Category: Q&A

December 2014 Artist Q&A

Hey, everybody! It’s Christmas Eve and I’m making rum cake and looking forward to a day full of friends and good food tomorrow. In the meanwhile, here are some answers to the great questions you guys dropped for me this month!

Q.  Marion Z asks: What do you feel about the importance of studying the human figure, both clothed and nude as a fundamental education for your work?

A.  It’s inevitable. Whenever we look at a work of art, we’re always searching for the recognizable pattern of a human reflected back at us.  Even if you’re focused on drawing creatures, it’s important to know how you can create a narrative around that creature and add expression that humans can relate to so that they find it interesting.  We’re vain creatures and we love to form narrative from anything we find familiar.

Short answer, learning the human form is extremely important, especially if you’re going into a field that requires convincing characters.  Failure to express emotion, even when one is technically skilled, can be the difference between a well made work of art with no soul and a somewhat capable work of art that still manages to capture the viewer.

Q. Marion Z asks: How important to you, and what do you do for the sake of it, to include archival qualities in your work?

A.  If you want your art to last for future generations to enjoy displaying in their homes, archival quality is important.  The internet and digital capture allows us to share images like never before without degradation, but the tactile quality of an archival print or original is still the standard in home and museum display.

Q.  Marion Z asks: Given the resources available, what suggestions do you have for studio lighting, to improve, develop and understand the color and detail work that is so important in your work?

A.  I’m a huge fan of Ottlite brand lights.  They are pure daylight bulbs that help when mixing colors on your palette during traditional painting, which is so important if you’re working with pieces that require a delicate color balance to really vibe well on paper (which is like every watercolor piece I do, ever).

It’s super easy for things to come out too yellow if you paint under incandescent bulbs.  If you can’t afford fancy daylight bulbs, always try to paint by sunlight.  Sidenote, sunlight/daylight is also the best for showing the best color quality for photographing originals.

Q.  Marion Z asks: For any given media, what would you suggest for the student artist to gather for a foray into that medium?

A.  I personally don’t feel tied to any media. For me, it’s all about whatever tool gets the job done!  However, you still need to learn how a medium behaves before you can know what potential it has for your tool set as an artist.  For this, I recommend just buying a cheap set of the media you’re wanting to learn and having a play with it.  Don’t concern yourself with being a master, just have some good old fashioned fun!  Not spending a lot of money on new media lets you be able to play with it in a more guilt free way.

I also recommend picking up a good source book or two to help you be more familiar with the materials you’re trying to learn about.  For instance, I’ve been considering trying out oil painting, but there are some very particular things you need to worry out when using this media (ie. toxicity, good ventilation, proper waste disposal, etc.).  I picked up The Complete Oil Painter: The Essential Reference for Beginners to Professionals so I can take the plunge into oil painting with full knowledge of what the studio setup and other challenges of the media will be.

Q.  And final question, C. L. McCollum asks: Which is the next painting you plan to start in 2015? And why that one?

A.  I’ve been brewing on a new painting for my fantasy book cover portfolio for a long time now, but other obligations popped up keeping me from finishing it this year like I had wanted.  I’m super excited to get started on a new painting starring Melakim, one of my original characters from an original world I’ve been toying about with for years.

Melakim Wardrobe concepts

It’s going to feature all the things I love, a badass Hunter lady, lots of corvids, and a possible mix of traditional and digital a la Wylie Beckert’s graphite method that I’ve been dying to experiment with.

Needless to say, I am excited about this next piece!  I can’t wait for 2015!  Till then, have some thumbnails for this upcoming piece to tide you all over:

Melakim Cover sneak peek.
Tattoos? Corvids? Badass Ladies? Oh my!

Have a great holiday, everyone!  See you in 2015!

Upcoming December Artist Q&A

i-approve-of-this-tree-christmas-cat-memeHey, everyone! I usually do a 30 minute live broadcast for my Q&A sessions, but since the holidays are busy and I’m not sure I’ll be able to broadcast from wherever we might end up, I’m doing another blog-hosted event instead!

A Couple of Changes

– The Patreon giveaway portion of the monthly sessions is now going to be held quarterly (during January, April, July, and October’s monthly broadcasts).  While my giveaways are happening less, the prize is now going to be my Patron’s choice of a custom sketch or a 50% off coupon for my shop, which is even cooler than a random thing, in my opinion!

– The Q&A sessions will still be held once a month even if I won’t be giving away something each session.  That gives us more time for mini demos and questions!

How This Month’s Session Will Work

– Leave me questions in comments here.  Ask me anything about art, life, and beyond!

– I’ll answer them in a blog post at this journal here on the 24th!

Have a great holiday season, everyone!

September 2014 Giveaway and Q&A

EVENT LINK on Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/113983405055864592403/events/c6o89mu32rptsvvnpc7bi886pq0

Join me for my September Patreon Giveaway! See how my month’s been going, ask me anything, and learn which lucky Patreon patron will win one of my art items!

Can’t make it? Leave your questions in comments and I’ll answer them at the event, which will be recorded and automatically uploaded afterwards to my YouTube channel, where you can watch the broadcast later: http://www.youtube.com/user/angelicshades 

Sponsor me on Patreon to get in on this chance to win unique items direct from the artist. Only Patrons at the $10 and up level will be added to the giveaway: http://www.patreon.com/angelasasser 

Questions are fielded via the Q&A text chat feature within Hangouts, so do not worry about ‘calling in’ if you are shy.

August 2014 Giveaway + Q&A: Winner and Answers!

Now for some answers to the questions you asked in a previous entry!  Vanessa asks:

Q:  I find that I have a very hard time figuring out light sources and shading when I’m trying to draw or paint (traditionally and digitally). Do you have any recommendations for exercises or books that would help with this problem?

A:  Vanessa, mastering values is one of the most subtle, but important skills that I am still mastering, myself!  If you can establish the proper values and shadows, you can make even the most absurd forms look realistic and the most simple paintings intriguing.

Some of my favorite exercises to understand the importance of value, especially as it affects composition, is to study master paintings and create black and white abstractions of them (thanks to Chris Oatley’s Painting Drama for the idea!).  Like this:

Breaking down a painting into the major value groupings which define the image teaches you to recognize that effective paintings aren’t about shading and lighting everything to the same intensity, but that you can push and pull the viewer’s eye by grouping together the overall values where you would like the flow of the image to move.

As for knowing what to shade, lighting and shooting your own references is extremely important!  You can bring a level of realism and grounded reality to your pieces if you can define where the cast shadows fall.  Some artists do this with photographic reference, others learn to light and rig in 3D modeling programs so they can control every aspect of their reference more easily.

There’s so much more I can say about this topic, so I’ll just leave you with a suggestion for further reading in the form of James Gurney’s amazing books on painting, Imaginative Realism and Color and Light.  Both books talk extensively about values, color, composition, and so much more!  They are an essential part of my book shelf.

Q: As an artist do you find it more difficult to begin passion projects as opposed to commissions? Where do you find your motivation? I know that when I get home from designing all day one of the last things I want to do is work on my own projects, and I have started missing them!

A:  This is a tough one!  I am still battling to get motivated after work.  After working on commissions for other people all day, I just want to curl up with a video game or a good movie.  The best way I’ve managed to trick myself into ‘working’ after work is to realize that this is essential ‘play’ time.  We remain creative by letting our minds wander (see John Cleese’s lecture on the matter).

It also helps for me to give myself a set amount of time I can expect to be playing.  You can get a whole lot done an hour a night if only you dedicate yourself fully to that hour!

Q: My last question is, where did your love of art nouveau stem from? What draws you to this particular movement in art?

A:  I fell in love with Art Nouveau when one of my good friends in college introduced me to the work of Alphonse Mucha!  I instantly fell in love with the elegant swirling lines and organic shapes.  Replicating the style is like pure joy for me.  Inking the tiny details is a form of strange meditation.  I feel like Art Nouveau is a mirror into another world where the artistry of the individual was more appreciated than soulless manufactured design.  There’s so much beauty, passion, and artistry in the architecture, paintings, and simple household objects of the period!

Thanks for the wonderful questions, Vanessa!

Without further ado, the winner of the Bad Fairy ACEO is….

Caitlan McCollum!  You’re on a winning streak, m’dear!  

If you’d prefer the 50% off discount code prize instead, let me know via email and I can get you sorted out.

I hope to return to my usual live broadcast format for September’s giveaway and Q&A.  More details to follow!

August Giveaway + Q&A

I usually do a live broadcast, but with company visiting for DragonCon and last minute prep to be had, I don’t think I’ll have the time!  So I’m trying something a little different this month.

For this month, leave your questions here on this blog entry and I’ll get back to them in a blog post on August 27th.  I’ll also be announcing my Patreon winners for that month as well!  Here’s what’s in the prize pot for this month:

An original ACEO drawing featuring my
‘mascot’, Aurora!

Sometimes an artist needs to have a little fun after drawing so many SRS things!

This is a collectible card drawing which is 2.5×3.5 inches.  It will fit anywhere you could put a baseball card, making it a miniature masterpiece!

OR, if the winner prefers, you can have a 50% off coupon for either of my Etsy shops (for masks or art)!  This is something new I’m trying out as a prize option just in case angry fairies don’t fit in with your decor.  As always, in order to be eligible for the giveaway part of this event, you’ll need to be a patron of $10 and above over at my Patreon page.

So leave your questions in comments!  They can be about anything and everything, though I specialize in talking about art, video games, and generally geeky things.:)  I will respond to them and reveal this month’s Patreon winners on the 27th!