Most kids take to crayon and paper like a fish takes to water, the problem is, most people stop drawing when they start caring about what others think, and let negativity ruin their fun. Growing up, my dad used to draw with me, and even during my 'dry' spells where I focused more on writing, I still enjoyed drawing. I got a late introduction to comics, our local paper didn't run the good stuff (like Calvin and Hobbes) so my experience with newspaper comics was pretty dull. In middle school, I started watching anime, and from there I found manga, and then I branched out into American indie comics, pushing myself to improve artistically the entire time. It's taken a long time, and I've learned a lot, but I'm fairly pleased with my progress.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
All sorts of places! There's still a strong shoujo (girls) manga influence to my work, as well as a lot of Disney (particularly Glenn Keane's stuff) and I learned how to construct a body from the Glenn vilppu Drawing Manual (he also worked for Disney) and A LOT OF STUDY, so style wise, I guess I fall into that large category still referred to as American Manga. I look outside these narrow sources for inspiration, however. I read a lot of style blogs since my favorite subject matter is cute girls, I'm highly influenced by Studio Ghibli productions, particularly the storytelling, and I'm always reading new comics. My classmates at SCAD are a continual source of motivation, competition, and inspiration, since I refuse to be left in the dust.
Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to get better at drawing?
I go through phases, but some of my all time favorites are:
Horror: Junji Ito's work (Uzumaki, Gyo)
Historical: Kaoru Mori's A Bride's Story (I highly recommend it, it is a beautiful comic and very well written)
Autobiographical: Raina Telgemeier's smile
Travel: Sarah Glidden's How To Understand Israel in Under 60 Days
Josei (kinda an adult version of shoujo)/ Slice of Life: Chica Umino's Honey and Clover
What are some of your favorite blogs?
I read a variety of blogs, but the ones that make my eyes light up when I see there's been an update are:
Temple of the Seven Golden Camels
The Beauty Department
And Beautifully Pure, of course!
Aw! Thank you! What is your most valuable tool when it comes to your work?
A cheap sketchbook I can carry around. Moleskins are not for me. Handcrafted sketchbooks filled with handmade paper, also not for me. I make a lot of mistakes, erase a lot, scribble down a lot of notes, and do color swatches, and I need a sketchbook that isn't 'precious'.
Where is your favorite place to work?
For sketching? In class, when I should be paying attention. For actual comics? My lapboard in front of the TV. I do have a desk, but that's too fussy for me these days.
Do you have a favorite illustrator/cartoonist?
Every comic artist loves Alphonse Mucha, Mary Blair, Norman Rockwell, Albrecht Durer, and I'm just as guilty. I am really loving Fiona Hewitt's Wu & Wu illustrations, its a perfect mix of cotton canddy 50's nostalgia, and I've always been drawn to Mizuno Juunko's misanthropic darlings.
Is there anything else you'd like to add before we close up this lovely interview?
Sure! If you want to be proficient at drawing, it's more than just a hobby. It is a passion that drives your life. Learn how to draw EVERY THING. If you're going to do commissions, actually draw the people, don't just do a 'palette swap', where every girl you draw is exactly the same in the face but wears different clothes and has different hair. I feel like a lot of aspiring artists lack the desire to leave their comfort zones, and only draw what they already draw well, because it provides instant satisfaction. Stretch yourself in your sketchbook, where noone has to see.
How to enter:
Just follow Nattosoup on GFC and comment to let me know you did!
Bonus entries (leave an extra comment for each):
1) Follow Becca on Twitter
2) Tweet about the giveaway and include a link
3) Post about the giveaway on FaceBook and include a link
The winner will be drawn at random on April 30th and announced the following Monday. Good luck to you all and thanks to Becca for this great giveaway!