Interview with `loish
<thefluffyshrimp> ~MemoiresDuneFille asks "Loish, what inspired you to become an artist?"
<loish> I can't say that anything specific really inspired me. It was more a natural progression. I have been drawing since I was very young and honestly do not remember when I even started doing it, but I do remember always enjoying it and seeing it as my 'talent' throughout elementary and middle school. By the time I had to make a career choice in high school, I decided to do pursue it professionally because I just couldn't stand dividing my time between schoolwork and making my personal drawings. It was torture! So I felt I had to do it in order to stay sane :] That's pretty much how it went!
<thefluffyshrimp> *merry-zazoue asks "You're doing both animation and illustration, how can you manage to have a good level in both? I'm an animation student and I love illustration too, do you have any advices? Aside working like crazy of course! I'm already doing it ^^"
<loish> I think the main reason I do both is because I started out as a digital illustrator, and decided to pursue animation afterwards as a way to enhance and supplement my illustration skills. Making pretty pictures is pretty fundamental to what I do, art-wise, and I could never let it go. However, I never felt that my illustration skills were strong enough to be my only career choice, so I felt compelled to pursue something that challenged me on many different levels. As a result of studying animation and always having made illustrations, I identify myself as both! As for how I manage to have a good level in both... It is a question of taking everything you learn from animation and integrating it into your illustration work, and vice-versa. Since these two areas overlap quite a lot, you can learn so much from both of them. I have learned almost everything I know about palette and textures from digital art, and a lot about adding movement and shapes to my drawings from animation. It's important to stay on top of everything you learn and keep it well integrated in everything you make :]
<thefluffyshrimp> ~k-telyn asks "Loish, did you ever get discouraged when you first started publishing your artwork online?"
<loish> When I first started drawing digitally and maintaining a website with my art, I basically felt discouraged every time I stumbled across artwork that I found so awesome and inspiring that I doubted whether I could ever reach their skill level. I felt motivated to improve but it seemed impossible and was happening too slowly for me. I would just draw and draw, but be frustrated with everything I made! I recently found some old painter files with angry scribbles all over them, haha. At the same time I've always been a part of art communities that had many encouraging and kind people participating as well. Their feedback always gave me a glimmer of hope during that time :]
<thefluffyshrimp> ~sekeedil asks "What is the best advice you can give to a growing artist? :3"
<loish> Based on my own experience, I think the best advice I could give is to maintain an online presence and share your work with others.
<thefluffyshrimp> ~Kiason asks "Was it hard for you to find a job in your field?" and ~Andrei-Sitari asks "What is your internet marketing strategy? And what is your advice on how to present your work better to the world ?"
<loish> Getting feedback from people really encouraged me, as well as helped me to gain a following. By showcasing your work you learn how to present it in an appealing way, take part in communities that will help you learn, and keep you motivated! As for whether it was hard to find a job in my field, It hasn't been that difficult yet, but this is because I work in a few overlapping fields. I make concept art and character designs, I've worked on larger animation projects as well as smaller ones, I do personal commissions, etc etc. As a freelancer with a distinct style and experience with creating art for different projects, there's always been something interesting for me to work on, fortunately. I have to point out that being a freelancer in the Netherlands is quite easy. It's not difficult to get the paperwork done and it is very common to approach an artist to do freelance work. This probably contributes quite a lot to the fact that I've had enough work since graduating.
<loish> As for the question about my internet marketing strategy, I guess I could describe it as participating in community websites as well as maintaining a portfolio website. I want to be able to present my portfolio as a whole through my site but make sure to stay active on sites such as tumblr and deviantart. Not only do I really enjoy that but it also generates interest in my work and gets people to spread the word about it. (note that this was never a conscious decision I made, but something that developed organically from having been active on these kinds of sites from a very early point.) I also put a lot of time into making web designs and graphics so that I have a certain 'identity' on the internet. Of course, at the end of the day, I have always been pretty internet addicted and now I have a good excuse to sit behind a computer all day because it's such an important part of my job :b
<thefluffyshrimp> ~teepott asks "What do you think started your career as a professional working artist?" and ~Falceto-Rekuri asks "What made you choose this career?"
<loish> My career as a professional working artist officially started when I graduated, I guess! At that point I really had no choice but to work, haha. But it actually sort of started before that, by doing lots of commissions and a few freelance jobs during school in which I learned a lot about what making art for someone else is like. As for what made me choose this career, as I mentioned before, it had a lot to do with searching for a line of work that would cover many bases commercially. I was worried about not being able to make a living off of just illustration work, so I searched for a line of work that would allow me to do many different things. Besides already having an interest in animation, I chose it because as an animator, you can sketch, make storyboards, come up with concepts, draw background art, design characters, etc etc. I felt like this was the 'safe choice' to make.
<thefluffyshrimp> *Topicality asks "What is a typical day as Lois van Baarle like?"
<loish> A typical day as Lois van Baarle is pretty boring actually, haha. I usually get up slightly too late, go jogging, bike halfway across town to my office, and sit down behind my cintiq for a good 8 hours or so. Then I go home! I try to do most of my drawing within work hours on weekdays now, just to maintain my sanity and give myself time to take care of other things as well. I learned to do this the hard way - I spent my first 1,5 years as a freelancer glued to my computer, usually throughout the whole night, in the midst of an enormously messy house, eating pizza for dinner and neglecting my fitness entirely :b This is not the way to go! At least not for me. :]
<thefluffyshrimp> ~ReignOfTheWolf asks "Do you often have an idea in your head of what you're about to digitally paint before you begin, or do you just start painting and see what comes out of it?"
<loish> I usually have an idea in my head, but it is never a very specific idea. It's usually something like "I want to draw something with yellow and blue." or "something with an anxious mood." Most of the time I'm not very attached to this idea and if it's not working, I just change it entirely.
<thefluffyshrimp> ~frameadvance asks "I'm always impressed with your color choices. What is your method when it comes to color?"
<loish> My process with colors is pretty intuitive, or at least it feels that way to me, so it's always very hard for me to describe how I really do it. Colors are a really huge priority to me and often my starting point for a picture, as I mentioned in the previous answer, which means I really need to get the colors down properly and have a good feeling about them before I feel like the picture is heading anywhere. I tend to keep things very messy and rough and go crazy with "color balance," "replace color," "selective color" and "hue/saturation" tools until I am getting the effect that I want. I notice that adding red/yellow tints works quite often to pull things together. I also like to have a lot of neutral/reddish hues with bright color accents that 'pop'.
<thefluffyshrimp> ~JammyJen asks "What is your favorite medium, and how often do you use it?" and `anako-art asks "How would you rate your workflow after buying a Cintiq? Did it speed up your drawing process? Would you recommend it for other artists?"
<loish> My favorite medium is Photoshop! Actually I don't think that officially qualifies as a medium, but this is absolutely my favorite way to work. I use it almost every single day! Combined with the cintiq, it feels like the most natural way to draw to me. Outside of digital media, my favorite tool for drawing is a mechanical pencil. Always nice n' sharp :]
<loish> I am not sure if the Cintiq sped up my workflow. I spend equally long on a picture but take it to a greater level of detail now. So I guess you could say that it did speed things up and gave me more room to focus on details than before! I would definitely recommend it for any artist that draws digitally. Lineart, sketching and painting details are a completely different and entirely more enjoyable experience with a cintiq. It is really the best investment I've ever made!!
<thefluffyshrimp> ~HybridBird asks "What did your parents think of you following an art related career?"
<loish> My parents never had a problem with me following an art related career. I think they always trusted that I was a hard worker and very motivated to succeed, so things would work out. I also got good grades in other classes in high school, so they probably felt like, if things didn't work out in art, I would find something else to do. They definitely gave me the freedom to choose a career myself and supported me in anything I wanted to do :] And they continue to do so to this day! I'm so happy for that.
<thefluffyshrimp> ~Kozysolanos asks "Was there any time you thought that your art was really bad and you just wanted to quit? Ever felt doubt of becoming an illustrator/animator?"
<loish> I definitely had times that I was not pleased with my own skill level and felt like improvement was impossible. I actually still feel that way all the time, especially when I have to step outside of my comfort zone and draw things I normally wouldn't. I have absolutely never wanted to quit, though. I always feel that, even though I feel like I have a long way to go, I am still able to enjoy what I do and able to make a living. I also have way too many kind, generous and encouraging fans to ever want to quit! I'm very lucky :]
<thefluffyshrimp> ~ithuling asks "How did you find the transition from simple illustration to animation? You'd have to draw each frame, but as you've done it, have you found any tricks along the way to make it less frustration?
<loish> There are definitely a lot of tricks to make the animation process easier, like duplicating frames/modifying them, copy/pasting various elements, etc. At the end of the day, animation is just a very frustrating activity and you need to be really motivated and excited about your end result to keep doing it, haha. A tip that helps make it less frustrating for me is to put on a good movie/documentary in the background to keep me entertained while drawing. :]
<thefluffyshrimp> ~PunkBunker asks "Hi Loish! How did you develop your artistic style?"
<loish> I developed it by mixing my different influences together. My first digital illustrations were very heavily manga influenced, and I slowly started integrating more Disney-inspired styles and discovered the work of Aurore Blackcat (*auroreblackcat) and bara-chan (~bara-chan) which influenced my art enormously. I also drew very often, making about three illustrations a day, which helped me develop my own way of working and approach to digital painting. The final result was my own style!
<thefluffyshrimp> ~Roespls asks "Why do you use aquatic life/themes in a good amount of your artworks?"
<loish> I just love the surreal effect it creates. The weightlessness of water and the pretty-but-weird appeal of aquatic creatures make for a really nice atmosphere! Also I love the color blue and things that are flowy and semi-weightless. I just have a natural preference for aquatic/underwater themes, basically :]
<thefluffyshrimp> ~Sheemple asks "Loish, your digital paintings are always so dynamic and full of life. Do you have any tips on poses or gesture drawings?"
<loish> Thank you! It really helps to draw your initial sketch very rough and loose. The looser you sketch, the more you'll come up with interesting and dynamic poses. In these loose sketches, try not to focus on anatomical precision - add that later as you start to refine and tone down your sketch a bit. Adding some details like bouncy hair or having the character stand in mid-step help bring the drawing to life.
<thefluffyshrimp> ~Fisharto asks "What keeps you motivated to create art?"
<loish> On one hand, the main thing that keeps me motivated is the fact that I really have no other choice. I have to work to pay my rent, basically, and I need to keep moving forward in my career. It's pretty uninspiring, but true. On the other hand, I have occasional bursts of creativity in which I discover something new and inspiring and suddenly feel immensely motivated to improve and grow. Right now, for example, I'm really inspired by vintage Disney background art and really want to improve my skills in drawing more detailed settings.
<thefluffyshrimp> ~BO0Radley asks "How do you handle taking on art projects as your career, without letting it impede your creative spirit? As an art student, I sometimes find myself being bummed because I hate people forcing me to do things I don't like." and ~Kojireru asks "Has doing art as a career ever negatively effected your artistic passion?"
<loish> Personally, I've always found that a balance between freelance work and personal artwork works best for me. When I finish doing a project for a client, I'm usually bursting with ideas and energy for my own personal art. But after a while I start to crave the structure and challenge of paid work, in which I usually am asked to draw or do things I wouldn't normally think of myself. I need a bit of both to keep growing as an artist. Taking on varied projects and trying different things really help to prevent the paid work from impeding my creative spirit. I also try not to take on projects that are very long-term, so that I can get back to my own stuff within a reasonable time frame.
<loish> Doing art as a career hasn't negatively effected my artistic passion, but it has changed my way of working. I used to draw all the time, every day. I would draw all night and, the moment I woke up the next afternoon, get right back to it. I don't do this anymore, and I don't improve at the same rate I used to, but at the same time I don't think such an approach to drawing is sustainable, especially not for a lifetime career. Eventually you'll get a burn-out or an art block that will just cripple your inspiration. I work in a more structured and regular way now, which is perhaps slightly less passionate than before but probably the safer choice.
<thefluffyshrimp> ~Pepper-Dragon asks "Are there any artists on DA that you really admire?" and ~Ca-roline asks "If you could work with some famous (the one you don't know and feel too small to ever talk to) illustrator, animator or even musician (eg to make the soundtrack for your animation) Who would that be?"
<loish> There are many artists on dA that I admire. I'll keep this answer short and say - check out my deviantart favorites! My absolute favorite artwork on this site can be found there. I'm very picky about what I add! Wow, who would I work with, out of anyone? The idea scares me! But I would love to work with a musician that I really love, to make a CD cover or music video or something like that. Right now I'm a huge Matthew Dear fan, collaborating with a musician like that would really make my life feel complete! Haha.
<thefluffyshrimp> *Papierpilot asks "Are you shy having your work watched while in progress or do you not mind someone looking over your shoulder?"
<loish> If I had a choice, I'd rather not have anyone looking over my shoulder :] I feel very self-conscious when someone's watching me draw and have a hard time working intuitively. But I have been forced to draw with someone watching the process quite a few times, and I have to admit that it is a better, more efficient way of working, especially if you're working in a team of people and you need to communicate often and quickly. It still feels very unnatural to me though!
<thefluffyshrimp> ~SuziemyPuma asks "I find your art very elegant and fun to look at. However do you ever do work that is Hard edge and rough?"
<loish> Thanks! I don't often draw art that is a bit rougher or darker in terms of subject matter. When I do, I really enjoy it and I notice in the feedback that people enjoy the variety from what I usually make! Also, much of the work I admire is more edgy and more roughly drawn, such as Sergey Kolesov's work which I recently discovered. It's definitely a goal of mine to try this sort of stuff more in the future!
<thefluffyshrimp> =BuggyCashew asks "Do you have any little quirk that you do when you draw? Like for me, I have to drink tea."
<loish> I always have to have something entertaining on in the background, because when I draw, I become very aware of what is around me and my mind sort of clears. I listen to every sound I hear. For that reason I often have either the radio or a documentary/movie/TV show on while drawing. I just can't draw in silence! Also, the more coffee, the better. :]
<thefluffyshrimp> ~humphreycat asks "What would be your dream personal project you would love to work on in the near future? For example, visual novel orึ?"
<loish> Right now, my dream personal project to work on would be something along the lines of what Patrick Hanenberger and Christian Schellewald did for the book Kolonie: The Forgotten Empire. They came up with a concept for a futuristic universe, and then created all sorts of concept art for it, including character designs, vehicle designs, scenes and settings, etc. I would love to spend a few months just coming up with concept art for a universe that I might never actually make into anything finished - without worrying about limitations of any kind, just with a mind to create great and interesting artwork.
<thefluffyshrimp> ~lishenets asks "How important is it to network in person with other artists or with people involved in art?
<loish> I think it's really important to have a network of artists and people who work in the creative industry around you, because often, a client who needs an artist will ask around whether anyone knows a good artist who is available. They might ask someone that you knew from school or somehow stumble upon your work through the network that you have. If someone knows you in person they are more likely to recommend you. However, I found that having a network evolved very naturally from going to art school and keeping in touch with classmates and teachers that you met there. I don't actively introduce myself to anyone purely for the purpose of expanding my network - it is something that just happens when you spend enough time studying and working in a certain industry, at least in my experience. Then again, Holland is a small country and most of the animators here all know each other :] It could be different in a bigger country.
<thefluffyshrimp> ~Sciience asks "What influences your subject matter?"
<loish> I'd say that Disney and art nouveau are my biggest influences in terms of subject matter. I love female pin-ups that have a decorative quality and have a soft, feminine feel. I also love artwork with a slightly surreal touch, such as Eric Fortune's drawings, which influence me a lot.
<thefluffyshrimp> ~Gnuchi asks "Do you have any practical advice for someone wanting to be a freelance artist, such as finding clients?"
<loish> Definitely promote yourself online and try to get your work out there. Many clients browse the web for something they like, and it's good to make sure your work is likely to be stumbled upon! Make a facebook page or blog next to a good portfolio site. And stay in touch with any artists you meet in real life and online who are in the same line of work as you - make yourself known to the world, basically!
<thefluffyshrimp> *simplychen asks "If you were allowed to travel back in time and change one thing in the past about yourself, what would it be?"
<loish> Wow. That is a very personal question actually. I spent a lot of time and energy on someone who was very bad for me in my early 20's, I would probably go back in time and make sure I never got to know that person at all :] It was definitely a huge waste of many months of my life. I do think that all of the bad things I went through helped me to grow and learn, I can't imagine what I would be like without all of the mistakes I've made :] So I find that a very hard question! This is the only way I can answer it, I guess :]
<thefluffyshrimp> *HeroGear asks "Do you find that there's a difference between commission & freelance work between individuals and studios? What channels do you find most useful when pursuing either?"
<loish> I do think there is a huge difference, yes. Usually studios/larger companies are more practical and have a better understanding of how to get things done. Individuals are much more specific in what they want and usually have more feedback. The commissions I do are strictly non-commercial, though, so the experiences I have with them are extremely varied. I find that deviantart is the best place to announce commissions, I have many watchers here and slots fill up fast :] Having a lot of exposure for my work on the web has been the most successful method for me to find clients for commercial work.
<thefluffyshrimp> *joshuaotero asks "Usually how long does it take you to do a really complex piece? And do you collapse all of your layers when doing so or keep them up?"
<loish> A really complex piece takes me about 5 or so days to make. These days are usually quite long as I can get pretty motivated when I'm working on a personal piece, so let's say each day consists of a good 10 or so hours. I collapse the layers constantly as I go along - sometimes I start something on a separate layer, for example if I want to change the face but am not sure if my approach is going to work out. If it doesn't work, I just delete the layer; once it starts working, I merge it all together. Too many layers feel cluttered to me so I try to keep it at a minimum!
<thefluffyshrimp> Alright everyone! It's been 2 hours, and the official interview with `loish is now complete! I want to thank you all for joining us today and for supporting the ASKtheARTIST project.
<thefluffyshrimp> Thank you again, for the privilege to interview you today, and for your patience and dedication in answering a record number of fan questions for our ASKtheARTIST event!
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