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EASIER issue one

LOUIE DEL CARMEN

20 years in animation

MATT FORSYTHE Politics degree to Adventure Time


alexander rubzow.

“I was on a train ride to my hometown with my girlfriend. While she was sunk deep into her brand new e-book reader (which she got from me for christmas), I had to entertain myself with sketching. I liked her delicate way of holding her new toy so I tried to sketch it down real quick. Later on I added some colors.�


Contents editors letter 1 hannah christenson 3 matt forsythe 7 jasmine batista 9 brandon b. 15 alexander rubzow 19 anna pan 22 louie del carmen 27 arielle jovellanos 32 dana terrace 37


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EDITORS LETTER As is the case with most one word magazine launches, the first issue is not always (ironically) going to be easy. However, unlike many one word magazines, this particular series has absolutely no pretense behind it. None. Not even a bit. To those who somehow might not know what this magazine, despite being the first issue, is actually about. Easier lives up to its mysterious one-word name by actually being representative of the content. This magazine aims to showcase a collection of exceptional art without needing a degree in art history to “get”. All the art shown will have the artist talking about why they do what they do and their thoughts on art as a whole, to give you a good idea as to what they’re up to in their pieces. I won’t claim to have much more than a GCSE’s degree in art in terms of “getting” it. I’ve been to the Tate and it’s great to see the hard work of these acclaimed artists, but I still don’t feel I “get it” when I look around. The little vague descriptions,while I respect, are supposed to invoke an idea maybe not so clear in the piece, sometimes I just need a little bit more to understand why the artist did what they did. Eventually I’d grow vulnerable at the long amount of time I’d spent squinting at the description of a painting and hastily make for the giftshop, my bouncy ball, pencil filled haven. And from the marriage of my insecurities about not being smart enough to “get art” and my gallery self-conciousness, came this bouncing baby magazine. I’m proud to be able to kick off the first issue of Easier with an exceptionally talented and varied collection of artists. It is entirely possible to skim through this issue and look at the pretty art (of which there is plenty). However, take a bit of time to read the words before, after and on the pictures and you’ll have the chance to “get” art! That’s all this magazine aims to do, make appreciating great art, just a bit easier. - Owen Swift


hannah christenson

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hannah christenson

Artist/illustrator talks ruthless critiquing, inner reflection and knight preparation First things first, how long have you been drawing? While I knew I wanted to get into Art from a young age, I didn’t really start drawing until I started University. So I guess it’s been about nine years. Growing up I didn’t have much access to an artistic community, so I was unaware that I should have started drawing sooner.

And going off that, what got you into it?

From a young age I was really drawn to fantasy and science fiction Illustration, I loved looking at all the fantasy book covers in my local library. However, what really sparked my love of illustration was actually a postage stamp with one of J C Leyendecker’s Arrow Collar illustrations on it. He was really the only Illustrator I knew of until I went to school and he remains one of my favorite Illustrators.

Do you think there’s any kind of definition for art? There are as many definitions for Art as there are people willing to think about it. Art seems to be a very personal experience, one person’s definition may not ring true for the next person. For me, Art is a reflection of one’s inner most thoughts, as well as a search for some semblance


4 it would only matter how I felt about it.

What does a critic need to critique art in your eyes? I fell like empathy plays a big part of my Art viewing experience. The ability to remove a piece of myself from the equation so I can better appreciate another’s viewpoint. If I wanted to view an image that I agreed with completely right off the bat, I would make it myself. But if I’m viewing someone else’s thoughts I feel the need to put myself in their shoes, even just a little. In the Illustration world I feel like it’s a lot more difficult than that, you often have to have a thick skin when others critique you and be a little ruthless in your critiques of others (constructively ruthless? I suppose?) in order to get the job done with the best outcome.

Considering how expensive some pieces of art can be, do you think art is for everyone?

I do think that Art is for everyone. You don’t have to own and display a piece of Art in order to prove that you appreciate it. You can go to an Art museum, an Illustration show, a comic convention even. You can meet creators in person or study them and their work online. Or you can go out and find materials of some sort and be your own creator.

What would you say your biggest achievement is, artistically then personally (or both if they’re the same.)

of an answer to personal questions. A search for clarity? For truths of some kind? This search, or this discovery of your own thoughts, can come from almost anywhere, from the Old Masters to modern Illustration, to comic books, to a piece of music.

And do you think your work fits into that description?

It’s difficult to say, especially as one in a Commercial Art field. I put my all into client work, and even if the commissioned work isn’t a direct reflection of my most inner thoughts, it does still have my voice. The piece still displays how I see the world, how I see and answer questions, and the search for the answer to that particular problem. However, when I do my personal work it’s a different story, it’s my story. But that is my perspective as if I were the creator. If I were the viewer I don’t think it would matter if the piece were personal or commercial,

The professional achievement that I’m most excited about is being able to write and illustrate a short story comic for Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard Vol 3. I love comics and I was very excited about that opportunity. I’m working on a few different comic projects at the moment that I think I’ll also be very proud of. I’m pretty excited for them! As far as personal achievements, I would say it was being able to travel with my husband. We went to China a couple times for a total of about a year and a half. We taught English to children, we traveled, it was great. It was wonderful to abandon my incorrect assumptions and open my mind a bit to a different way of life. The process of removing my assumptions and learning how to be more open minded was enlightening.

What theme do you think is present in most of your work? Why do you think this is? I draw and paint a lot of knights and other warrior-type people. Partly it’s because I think they look super cool. But I also find that I love stories about someone arming themselves, either literally or figuratively, and going out to fight some foe.

What’s your favourite piece of your own work and for what reasons? Unfortunately I cannot show my favorite piece of my own work. It’s completed, of course, but it comes as the front cover of a personal comic project I’m working on. Hopefully I can show it sometime soon! But my piece, Winter Hunt, is one of my favorites. It was a personal piece. It had no real objective other than to


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satisfy my own curiosities, to help me figure out my own thoughts, to further my own story. Plus it was super fun to paint!

What pushes you to keep going and enjoying what you do? I love telling stories, both those I wrote and those I did not. I love the process of taking a pile of words and reducing it to a single, wordless image. Or using a series of images to bring even more life and breath to those words. It’s like a really huge and complicated question. It’s a really tough challenge, but I love searching for and finding answers to those particular questions.

Who would you say are your inspirations? Both personally and artistically. I love the Golden Age Illustrators like J C Leyendecker, Arthur Rackham, Howard Pyle. I also love the work of Frank C. Papé and Ivan Bilibin. There are a ton of modern illustrators and comics artists who I admire as well.

Does art reflect life or vice versa? Does it matter?

I think that it might be both. Maybe? It might not matter. Personally, I feel like I simultaneously search for a path to emulate and try to go it alone with no guides. Art

provides an example to strive for, an ideal, but life can never be truly ideal. You strive for the ideal and in that complicated chaos along the way you create more art depicting the ideal to keep striving for. Not necessarily the picturesque life with no cares, but the ideal depicting some form of honestly and truth. That looks really fluffy and inflated when I read it back to myself, but that’s ok, I’m still working towards the ideal, ha!

Tell us your definition of art in 6 words. A visual search for answered questions.

Is there anything you’d like to say to our readers? In the pursuit of a visual career, specifically, don’t worry quite so much about what you think other people want to see, what you think will be popular. Do what you love and there might be people who love it too. You cannot please everyone, so you might as well create what you are curious about, what you want to see more of, what you love. Do your very best work and don’t stop learning. It is ok to experiment with other mediums, subject matters, and themes. You can learn a lot by removing yourself from your comfort zone. Do good work, do what you love, and try something new in order to find more to love along the way.


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POLITICS GRAD TO ADVENTURE TIME LEAD ART Matt Forsythe describes his time on the show and where he wants to go artistically


7 First things first, how long have you been drawing? Forever.

Am I right in thinking you didn’t initially study art? I did not study art, you’re right. I studied politics and religion.

Could you tell us a little bit about how you made the transition to art and what you did before you pursued it? I actually did a lot of IT work. Database Programming. It’s a tough transition. Illustration is a competitive space. Pay is relatively low. I just made books in my spare time and they did well so other things followed.

Could you tell me about your time working on Adventure Time? I was lead designer for two years - over 80 episodes. Most of seasons five and six. It was a ton of work, working with some great people.

How do you think you meshed your style with the show’s? I think it’s the reverse. The show conforms to the artists’ styles not the other way round. It is very much a high profile alloy of what a lot of comic book artists were doing at the time. The show is influenced by manga and anime - the kind of things indie comics had been drawing on for years. It’s just the sort of western mainstream expression of those influences. Probably one of the the first of many.

Is there anything you’d particularly like to pursue outside of the show? Everything. I actually left the show because I felt like I stopped being useful to it after 80 episodes. I make books again now - which is what i was passionate about to start with - play a lot of guitar again, birdwatching, and painting.


8 Because of the show’s breakneck schedule, everything had to be done on a Cintiq, which I didn’t like and I never got used to it. So now I’m back to traditional media for my personal work and I’m much happier with the work. It means more to me.

What would you say your biggest achievement is, artistically or personally (or both if they’re the same.) Hm. Maybe not for me to say - but I’m proud of my books with Drawn & Quarterly and Annie Koyama.

What theme do you think is present in most of your work? Why do you think this is? I think a lot about our relationship with nature. I think we have a very toxic relationship with the natural world. Humans have always been bizarre, but now we are affecting other species at a terrifying rate.

What’s your favourite piece of your own work and for what reasons? I recently did a small painting called Mountain Spirit which was a bit of a personal breakthrough for me. Its a simple piece - gouache and coloured pencils; but it’s completely changed the way I think about my work.

Who would you say are your inspirations? Both personally and artistically. I’m lucky to have so many brilliant friends. Chris Oliveros. Jillian Tamaki. Dave Cooper. Tom Herpich. Jesse Moynihan. Kate Beaton. Cole Sanchez. Pen Ward. Though maybe not aesthetic influences, I think about how these people approach their careers with integrity.

Considering how expensive it can be in some circumstances, do you think art is for everyone? Do you mean expensive to buy books? Or to buy Paints? But either way you’re right. I think involvement in art is very much influenced by Class.


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First things first, how long have you been drawing? I’ve been drawing since I was about five years old, but even then, I don’t think I drew more often or any better than kids my age. I became serious about it when I was around twelve, and it became a necessary part of me. I’d spend hours drawing every single day because I enjoyed it so much, it was a way to channel my hyperactive imagination into something productive, even if at the time I was just having fun.

JASMINE

Illustrator/animator with a laser-focused active-i

to them, and bring them alive.

And going off that, what got you into it anyway? Probably all the stories I was read as a child, and eventually, the books I read for myself. I was blessed enough to have folks who would sit down and read to me, and an older brother who would hand me his high school literature books to read even though I was seven years his junior. He eventually studied to be an English professor, and encouraged that love for reading that was very much intwined with my love for illustration. I was inspired by those stories, those characters, and drawing them was a way to connect

Do you think there’s any kind of definition for art? I think art and honesty go hand in hand. We use the phrase ‘a work of art’ to describe something that has been made or done well, but a master like Picasso noted that children are artists from the start, and I believe it is honesty, a lack of pretense that makes it so special. In short, influences are important and may help us improve our skill, but at the end of the day, it’s about communicating truth.


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BATISTA

excited if we ever saw a Puerto Rican character in a movie or show or comic. We could list them all on two hands. We knew their names, because they were rare, and were important. I want to be push towards more diversity within my work.

imagination talks honesty, context and diversity

What are your thoughts on pieces that require a lot of artistic context to understand?

And do you think your work fits into that description? I’d like to think so, and it’s something I want to consciously work toward in my work. I spent a very long time drawing other people’s stories, but there came a time when I began to notice a lack of diversity representation in so much of what I would consume. I am a Hispanic woman raised in Puerto Rico, and I know there are kids out there who need to know they matter, that they’re seen, that their cultures and mythologies are just as beautiful and intricate and worthy of celebration. It may seem strange to some that as kids, my friends and I would jump in our seats and get

You can take art at face value, and enjoy it for its aesthetics alone, but the same way a book makes more sense when you understand the context of when it was written, who was writing it, and the experiences they lived through before making that work, the visual arts are just as tied to the maker’s psyche, and studying them is incredibly rewarding.

Off that, what do you think of art described as “I probably could’ve done that” Technical skill alone isn’t art, and perhaps doing some study into the context of the piece and the artist will reveal much more about a painting or drawing than your first glance. Sometimes an abstract piece may have come


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“They’re part of an animation I made called The Legend of the Sleeping Giant, about a story from my childhood. The story goes that a giant once laid down to rest in a valley by the town of Adjuntas in Puerto Rico. No matter what the villagers did to wake him, he remained fast asleep, and slept for so long that he grew into the mountainside forever! If you look at the hills by the town today, you can actually see a very clear silhouette of a person sleeping, hence the story’s namesake. It was a little loveletter I made to my island.”my


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“This is an illustration I made for an animation I made a while ago. It’s sort of special to me, a snapshot of myself as a kid with my dog, drawing in the back yard. He’d recently passed away when I made this, and drawing a moment when I was at my happiest with him truly helped me deal with the loss.”

right in the middle of an artist’s life after years and years of more traditionally ‘nice looking’ paintings. For example: if you look at Jackson Pollock’s drip paintings without any sort of context, one might think, “I probably could have done that.” But when you realize he grew up during WWII, painted throughout the Cold War, and began a movement that outright challenged the aesthetic of a whole region of the world, the paintings take on a rebellious quality, and begin to mean so much more. If art were only about everyone rendering a face photorealistically, it wouldn’t mean very much at all. That’s not to say everyone has to try and change the world with very piece they make. I just think it’s important to recognize that art can, that is is powerful, and that we don’t write a work because we don’t immediately understand it.

jective about anything when it comes to deciding whether or not you find something worthy of merit. But the more exposed you are to all kinds of work of different provenances, the broader your taste will be. If a piece conflicts with your world view, perhaps you haven’t seen the side of the world the artist has.

“I am a story teller as much as I am an art- What theme do you think is most ist. I have stories common throughout your work? I want to share Connections. Be it friendship, brotherhood, or families, connections between a with the world, rivalries, person and their past, or their home, I find and drawing is narratives that explore these different relationships to be compelling. my way of doHow would you describe your work ing so.” to someone who may not know much

What does a critic need to critique art in your eyes? I think it’s impossible to ever be one-hundred percent ob-

about art?

I have a very illustrative style, and I love to work with lighting, texture, and color.

What pushes you to keep going and enjoying


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what you do? I am a story teller as much as I am an artist. I have stories I want to share with the world, and drawing is my way of doing so.

Who would you say are your inspirations? Both personally and artistically.

My friends inspire me very much. Many of them are fellow artists and writers. Their work and perhaps more importantly, work ethic, is a source of inspiration, as is their encouragement. I’ve been blessed to have them in my life. I’ve been artistically inspired by Hayao Miyazaki and Takehiko Inoue for many years, and looking at Leonardo Da Vinci’s anatomy studies always spurs me on to practice more.

Does art reflect life or vice versa? Also, does it matter? The world we live in is a work of art. Growing up in a rural area of an island, as a child, I’d always wake up in the mornings, look at the nature I was submerged in and think

to myself, ‘God made quite a masterpiece.’ It’s a two-way street, because while the world has inspired artists to paint its landscapes and creatures for such a long time, there is also a more personal work that must be made, work that comes from experiences lived and seen. Art matters because it connects us through the truths it communicates, it unifies people across borders and cultures and languages. It has the power to transcend man-made divisions.

Tell us your definition of art in 6 words. The representation of a person’s truth.

Is there anything you’d like to say to our readers? Whether it be any of the visual arts, writing, music, or performance, keep at it, work hard, and enjoy the expression!


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brandon b.

Comic artist, illustrator and mortgage motivated. Brandon B. discusses comics and his influences and accessibility

Okay, how long have you been drawing? Oh jeez, at least 20 years.

And going off that, what got you into it anyway? Back in elementary school (which I guess would be primary school for you folks across the pond), a classmate of mine was inundated with praise for drawing rudimentary portraits. I thought to myself “I can do that,� so I did. My wife just peeked over my shoulder and told me


16 And do you think your work fits into that description? Definitely. In fact, according to Scott McCloud’s definition, just about everything is art.

You do a lot of comics, what are your thoughts on them not sometimes not being considered real “art”? In The Calvin and Hobbes Tenth Anniversary Book, Bill Watterson offers his own commentary on the difference between “high” art and the “low” art of comics: “I would suggest that it’s not the medium, but the quality of perception and expression, that determines the significance of the art. But what would a cartoonist know?”

What do you think about pieces that require a lot of artistic context to understand? Art shouldn’t be made for just art scholars to appreciate. If somebody’s work is completely inaccessible to the casual observer, what’s the point?

Off that, what do you think of art described as “I probably could’ve done that” “…Yet you didn’t.”

What does a critic need to critique art in your eyes? Everybody is free to critique art—there shouldn’t be any barrier to voicing an opinion. How constructive, insightful, or asinine that criticism is, on the other hand, is another matter entirely.

What would you say your biggest achievement is, artistically then personally (or both if they’re the same.)

that’s a really shitty reason to start drawing!

Do you think there’s any kind of definition for art? I think every artist dreads this question. I have two favorite definitions of art, from very different sources: “Art, as I see it, is any human activity which doesn’t grow out of either of our species’ two basic instincts: survival and reproduction.” -Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics “Art is something for your eyes to look at.” -Karl Pilkington, The Ricky Gervais Guide To The Arts

The most significant thing to ever happen in my professional art career is to have my work appear on television. It was never my ambition to work in television and I’m not really in a rush to pursue more work in that industry, so it’s a little silly that that’s my biggest achievement. It’s very satisfying, though.

What’s your favourite piece of your own work and for what reasons? Although I personally contributed only a few pages, I have a lot of pride in the comic anthology I organized in 2013, I Was A Teenage Anime. I got together with a bunch of my favorite comic writers and artists to relive the pain and joy of being young nerds. If your readers are interested, it’s still available as a paywhat-you-want PDF on Gumroad.com.*

*See back page


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“There’s this conventional comics wisdom that says good writing can save bad art but not the other way around. The Updog comic was a kind of exercise in marrying dumb writing with competent art.”


18 What pushes you to keep going and enjoying what you do? Writing and drawing is my main source of income, so paying my mortgage is a huge motivator, haha. I can’t say I entirely enjoy all of my work, though. There’s a certain creative dissatisfaction because I don’t have the time or energy to make my own work at the end of the day. I’m still trying to figure out a way to restructure things so that I can do more with my time.

Who would you say are your inspirations? Both personally and artistically. Like many cartoonists, Bill Watterson has had a great impact on the way I approach comics. From a purely aesthetic perspective, I think I owe a lot to Masaaki Yuasa, Craig Thompson, and Hergé. Storytelling inspiration is a lot harder to nail down. I love the work of Tove Jansson and Hayao Miyazaki, but who doesn’t? Fletcher Hanks, Shintaro Kago, and H.P. Lovecraft are responsible for the weird darkness hiding behind the cute facade.

Does art reflect life or vice versa? Also, does it matter? Art and life are wrapped up in each other so intrinsically that it would be foolish to say it’s definitively one way or the other. I’m not a philosopher, and I don’t care to be one. I think it’s more productive to make art than to dwell on the nature of art itself.

Tell us your definition of art in 6 words. Art: The stuff they put in museums?

Is there anything you’d like to say to our readers? Carl Greenblatt gives great advice to young creatives all the time, but one of the most important things he tells people is simply “make stuff.” This is good advice for everybody, not just those seeking work in the entertainment industry. It’s rough starting out, but the only way to find your voice is to mess up until it feels right.

The Samus half-suit illustration is a response to an overwhelming number of female video game characters who are supposed to be tough and kick ass, but are portrayed as impossibly dainty and delicate. I wanted my version of Samus to be slightly less flattering than modern depictions, but I’ll be the first to admit mine is still a far cry from the original versions—In the Super Metroid player’s guide from 1994, Samus is 6’3 and 198 lbs. She’s a big bruiser! I also had fun taking some creative liberties with the power suit. I imagined what it would be like if it functioned like the hard suits from Bubblegum


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alexander rubzow So how long have you been drawing for?

Since I was a kid. When I was around 19 I stopped drawing for 3 years and thought I’m gonna be photographer. But photography felt like isolating me from the subject. I started to work and learn around 2 years ago to achieve a professional level.

What got you into drawing in the first place?

As a kid probably to create something from scratch. As an adult the art friends I met who were just way better than me. Frankly I was always the one who was good at drawing in school , so relied on this. But when I came to art school and saw other works, I felt very bad. Which was my reason to start work harder and “conquer” my friends , haha.

Do you think there’s any kind of definition for art?

I’m really bad with definitions, but I think art is something that teases your feeling out. I can provoke, calm you down or be obscene.

And do you think your work fits into that description? I think so. I often try to transport calmness and sometimes be suggestive in my pieces.

What does a critic need in order to critique art, in your eyes?

It needs to step back a little and try to see the piece objectively.

Considering how expensive some pieces of art can be, do you think art is for everyone? No its not. Art is a luxury product.


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You get it for fun and enjoyment. Its nothing you really need to survive.

What theme do you think is present in most of your work? Why do you think this is? I draw a lot of female figures. I just really like the female anatomy and its curves. They way a body can bend and move combined with light and shadow always excites me. Thats why I have to draw more men, so everybody has then something too look at, haha.

What pushes you to keep going and enjoying what you do?

I’ve set myself some goals, which have to be reached. One of them is to get published in magazines and newspapers,haha. Also the fun while creating something. Even if its a simple scribble.

Who would you say are your inspirations? Both personally and artistically.

My art friends inspire me everyday, same as the people around me on the streets,cafes,bars,etc. Each of them tellsa different story by their way of walking or their clothing. To obligatory name a few artists that I like: Asaf and Tomer Hanuka, Ryan Lang, Matthew Woodson and John Singer Sargent.

Tell us your definition of art in 6 words. The word Art has three letters. (Really I have no Idea)

Is there anything you’d like to say to our readers? I wish I’d be one of those persons who are able to write a lot about themselves.


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“Around December of 2014 I started to work in a different style. Normally I would paint a portrait but I realized that I’m just no painter. I tried the Cel shading technique and it just fits to my style and fastens up my workflow. This portrait was rather a test run to see whats looks good in that style and what not.”


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ANNA PAN


23 First things first, how long have you been drawing? I’ve been drawing since March 2012, so for about 3 years!

And what got you into it?

I think I’ve always had an interest in visual art since I was young, but then I was introduced to it by one of my high school friends and I’ve been drawing ever since. I definitely started off drawing things that I enjoyed, like small, silly comics, and I think that helped in maintaining my interest enough to start wanting to improve and refine my drawing skills.

Personally, do you think there’s any kind of definition for art? Not really! I think the definition changes from person to person, and each person will have a different idea on what would be considered art, which is what makes art so interesting and varied.

And do you think your work fits into that description?’ I’d like to think so! I find myself drawing a lot of scenes that end up being fairly personal, and I like trying to capture some of my own emotions through them.

What do you think a critic needs to critique art in your eyes? I think open-mindedness and understanding are definitely in the top two ideals. It’s very easy for art critics to critique something based on their own ideals and values and experiences, which may sometimes need to be overlooked to understand how the artist themselves wants the audience to receive their art. Art doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and real-life issues will always intersect with interpretations of art, and I think it’s important for critics to also recognise when they should be listening to these issues instead of questioning them. I’m of the ideal that anyone can be an art critic - the problem really lies in who’s upholding/gatekeeping the ‘standards’ at the moment.

Considering how expensive some pieces of art can be, do you think art is for everyone? I think it has the potential to be for everyone, definitely. The monetary value of a piece of art doesn’t really say anything about it’s quality or how you interpret/identify with it.

Do you have an opinion on pieces that require degrees worth of art history to “get”?

I don’t really know. I think it’s interesting to learn about the history and backstory regarding a certain piece, but at the same time, I don’t think it should be a requirement. Someone might like something simply because it appeals to them, and that’s fine too. The problem is really when people start looking down on others for not knowing as much about something as them.

What’s your thoughts on art that people describe as “I reckon I could’ve done that” I don’t mind it. As long as it’s not causing harm to others, I think the artists that create them should be allowed to do

whatever they want.

What would you say your biggest achievement is, artistically then personally (or both if they’re the same.) I think artistically it would be pushing myself to continue drawing. A lot of things have fallen into place since then, but I haven’t lost my passion yet, which is amazing and something personal for me to cherish in its own right. I don’t really have a lot of personal achievements I guess? Maybe finally feeling like I will be able to balance my professional (artistic) life and personal life, and being able to look after my own health and wellbeing. Mental wellbeing is something really important to me, and I’d like to get better at giving myself some more self-love.

What theme do you think is present in most of your work? Why do you think this is? I’ve had a lot of people say that one of the biggest recurring themes is its emotional undertones (usually a sense of sadness or longing?), which I really like. I think because everything I draw is so personal, I try to capture feelings of the place or experience that brings it to life in my own mind. A lot of what I see in my mind feel like old memories, so there’s probably also a strange sense of something like nostalgia, or deja vu. I’m really glad people have been identifying with these emotions! It makes me feel a little bit less alone in the world, I think.

How would you describe your work to people who don’t know much about art? I’d probably say it’s kind of heady and maybe strangely nostalgic, like something from a past life?

What’s your favourite piece of your own work and for what reasons? Probably this one (P25), so far. It’s not something that particularly pushes my technical boundaries or anything, but it’s definitely been the most personal thing for me so far, and I like how it turned out. It was the only snippet of a dream that I really remembered, and the strip really makes it feel like that - like I had put my hand into the dream and pulled this out right from the middle but still serves as a narrative in its own right, which I really like.

You’ve used comics in some of your own work, what d’you think of when people say they can’t be “real art”? I don’t mind. I think people are allowed to express their own opinions, and the definition of ‘real art’ is incredibly nebulous anyway, so it doesn’t faze me too much.

What pushes you to keep going and enjoying what you do? I think art is something that I will always have in my life, whether I’m capable of pursuing it professionally or not. For me it’s one of my emotional outlets, so it definitely holds an important place in my mind. Enjoying it is a bonus for me, rather than an actual necessity.

Who would you say are your inspirations? Both


24 “something exploring the idea of what lives we would be leading in alternate universes, and whether or not we would be happier in that timeline.�


25 personally and artistically.

Friends, peers, artistic idols, family. A lot of my artistic peers tend to bleed into both the ‘friend’ category and ‘artistic idols’ category, which is amazing and something I’m absolutely blessed to have experienced in my life!

Does art reflect life or vice versa? Does it matter?

I think it’s art that reflects life, and I think it’s important because art is one of those outlets that everyone potentially has access to, which means that through art, a lot of alternate and marginalised voices can be heard, as well as

hearing about things that normally wouldn’t be covered in the media (the thing that comes to my mind is revolutions and protests, especially ones against respective governments + people in power, in all countries.)

Tell us your definition of art in 6 words. anything you want it to be.

Is there anything you’d like to say to our readers? Not really, apart from thanks so much for having read this and for looking at my art!

“Based on a dream”


26


27

louie del carmen


28 I understand that you’ve been in animation for twenty years now, how long have you been drawing?

sense of aesthetic. Again, it’s personal how much value one gives (or not) to art. There’s no wrong or right answer really.

Earliest I can remember was around 6 years old. Drawing robots and cars and things I saw on TV.

What theme do you think is present in most of your work? Why do you think this is?

And what got you into it?

I like to think its freedom. And from that comes the fun aspect of things. Being unencumbered and carefree is aspirational and something we wish we’re free to be.

I had an active imagination (and still do) and drawing was how I got those things out of my head. Later on in my teen years I fell out of it and it wasn’t until I moved to the US in the 90’s that I got back into it with a passion. Then I was inspired by the great strides my brothers were achieving in animation and then it became apparent the path I wanted to take

You’ve done a lot of work in storyboarding for light hearted films and series like Dragons and Rise of the Guardians, what do you feel draws you to projects like these?

How would you describe your work to people who don’t know much about art? Thankfully there’s the animation DNA present in my work so it’s a lot more accessible in terms of what it is. Hopefully If I told the story right in my work then it’ll come across clearly.

Is there anything in your career that you haven’t had the chance to do, but would particularly want to?

“the great thing Previous to working in feature animation art is Oh man where do I start? I’ve directed I spent 13 years working in Television so about Television so perhaps directing an aniworking in a ‘studio style’ was second nature. I like to think of myself as someone that somewhere mated feature film? Artistically I’m such a big fan of painting (oils, acrylic, etc) who takes ownership of a great idea and runs with it. The truth is I like working somehow, some- and it’s also something I’m very intimidated by in any genre. Being a storyteller means dropping yourself in many worlds and one could be inexploring that world and the characters What’s your favourite piece of your that inhabit them. I get to be those char- spired own work and for what reasons? by your acters and be part of their journeys. Animation is such a great medium because work, I don’t have favorites. I know the way Surprisingly the canvas can be infinite and the room that sounds like a safe answer but I do from which to experiment is only limited there is a piece of me in everything you were in- feel to what you can imagine. Ultimately, I do. Some are definitely better than othwhether it’s projects like How to Train in terms of the execution from conspired by others.” ers Your Dragon or Rise of the Guardians, cept to final but heck, I like them all! I will it’s about entertainment but more importantly it’s about making an emotional statement to the audience that will stay with them.

Considering how expensive some pieces of art can be, do you think art is for everyone? Absolutely. The value of art is as much as the viewer deems it to be. Art appreciation can’t be measured or quantified. It’s personal and individual in terms of experience and it’s one of the few things that really make us unique from person to person. On the other hand, it’s also an experience society, and in the broader sense, humanity can share. I can’t see culture surviving without art.

Do you have an opinion on pieces that require degrees worth of art history to “get”? Art is what you make it to be. The art history is fascinating and definitely has worth. Personally I’m very much interested in the how and why. I think it’s important. But overall what one gets out of a certain piece of art is probably equivalent to their expectations, their taste and their

say that lately I’ve been concentrating on traditional media more so than digital. Drawing directly into computers, as convenient and rather magical as it can be can really degrade you fundamentally as an artist. I’ve been experimenting with brush sketches using Sumi ink and that’s been some of the more rewarding bits of work I’ve done lately. (see the b&w piece I submitted)

Could you tell us a bit about your career in animation. A lot has changed from Rugrats to Dragons, for example, what do you think the biggest change has been for you? Working on computers. It’s been both a blessing and a curse. The workflow is a thousand times more efficient but instead of making things simpler it has gotten to be more tedious because we can do more.

What pushes you to keep going and enjoying what you do? Personally, the great thing about art is that somewhere somehow, someone could be inspired by your work, the


29 way you were inspired by others. So that’s the fuel. I’m putting good vibes out there and hopefully it matters. Artistically, I’m climbing a mountain called perfection, except this mountain keeps growing. So each level I climb I get closer, yet farther. There’s just so much more to learn and I’m such a perpetual student.

Who would you say are your inspirations? Both personally and artistically. My family is a constant source of inspiration because they support me unconditionally. If I stumble they’ll support me no matter what. Artistically there are way too many to mention. Both my brothers are inspirations because they’re incredible talents but they’re also amazing human beings. Directly or indirectly, some of my early influences were

from cartoons and comics. Guys like Alex Toth, Ed Benedict and Jack Kirby. Later on, guys like Syd Mead and Moebius really made an impression on me on how they executed their ideas. Then there’s the Japanese like Katsuhiro Otomo and the numerous designers and artists that came out of the Japanese Mecha genre. Whenever I’m in a rut I look at the work of: Hugo Pratt, Moebius, Jordi Bernet and Alex Toth. Then I’m good for a long time.

Tell us your definition of art in 6 words. Someone’s madness and another one’s dream (and vice versa really)

Is there anything you’d like to say to our readers? Create something every chance you get


30

“I painted this recently using Sumi ink, a medium I hadn’t used before. Part of this was to experiment with different media, something I like to do just out of curiosity. I’m also a fan of texture and also lately, of female retro glamour. I think there is something timeless and elegant about fashion and illustration from the 50’s and 60’s that I’m trying to emulate and perhaps update to today’s world. This was all wrapped in the exercise of being economical and trying to say a lot with the least amount of lines.”


ARIELLE JOVELLANOS


32 First things first, how long have you been drawing? I’ve been drawing since I was a kid. I remember specifically running out of computer copy paper to draw on, and just drawing in the blank pages of children’s books. Vandalization at it’s finest.

And what got you into it?

My older sister used to draw a lot, and seeing her work made me want to get into it too. I’d always been pretty good at drawing, but it wasn’t until I got to high school and came across Heather Campbell’s awesome Harry Potter fanart online that I started to take it seriously. I couldn’t believe how much story and personality she could render in her character interaction and facial expression. That’s when I realized the direction I wanted to take my own work.

Considering how expensive some pieces of art can be, do you think art is for everyone?

I think it can be. Especially with the age of the internet, everything is just more accessible--including an appreciation and exposure to different kinds of work.

Do you have an opinion on pieces that require degrees worth of art history to “get”?

If I’m being honest...not really. For every “inaccessible” piece of work there a million more “accessible” pieces. I don’t think I or anyone else should beat themselves up for not “getting” something the first time. Besides, I’m the kind of person who looks something up if I really want to know more about it. Like I said, with the age of the internet it’s easy to at least gain a fair understanding of any subject matter, gatekeepers be damned.

How do you feel about art described as “I could’ve probably done that”?

I wouldn’t say I’m a connoisseur of modern art, but I do appreciate and understand the movement as a response to representative work. I don’t agree with any art--modern or otherwise--being described as “I could’ve done that” because no one can replicate the thought pattern and experience that motivates individual artistic choices.

What are your thoughts on when people say comics aren’t “real art”?

I think they need to chill for a second. Frankly, I don’t care what your personal definition of art is but, to me, if it’s aesthetically interesting and sticks in your mind for any reason (even if that reason is “this superhero is cool and I wish I could be more like them!”), than the work is doing it’s job. Setting all these arbitrary rules of what can and can’t be art completely disregards the personal experience of each individual viewer.

What theme do you think is present in most of your work? Why do you think this is?

If there’s one thing I’m always working towards in my art, it’s the specificity of story and character. Even if that character is just in the clothes they’re wearing, or a minor gesture or facial expression, these details are what I love mak-

ing.I think it’s just the idea of creating small indications of a larger world or a lived life that I find exciting!

How would you describe your work to people who don’t know much about art? My work is a fun and fashionable reflection of life and what life could be, influenced greatly by nerdy pop culture.

What’s your favourite piece of your own work and for what reasons? It changes all the time. Every time I complete a piece it seems like it immediately becomes my new favorite thing. Right now, I am incredibly fond of my pages for “School Spirit,” a comic I’m working on right now for Fresh Romance magazine. It’s a love story full of silly high school shenanigans. My favorite comics growing up were Ranma 1/2 and Fruits Basket, two stories set in high school, so I feel like I’m fulfilling a dream to be able to draw my own.

What pushes you to keep going and enjoying what you do?

“I wanna be the very best, like no one ever was.” But in all seriousness, I think what pushes me the most is being part of the online art community and seeing everyone’s work. I love the camaraderie of seeing works-in-progress and hearing what everyone’s up to.

Is there any format, between illustration, comics etc that you particularly enjoy doing? In terms of immediate gratification, I do love illustration because it’s much faster for me to finish and it’s the challenge of trying to tell a story in one image. But there’s something about the difficulty in creating extended sequential stories in comics that makes it incredibly rewarding when you manage to pull it off.

Who would you say are your inspirations? Both personally and artistically. Rumiko Takahashi and Glen Keane are the two big ones. Both were insanely formative to my taste and to what I strive to accomplish in my own work. Lately I’ve also been obsessing over Robert McGinnis--his figurative compositions are to die. And more recently I’m extremely grateful to Annie Wu. I read her Kate Bishop arc of Hawkeye a few months after I graduated art school and I instantly knew I wanted to make comics after that. She’s amazing!

Is there any comic run that you’d recommend to readers that might not know much about comics?

Well, I’ve already mentioned this but I love Matt Fraction’s run of Hawkeye! I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to get into superhero comics and doesn’t know where to start. It’s very accessible and self-contained and you don’t need to know the entire history of Marvel superheroes to get into it. In terms of contained graphic novels, check out Jillian Tamaki’s Skim and Vera Brosgol’s Anya’s Ghost too! Both are great and have a lot of heart!

Tell us your definition of art in 6 words. “Images that mean something to you.”


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36 “The sequential pieces are from a five page mini-comic I did for Terrestrial, an earth themed illustration and comic anthology. I’ve been wanting to draw the Filipino mythological figure, Mariang Sinukuan--basically a mountain nature spirit--for a long time. It’s important to me as a Filipina-American artist to connect and represent my roots in my work. Mariang Sinukuan has always stood out to me because she’s described specifically as both having brown skin and being extremely beautiful. It’s significant that those two things are not mutually exclusive.”

Read the rest of the comic from the code below:


37

dana terrace


38 First things first, how long have you been drawing?

Well, I’ve always drawn. I can’t say for sure when or why I started, I just know that it was the only thing I could do better than my classmates in grade school so I kept with it.

don’t draw or paint the background, they normally don’t even paint the characters. Their job is to move forms. An illustrator may be required to delicately render every leaf on a tree in background or plan out how to place text in every page of a storybook so that the art and story can flow (along with actually creating the art). But despite their differences it’s clear that both professions are extremely difficult and take years of practicing and fucking up just to get ‘okay’ at it.

Could you tell us a bit about your time working on Gravity Falls?

How would you describe your work to people who don’t know much about art?

I’ve been drawing since before I could remember but my first sketchbook dates to 1997 when I was about 6.

And what got you into it?

“It was like working with one big happy, slightly dysfunctional, cynical family and I hope I can work with Considering how expensive them again in some pieces of art can be, do you think art is for everyone? the future.” Working on Gravity Falls was in equal parts exciting, terrifying, challenging, fun, and terribly stressful, especially for a noobie like me who had never done storyboards on a professional level. I was constantly bothering coworkers with dumb inexperienced questions or concerns and it took me a while before I was comfortable drawing the characters (near the end I still had trouble with a few). But hey, it was all a learning experience and I like to think I came out for the better from it. One of the highlights was being able to work on a crew where almost everyone got along. It was like working with one big happy, slightly dysfunctional, cynical family and I hope I can work with them again in the future.

Of course! I think art can and should be appreciated by everyone. The price of a piece shouldn’t affect the enjoyment someone gets out of it, especially since most work can be viewed for free.

Do you have an opinion on pieces that require degrees worth of art history to “get”? I would need a specific example to be able to respond to this.

What theme do you think is present in most of your work? Why do you think this is? There’s a certain amount of cynicism in my work, sure, probably from being a little cynical myself. Drawing what I draw is like releasing some of that negative pressure which would otherwise keep building up until I forsake the entirety of humanity to go live in a cave (a prospect that sounds nicer everyday). Then again.. Maybe it’s just a phase?

How is animation different to illustration in terms of execution?

Well an animator (hand drawn that is) would be required to draw hundreds if not, thousands of drawings within a week while an illustrator might work on one piece during that time. That’s not to say that one works harder than the other, an animator may produce a lot but usually they only have to worry about one or two characters at a time. They

Whether or not someone ‘knows about art’ I would tell them I draw dumb cartoons and try to switch to another topic. Because really, that’s all I do.

What’s your favourite piece of your own work and for what reasons? I don’t have a favorite piece and the Gravity Falls episode I’m most proud of hasn’t aired yet but I’m fond of the drawings I sent, either because I think they capture a certain uncomfortable atmosphere that’s difficult to express in line, or I just like the way the composition came out. I don’t think my online audience enjoys my personal work too much, haha.

What pushes you to keep going and enjoying what you do?

It’s the only thing I can do well enough to get paid for, so I just keep doing it. And, as I mentioned before, I use drawing as an emotional outlet. Without it I would probably find it difficult to communicate.

Is there any format, between illustration, animation etc that you particularly enjoy doing? I personally LOVE character animation. I was lucky to be able to do some scenes on Gravity Falls. It doesn’t stress me out like other types of drawing, it’s easy for me to lose hours and get lost in the zone.

FOLLOW THE REST OF DANA’S WORK:


“There’s a certain amount of cynicism in my work, sure, probably from being a little cynical myself.” -dana terrace


I Was A Teenage Anime

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