Friday, August 10, 2007

Artist Profile: licchan

Licchan is one of those few artists whose works have the ability to make people laugh out loud. When looking at the majority of her pieces, there is always some connection with the audience. So much so, that you can easily feel sad, frustrated, and happy right along with the characters. Licchan, who’s from Chicago, Illinois, has been drawing her whole life, triggered by the desire to create stories and finding the best ways to tell them. She currently attends The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is pursuing a degree in Film, Video and New Media.

Rococo Flow: Who would you consider your influences?

licchan: MANY! Mostly other artists, oh man, I don’t even know where to start. I guess actually my very first influences was Miyazaki, Disney and Pokémon. More recently though, Kazuya Minekura, Josh Middleton, Daniel Ross, Sumomo Yumeka and my best friend fresh4u on dA.

Rococo Flow: How would you describe your own style?

licchan: That’s a good question. I guess maybe, comic book-ish with a hint of anime? (Which I sometimes wish I didn’t have). I guess my style is kind of cliché and boring, kind of static. (I wish I could draw more dynamic things). I focus a lot on people and expressions.

Rococo Flow: How come you wish you didn't have the anime?

licchan: I suppose I hate the connotation it has now. Recently anime is getting a bad reputation in America and I’d really rather not be associated with that. I would just flat out PREFER a more realistic style.

Rococo Flow: Since you go to an art school, do you ever find students judged against if their artwork shows any bit of anime or manga style? I'm just wondering because even in my dinky high school art class, the teacher was really against anyone who drew like that.

licchan: YES. Very much so and just anime style, comic book style in general is high looked down upon in my school. I have so many stories. Want to hear one? *laughs*

Rococo Flow: Sure. =]

licchan: Well in a nutshell, I had this drawing of one of my characters as a finished project for a class. The teacher had always considered my style “comic book-ish” and “graphic design-y”, which she DIDN’T like. The drawing I did, had a lot of graphic design elements, (it was even done on the computer). The teacher was going around and critiquing everyone’s finished work, however when she got to mine, she stopped, looked at it and basically said: “This isn’t art, I can’t critique this” and walked away. So yes, those styles get judged very harshly at my school sometimes.

Rococo Flow: Oh my gosh. Wow.

licchan: I did have one teacher that liked comics, so that was a nice change, but as a whole, students and teachers dislike it.

Rococo Flow: It doesn't sound too different from the art schools of the past. They push what they believe to be 'art'. So I'm guessing that they sort of push the 'fine arts' as opposed to schools like SCAD where you can learn sequential art?

licchan: Yeah, they do. Although SAIC does have an animation program, which I’m in right now. They also have a couple of comic book classes popping up. We’re hoping to get more.

Rococo Flow: Sound good. How do you get ideas for your artwork? Are you ever trying to convey a message or standpoint?

licchan: My ideas come mostly from the characters and stories I make up – just scenes and quick things that run through my head. Music helps that a lot and usually I’m just trying to convey a mood, an emotion or some part of a storyline.

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

licchan: Ah well most of my drawings are just pencil doodles, nothing fancy. I just get a really quick glimpse of something in my mind and jot it down as a sketch. Then sometimes it turns out to be something more, which is always cool! *Haha*. I’ll just scan the sketch in and slap some colour on. When I’m trying to draw something more planned though, I tend to use references. So I’ll work off a photo usually, do a sketch in Open Canvas, and then go over the sketch with clean lines. Then I’ll either toss it into Photoshop to slap some flat colour on or I’ll colour it more realistically in Open Canvas.

Rococo Flow: What's your work environment like? Messy? Clean?

licchan: Eh, well I work in my room, usually on the computer. My computer desktop is usually not messy, but the rest of my room and other surfaces are, so when I work traditionally I'm more in the mess.

Rococo Flow: Hehe, well if you ever find yourself suffering from art block, how do you work through it?

licchan: I DON’T. *Haha*. Seriously, I'm in an art block right now and have been for months. This is the longest, worst art block I think I have ever had. I don’t really know how I worked out of art blocks before this. I guess one day I just forced myself to draw again. I think I drew stuff that I was familiar with (i.e. characters I draw a lot, simple poses) until I got into the swing of things again. I’ve got to try that right now and get back into it.*laughs*

Rococo Flow: Speaking of characters you draw a lot, care to talk about your character Gavan?

licchan: Umm, what do you want to know?!

Rococo Flow: How did you come up with him? What’s his background? Is he part of a story you have going?

licchan: Well I came up with him because my friend fresh4u and I decided we wanted to kind of make a story together. She came up with Caine and I came up with Gavan. I don’t know how I came up with him really. I think I really just wanted to make a character very different than any I’d had before. His background is very long and involved and intertwined with Caine’s, but in a tiny, tiny nutshell he was forced into the CIA and has been working there his whole life and Caine is his partner.

Rococo Flow: Do you guys plan to ever release a comic or something involving this story?

licchan: Oh, I would love to! But that’s quite a while away from happening, especially because we're still creating parts of the story now. I do want to do a few comic shorts in the near future though!

Rococo Flow: That would be awesome. Well you mentioned that you use Photoshop and Open Canvas. Are there any other programs you use?

licchan: Oekaki is fun and also paintchat and MS Paint! (Okay, no). I use Open Canvas the most often, followed closely by Photoshop. I use Painter 6 for inking sometimes. I love the ink tools in that program.

Rococo Flow: Do you have any favorite traditional media?

licchan: Pencil, coloured pencils, and sometimes marker. I love inks but I’m not good at them. I pretty much hate every other media.

Rococo Flow: So you're studying animation. Do you have any thoughts on the animation industry today?

licchan: It needs to get more 2D and less 3D, in America anyway. Although I do love Pixar, I must admit.

Rococo Flow: I don't think they've explored all the avenues and things that are possible with it.

licchan: Yeah, we need to learn from other countries what its capable of, like France, Korea, and Japan, even Russia! They have some amazing 2D animated work.

Rococo Flow: Do you have any future goals?

licchan: I don’t have many. All my goals are pretty…out there. Too far for me to ever reach, so I try not to think about them. My main goal is just to be happy. My unreachable goals would be to make a series out of the Gavan and Caine stories, a comic book or an animated, possibly live action movie. I would also like to create movies out of my other stories and be an animation/movie director.

Rococo Flow: I think that's the least most of us can ever hope for =]. Do you have any other interests besides drawing?

licchan: I love computers, video games, music, the internet…I also love driving! Oh and movies. I love movies.

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

licchan: George Washington. You can’t go wrong with Washington. He has a pocket full of horses and saves the children (but not the British children). It would be a sweet deal to meet an amazing leader like him, though Lincoln was pretty badass too.

Rococo Flow: What one food could you not live without?

licchan: UM... POPTARTS I just ate some as a matter of fact.

Rococo Flow: Haha. How about music? Is there any particular band or genre, etc. that you listen to when working on something?

licchan: I literally listen to EVERYTHING. I love all genres, tons of bands. The band/genre I listen to while drawing just depends on the mood I’m in at the time, really.

Rococo Flow: Who are you particularly fond of at the moment?

licchan: Augh, that’s so hard. I’ve kind of been in a soft rock mood lately, not sure what particular band I’ve been listening too, though. As a whole, a few of my top all time favorites are Muse, The Rasmus, and Jump Little Children.

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

licchan: Love what you do and have fun doing it. That’s the most important thing~ <3>

To see more work by licchan you can visit the following links:
- deviantART gallery - Sketch journal

You can also email her at watarurules[at]

1 comment:

chai said...

her art is so charming and lively <3