Thursday, June 26, 2008

Vacation Time

Rococo Flow is on vacation right now, however that being said be sure to check out the following links for art and comic related news.

We'll be back soon with more interviews and features. Also be sure to subscribe to Rococo Flow on your RSS reader or livejournal using one of the buttons on the left.

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Heroes Con 2008

The big event this weekend is Heroes Con which takes place in Charlotte, NC. Guests include Hope Larson, Matt Chapman, Jaime Hernandez, Bryan Lee O’Malley and so much more it’s impossible to list. Another big feature of the event is Indie Island which houses various publishers and creators for indie and alternative comics.

No doubt that it’ll be lots of fun for people of all ages. (Source)

Also at Heroes Con will be a table for the Mike Wieringo scholarship that was announced.

The scholarship will have a table at Heroes Con in Charlotte this weekend, where you’ll be able to buy Mike’s sketchbooks, comics, and original art, and get sketches and signatures from some of the top talents in comics. All proceeds from the booth will go to the scholarship. (Source)

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Artist Profile: Risa Valdez

Risa Valdez
is currently a rising senior at Cal Poly Pomona and currently lives around Los Angeles, California. Born and raised there, her interests include Japanese music with her favorite singer being Hyde. Also known as kurarisa on deviantART, the highlight of Risa’s work includes her portraits which often times are surrounded by beautiful imagery and subtle themes, not to mention the realistic detail with which they are rendered. At the moment she is majoring in the Fine Arts with hopes to one maybe become a teacher and having her work published.

Rococo Flow:
Why fine arts? Was there anything in particular that got you interested?

Risa: I was determined to chase art ever since I graduated from elementary school. So in high school I was already excited to take art classes, by junior year I was already in AP art (though I don’t think I did my best, unfortunately).The first year of AP art, I did traditional art and the second year (my senior year) I did digital. I love doing digital works, but there’s something about traditional. I like how old fashioned and classic it is, but then digital has its upsides (I can do stuff I can never do traditionally, and it can give more power).

Rococo Flow: How were you introduced to digital art?

Risa: I can't remember actually, obviously it had to be the internet so maybe through forums or deviantArt.

Rococo Flow: Usually I ask how long they've been drawing but it's usually since they were little like you mentioned

Risa: Yeah actually that’s a funny story, I remember when I was in 2nd grade there was an art contest for us kids to draw our house. I remember I drew the sun with squiggle rays, and I thought for sure I would win because of how cool it looked, but I didn't, haha. Then in 5th grade, in art class we had to construct a scene out of construction paper. I worked really hard to make a room scene with a vase of small detailed flowers. I got a C and I was shocked. I vowed to get better at art from then on.

Rococo Flow: Haha… so revenge or something along those lines? Either way, that's a great sort of motivation. I think many artists may not want to admit it, but with communities like deviantART, I'm sure envy is a slight driving force at times.

Risa: Definitely, I know it can get like that for me. There'll be artists out there that blow my mind and I think 'wow, I'll never get that good, I should just give up'.

Rococo Flow: Certainly, that's why I like those rare times an artist will show their improvement, it gives others hope. Who have been your influences?

Risa: I can't give names because it's impossible. There are countless artists out there that I've soaked up to try and create my own style, from classical artists to recent ones.

Rococo Flow: Would you be able to describe your style?

Risa: Let’s see, currently I'd say it's a detailed collage portrait style with hidden messages (and I try to incorporate a lot of color when I color them).

Rococo Flow: What sorts of messages do you try incorporate?

Risa: Usually it has to do with the person, the theme. So, let’s say if I put certain flowers around them, some of them have a meaning. Then, I'll put objects in there that associate with them too. So in a way it's my take on the person, sometimes.

Rococo Flow: Can you explain how you go about drawing or painting a piece?

Risa: It always starts with the face, particularly the nose, I have no idea why haha. So from there I draw the rest of the face according to the nose position (I usually always have reference, so 'eyeballing' it is key). Sometimes I already have the composition in mind, but other times not, so after drawing the portrait, I add in the other objects around them.

Rococo Flow: What programs and traditional media do you usually use for your artwork? What's your favorite?

Risa: That's such a hard question! For digital art, definitely Open Canvas. I love how basic it is so I think it's easy for anyone to use. Unfortunately though you can only use it on PCs and I have a Mac now, so I haven't been able to use it. I know a lot of people use Painter but I don't even know where to begin there are so many tools and things, haha.

For traditional media, it's been watercolor. I love oils too, but since it's messy and smelly, I don't use it often, watercolor is friendlier, especially since I can just take it out, use it, erase with water if I make a mistake, blend and dab to give a cool effect, not to mention how beautiful it is overall.

Rococo Flow: Do you have a favorite type of drawing environment?

Risa: If I’m working with traditional media, I like working in the afternoon (with natural light) by the window. Digitally, it doesn't matter.

Rococo Flow: Out of all the pictures you've done thus far, which one are you the most proud of and why?

Risa: Ah which one! Let me see. It’s a tie between "Faith Gift 2006" and "Crown of Thorns”. Faith Gift because I actually painted it for Hyde (my favorite singer) when he came to California to do some concerts and it conveyed my image of him, but then the Crown of Thorns idea was something I had wanted to paint for some time because I felt any celebrity could relate, especially since Christianity was a recent theme of his so it felt very fitting.

Rococo Flow: Which piece took you the longest? Or was there any that was rather difficult, where you felt like you really had to push yourself to completion?

Risa: Oddly enough for most difficult, probably “37” because it was something I wanted to do to celebrate Hyde's birthday last year and I hadn't done anything all day. I was suffering artist's block and was unsatisfied with things I started, so I tried my best to crank that out and surprisingly a lot of people loved it! As for the longest time, that's a funny question because when I work on an art piece, I do so in long periods of time. I'll spend a good chunk of hours working on something because I get excited about seeing it finished. Crown of Thorns took a weekend to do though, so I guess that took the longest, probably.

Rococo Flow: Ah yeah, I remember 37. It's one of my favorites by you, definitely =)

Risa: Haha now you know it's secret.

Rococo Flow: *Laughs* It's funny how that works though. What are your future aspirations?

Risa: For some reason I'd like to teach art. My art teacher in high school was really laidback and actually didn't teach me anything, haha, but she believed in me and that was important so I hope I can discover and help other young artists too. Plus despite being a fan of deep and dark things, I have a good sense of humor and can be lively so it just sounds like a lot of fun (I know I'll regret saying this now, haha). Who knows though? Oh and of course I'd want to keep painting and drawing my own things to sell on the side.

Rococo Flow: Sounds good, I admire that, anyone who wants to become teacher, because there aren't enough good and inspiring ones. After all, without the teachers how would anyone learn anything to become artists, doctors, lawyers, etc.?

Risa: I know right, and then they can come back and thank me when I'm roaming around with my walker.

Rococo Flow: Haha. Do you have any other interests besides drawing?

Risa: I'm a huge fan of Japanese music, as you can tell. I listen to all kinds and hope I can pay homage to my favorites by drawing/painting them. I sound so simple.

Rococo Flow: No you don’t. So who are your top five favorite musicians? =)

Risa: Oh Nooo!!! Hahahaha.
1) L'Arc~en~Ciel
2) Shiina Ringo
3) Salyu
5) the brilliant green

Rococo Flow: If you could be any character from a video game, movie, novel, etc. who would it be and why?

Risa: Maybe Lily Chou-Chou from the movie All About Lily Chou-Chou, because in the film she was an ethereal singer that provided a mysterious power to very different people. Her music was beautiful, original and other-worldly, all while being very mysterious herself. I thought she was such an amazing character.

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

Risa: Ah maybe, I’m kind of embarrassed that most of my work is fanart of Hyde? Haha.

Rococo Flow: Another artist I interviewed Heather or Makani, if you've heard of her said something along the lines of, ‘draw what you like to draw’, I mean after all if it makes you happy, who cares? Whatever gets your pencil moving.

Risa: Ah that’s a good quote! It's true though and I respect Hyde a lot so I really find it easy to draw him often.

Rococo Flow: I didn't ask earlier but are you working on any sort of art related projects or something of that nature?

Risa: I actually worked on a doujinshi with a few other artists a few years ago, but I'm really embarrassed with my submission so I like to forget about it (I didn't do a good job). Most recently an idea was pitched between me and a different group of artists but nothing has become of that yet. I hope maybe in the future I'll have the confidence to create an artbook with other artists, or go solo.

Rococo Flow: I would really love to see more artbooks done by some rising young artists like Le Grand Grimoire Visuel, I think such a project would be awesome and I'd totally buy it.

Risa: Yeah I think there should be more out there, even if they’re small.

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

Risa: There's a lot of things even artists you admire will learn so don't give up, if you love it enough and sincerely work hard on what you do, you'll improve in no time. Your best work is only the beginning to what you’re capable of doing so Good Luck!

To see more work by Risa visit the following links:

kurarisa@dA – deviantART gallery

You can also contact her at kurarisa [at]

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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Artist Profile: Kevin Dalton

The work of Kevin Dalton has always been a visually stimulating delight. Born in Detroit, Michigan, Kevin comes from a big family with five brothers and one sister, where they all dabbled in the arts in some form. Though, not all of them decided to continue with it, Kevin spent about a year at The College of Creative Studies also located in his hometown. With a distinct style and a knack for great character designs, each of his illustrations carries the hint of a greater story. This perhaps reflects the fact the he has experienced life all around the United States and also has a great interest in different cultures. Now living in California, Kevin is currently working as a storyboard artist for South Park Studios and is open for freelancing upon request.

RF:: Was it the influence of your family that made you want to pursue art or did something else spark that interest?

Kevin: I had a BIG love for comics in my early years around elementary school. I used to take computer paper in secret from my teachers, since we had a pretty old computer for the majority for my life. I would draw comics usually of my own creation and sell them to kids. All of my brothers were into this though, so it was kind of a family thing. I remember I gave all the comics my brothers drew to some girl I liked. Haha, so it was definitely a family thing, plus it fueled my love for comics, but it was also due to an overactive imagination.

Looking back, I think the thing I was most interested in was storytelling. Every now and then, my elementary school and other events I went to would have those folk story tellers. I always loved watching and listening to them. I’d much rather listen to their stories of how the skunk got its whites stripes than read about the evolution of a skunk and whatnot in a book.

RF:: Haha, I like that you gave comics to the girls you liked.

Kevin: Yeah, if you’re talented at art in elementary school your like a super star.

: Who have been your influences?

Kevin: Early on, it was of course cartoons, stuff from Warner Brothers, Disney, and early anime, like Akira and Dragon Ball. A lot of those have narrowed down, now that I’m older. I’m more influenced by life and musicians now than visual artists. But I love all the stuff that studio 4c does, as well as Otomo, Ghibli, and Akira Toriyama. The last two mostly because they mix a cute style and explore all emotions with their characters, plus their design sense is simple. I also love religious and Indian art. It’s very iconic and graphic.

RF: Did you ever have a mentor or someone that helped to guide you into becoming the artist you are today?

I had one teacher when I went to school in Detroit named David Chai that got me into animation and out of comics I owe a lot to him. I probably wouldn’t be the artist I am today if he wasn’t in my life.

RF:: What were some of the things he taught you or advice he gave?

Kevin: Mostly it was to have fun with your art and rock out. He stressed getting the feeling of a pose across. To this day if a pose isn’t perfect I have to redraw it until it’s clear. But he mostly taught a lot of animation foundations and his approach focused on pushing people to be creative and independent. I’ve got a pretty independent mind, always thinking of how to do thins on my own. That’s probably what has kept me going all these years. Being or becoming talented in such a way that you can really do what you love and live off it. Haha…what we REALLy want to do is probably NOT what we think we really want to do. So I’m working towards that.

RF:: So how would you describe your own style?

Kevin: It might be better if you told me that. Hahaha, I have no idea what I’m doing. I just go with the flow and what I feel works. But if I were to look at my style from the outside in, I would say it’s an animation influenced style with influences in European and Japanese animation. I focus a lot on pose and subtle nuances in people. How people interact with other and sort of a study of the human nature. If I wasn’t an artist I’d probably be into anthropology.

RF:: Is there ever a specific message that you're trying to convey when developing characters and ideas?

Kevin: Not really. A character is just a core. I believe that the story is greater than the character. A cool looking character is just a cool looking character if the story sucks. Sadly that seems like enough nowadays. But for ideas and stories, I want to “tell a lot with a little”. That’s kind of what I’m working on now, figuring that out. Most of the stuff on my site is a world where I would be if I wanted to escape. People have said that my characters have stories in just the expressions and gestures I use. It’s crazy when people get it… I’m like Whoa!!

RF:: Yeah... I enjoy characters whose posture and faces can seem to tell their stories all on their own. Most of the time, you see simple pin-ups that really don't do much. They're nice looking, but when it comes to wanting a compelling story there definitely needs to be more.

Kevin: I agree! It’s definitely something they can’t teach you in school. It’s more so something, a person has to do on their own. Norman Rockwell was a master at that. What’s that one saying? A picture tells 1000 words?

RF:: Yep and it’s so true.

Kevin: Yeah, that’s why I’m liking photographers more and more lately.

RF:: They have to take a lot of things into account and be able to use the model and props around them to tell some sort of story. I think an artist, especially a young and untrained one, forgets to incorporate a lot of things that can give substance to their art.

Kevin: I agree. The human body alone has so many elements to it. Hand, eyes, mouth, posture…add that with other environmental elements and you’ve got a lot of story telling right there.

RF:: Well, can you describe your own approach to creating a picture?

Kevin: Since I’m into people, I don’t normally do backgrounds, because I’m trying to get the story from the waist up. But it’s kind of hard to say. I do a lot of work by feeling, a feeling I get that I want to express onto paper. I’m big on expression and pose, so once I have those at a point where I think they tell the story, colors and such is just icing on the cake. I like to get into the minds of the characters and show that they have thoughts and have life to them. It sucks because sometimes one picture is not enough and they turn into stories. Haha. Or I’ll think of how [the characters] would look as animations.

RF:: So do you find yourself making pictures that resemble detailed story boards or maybe just a series of illustrations on the same subject?

Kevin: Yeah most of the time, a lot of them start out as whole stories that I know I cant finish so I just try to condense them into a picture or series where I want to explore a couple of different takes on the same subject. The Almighty Tiger pictures on my site are an example of one of those and awhile back I had these orchid pictures that were also a series. Good ideas are pretty precious I think, so whenever I have a good one I want to give it good treatment. Lately, my sketches have been broken into panels, so I’ll be able to perhaps get one view of the whole idea and then maybe one close up for a particular part of the body.

RF:: What's the story behind The Almighty Tiger? How did that spring up?

Kevin: The pictures? Or the words?

RF: Both =)

Kevin: Haha, oh well like I said, I draw a lot places that I’d like to be…very tropical areas and how I would like to see things. So on top of that, was what I felt is the lack of people of color I see in animation. “The Almighty Tiger?” is a name my friends and I came up with to describe ourselves as a group. Asian, Black, Hispanic, Indian, and all other forms of people that you don’t often see portrayed well in entertainment. I want to do some special things with it. To give more exposure to those groups of people in their arts, because we could all use exposure :-). That’s for the future though.

RF:: Ah I see, really cool. Do you feel that race has ever had an effect on you as an artist? Maybe it's just because of what I've been exposed to but there seems to be very few Black and even Indian artists who are out there visibly and show exceptional talent.

Kevin: Well I can say from experience that there are quite a lot of talented people from all races in the world known and unknown. I just want to expose younger people to MORE types of art from different cultures. It sucks how narrow most teaching is. Especially speaking as an African American and showing younger kids just like me the opportunities out there. There are a lot of untapped stories and ideas if people look. I'd love to collaborate with people all around the world and have them bring their own culture and art together with mine. It’s about getting out of your comfort zone. I don’t necessarily like when stories about other cultures are tailored to a certain taste.

RF:: Any specific examples?

Kevin: Haha, a lot of Disney movies, but they are what they are and serve a purpose. It’s more so how I would do it. If I were to say do an animated movie about Native Americans, you better believe the score of the film would be have traditional from the culture I was trying to depict. I would go out of my way to learn as much about them, get their input, and learn from their artists and their art, because the film would be about them. It just seems like the logical thing to do, but I totally understand the business of trying to cater to as many demographics as possible for maximum sales and etc. Does that make any sense?

RF:: Yeah it definitely does. Haha, and yes, it’s definitely all about the business.

Kevin: Yeah, sadly.

RF:: When you're working, what programs do you use?

Kevin: Mainly Photoshop, sometimes Illustrator. I like vectors but man are they slower than doing work in Photoshop. It’s a different way of thinking.

RF:: How about traditional media?

Kevin: Pencils, colored pencils, markers, ink/ink washes and watercolors are usually what I dabble in.

RF:: Have worked on any big projects?

Kevin: Right now I’m on South Park, previously I’d done design work for a couple of studios. Stuff you could actually see was on the Legion of Superheroes TV show that came on. I’m not sure if it’s still on air though. I’m pretty happy with the turn out on South Park, thus far, since they create episodes so quick a lot of the stuff we do in the storyboard and production department actually goes into the show. Often times [in animation], through revisions and things just falling under, our ideas and work are never used, kind of sucks.

RF:: I can imagine. You put all that effort into your work for it to never see the light of day, but that South Park, job sounds very cool. Especially since I heard about the deal the creators just signed, so it’s a really great gig.

RF:: So you're rooming with Ed Tadem do you guys ever collaborate on any pics or have you ever had any other opportunities to work with any of your other peers?

Kevin: Since we are both busy right now we don’t get to collaborate to much. I want to collaborate with other people and make some books, but when two people are busy it’s sometimes hard.

RF:: I'd buy you guys books and some others in an instant!! *Laughs*

Kevin: Haha, that’s where the fun is I think, doing those collaborative pieces. Books and all that, it’s not as crazy as working in entertainment. You can still keep some of the creativity since they’re not a huge gamble

RF:: Yeah I see some groups who try to go the self-publishing route some of them though, I don't know if they're at the level where I'd want to invest any more than 20 dollars on their stuff, but for some other people, I'd seriously put down some money to have a hard bound book. Haha. Like the Exposé stuff by CG Society/Ballistic publishing. However, I think if it’s artists that I knew and sort of grew up watching I’d have more of a sentimental value but that’s me.

Kevin: Yeah I agree :-) It kind of goes back into The Almighty Tiger, artists working together.

RF:: So I guess I want to go ahead and throw this question in here now since you've sort of voiced some opinions, but what are you thoughts on the comic/art industry and any related fields you want to include? Where do you think it's heading towards?

Kevin: I would love to see games go in the direction for fun games over focus on graphics. The games coming out are just first person shooters, but I guess you could say that’s our type of game in America as RPGs and such come out of Japan. For comics, I think it’s open ended since you can easily put out comics on your own. There are so many creative people in it. I still love comics and hope to get back into it. It’s going wherever people take it. 

RF:: Haha, you can dedicate a comic to someone you like. =D

Kevin: Haha, totally!! Comics are awesome. Ed Tadem is the future I must say.

RF:: Oh I agree, I agree!! I bookmarked his journal so I can keep up with it, but who doesn’t do that for their favorite artists?

Haha, I agree and I’m glad I get to see it from start to finish now. He’s so talented it’s crazzyyy.

RF:: *Laughs* Lucky. I'm sure you learn new things and vice versa

Kevin: Yeah, I’ve learned how much I suck. Haha.

RF:: *Laughs* Out of the pictures you've done, is there any that means the most for you?

Kevin: "Piano song" because its referenced off a old picture I have of my grandmother and my jazz dance picture which was for a friend of mine. Inside the picture are both him and his wife, but also because I just really like seeing people dance :-)

RF:: =) That’s sweet. What are you future goals?

Kevin: To take time to get better at art and animation, finish a comic I'm proud of and perhaps a personal art book. Then get to work on The Almighty Tiger and animation. But I definitely understand paying your dues so right now gaining work experience and connections. I hope to start my own art business perhaps later on in life after I’ve gained some experience.

RF:: So you've spoken a bit about animation, what are some of your favorite animated shows?

Kevin: :-( I have none. Some are done well though, like Fosters Home for Imaginary Friends, El Tigre, and Avatar.

RF:: Do you have any other interests besides drawing?

Kevin: I love music to death, as well as traveling. Now that I’ve got a little more money I plan to travel a bit since I have friends that are artists in other countries to visit. And there’s my never ending love for food.

RF:: Who are some of your favorite music artists?

Kevin: I love blues, jazz, rap, soul, funk, I seriously like it all. If it’s good it’s good. Music should be able to transcend tastes. But I guess it takes an open mind. Most of the time my favorites range from Billie Holiday’s sultry jazz to compilations of CDs with samba and bossa nova and Japanese orchestra composers. It’s hard to remember names and I try to check out all sorts of music. I’m always open to hearing new stuff

RF:: That’s always cool in my book =) ... I try to keep that philosophy with music too. If I like it I like it. I'm willing to try and listen to anything

Kevin: Ditto. I’m the same with food and art. I want to try everything even if I won’t like it. All good stuff for the brain.

RF:: What's your biggest fear?

Kevin: Hmm… maybe dying and not doing anything of worth. But since I went through cancer I kind of got rid of that fear. In terms of horrific things, the unknown scares me. However, since I did go through cancer, that’s my biggest fear, of it coming back.

RF:: Oh, if you don't mind me asking, what kind of cancer did you have?

Kevin: Hodgkin’s lymphoma

RF:: I see, well I'm glad it's gone now. It’s something quite fearful to go through. What's the strangest comment you've ever gotten, regarding your art?

Kevin: Haha one guy said my art annoys him.

RF:: Oh wow, did he give any reason why?

Kevin: Because I had two hands that looked like they were from two different universes.

RF:: *Laughs* Oh well… you can’t please everybody.

RF:: Do you have any advice for any other aspiring artists?

Kevin: Just be yourself and do things as how you want to see them. Not how you think people want to see them. It’s you chance to voice your artistic opinion in the world so use it to the best of your ability.

RF:: Well, I believe that’s it. Thank you for the wonderful Interview.

Kevin: Aww thank you thank you it was delightful, I learned some new things about myself :-)

RF:: Glad to hear that =)

Visit the following links to see more work by Kevin: - Homepage - Kevin’s Sketchblog - Kevin's sketchbook which you can purchase - MySpace page
kevindalton@dA – dA gallery
Checkered Penguin – Group Sketchblog with friends.

You can also contact Kevin through the email address on his homepage.

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Friday, June 13, 2008

Artists on Tegaki E pt. 2

Reflecting on our last post about Tegaki E, we thought why not link to a couple more of our favorites. For those of you already on Tegaki E, there’s a book marking feature which allows you to easily follow others. Handy when no one really sticks out on the front page.

Anarahk – (even has a little Tegaki E tutorial which you can find here).



alexds1 (Check out Der-shing's interview here).


chupachup (bonus points for being named after the lollipop).

*Image © CNWOLF

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Sunday, June 8, 2008

Graffiti Contest: The Incredible Hulk and Jones Soda

Facebook Graffiti is holding two more contests. The first is based on The Incredible Hulk in which participants are to draw the Hulk or character of their own in various categories. Contestants compete for a grand prize of $250 Fadango or Amazon gift certificates.

The second contest is sponsored by Jones Soda and contestants are to create a drawing of a common object or place and make it into something better. Grand prize winners will have their picture printed on Jones Soda bottles, receive a track jacket, and Jones Soda gift pack.

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Friday, June 6, 2008

Drawing Day '08

Hey everyone!! This post is to inform you about Drawing Day 2008 which beings June 7th. (Depending on where you live in the world that could mean today!) Held on the first week of June of each year, the purpose of Drawing Day is to remind everyone about the joy of putting pencil or pen to paper. In order to participate you need only to create a drawing, even something as simple as a stick figure and to share it online on a website such as deviantART or upload it to a host like Photobucket and share the link on a journal.

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Thursday, June 5, 2008

Solange - 'I Decided'

The following is Solange's new video for her single 'I Decided'.

I must say I love the old school feel of the video and the colors.

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Artist Profile: Emmy Cicierega

When looking the art of Emmy Cicierega (Sis-er-ee-gah), one can never think of anything less than liveliness and joy. Also, know as b1ndi on dA, Emmy’s art can be characterized by a mixture of everything that was ever fun about being a kid. Currently 18 years old, she resides in Kingston Massachusetts where’s she lived her whole life and been home schooled since an early age. She also has three siblings: Leah (28), Neil (21), and Ben (14), and if you were ever wondering her last name is Lithuanian. (However, she does describe her family as being a family of ‘mutts’ with a passed on Lithuanian name). If anything, there’s no doubt that Emmy’s work is something to watch out for the in the future. Who knows? You may see her work on TV someday.

Rococo Flow: So how long have you been drawing? What was it that initially got you interested?

Emmy: I've been drawing since 10 and started getting really obsessed with it around 12 or 13. My Dad bought me a VHS of The Lion King and when I saw it, I flipped out. I decided that animation was the coolest idea ever and that I had to be a part of it. I would watch animated movies repeatedly and freeze the frames and go back and forth just mesmerized! Haha.

Rococo Flow: *Laughs* Who or what would you cite as influences as you've progressed over the years?

Emmy: I spend a good amount of time browsing deviantART every day, just going over all the different kinds of artists. There are hundreds of talented folks I admire there. Artists that stick out by name, though, well let’s see. Recently I got into Alphonse Mucha's stuff and Allesandro Barbucci’s work is pretty awesome. Hayao Miyazaki is always a favorite!

Rococo Flow: Of your peers, who would you single out as being one of the most innovative with their art?

Emmy: Hmm well you just gotta love Loish's stuff. She draws beautiful girls who have strong jaws and other strong features but still turn out just gorgeous. She uses colors I’d never think of using!

Rococo Flow: I have to agree, her use of colors and composition is amazing. How would you describe your own style?

Emmy: Uhh. Disney on vacation in Japan, attending a fashion show set to French jazz. I have no idea how to describe my art. Hahah, Cats. Lots of cats!

Rococo Flow: Haha. How do you get ideas for your drawings?

Emmy: Music! I love picturing what goes along to music and then drawing it. Music can really help me put a personality to a character. It's fabulous.

Rococo Flow: So is it any genre of music in particular or can it be anything?

Emmy: I love all kinds of music, mostly happy stuff. I'm big on Japanese Pop lately, but I also love sassy French stuff and some Norwegian punk, and you gotta love American geek rock! But yeah, foreign music is awesome to me because you get to apply your own meanings to the lyrics and still enjoy vocals.

Rococo Flow: What programs do you typically use for your work?

Emmy: Photoshop CS2! I practically live in Photoshop. Haha.

Rococo Flow: How about traditional media?

Emmy: I've always wanted to test the waters with that but it’s dang intimidating! No undo button! I do sketch with pencils a lot though. I plan on exploring watercolors at some point this year.

Rococo Flow: Could you go into detail about the process you have for creating a picture?

Emmy: It's pretty basic. Sketch, inks, flats, shading. Sometimes I’ll mix it up and do sketch, flats, shading (no outlines, ooh!). I'm trying to get more into digital painting lately though, which requires a higher resolution and lots of patience for fiddly details. It's slow going, Haha.

Rococo Flow: Ah I agree, I used to look for a lot of painting tutorials and watch event files and it definitely takes some patience, but the results can be quite beautiful.

Emmy: Yeah. Watching videos of people paint is the worst, because they make it look so easy! It never is! Hahaha

Rococo Flow: Not to mention it’s sped up.

Emmy: Yeah.

Rococo Flow:
What's your favorite kind of work environment besides having music to listen to?

Emmy: A good chair, my tablet and a computer is all I need, really. And snacks, SO MANY SNACKS.

Rococo Flow: With the majority of your work, are you ever trying to portray any kind of message?

Emmy: I guess a reoccurring theme in my art could be "Happiness is chic" or "Adventure is just around the corner". I like my art to feel like it's playful and carefree, hopefully people pick up on that.

Rococo Flow: Looking back at your past works, what improvements and changes are you proud of?

Emmy: I think I am better at anatomy (hopefully, haha) and I'm quite pleased with how my taste for colors has developed. (I used to be the kid who would draw cats in rainbow colors with polka dots)

Rococo Flow: Haha... do you have any original stories you're working on or projects in general?

Emmy: Well I've always got stories in my head that I develop just to entertain myself, but I've been working on making them more public. It's hard, seeing as I'm a terrible writer. I've got no solidified projects planned, but there are always at least a hundred IDEAS for projects in the back of my head.

Rococo Flow: If you ever had the opportunity, are there any artists you would love to work with?

Emmy: On a large scale, I'd LOVE to work with a team of artists on some sort of amazing project like a movie or something. On a more personal scale, there are too many people to list by name! One on one collaborations are really fun, though, if you're working with someone with a similar taste in art and style as you, or even a complete opposite style!

Rococo Flow: Since you seem to have a love for animation, do you have any particular thoughts on the industry?

Emmy: The industry needs to bring 2D back with a classy comeback. Studios should focus more on a good story, and less on what would entertain an obnoxious child for an hour. Pixar is really good at making good stories, and I wish they would branch out into 2D!

Rococo Flow: Cannot agree enough!! I hate how people are sort of dismissing 2D when in reality a good story is what's necessary for a solid foundation regardless of if it's in 2D or 3D. However, I'm curious to see how the Rapuzel movie by Disney will turn out

Emmy: Exactly. Yeah, Disney is trying to get back in the game, it's been shaky, but I’m still reserving judgment.

Rococo Flow: Yeah, I'm crossing my fingers. Haha, I really do want them to succeed.

Emmy: Me too :-)

Rococo Flow: So what are your future aspirations? Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

Emmy: I see myself with a robotic left arm that can shoot lasers and brew coffee. Honestly, though, I see myself involved with a movie somehow! Storyboarding or character design sound pretty cool to me. I'd like to be involved in both animation and live action

Rococo Flow: What are some of your interests besides drawing?

Emmy: Film, comedy, traveling, writing, photography, fashion!

Rococo Flow: If you could be any character from a video game, movie, or novel, etc. who would it be?

Emmy: Tough one! Let's see, Kiki, from Kiki's Delivery Service. I identify with her a lot. I'd also like to be Hermione from Harry Potter, I suppose. I think it would be loads of fun to be any sort of Disney Princess, especially if you get to sing all the time. But mostly I want to be Voldemort. Yeah.

Rococo Flow: Give a list of your top 5 favorite movies and your top 5 favorite songs.

Emmy: Hahaha. No fair, they're always changing! Uh let’s see. Right now some favorite movies of mine are Stardust, Spirited Away, Mirror Mask, The Incredibles, and Singing in the Rain.

Favorite songs: Lets see, ‘Kimi Ga Suki’ by Ram Rider,
Dancing with Myself’ by Nouvelle Vague, That’s How You Know’ from the Enchanted soundtrack, So You Say’ by The Bird and the Bee and Somewhere Beyond The Sea by Frank Sinatra!

Rococo Flow: Nice =). Now you have singing ‘That’s How You Know’. *Laughs*

Emmy: Haha yeah, that song is addictive!

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

A big problem I run into regarding young artists is subject obsession. They learn how to draw like, say, wolves, and that’s ALL they draw in like one style. That’s no good! I'm not saying to stop drawing wolves, I'm saying draw wolves in more styles and draw humans and trees and all kinds of things, don't limit yourself at all when it comes to art, ever! But don't cut back on what you love to draw either!

To see more work by Emmy check out the following links:

b1nd1@dAdeviantartART account

You can also contact Emmy at emmybindi[at]

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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Creep Machine

The Creep Machine is a popular webzine that often features alternative and underground artists from various fields including traditional art, illustration, and photography. Run by webmaster Josh who also writes for the San Francisco weekly, the Creep Machine hopes to expose various artists to a more mainstream audience.

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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Artist Profile: Ed Tadem Pt. 2

In our previous post we had the first part of our interview with Ed Tadem. In this second part he talks more about his current comic project '76 with B. Clay Moore as well as his other experiences with art and comics.

[Click here for Part 1]

Rococo Flow:Do you use any other programs besides Photoshop?

Ed: Not really. I used to use this Japanese program called OpenCanvas but we used Photoshop exclusively at the architecture firm and one thing about a place like that, you learn to get really fast really quick and you pick up a few tricks. I found there wasn't much you couldn't do with Photoshop.

Rococo Flow: Yeah and Phostoshop has improved so much over the years, but I like OpenCanvas a lot.

Ed: Yeah I saw some screens of OC4 and it looks kind of like it's getting into PS territory, the last one I had was 3 and the thing I liked about it was it just had the essentials.

Rococo Flow: I have both OC3 and OC4 and 4 has a lot of added tools, but I still use the default brushes so it’s like I’m using 3. I should probably play around with it more. *laughs*

Ed: I've heard good things about Painter X too but yeah, there’s a ton of things in Photoshop I never touch. But you know, just talking to friends and asking how they do things, you sort of build up your own tricks.

Rococo Flow: Do you use custom brushes?

Ed: Yes, almost nothing but at this point. I actually even made actions to select the most used ones, from F2 through F10. I try to make most of my digital paint look like natural paint. I just kept messing with things till I had brushes that didn’t look digital. It took me awhile to configure it all.

Rococo Flow: I can imagine. Speaking of programs, have you heard of ArtRage?

Ed: Ah yeah, a friend sent me the demo and it looks pretty fun. I actually did finish a painting in it. It was on my list to get a full version at some point, then I kind of forgot about it.

Rococo Flow: *Laughs* I have messed with it but it does look pretty fun.

Ed: The interface took some getting used to.

Rococo Flow: So what about traditional media? Which do you typically use, any favorites?

Ed: Well all my comic work is eventually inked with a sable brush and Sumi ink. I still love pencil and ink for all my drawing needs. As far as painting, I’ve been trying to get into acrylics. I haven't had too much time to sit down and do something decent though. I was taught to paint with oils in school, and it sort of influenced the way I painted digitally. I still love that look, but I can't deal with the mess and the fumes. One of the reasons I want to get into acrylics is if you do it right you can get it to look like oil.

Rococo Flow: I think with the influence of the internet and these readily available programs, lots of kids are learning to paint digitally before they even touch paint but, looking at your work and other artists out there, it's sort of easy to tell who's learned how to paint traditionally because you transfer it over to the digital canvas.

Ed: Yeah, I think it's too easy at this point to just learn digital techniques without an understanding of what it's founded on but at the same time, that problem exists whenever anyone gets too married to style over substance. Even with traditional media and stuff, you can tell when someone can't draw or doesn't understand storytelling, etc. and are falling back on inking with lots of detailed little lines or something. A lot of kids learn to run before they can walk, and it shows. There are so many sites I see and the painting and colors make me jealous, but then underneath it, the drawing is weak and doesn't hold up.

Rococo Flow: I like to think that some of that is ok, because I don't feel like the majority of these people are trying to have an art career and it’s just a hobby.

Ed: True but I am kind of referring to people who actually do work, as well. They get by because it's flashy work that sells. It goes back to when I met Eric and the artists I had never heard of, but these were artists that ARTISTS respected and looked at, regardless of it they were in the Wizard top 10 or whatever. I mean you can’t knock a guy for making a living, but you’ve got to choose at some point if you want to be an artist or just a commodity to be sold at face value?.

Rococo Flow: That's true, I guess there's a lot of background politics behind it too? What are your current thoughts about the comics industry and anything that ties in with that?

Ed: As far as comics. I don't know if I'm qualified. There are only a handful of comics I buy at this point. I don’t know if there are really any background politics but I think some people don't mind being Paris Hilton you know?

Rococo Flow: *Laughs* True. Some people draw just for the popularity and that's how deviantART seems to be sometimes. However, I like it because I do find people when I dig through all the other ‘crap’.

Ed: There’s also the money. I mean, people that go into interviews literally with photocopies of someone else's artwork. Obviously that's an extreme, but I guess there's just levels of integrity as far as what you want your art to say about you and if it's something you want to devote your heart and soul to, or if it's just a paycheck. Haha and I feel so old when I check out DA. I don’t go to many forums anymore these days.

Rococo Flow: I find DA really funny because a lot of people are starting to 'discover' a lot of artists I've know about and admired for years but I like seeing that they're getting a bit of the recognition they deserve. I used to link hop from site to site because one artist I loved would like all the ones they loved and I’d end up loving them too.

Ed: Haha yeah, it’s a dangerous way to lose an afternoon.

Rococo Flow: Yes!! It’s horrible.

Rococo Flow: The other part to my comics question, or art in generally if you want was what are your thoughts on it, also with the younger generation and the great surge in Eastern influences.

Ed: Well hopefully those kids will grow up? I think it's the same as back when I was growing up and it was all about guys like Jim Lee, etc. I mean there's good anime and bad anime, and eventually you just hope kids will be able to tell the difference.

Rococo Flow: I think for the ones serious about art, it happens.

Ed: It goes both ways though, there's a lot of dismissal of anime or manga, because there's so much bad stuff that gets put on TV. That also relates to what I said about being influenced by everything around you. Hopefully anime or manga will be a bridge into just loving all kinds of art. Lots of guys do that well, people like Bryan O'Malley and Becky Cloonan are their own artists

Rococo Flow: Yeah, definitely. So what are your goals for the future?

Ed: Mainly I'd love to just do comics fulltime. And sideline in illustration or cover work, just because painting is fun too. I'm just taking it one project at a time at this point and trying to improve and do better on the next one.

Rococo Flow: Out of all the work you've done, is there any that you're the most proud of or if not, was there anything that was particularly difficult to completely?

Ed: *Haha* Most sequential pages for me are difficult to complete, only because they mean so much to me. A pinup or whatever painting is usually easier, but pages that tell a story. There's so much that goes into it, I'm still trying to get a hold of it all. I like to think whatever I'm doing right now is the thing I'm most proud of. So at this point, it's '76. I also just did a short story for the Pop Gun anthology, and I like some of that pretty ok too.

Rococo Flow: Care to talk a bit more about '76? Like how'd you come to work on it and what it's about exactly?

Ed: Sure. Well, my buddy Jason Latour worked with Clay on another Image series called Expatriate. Jason was kind enough to introduce me to Clay and recommend me for '76. The book is actually split in two, with the second half being written by Seth Peck and drawn by Tigh Walker. Both are set in 1976 and our half is called Jackie Karma and takes place in New York. Theirs is called Cool and is set in Los Angeles. Basically, Jackie Karma is a white kung fu master who used to fight crime in the '60s.

He's retired now and working as a lawyer when his old arch-nemesis comes into town, and he's forced to re-don his street-fighting outfit from his hey-day. The outfit, by the way, includes among other things a leather coat with a lion-head graphic on the back and a white belt with the same lion-head buckle. In another writer's hands, it sounds like it could be a recipe for disaster, but in Clay's, it's pretty much a recipe for awesome. I'm also doing covers for the book, and it should be out from Image Comics in January. (RF: Check it out here).

Rococo Flow: Sounds great. =)

Ed: Hehe. =) I think the book will offer something for different tastes. Clay and I are a bit more grounded with the story, and Seth and Tigh are pushing the crazy factor more.

Rococo Flow:
Do you have any other projects in the pipeline?

Ed: Well I have a short story in another Image anthology called Pop Gun, nothing else fun to speak of, just things to pay the bills until '76 comes out. =)

Rococo Flow:
Do you have any other interests besides drawing?

Ed: Well I still play guitar. It's a great stress reliever. I try to play tennis, but I was in a hit and run last month and my back hasn't been letting me. I love movies, concerts, typical type of stuff. My roommate is an aspiring screenwriter and he's gotten me hooked on JD Salinger, so I've been reading a bunch of that.

Rococo Flow: So ok, what's the strangest comment you've gotten regarding your art?

Ed: Uhm, you know, I've been lucky to have met a lot of really nice people in the industry who always have nice things to say. It means a lot to me whenever anyone has a kind word. I don't post much at boards and such like I mentioned so it's just nice to hear. But on that note, it's extremely gratifying when your writer gives you honest praise.

Marcus White wrote the short story I'm doing for Pop Gun, and he said he didn't think the story would have turned out as well with any other artist. Clay says a ton of nice things too. In fact, I'll paste something he just said to me tonight that just made my day. "What I always tell people when I'm talking about you guys is that it's a combination of three things: raw talent, an almost ego-less desire to improve at your craft, and genuine intelligence."

Rococo Flow: That's quite a compliment.

Ed: Us guys being me and Tigh. Yeah. just makes me want to keep trying to kick it up a notch every new issue. Clay's a guy that appreciates the underpinnings of what makes good comics and storytelling, so even though we're rough around the edges and we both know our weaknesses, we try our best to understand how to deal with problems and just constantly improve. Or in my case, get less sucky.

Rococo Flow: Any advice for aspiring artists?

Ed: I'd say to be open to everything, and be influenced by everything. That's what will make you your own artist, instead of an artist that sort of looks like so-and-so. And remember to never stop learning. Even, if you're 14 or if you're 40, there's always something new to learn and try or improve. Always. The worst thing you can do is get comfortable with yourself and think you've got it made. The reason Eric Canete still holds my respect and awe isn't because he was awesome when I was 17, it's because he's grown and evolved and is still awesome. Whenever I think I've finally caught up to him, he's already got new tricks up his sleeve.

Every artist should be like that. I mean there are artists that are awesome, but they've gotten comfortable and after a while, you realize you've seen it all from them. Yeah, this new piece is awesome, but it's the same awesome as the first thing you saw from them years ago. And at that point you wonder, what's the point? I don't need to buy this comic. It's the same as the ones I already own. I like seeing work from artists who always have something new to offer. I don't mean even drastically changing their style or anything but maybe they adapted a cool new effect for rain or maybe they've done a neat new camera move and it's easier for me to talk about comics that way, but the same holds true for painters and illustrators. Evolution and growth is essential. Uhm, The End.

Rococo Flow: *Laughs* I think you’ve answered everything. Thanks so much.

To see more work by Ed check out the following links: - Main portfolio site
Chepeng – Group blog with friends - the '76 blog
edtadem@deviantart - dA gallery

You can also contact him through his e-mail on the portfolio site.

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