so absorbed into that world, everything about it, from the concept designs, the story, the characters, the music, the timing etc. is magical and inspiring.
The late master Satoshi Kon, was a huge influence on me when it came to what you can achieve in terms of storytelling and a fragmented timeline structure.
I won't list you all the names though else this would go on forever but one of my other biggest influences are art movements such as the Pre-Raphaelite, Impressionism and Realism art movement artists like William-Adolphe Bouguereau.
Comics too, the Neil Gaiman/Dave Mckean duo, Masamune Shiro... yes, this list would be very long, so I'll stop
As for genre, I'm not sure if I fit into anything specific; I just do what feels right to me as a creator. My style varies because of that too, sometimes it's more manga, sometimes more realistic, sometimes it has more fantasy elements, sometimes more modern.
Though recently I am homing down on my combined manga-realism style the most because it offers me the best of everything that I love and is very flexible for me to use for my projects. What is the process you go through when starting a piece of work till it's final state?
The couple of things I do often before starting to do any work is to just gather some things that I think will be useful references to look at and I often try to do several thumbnails/drafts of an illustration just to get the idea down… LOL really bad ones cause they are super quick so no one but myself would ever understand them (nor would I ever show or admit to creating
It's a very basic problem solving and inspirational step to take, it really helps avoid problems that would be difficult to fix in the later stages.
Other than that, my actual painting process is quite random. It all depends on what the work is for and wheatear or not I have time.
If it's a personal piece and I don't have to report to a director/client, I am likely to go straight into colour and brushwork, composing the idea as I go along because I like to have fun painting. And because I'm self-taught, I try a lot of different methods often, it makes it more interesting and you always learn some things along the way.What style did you start with? How did you reach the style that you use now? When did your style develop?
hummm... I'd say maybe the Disney style? Though I haven’t drawn like that in years now, I was a huge fan and wanting to be an animator, it just had such a huge influence on me.
Then I'm not sure what happened. I was always a big fan of art history, even from a young age. There are just as many paintings from when I younger of me copying Renoir and Monet from as there are pictures of things like Totoro, Dragon Ball and Batman
I did have a phase of having a slightly similar style to Kouyu Shurei because I was trying to learn how to ink and to tone. I was even a professional inker and toner for a while because I was practicing so hard and my portfolio was full of finished pages, but that lead me into discovering that I didn’t really like inking, I tend to kill my work when I try to be too neat.
My comic style has become much looser and sketchier as a result and it suits me, and my natural way of working more. I still love toning though; my comic pages will probably always have lots of tones XD
So, I guess, the manga-realism thing just sort of happened by itself. It was a natural growth from trying to do comics as an alternative way to learn storyboarding, always loving to create stories and to experiment, and just wanting to do more and more complex illustration pieces. What are your plans for the 'Threads' Artbook project you and other artists are working on?
To be honest, it was something that just came about very spontaneously and suddenly. Kit (
), just happened to mention something about how fun it would be to be involved in a big artbook project and I told her I would happily participate. A couple of hours later, we had settled on the fashion theme and I started sending out invitations to artists I knew might be interested and by the morning, we had a whole team of fifteen artists already gathered
We've been working very hard in secret on this for quite a few months now; everyone has been very active in sharing their ideas and suggestions. It's a great team of very skilled and talented artists so we will have lot of new pictures and just to make it more special, there are exclusive tutorials covering a wide range of styles and subjects too.
It's going to be a thick book, at least 130 pages XD
I'm not going to say much about the campaign yet but please keep an eye out for it; there will be lots of exclusive and worthwhile incentives for the fans to nab. What is the main software you use? Why use Photoshop?
When I was starting to learn software, I used Painter along side Photoshop too and have dabbed into using Paint Tool Sai occasionally.
As the years passed and upgrades were made, I became more and more Photoshop focused because it really is a leading industry package and just offered me everything I needed. Also, if you want to be in this business professionally, you REALLY need to know how to use it, and use it well.
I've been using it for years and even though I'm at an expert level, I still discover little things here and there. LOL it's actually quite common for us artist to ask each other our Photoshop tips and tricks, there’s always something you’ve had no idea about XD
It's so huge, the creative options really are limitless and as I said, it's an industry standard. What would you consider to be the most important points to think when drawing or painting manga art?
I'd say don't worry about "fitting in" to the style too much. The problem with wanting to achieve a certain style is that so many people just copy it without really paying attention. It's a perfectly natural thing to do of course; we have an artist we like, so we try to achieve that look.
Any style, be it manga or not, has that look and feel because of a set of rules.
Try to learn to distinguish what those rules are. There are tons of manga out there that don't quite fit into the "big eyed, small nosed" standard people associate with the manga style, yet looking at them; you wouldn't consider them being anything else other than manga.
Look for those rules, learn them and then you can have a lot of fun with them while remaining within the recognizable boundaries of the style. Is there any advice you could give to learning artists? Is there any learning materials, artists, books or references you would recommend?
- Learn from life and ALWAYS start with realism.
I can't stress how important this is. It's so easy to want to just dive right into doing a certain "style". PLEASE DON'T!
Study real things first, build your foundations such as anatomy, perspective, light theory, colour theory, composition.
Your focus should be on one thing at a time. It’s very difficult to be thinking creatively about a subject while your mind is also trying to store information about how a software interface works or how light works or how to get your hand to draw a fluid line.
That often leads to frustration because you want to “create” something good, but your skillsets aren’t developed yet so the results are likely to be poor which can damage your confidence.
Your focus should be the skillsets first.
If you want to practice digital painting, line drawing, brush strokes etc. - draw still life; lots of it. Paint figures and portraits from photos (better still if you could get real life models at later stages).
Don't try to be creative while you are trying to nail down practical skill sets such as brush strokes. Not when you are starting out anyway.
Once you feel more comfortable, then try combining what you've picked up with imagination.
Style is something that will naturally develop because you are bound to approach things in the unique way only you can.
- Paint/draw/study as much of the things you dislike/hate as you do the things that you love.
It may not seem at all relevant that if you want to be a manga character artist for you to go and paint architecture or cars but you are picking up valuable data. Your mind has a wonderful way of collecting information and storing it for us to use later in the most creative and unexpected ways.
For example, knowing how to paint shiny hard surfaces like a car is going to greatly help you when you go on to paint a character with heavy armour.
- Be patient and take your time.
Speed and skills are things that will develop with a lot of endurance, persistence and hard work. It will take time.
It's a very common to see artists who are learning get frustrated, disheartened and angry with themselves that they aren't improving fast enough. We all do it
The important thing is to be realistic about that said time. For example, if you are just starting to draw faces and are new to painting, don't expect to be able to draw an amazing portrait from imagination within a week or two after just a few attempts. Just because you see another artist being capable of doing so, that does not mean that you are bad. You are learning and with practice, you will be able to do that too.
Being a good and successful artist is NOT about natural talent, it's ALL about skill sets and skill sets can be learned and fine tuned with time and practice (even the most natural of artists still need to learn them).... and the rest is just the magic of imagination XD
There are many, many resources widely available out there now but for anyone starting out and needs a solid, yet simple to digest structure (and best of all completely FREE), I highly recommend Matt Kohr's Ctrl+Paint ( www.ctrlpaint.com ).
It’s a fantastic series for any artist, beginner to advance, with tons of well-organized tutorials with practical assignments for you to go through for pretty much any topic.