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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