Monday, December 31, 2007

Artist Profile: Heather Campbell

There are not enough words to describe the art of Heather Campbell. In fact, we’re sure there are many others out there who feel the same way, except they’re probably more familiar with the name Makani. With one of the most viewed pages on deviantART, Heather’s art seems to take a life of its own, whether it’s a piece of Harry Potter fanart or an original character. If there was absolutely one thing we could chose to harp about, it’d definitely be the facial expressions and body language her works possess. Originally from Houston, Texas, the 21 year-old is currently a senior at the University of Texas at Dallas majoring in Art and Performance. After graduation, we’re sure she’ll potentially go on to do some great things in the industry.

Rococo Flow:
Could you give us a brief bio about yourself and anything else of interest?

Heather:: Well I grew up with my parents and little brother (age 18 now). No one else in my family ever did art for a living but they always supported me. I went to public school and nothing very extraordinary happened *laughs*. I always liked to draw but never thought about it as a career until around sophomore year of high school when I realized that you could draw for a living and be something other than a caricaturist in the mall. Hmm, I also have a doggie name Oreo at home. =)

Rococo Flow: Does he look like an Oreo? *laughs*

Heather:: She does! She's all black with a white tummy and paws.

Rococo Flow: So were you always interested in art in some form or another? Did anything in particular spark that interest?

Heather:: Horses. For whatever reason, I loved horses when I was little, so I wanted to learn how to draw them. That's really the sole reason I began drawing. I was probably about four or five.

Rococo Flow: That’s cute. Do you still enjoy drawing them now?

Heather:: Yes :-D

Rococo Flow: So who and what have been your influences as you've progressed through the years?

Heather:: Well, luckily I didn't like how horses were drawn usually when I was little, so I kind of played it by ear when I began drawing *laughs*. But for most everything else, Garfield and Disney were probably my earliest influences. Then of course, I went through an anime phase like most all preteen artists, then I went back to more Disney and European influenced work upon discovering people's art on the internet. Since then I've been getting influences from all over the place. There are so many great art sites out there. I tend to really enjoy French styles of comics, and some traditional artists I like are Norman Rockwell and Earl Oliver Hurst.

Rococo Flow: I enjoy some of the French artists out there too, I wish I could speak better French just so I could understand everything. Any in particular that comes to mind?

Heather:: Pierre Alary is the first guy I think of, his art makes me so happy. I wish I'd found him earlier! I probably first stumbled on his stuff two years ago.

Rococo Flow: I actually just came upon his stuff the other day. (Really late, huh?) Well how would you describe your own style of art?

Heather:: I don’t know...a huge influence when I first started to try and improve my art was Matt Rhodes, but yeah my style, It's basically just a melting pot of styles I like? I don't really know how else to describe it.

Rococo Flow: *laughs* That works, I'm a really big fan of Matt Rhodes and from him found other artists to enjoy so many years ago.

Heather:: Yes! I love link hopping from people's sites. I can spend an entire day doing that.

Rococo Flow: Yeah, I remember telling myself when I was younger that if I put as much time into drawing and practicing as I did looking at other people's art, I'd probably be world class or something, but seriously it's so addicting. There are way too many good an inspiring people out there.

Heather:: I know *_*

Rococo Flow: I'm sure you know though, lots of people feel the same way about your work, you have some really funny and interesting pictures. How do you get all those ideas?

Heather:: Hahaha, I don’t know. Usually I get one idea and that leads to another which leads to another…basically I’m just easily amused.

Rococo Flow: Can you describe your typical approach to creating a picture?

Heather:: It depends on what kind of picture. The silly ones usually start out as doodles which I end up deciding to expand on. Oh but I always draw with red pencil first. I got addicted to that after someone posted a tutorial on how to remove the red pencil and just ink with regular pencil in Photoshop. Anyway, I just scribble a pose thumbnail, then scribble an actual size pose, get angry because it looks nothing like that tiny thumbnail, then mess with the face and ignore the body, then add the body once and if I get the face looking like I want it too.

Rococo Flow: About how long do you think that takes you?

Heather:: It depends. Sometimes I can get a good fleshed out sketch done in about 5-20 minutes. Sometimes I can run over the same sketch for a couple hours and still be messing with it.

Rococo Flow: Is there a certain environment that you prefer drawing in?

Heather:: I think my room in my apartment at school is my favorite place to draw and I also really like to draw at my grandma's house while watching TV =). Oh, and also in class.

Rococo Flow: *laughs* Is there a reason why?

Heather:: No idea! I seem to draw better in my room at school and at Grandma’s for some inexplicable reason *haha*. My room home in Houston is kind of clutteres so it’s… annoying?

Rococo Flow:
So what programs do you typically use?

Heather:: Photoshop 7 and OpenCanvas 3. I'll dabble in Flash, Illustrator, and Painter every now and then but Photoshop and OpenCanvas are my favorites.

Rococo Flow: How about traditional media?

Heather:: I don't really do traditional media…I've never even enjoyed it really. I went through a colored pencil phase in high school but other than that, no, just no. I tried to use watercolors the other day and I felt like an idiot. I had to use gouache for my 2D design class and that was even more horrible.

Rococo Flow: *Haha* Well then it seems digital tools are you niche then, nothing wrong with that. Do you find it hard to push yourself when it comes to doing art?

: You mean as far as getting myself to draw? Or getting myself to try new things? Because I hardly ever have to really push myself just to draw and I actually welcome opportunities where I get to draw something different than what I normally do, except if it strays into like abstract art or something.

Rococo Flow: I think you pretty much answered it. I meant pushing the boundaries of your art basically, like trying to do something new at times.

Heather:: Yeah, it's just the thing is, I need someone telling me to do it, because by myself I'm not… creative enough or maybe not confident enough? I like doing new things though, as long as I have someone demanding it from me. =)

Rococo Flow: You mean like commissioners?

Heather:: Well, actually no, seeing as commissioners usually request things I draw anyway. There's a lot of things at school though that usually make me stray from my usual stuff. Last year we did one of those weekend-long "create a video game" things where I had to do some prop design and costume design as opposed to character stuff, and that was awesome.

Rococo Flow: I see, that’s cool. Well is there ever a time you just can't seem to draw anything? Like An art funk/block if you will. How do you get the ball rolling again?

Heather:: I know that feeling all too well. I usually go on many an hour internet art binge to get the rhythm back. I’ll also go look at my friend’s Loomis books. =)

Rococo Flow: Out of the work you've done, is there any that means the most to you?

Heather:: Not really, actually. I always say I'm more of an illustrator, not an artist. I put feeling into my drawings but I'm not really attached to any in particular.

Rococo Flow: An illustrator? What exactly are your future aspirations?

Heather:: I'd like to go into storyboarding and/or concept art. For anything really –movies, games, cartoons, whatever comes.

Rococo Flow: Are you trying to do that right after you graduate?

Heather:: Very luckily, one of my professors is opening his own studio, and this year I'm going to be doing assistant concept art for him, and then he said I have a position waiting for me after I graduate, if I'd like.

Rococo Flow: Oh wow, that's extremely fortunate.

Heather:: Yes, I'm way excited :-D. One of the perks of not going to an art school, I suppose.

Rococo Flow: You mean less competition?

Heather:: Yes. I wasn't even in this guy's class and he contacted me because he found my deviantART *laughs*

Rococo Flow: *Haha* Either way that's awesome. So many artists seem to struggling to find great jobs.

Heather:: Definitely!! Some that I’m friends with have been having difficulty, which really sucks because they’re some of the most talented that I know.

Rococo Flow:
So speaking of other artists, have you ever had the opportunity to work with others on a project?

Heather:: At school, yes. That weekend project I mentioned, and also on another project that never went anywhere, but it was still fun thinking up stuff for it.

Rococo Flow: Do you have any of your own personal projects?

Heather: The closest thing I've done to a personal project is HBP Project and Fanart100. I haven't headed up any animations or directed anything. Though I was head concept artist for both of the aforementioned projects but I still had to follow the project director’s guidelines, which is what I like. Like I said, I'm much better with following someone else's rules rather than making up my own.
Rococo Flow: What's the strangest comment you've ever read/heard in regards to your work?

Heather:: I think my favorite comment is when people say that they go to my site when they've had a bad day and it makes them smile and feel better.

Rococo Flow: =). Do you have any thoughts on the animation industry right now?

Heather:: Well, for one, I'm incredibly happy that 2D animation seems to be on the comeback. I hate to hear people talk about it like it's been replaced or by 3D. That's like saying digital art has replaced traditional. I also hope the industry takes a hint from Ratatouille and focuses more on making a good story rather than just getting kids to laugh just by making pop culture references.I also really excited to see what people who are a little older than me do with the industry. I think the new generation of artists are really going to mix things up.

Rococo Flow: Yeah... it may be a little morbid to say, but change can't quite occur until the older generation dies out, (or at least stops dominating the industry).

Heather:: Totally agree.

Rococo Flow: Do you have any interests besides drawing?

Heather:: Well I've been in choir in some form or another probably since I began drawing. I love to sing and jazz choir is my favorite. I also played tennis for six years and taught for a couple of summers at my old school district's summer camps. Nowadays I play racquetball, I couldn't take choir this semester!!! I'm so sad. Anyway, yeah the reason I never took art in grade school was because I was taking choir and tennis. =)

Rococo Flow: If you weren't an artist, is there anything else you could see yourself doing?

Heather:: I'd probably major in voice. I have no idea what I'd do with that though. Yeah, if I couldn’t' draw I'd be up a creek.

Rococo Flow: *Hahaha* Just curious, how'd the name Makani come about?

Heather:: Oh, *haha* I just needed a new screen name around sophomore year of high school. Makani came from Ahe Lau Makani, a song we were singing in choir at the time. It means breeze or something. Or actually I needed a name for my liger character I had created since joining My screen name before that was Vela which was from a video game. It became Makani once I moved to deviantART just because Vela was taken *laughs*.

Rococo Flow: If you could meet anyone dead or alive, real or fictional, who would it be and why?

Heather:: Oh gosh I have no idea. I hate these questions. The only thing I can think of is I'd just like to meet some of my online friends that live across the country.

Rococo Flow: What's your biggest fear?

Heather:: Well other than what most people are afraid of, like losing a family member or losing a limb or sense…I'm really afraid of wasps and snakes.

Rococo Flow: Do you have any sort of personal motto?

Heather:: If I did, it'd probably be something like "Life's too short to get upset about something for more than about an hour" or "[..] to take anything very seriously". In other words, something I've noticed about myself is that I am whatever the opposite of a drama queen is *laughs*.

Rococo Flow: *laughs* That’s good.

Rococo Flow: Do you have any advice for other aspiring artists?

Heather:: Well there's the usual "Draw from life; draw all the time." type of generic thing that is annoyingly very true and helpful, and also just make sure you're drawing to entertain yourself, not just what you think other people will like seeing. If you can do both, then yay!

To see more work by Heather visit the following links:
– Main portfolio – deviantART page - Life drawing page – Livejournal (Sketch posts)

You can also contact Heather at hlc617[at]

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Copycats Make the Graffiti Top 150

If you noticed our return to posting back on the site, then you’ve already seen our recommendation to check out Facebook’s Graffiti application. While checking out the finalists in their latest competition, we came across lots original and funny ideas. Take for instance a bum cassette tape and an origami swan come to life. We were dismayed though at seeing some copied ideas.

Primarily, that of an orange who finds his wife cheating on him, which one can see here. It was immediately recognized as Malaise de l’Orange by weem which is a favorite of ours on deviantART. What struck us even more is that others realized that this picture was copied and yet nothing was done. Regardless of whether or not this artist has shown skill, she’s potentially benefiting from someone else’s idea without their consent. If she wins, who’s to say others won’t follow suit by copying other people’s original works?

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Artist Profile: Dee

When thinking of who to feature on the site, there wasn’t really a question of whether or not we should feature Dee, also known as niisan on her deviantART page. This was further reinforced by the number of other artists who also recommended that we interview her. Dee’s use of color and composition immediately grabs anyone who spares a glance, with characters that interact and perhaps hide some secret of a story. Currently a student at the University of California, Davis, the 20 year old states that she’s often mistaken as someone much younger due to her short stature, though she’s actually one of the oldest in her family. Dee has also gone on to participate in various collaborate projects including the artbook Le Grand Grimoire Visuel headed by comic artist Christy Lijewski.

How long have you been drawing?

Like a lot of other artists, I’ve been drawing for a rather long, long time. Just talking about it is making me feel so old!! When I was younger I remember drawing a lot of dinosaurs, however as I’ve gotten older I only seem to draw people! *laughs* If only I could expand and balance this somehow…

What made you interested in art?

I can’t exactly remember what made me interested. As a child, I had a great interest in children’s illustrated stories. This eventually developed into paintings, animation, comics, anime, and manga. I guess I was just a very visual person.

Who are your main influences?

I have too many! My influences include family, friends, and other professional and amateur artists, seriously, almost everyone and anyone. I also get influence by things I read, learn, hear, people I meet, and anything I take interest in (outside of art as well).

How would you describe your own style?

Style? What style? Actually, someone has once told me my style looks somewhat impressionistic but I think my style is rather experimental, sensitive and subtle. Also, I have this undying love for intertwining texts and images together. Almost all of my images will have some kind of text incorporated in it. *Laughs* I don’t know if that’s a style but it seems rather characteristic of my works.

How do ideas for pictures come to you? Is there anything specific that you have in your head first or do you just sketch until something looks good?

There are many different ways that ideas for pictures come to me, so I can’t say that there’s only one way. Ideas come from a lot various and random things around me but what is important is how I interpret those ideas on paper. Sometimes, I want to convey an emotion or an impression so I try expressing it through various means – either in the composition or the colors or what not. Other times, I doodle something that initially has no meaning but as I continue to work on it in its entirety, it builds its own meaning. Of course there are many times when I just want to experiment with a different type of program or setting or something =).

What programs do you often use?

I usually use Photoshop CS2 for touch ups (texture, text) but lately I’m using it to do everything. I also use Painter IX because I love how it mimics traditional media. Of course, Open Canvas 1.1 and MS Paint are simple and good programs that I still use occasionally to sketch and doodle on. Lately, I’ve discovered how advanced Paint Chat/Oekakis have become! They’re like their own miniature online CG program!!

Can you describe your technical approach to creating a picture?

Most of the time I sketch an image out on paper then I scan it in to be colored on the computer. I honestly don’t have the patience to draw directly with a tablet. I used to color with Open Canvas and Painter, but lately I am in love with Photoshop! It can create a lot of various effects and I love this about it. However, I usually use multiple programs for one image. For the most part, the images are colored in 300 dpi (600 dpi if I’m feeling up for it) but lately, I’ve been lazy and have been working small (72 dpi). After I color the image (or if it’s taking too long, I just stop and skip ahead), I filter and add textures and texts as a final touch.

What traditional media do you like to work with?

I honestly like working with a lot of different kinds of traditional media. There is something about being able to hold, feel, and control that brush/pen in your hand. For instance, I love watercolors. I love its versatility! It can be expressive with brushstrokes or smooth and clean. There’s just so much that it can do (I have yet to learn). Although I love colors, I also love monochrome work. Pencil has always been my origin and is still one of my absolute favorite mediums. I honestly think my pencil sketches look better than their colored counterparts. I like messing around with other media but the thing about traditional media is that it’s always a hassle to clean up…I’m just really messy and lazy *laughs*

What kind of environment do you like to work in?

I actually like drawing at night when I am focused since I am easily distracted during the day time, although this is probably really bad for my eyesight. Don’t get me wrong though, I do draw in the day! For the most part, I like to sit in a comfortable chair or sofa and doodle away. Sometimes I’m sitting on the floor or I’m outside on the grass. Actually, I guess anywhere is fine except at a desk *laughs*

Is there any particular type of music that you listen to when working on a piece?

Not in particular. I get so into working on a picture that I don’t really hear what it is I’m listening to. Probably something relaxing? However, I welcome any and all kinds of music!

Are there any projects that you're working on or planning to work on in the future?

In fact, there are!! I have a few collaborative projects that I am working and planning so hopefully you’ll see them in the near future (RF Note: Check out our post on Le Grand Grimoire Visuel which will feature work by Dee).

Do you frequently travel to conventions? What's your favorite part of the experience?

Actually, I don’t. I’ve only been to two ever, (slowly extending this list though). My favorite part has definitely been meeting other artists at the cons. It’s quite inspiring and amazing to see so many talented folks in one place. It’s also interesting to see people’s different styles, preferences, sketchbooks, inspirations, drawing habits, and such. There’s a lot I learn about an artist and his/her art style when I meet and talk to them versus just looking at their works online.

What are thoughts on the art and comic industries? Do you have any particular feelings with the emergence of online galleries like deviantART and the influence of anime and manga?

I think the art and comic industries are really competitive because there are more artists than there are jobs available for them. Honestly, I don’t know much about the comic industries, except that they’re growing and I am very fascinated at how deviantART connects different kinds of people and artists from all over the world. You have your photographers, your fine artists, you have professionals and amateurs. It really is amazing!! However, I do see a major flaw with the community. It’s like a market of supply and demand. I think this makes DA or any art community, lose their touch. People get caught up in things unrelated to art and it’s really quite depressing to see an artist who initially loved art, grow to hate it because of a bad experience.

The influence of anime and manga has never been greater! The younger generation is definitely more exposed to it then when I was younger. There is a lot of stuff I see nowadays that didn’t exist back then. I like how accessible they [manga and anime] have become although they do have a rather negative stigma in our culture.

Ever been a victim or art theft? If so, can you describe the experience?

Actually, a VERY long time ago, a friend of mine told me that my art works were being sold on eBay. At the time, this was somewhat flattering because they actually thought my works look good enough to sell!! *laughs* But you know, it was definitely not cool or legit. I can’t remember the details since it happened so long ago (and my memory is bad) but since it was the first time anything like that happened to me, I didn’t know what to do (I also didn’t have an eBay account at the time). Fortunately, my friend (who had an account) reported them and I haven’t seen any artworks sold illegally on eBay since. Honestly, if you’re an aspiring artist, I don’t understand why one would steal art in the first place.

What are your future aspirations?

I would love to illustrate children’s stories. Actually, I like meeting people who are so passionate about what they do in life. It’s very inspiring! I want to be like that and be able to do something just as enthusiastically, whether it is my job, my hobby or what not. Just to love living.

Do you have any other interests besides drawing?

I think I’m pretty normal. I like to hang out with my family and friends, watch movies and listen to music. Food is always a plus. In general: fun times, good memories, and lots of laughing.

Any advice for other aspiring artists?

Don’t ever limit yourself and keep exploring. Be curious and open! AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, HAVE FUN!! Enjoy what it is you do!

Any other comments or things you'd like to address?

Thank you for interviewing me! I’m really honored. Art isn’t really my priority, so this was a pleasant surprise.

To see more work by Dee visit the following links:

To contact Dee you can email her at triple_two[at]hotmail[dot]com

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Happy Holidays =)

Hi Rococo Flow readers,

We hope everyone’s enjoying the holiday season. Once again it’s been a long wait but hopefully you’ll stick with us.

We’re sure many of you out there probably have probably heard of Facebook and if so have probably also checked out the Graffiti application. It has recently expanded and now hosts monthly contests with various themes. Participants have the opportunity to win a brand new Bamboo or Intuos 3 tablet from Wacom the sponsor of these competitions. We encourage everyone to check it out.

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Artist Love

We’d hate to admit that we waste spend ridiculous amounts of time perusing about LiveJournal. It’s hard not to though, especially when a number of artists use it to share behind the scenes work. Not to mention, all the other fun things you can do. Recently we stumbled upon this lovely little meme going around:

Fanartist Love Meme

We’re all about spreading the love, so we encourage you guys to check out the link and join in. <3

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Friday, November 9, 2007

DeviantART Woes

With each passing day, we at Rococo Flow find ourselves more hesitant to visit deviantART. For its humongous size, the front page often leaves a lot to be desired. If we’re lucky, we’ll see one or two pieces worth clicking on. However, it seems as if it’s always the same group of artists who we see over and over. Not that they don’t deserve it, but it’s sad to think of the number of talented artists who get buried beneath all the other ‘junk’. Also, though all the artists we’ve ever talked to are some of the nicest people around, it’s obvious that there tends to be certain tight-knit groups or cliques. It’s just human nature to do such. Only problem is, it can make it hard to branch out if you’re looking for new people based on another artist’s favorites, since it’ll be biased to their preferences.

We’re sure that are plenty of other issues and complaints that people have brought up against deviantART. However, it won’t change the fact that it’s the most popular online gallery with the biggest user base. We surely won’t stop visiting anytime soon, especially with the prospect of finding several online gems.

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Thursday, November 1, 2007

Pssst: Artists you should already be watching.

We've got so many artists that we absolutely love, it'd be impossible to list them all. However, we thought we'd start by sharing those we feel everyone should already know about. If not, we hope you'll find some new favorites. =)

We'd also love to hear about some of your favorites too. Send us an e-mail!! - The online gallery of Aysha Shehim. Enough said. If you haven't seen her work, then please go to her gallery now because you're definitely missing out!!!

Chira-chira - We've interviewed her before, but who says we can't link to her again? Especially when it seems that she's open for commissions :D

lsvr - Beautiful and delicate works. Definitely needs more love.

wredwrat- So yet another artist we've interviewed. But seriously, her art has gotten even better in the last few months and she's usually open for commissions.

RUFFTOON- The gallery of Johanne Matte. You can also find more work at her deviantART gallery. She's featured in Flight Vol. 2 and 3 and maybe one day we'll be lucky enough to get an interview with her.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Artist Profile: Agnieszka Futa

Bold and intriguing are a few of the words one could use to describe the work of Agnieszka Futa. Known by some as sawayaka, this 20 year old hails from Lublin, Poland and is a graduate of the Secondary of Fine Arts In Lublin. Though she specialized in artistic fabrics (like batiks) and weaving, she prefers working with digital art. When she’s not drawing she enjoys hanging out with friends, drinking, head-banging, and annoying her cat. Her illustrations were recently featured in purpleSKY magazine and for those of you who love her work she’s currently open for commissions.

How long have you been doing art and what got you interested?

I've been drawing and creating stuff ever since I remember, it has always been a natural aspect of my life. I don't think there's a particular thing that could have spurred an interest in art in me, I guess I simply inherited it from my mother - she's also an art school graduate.

Can you name some of your influences and what is it about their work that inspires you?

First and foremost - Japanese woodblock prints. I like the fact that ukiyo-e artists never tried to convey a sense of illusion in their works, they simply wanted to create something aesthetically pleasing (and in some cases - something with an actual message that would be easier to get across with a limited amount of means of expression). The Japanese have a great sense of color, shape and composition and that's definitely something I look up to. As I mentioned earlier, minimalism also gets to me, I don't like to spend hours trying to create an illusion of reality (like I had to during my despised painting classes), I'd rather focus on general expression and mood of my pieces.

My favourite ukiyo-e artist would be Utagawa Kuniyoshi, not only because of his admirable skills - his sometimes brutal and macabre images have a certain appeal to me too. While we're at that 'brutal and macabre' theme, I have to add a few more influences to my list - and that would be film and music. I love things like short, absurd movies (like David Lynch's 'The Alphabet' for instance) or music videos whose creators aren't afraid of taking it to the next level (like Floria Sigismondi). As for the music, I'm leaning toward heavier stuff - not necessarily visceral (I'm certainly not a true metalhead), but definitely it has to be vivid and give me energy.

Your work seems to contain various graphic design and print elements, how would you describe your own style?

Well, it definitely has some elements of underground manga in it (I'm thinking about artists like Furuya Minoru or Matsumoto Taiyou). A bit insane yet stylized. I put my main focus on colors as I think it's the most important part of every piece of art (unless it's black and white of course) - flat, vivid colors and thought out color schemes (honestly, I can spend a lot of time on it) would be the most noticeable characteristics of my style. The rest lies in my subconscious-ness and thus I cannot describe it ;D

How do you get ideas for your artwork? Are you ever trying to convey anything in particular?

I SEE THINGS *laughs*. I basically draw what I see when I close my eyes while I'm tired or drunk or both. Sometimes images come to my mind when I listen to the music, sometimes I base them on a dream that I had. I don't think I'm trying to convey anything, perhaps I do, but as I said, it revolves around my subconscious-ness - I can't really verbalize it. My works are probably my emotional states transferred to pictures.

Can you describe your process to creating a picture?

1. First, I get the idea (see above :]).
2. I plug in my magnificent tablet.
3. I openCorel Painter X.
4. I make a general sketch.
5. I draw a finished line art over it (with a 'pen' brush).
6. I save it in .psd format and open it in Photoshop.
7. And this is where the fun begins - I can spend hours coming up with various color schemes, effects and whatnot. I can't really describe that part as I simply try out as many things as possible until I'm satisfied (and sometimes I'm not and I just stop working on the picture to spare myself some frustration).

What type of environment do you work in?

Uhh, in my room (green walls, lots of cds, skulls, usually some beer cans and a full ashtray, some books, random things) in front of my monitor, sitting comfortably in my armchair :3

Is there any particular music you listen to while you're working?

Nothing in particular, whatever I feel like listening at the moment.

What programs and traditional media do you typical use?

Corel Painter X and Adobe Photoshop 7. I used to draw the lineart with ink and then scan it and add colors in Photoshop, but ever since I got a tablet I don't do it anymore.

Are there any projects you're working on or any you hope to work on in the future?

Well, I finished working on a commission for the purpleSKY magazine some time ago and right now I'm just simply taking commissions from random people or draw for myself. Nothing I'd call a 'project' though. I don't have any particular plans either.

Do you have any thoughts on the art industry?

Not really. It's like everything else in the world, some good points, and some bad points.

Do you have any experiences working with any other artists? If not, are there in particular you would love to work with?

Kind of yes, I did a collaboration piece with Inechi which you can view here. It was a really fun experience and we're looking forward doing something like this again (I mean, when I'll stop being lazy/busy :D).

Out of all your pictures, is there any that means the most to you?

Perhaps it would be 'Welcome home, brother' (pictured to the right) but I'd rather not get into details, it's a quite weird story actually. Anyway, all of my babies mean a lot to me, so it really is a tough choice…

What are your future goals and aspirations?

I would LOVE to be a respected free-lance illustrator and earn enough to make a decent living. Right now I'm just starting (having graduated recently and everything), but most of all I'd like to work around music-oriented things (like t-shirt designs, CD jackets, posters, things like that). I was lucky that my first bigger commission was from a music magazine, so I guess it was a good start.

Do you have any other hobbies or interests besides drawing?

Criminal psychology, movies, weird manga, music, beer, concerts. I used to be into photography and painting but that was a looong time ago, while I was still attending school. Now I'm cured. :D

If you were not an artist, is there anything else you could see yourself doing?

I wanted to be a psychologist a few years ago. But then I came to a conclusion that human minds are boring and repetitive (no matter how much you might believe the contrary, it's the truth) when it comes to their deepest, the most primal aspect of personality. I decided I don't want to spend the rest of my life analyzing it for money. I'd rather have some more fun than that. So yeah, If I wasn't an artist, I'd become a roadie or something.

If you had a time machine, what time period would you go back to and why?

The nineties, just because everything seemed more real then, I can't find a good explanation for it though. It's just the way I feel.

Do you have any favorite quotes?

Uhhh... Not really. I don't quote people. I'm able to produce weird sentences by myself.

Do you have any advice for any aspiring artists?

If you have an overly technical approach to your works, you'll fail as a human being :D. Just have fun and that's all. If you put your vital energy in your art instead of cold calculating, people will notice it and appreciate it more. And it will sell better! XD

Visit the following links to see more works by Agnes: - Main portfolio - deviantART account

You can also contact her at afuta[at]

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Artist Profile: Natalia Alexeeva

If you couldn’t tell from looking at her art Natalia Constantinovna Alexeeva is all kinds of awesome. (Yes, we found it imperative to use her entire name). Especially since she shares an undying love for all things Kingdom Hearts and gave us links to all kinds of funky music. Those of you who’ve passed by her deviantART gallery know her as chinup, and know first hand, just how groovy her stuff is and on top of that, she does all her work traditionally. A recent graduate of the University of San Diego, this 22 year old Moscow-born artist now resides in Southern California while doing web design work.

Rococo Flow
: Care to give us some background about yourself?

Natalia: I was born in Russia, left the country with my mom when I was 12, and have lived all over the place ever since then. Most of my family is back in Moscow still but I visit them as often as I can. I grew up sort of nomadic, I suppose. We lived in Italy for a little while and I used to get by pretty all right in Italian and German, but now I've forgotten them both! I came to permanently live in Southern California when I was about to enter high school, which was nice because California is such a beautiful place. I stayed here for university and would have moved to Vancouver for grad school, but I was low on money and decided to stay in San Diego for a while longer. I just landed a very good job very near my home here.

Rococo Flow: Is it an art related job?

Natalia: Yes! Or rather, it is design-related. Design is art, right? I do webdesign when I don't work traditionally. Webdesign is something I've been doing since high school, so it's been a natural way for me to get money. I freelanced a bit before now.

Rococo Flow: So how long have you been drawing and doing things that were art related? Why did you want to become an artist?

Natalia: Hmm, I think it all started with color. I am fascinated with colors and the way they match up and resonate in different ways. I think I was able to grasp how cool that was even when I was younger. I've always been a right-brain oriented person, *ahaha*. I used to draw a lot when I was in my teens, but my not-so-secret secret is I can't draw at all!

Rococo Flow: *laughs* Why do you say that? The pieces you come up with are really fantastical. Who are your influences?

Natalia: Ah, every time I draw something it's like starting from scratch, I don't feel any real experience backing up my hand. It's all completely intuitive. It's the same with design, that intuitive approach. I have to look at technically strong artists' work sometimes and try to figure out what they did right and what I'm doing wrong. Of course I tend to go with my first impulse anyway since I like things that are rough around the edges.

Japanese ukiyo-e prints are my greatest inspiration. I love the way they're simultaneously rough and delicate, and they have such a cool history! I love artists such as Hokusai and Hiroshige. I believe those artists have had a large influence on Takashi Murakami and the Superflat movement, and on contemporary artists like Yoshitomo Nara. And of course I adore Giant Robot and its own artists, whom Murakami and others influenced in turn. Like, Kozyndan, for instance. I have been known to liberally rip off Jeana Sohn, too. Jeana Sohn is amazing.

Er, I mean BORROW from… be INSIPIRED by…*Ahah*.

THIS INTERVIEW IS OVER! *Haha* Seriously, I get a lot I get a lot of inspiration from people like the Giant Robot folks.

Rococo Flow: How would you describe your own style?

Natalia: Oh, that's tough for me to say, I guess whimsical? Playful? I use a lot of color and drips and splashes. I did some mock children’s book illustrations for a senior project in college, they weren't exactly Rembrandt, obviously, but I felt I'd found my element.

Rococo Flow: A lot of your work could be seen as surreal. How do you get ideas for your drawings and paintings?

Natalia: I tend to go with a single image that I see somewhere that strikes me for whatever reason, buildings catching the sun for instance, and then I try to recreate that feeling. Or else I'll see an illustration or a piece of art and think, “wow, amazing, I want to figure out how that was done”. So I try and do it. Of course my own style sort of transforms anything I put down on paper or canvas to something unexpected. That's the being intuitive part.

Rococo Flow: Are you ever trying to convey a message in your pieces?

Natalia: Mostly just moods. The feeling of wanting to run outside, barefoot in the grass or more sinister things, if I'm so inclined. Sometimes I'll just doodle something that looks pretty good and subsequently paint it, and then someone else will come to me with a little story about what the picture means, and I won't correct them.

Rococo Flow: Do you use any programs for your artwork or is it all traditional media?

Natalia: It's all traditional, that I recall. Though I do I photograph my paintings using a terrible, terrible ancient camera, so I have to use Photoshop to tweak colors back to their original look here and there.

Rococo Flow: What's your general approach to creating a picture?

Natalia: 1) Look for a paint-able surface. (My preference is canvas or wood board, though I sometimes desecrate book covers and other things that are flat).
2) Choose colors to work with. (Usually I sketch out the whole deal and match the swatches. Also, this usually all this goes awry and I end up with something different).
3) Sketch out areas onto the canvas/board/etc. with fingers, pencils, anything handy. (By this time I am sort of caught in the moment, *ahaha*).
4) WILL the piece to be good with my MIND (occasionally effective).

Natalia: The problem with traditional art is that it costs money every time so you can’t waste materials. Oh and let's not forget: Step 0 is prepping the canvas and step 5 is putting on finishing touches, usually with materials like marker that would otherwise run under spray paint or water.

Rococo Flow: Is there any particular media that you use most often?

Natalia: Acrylics, spray paint, fine-point marker on canvas or wood board. I've tested out some of trickier stuff in the past, like paper-machétexturing or applique, but those shorten the life of a painting since paper doesn't hold up very well to much of anything.

Rococo Flow: What's your favorite?


Rococo Flow: *laughs*

Natalia: Um, acrylics. They're smooooooooooooooooth. Oh and wood board! It is a pain to prep, but the natural swirl of the grain is so beautiful.

Rococo Flow: *laughs* It never really hit me until a year or so ago that one didn't need to use 'traditional' canvases in order to get good results. The wood boards are definitely pretty. Do you have any projects that are in the works?

Natalia: I am currently a little obsessed with Russian folk tale illustrations, especially Ivan Bilibin's work. I'm doing a painting right now of the three fairy-tale knight-brothers that Bilibin's so famous for illustrating. His work is really magnificent and inspiring.

Rococo Flow: Oh that sounds interesting. Do you hang your works in a gallery anywhere or is it possible for people to purchase your works some other way?

Natalia: I've currently got a couple of pieces up near the Arts Center in Escondido, those are for sale and I'm always open to online commissions.

Rococo Flow: Awesome. Do you have any thoughts on the art industry today?

Natalia: Hmm, I don’t know, the art industry today's got a lot to give, so grab what you can? QUICKLY? On a more serious note, I feel that the overlap of "design" and "art" has brought a lot of opportunity for exploration. It's not all urinals in museums anymore.

Rococo Flow: *haha*

Natalia: It's all right for good art to be beautiful to look at. Of course, art history being in a sort of lawless and Armageddon-like state at all times, you'd have no problem finding 50 people who disagree with my last statement, *ahaha*.

Rococo Flow: True. Art is such a subjective thing at times, yet we try really hard to make it objective. I guess to even the playing field.

Natalia: No one who has any real sense can just TELL YOU what is real MODERN ART anymore it's completely subjective to the MILIEU or whatever that's called. Basically I like that magazines like Giant Robot and Beautiful Decay have established their own milieu and criteria. It feels very much like standing up to THE MAN, as with all new art movements :-) *ahaha* I am sounding very dumb right now.

Rococo Flow: *laughs* No you're not. When someone mentions standing up to the man, I always think of the Impressionist movement. They may have been laughed at back then, but look how respected they are now, after many years… so you never know :-). I suppose it's all up to perspective.

Natalia: ....And many years after today, after all of us are properly rich and famous, I don't even want to KNOW what the milieu will be laughing at. Probably dead cats in museums or has that already been done? Anyway, it's good enough for me that modern information technologies, digital media, etc. have given recognition to so many truly talented and skilled artists.

Rococo Flow: Agreed, so what are you future aspirations?

Natalia: Well, for now I am going to work in the webdesign field, since it is such lucrative field all things considered. I find interactive design is just as exciting as art for art's sake. There is such potential in programs like Flash where art becomes interactive! But I'll keep painting in the meanwhile. I find traditional art, especially traditional media in this day and age, isn't something I can just abandon. People work in Painter and forget the way real paint FEELS. It's a messier experience, of course, but the mess is 100% organic and therefore good for you.

Rococo Flow: Do you have any interests besides painting?

Natalia: I love pop music a little too much. I write for a website called (RF: Music fans should definitely check it out!!). Of course there's manga and anime, without which I wouldn't have ended up befriending such amazing people as Chira and her friend Muun (they do Salad Days). I'm a little less interested in anime these days, but I still work with the Karaoke Kaizokudan at West-coast cons. We run the Karaoke rooms. :-). I play videogames too, everything from Battlefront to Flight sims to Square-Enix RPG's. I also read a lot of books. I like old stuff and historical fiction. I am only now discovering Georgette Heyer.

Rococo Flow: Oh… do you play Kingdom Hearts?

Natalia: Yeah. This time last year all I could talk about was Kingdom Hearts. I printed and sold some tee shirts that said stuff like “GET UP ON THE HYDRA'S BACK!” and I made one with a picture of Demyx's sitar strapped across on the back. It was good times.

Rococo Flow: Oh man a t-shirt would be cool…. so if you could meet anyone, real or fictional, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Natalia: Uhh, I am terrible at these questions. Pushkin, probably, because he's be such an unpredictable conversationalist, maybe he could tell me what "The Bronze Horseman" really meant, if it was really about Peter the Great and stuff.

Rococo Flow: This next question, I probably should have asked earlier since the topic came up, but what type of music do you enjoy listening to?

Natalia: I have so many bands I like it's a little ridiculous, but then music is OK to be crazy about so long as it is good. Ohoho! Off the top of my head I'll name the New Pornographers, Of Montreal, Destroyer, Ojos de Brujo, Maximo Park, Go!Go!7188, and Jens Lekman. I've also recently discovered Detektivbyran, whose music sounds a lot like Yann Tiersen's Amelie soundtrack, BUT BETTER. I listen to a lot of baroque pop, which is like pop but with orchestras and interesting instrumental arrangements and things. Think The Decemberists. BUT THEN OF COURSE WE KNOW SEAL'S "KISS FROM A ROSE" IS LIKE THE GREATEST SONG EVER.

Rococo Flow: Hahaha… definitely all awesome choices. Do you have any advice for any other aspiring artists?

Natalia: Ah, I suppose something like this: be ready to be modest, and be ready to stand proudly by your work. Produce as much work as you can and be HUNGRY for inspiration and for the creative process. Hm, I don't know if "modest" is even the right word for it. "Professional", perhaps because "be modest" isn't good advice, but "be serious about your work" certainly is.

Rococo Flow: Do you have any other comments or things you'd like to address?

Natalia: "Thanks a bunch" is all I got!

To see more work by Natalia visit the following links: – portfolio of recent works
chinup@deviantART – DA account
motorbike@livejournal – Livejournal

You can also contact Natalia at nativegirl[at]

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

News: Le Grand Grimoire Visuel

Well here's something to definitely get excited about: An artbook featuring some of youngest hot talent out there now. We had the honor of featuring one of the ladies, lawnmowerpants, as our very first interview!!

So be sure to check out their site and here's the advertisement straight from the artists themselves:

Le Grand Grimoire Visuel

A full color art book featuring over sixty brand new illustrations from female illustrators and comic artists from around the world!

13 of the hottest young artists from around the globe have gathered together to present this full color art book filled with their own unique renditions of classical mythological monsters and demons.

Over 80 pages in length, hardcover and case bound, Le Grand Grimoire presents all new never before seen artwork from some of the most talented female artists on the scene today!

Headed by comic artist C.Lijewski [RE:Play, Next Exit] and featuring cover art by Eisner-nominated artist Becky Cloonan [Demo, American Virgin] Le Grande Grimoire features original illustrations from:

As a special bonus, the first 200 orders will receive a limited edition dust jacket! For $35 (US dollars, S&H included) you can reserve your copy today at:


In anticipation of Le Grand Grimoire visuel (shipping January 2008), members will be promoting the artbook by selling limited edition postcards, giving you a sneak peek of what's to come. Check back here for updated schedules of where you can pick up these postcards and talk to some of the artists behind this very special project!

Our current schedule:
Yaoi-con- October 26-28th, San Fransisco, CA
Artists in attendance: Dee (artist alley)

Nekocon- November 2-4th, Hampton, VA
Artists in attendance: C.Lijewski (dealer's room)

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Review: Style School Vol. 1

Hello Rococo Flow Readers!!

So wow… there are definitely some apologies deserved here. It’s been over a month since the last update and even that wasn’t much. Things have been inexplicably busy, busy, busy. However, Rococo Flow would like to apologize to the artists who have been waiting ever so patiently to see their interviews published, and to the many others who are still waiting to hear back from us. Not to mention, the readers who’ve been waiting to see some new stuff.

As always, thank you to those who’ve sent e-mails of encouragement and sent recommendations our way. We’ll do our best to feature the variety of artists out there.

Rococo Flow is NOT FINISHED yet and we’re not giving up at all. There may be period of stand still but this is just the beginning!!!

We would also love to give a great big shout out to ebeelove for creating a syndicated feed for the site. This should be handy for those of you with livejournals who want to read the site from your friend page. It can be accessed here.

Last but not least here’s a book review to tide you over, done by the wonderful ~Sophia.

Review: Style School v. 1

In the last decade, the popularity of manga, anime and Japanese pop culture has, for better or worse, increased exponentially. Along with the introduction of new artists and art forms came the inevitable market frenzy to capitalize on it. “How to Draw Manga” books have taken over the art shelves in bookstores around the country. While it is good practice to consult an instructional book when you wish to learn something, the plethora of books by people who have never before drawn in the anime-manga style can simply makes one’s eyes bleed. Luckily there are some decent instructional books out there and have found one worthy of attention!

Style School (vol. 1) is an instructional illustration book straight from the source of the anime-manga world: Japan. Published by Dark Horse this fall, it is a paperback with 144 glossy color pages and the following synopsis courtesy of

Japan's leading manga illustration instructional guide (titled SS Magazine in Japan) comes to America! Learn the techniques of Japan's top manga and anime artists in Style School, showing step-by-step methods to help today's up-and-coming illustrators master the use of pen, brush, paint, marker, screen tones, computer modeling and other tricks of the trade. Gain insight into the weapons of choice of today's top creators, especially those brands and tools that are so hard to find outside Japan. See for the first time the eye-popping art of tomorrow's manga and anime stars, page after gorgeous page of spectacular visual imagination. And find out how to submit your work to be considered for publication in upcoming issues of SS Magazine in Japan! (Source)

Don’t let the stereotypical big eyed girl-boy and cutesy robot cover fool you, the first couple of pages of the book are taken by 6 two page spreads, each with their own distinct style. Style School focuses on coloring illustrations broken down into the following sections:

• Style School How-To : Color
• Sky School
• Special Stage: Color
• Style School How-To: Black & White
• Sea School
• Special Stage: Black & White
• After School

The first instructional section, Style School How-To, is all about color. The different mediums covered in this section are markers, colored inks, watercolors, acrylics, 2D & 3D software, and a comparison of different coloring materials. The second instructional section is all about black & white. The techniques included creating using technical pen and screentones.

The instructional pieces have a good balance between images and text. They include the basic instructions along with tips and comments from the artist. The comprehensive instructions help newbies experiment with different mediums even if they don’t have any previous experience with it, but at the same time, the variety of techniques and artists features provide even experienced artists with a new perspectives and techniques.

One great example is instructional piece by Imperial Boy. The finished piece looks completely 2D, but a glimpse into Imperial Boy’s creation process reveals that he actually uses 3D modeling to build up the environment of his works. The experimentation section is especially detailed in that it not only provides an example of how a certain medium would look like but also a picture of the exact tool and brand that was used. My main critique is that the websites of the featured artists are nowhere to be found in the book. This is especially annoying since the majority of the artists are not English speakers and are not easily found on websites like Deviantart.

Sky School and Sea School include submissions from the general public in color and black & white respectively. The quality of the art ranges from those by the artists whose art is featured in the instruction section to those by 14 year olds who don’t have the skills to match what they see in their mind. Fortunately, the editors have made sure to size each image accordingly so that the more interesting ones are bigger.

The Special Stages of the book include art by featured artists. The art in this section vary more greatly in style and include short comics and combinations of text and art. The After School section is, not surprisingly, one long commercial for Dark Horse for their upcoming publications.

Overall I would suggest everyone to take a look at this book. The wide variety of artistic styles and mediums featured provides a great way for an artist to experiment and expand.
The book itself, is also a great piece of eye candy and with a list price of just $14.95, you’d only need to give up your Starbucks coffee for three days. Amazon also offers a couple of used copies for less than $10.


Style School at Amazon
Style School at Dark Horse

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Saturday, September 1, 2007

Thank You!!!

Hello all Rococo Flow readers!!!

We just wanted to thank all of you, who have come through the blog and supported the site and artists. Also, a major thanks to all of you who have spread the word by telling your friends about Rococo Flow and have linked to us from your own blogs and sites.

As for the articles, we apologize for the slow down, many more will be coming very soon. Things have just gotten a little busy as of late, but rest assured we plan to interview as many artists as possible and have lots of great interviews coming your way.

That being said, please be sure to e-mail us with any recommendations that you may have. Don't hesitate at all! We want to give exposure to everyone and find more about all the awesome artists out there. Doesn't matter if you think they might be to pro or anything else along those lines. Furthermore, you can e-mail us with any comments, suggestions, etc. any time. We'd love to hear how we can improve.

Once again, thank you all so much and stayed tuned!

-Rococo Flow

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Artist Profile: Ryan Mauskopf

Ryan Mauskopf known as RYE-BREAD to those who frequent his deviantART gallery is a young man with lots of potential. Hailing from New York City with plans to attend the School of Visual Arts in the fall, this 18 year old has work that seems influenced by graphic art, with some clean looking look work and great attention to detail. He was also recently featured in the latest Tokyopop Rising Stars of Manga compilation and is currently working on a project for them.

Could you give a brief bio about yourself and anything else that may be interesting?

I'm a tiny person, short and skinny. I love muffins and tea and I wish breakfast could be every meal of the day. New York City is honestly the greatest city on earth, and I can't imagine living anywhere else. I think long hair on guys is really sexy. I also think guys are really sexy ^_^

How long have you been drawing?

Pretty much since my days in the womb, I vaguely remember doodling on my mom's belly.

What are your reasons for pursuing art as a career?

I love to tell stories. The artistic field is one of the few creative fields that offer the opportunity to instill chilling awe and breathtaking beauty in its admirers, and I think it's appreciation like that which keeps my pencil moving.

Who are your main influences?

I suppose I should list them because there are so many:

1. Hayao Miyazaki: His films are legendary, and their whimsical charm is unparalleled in the animation world.

2. Shirow Masamune: What can I say, I love anything cyberpunk. However, Shirow Masamune took it all to the next level by not only including breathtakingly detailed artwork and realistic characters, but also technically complicated storylines that manage to analyze the very meaning of human existence itself. That’s pretty impressive for a comic book, huh?

3. Monkey Punch: Wow. He's probably clinically insane, which is what makes his fluid ink lines flow and his stories rush towards their dark and witty destinations. I'll read or watch anything that's got Lupin in the title.

4. The online artistic community is particularly inspiring. sThe young creativity out there today is so impressive that the old Masters would be put to shame.

How would you describe your own style?

That's really quite difficult, because I have so many. I think a style is something that should be malleable: If you can bend it and shape it and condition it to fit the mood of your drawing, the emotional impact of your work will be equally as prominent as your visuals. The spectrum of my artistic signature will stray from photorealism to stylized realism to cute and cuddly, so at this point it's difficult to define. I will say, though, that despite the many facets of my style are influenced by contemporary Japanese anime and manga artists.

Can you describe your technical approach to creating a picture?

I work completely digitally. I use a Wacom Intuos 2 tablet on a 24-inch iMac to create my art. The key to drawing, I've always said, is to work in iterations. Even if you have a grandiose vision it's important to start simple and keep refining the drawing until you're satisfied. I'll start with a simple sketch in Photoshop at an extremely low opacity and larger brush so as force myself not to concentrate on the details. Then, I simply keep drawing revisions on newer layers with exponentially higher opacities and larger brushes, adding more nuances and details and adjustments until I'm finally satisfied. Then, I delete the lower layers on which I've drawn the previous versions, leaving only the final drawing. And this is only the sketching phase *haha*. The final drawing stages come when I import my sketch into Painter and use realistically-styled mediums to finalize the piece. I take advantage of zooming in a lot and working impossibly small because it's detailing like that which can only be done on a computer.

What programs do you primarily use?

I use Photoshop CS3 for sketching and texture work. Then, for linework and anything that's going to be seen in the final image, I use vCorel Painter X. I'll often work with Maya 8 for complicated 3D work such as cars and backgrounds and machinery and robots. I love robots. I render my 3D models with a vector renderer to define the preliminary linework and then trace over it with a charcoal brush in Painter to give it a hand-drawn look. The process is very time-consuming but it's accurate and can end up looking damn good.

What traditional media do you like to work with?

I don't usually work this way, but when I do it's just a simple pencil. I love how easy it is to get line variations, and there so many nuances in the way you can handle a pencil that using one can be such an exhilarating artistic pleasure.

Describe your work environment.

Here's a photo:

1) 24-inch Apple iMac
2) Wacom Intuos 2 9x12 Tablet
3) Epson Perfection 4180 Photo Scanner
4) iPod Video (White, 30Gig)
5) iPod Nano (Blue, 4Gig)
6) TV Shows, Movies, & Anime DVD's
7) Artbooks, Manga, & Storyboard Books
8) HP OfficeJet 5610xi Copier/Faxer/Scanner/Printer
9) Crappy Verizon Phone
10) 3 Years of NewType Magazine Issues
11) Anime/Classical/Soundtrack CD's

And, of course, there's music. I couldn't ever draw anything without my oddly mismatched tastes in Classical, Jazz, Alternative Rock, Old-School Pop, Indie, and Hilary Duff.

Anytime you're facing an art block, how do you get yourself drawing again?

Watch a movie or look at an art book. Inspiration is the best thing to pull you out of a block.

Do you think there's a divide between those who do digital art and those who work primarily with traditional media?

Unfortunately, yes. I know a lot of traditional artists who frown upon digital creation because they believe that the computer somehow draws for you. This, obviously, is not true, and the large communities of those who scorn the computer are usually those who have not yet tried working on them. The truth is the computer is simply an extension of your abilities, equally as much as a brush and paint are. I say if something allows you to accomplish something faster and better (but not necessarily with more ease), why not embrace it? If the nay-saying traditional artists had their way, we'd still be drawing on cave walls by the firelight.

What are your future aspirations?

I'd love to be a comic book artist, as it's one of those rare professions in the art world that allow you complete creative freedom. This could change, though, because there are so many opportunities for artists out there that something amazing just may come up out of the blue. Who knows? I will say, though, that I'd never like to be an art teacher, for two reasons: 1) because I find more satisfaction in giving my art to the world rather than in wasting time explaining how it was created, and 2) because I can't deal with gaggles of hyper children. Trust me, I've tried in the past and it's just torture. I give kudos to those who do, though, because they're true warriors.

Could you talk more about your participation in the Tokyopop Rising Stars 7 book?

Anyway, there's really not much to say about my participation in RSoM other than how sick (literally, I became ill) it made me to work on something so ambitious in such a short period of time. Because of procrastination, I really only had three weeks to work on the story from start to finish, and thusly I barely slept. I wrote my script, storyboarded each page, and then drew each panel in Photoshop with heavy integration with Maya for all the 3D elements I had to incorporate into the story. That meant tracing over panel after panel of vector-rendered robots, helmets, guns, and backgrounds in excruciating detail. It was all worth it, though, even if I did work myself to sickness. I'm so glad I got voted into the RSoM book by fans, because if it weren't for them my work would have been all for nothing really. I owe a lot to them, because RSoM has opened a lot of doors for me, especially with TOKYOPOP, and hopefully my upcoming projects will hit the store shelves sometime later this year. :]

What interests do you have besides drawing?

I love making music. As unusual as it may sound, I'm an accomplished Mallet Percussionist (a xylophonist, in laymen's terms) and I'm just now beginning my transition into the world of the piano. You can watch one of my short performances here. It's just something I'm really passionate about, and there's a real kind of satisfaction I get from making music, much like the kind of thrill one gets from making art.

Give a list of your 5 top favorite bands.
Muse, Lemon Jelly, Sigur Ros, The Click Five (their old stuff), and The Seatbelts. Also, I know he's not a band, but anything by George Gershwin is pretty kickass too.

If you could meet anyone real or fictional, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

President Bush. I'd really like to kick him in the shin.

Do you have any advice for other aspiring artists?

Be inspired. Always keep your eyes open and your stylus moving. :]

To see more work by Ryan visit his deviantART gallery.

You can also email him at mousekopf[at]

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