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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