This month we are pleased to interview the delightful Astralseed! She is one of the resident admins at seniormentors who writes those fantastic Weekly Art Tips, and a mentor for Equine Art , Digital Art, and Traditional Art! Neigh!
Read Astralseed's Mentor Profile here!
Why did you join DeviantArt and what made you continue staying on DA?
I originally joined DA because it was the better alternative to Elfwood. I could upload my work and have it seen by others in an instant. I stayed for the community. It's hard to say if the atmosphere surrounding newbies is still the same as it was some years back, but when I originally joined I had really awful art and there were many people who were happy to help support and encourage me in getting better, while they watched from the sidelines cheering me on. At the end of the day I can say that I've only come as far as I have with my art because of the community here on DA.
Where did your exposure to art originate?
I remember drawing as a little kid. I think I always preferred drawing over crafts back then. For birthdays or xmas I often got art supplies which made me super happy. I don't know if it was just an easy way to keep me calm and quiet as a kid or if my parents were actually interested in me being an artist, but it worked out well.
What made you interested in participating in the community and in turn help as a senior mentor on seniormentors?
I've always been a social butterfly, workaholic and humanitarian. Put all of those characteristics together and you get someone who doesn't mind diving head first into any community, wanting to make a difference in the lives of others.
You are a senior mentor of Equine Art, Digital Art and Traditional Art. What are they about?
Equine art is simply horse art (not MLP), when mentoring in Equine art I help with general anatomy of horses.
Digital art is pretty self explanitory, art that is created using digital means. I help with digital drawing or painting, be it help with the tools used or simply pointing out ways to improve on ones digital art.
Traditional art, again is self explanitory, art that is created using traditional media. While my DA gallery no longer reflects my long history of working with traditional media, I can help with a list of tradional techniques and or tools.
You are a very active deviant on DA, helping several groups and spearheading your own personal groups and projects. How do you continue to be active? How do you manage your time?
I mentioned that I am a workaholic, right? Well, but really that's mostly what it boils down to. I have a need to remain not only busy each day but also productive. I have a basic schedule that I tend to follow. It's pretty fixed for things that aren't as flexible (like the articles I post), but I allow myself some space for things which aren't time sensitive. Being stubborn and driven help me get things done on time though, so even if I happen to spread myself a bit thin, I push through and am sure to remain reliable by delivering results in a timely fashion.
Artists Toolbox: Colored PencilsColored pencils are widely used as a fun and readily available art tool. I'm sure most if not all of us have tried our hand at colored pencils, even if it was only while we were children. While colored pencils may not be as respected as paints such as oil, acrylic or watercolors, colored pencils shouldn't be under-estimated in the impact they can and do have on the art world.
Different Types of Colored Pencils
Wax based colored pencils are probably the most common and readily available types of colored pencils on the market. As with any type of colored pencil, these come in varying qualities and prices.
Oil based colored pencils in my experience are not as easy to find unless you are shopping online or in an art store. These colored pencils are excellent if you are planing on coloring on wood or another similar surface. Blending oil based colored pencils ca
Suggested by TinyWild
Goatee Guy by cicadaemonScreencap Redraw: Haikyuu!! by cicadaemon
Demon And Her Warlock by PGNO1379Liberte A. Andre by PGNO1379
[ESBR] Calender: Aries by PGNO1379[ESBR] Calender : Capricorn by PGNO1379
SMP Weekly Art Tips Vol07Welcome to seniormentors new Weekly Art Tips journal series.
Each week we'll pick an art form and share a few tips and/or tutorials to help you with your creations using that medium or technique.
This week's medium is: Traditional Art
Flipping your image horizontally can help you find anatomical inconsistencies easily since they will stand out more once the image is flipped. If you're working traditionally you can use this method by holding your drawing up to a mirror and viewing the image reflected in the mirror to find any inconsistencies or other 'wonky' areas. It is suggested to do this while still in the sketching stages of your drawing in order to help find flaws early on.
Interesting watercolour journals
What form of art do you specialize in (as a hobby and/or in your career)? What essential tools are at your disposal?
I do a bit of everything but if I had to pick an area that I specialize in I'd have to say digital equines. I spend most of my time drawing horses and more horses, and even more horses! These days my health is not fond of me working with traditional media (my dominant arm is pretty destroyed) so I spend most of that time working digitally. Essential tools include my computer, my Intuos Pro, and good references! Quick shout out to a few of the amazing horse stock providers here on DA! fillyrox, Colourize-Stock, Breathless-dk, venomxbaby
Do you have any particular education or interests that made you seek to learn by yourself?
When I was younger I took a few mini art classes for things like painting with watercolors, and silk painting.. I don't think I ever felt like I needed classes or anything, drawing was just something I did for fun to pass the time. When I was younger I was far more interested in dancing, and I was more skilled as a writer than a visual artist.
Are you currently in a career related to art? How do you promote your works outside of DA and attract particular clients?
I currently freelance as an artist picking up work as I am able to. I'm not sure there is all too much to say about this, it's a pretty boring subject. People commission me, I work on the commission and can pay my bills
Word of mouth mostly. I am lazy when it comes to promoting my commissions so when I get contacted outside of DA it's usually someone another client of mine knows that I was recommended to. This is of course not what I'd suggest anyone who is serious about trying to get enough commissions to put food on the table to do. As said, I am lazy with this aspect of things because I can afford to be.
As a mentor, how do you assess your pupils and continue with each pupil? Are there any holistic similarities between the pupils you have mentored/are mentoring?
As a mentor assessing my pupils is always interesting. I've worked with a variety of different pupils through seniormentors and it's clear that each one has different needs. I try to get a feel for where any specific pupil is with their artistic skill and where they wish to take it and then plan a best course of action to help them achieve their goal. This means that I tailor each mentoring session specifically to the pupil in order to help them get the most out of being mentored (as long as they follow through on their end).
Do you have any advice on any basic steps any new users on DA interested in equine/digital/traditional art in general?
What can they do or have before starting in their field of liking? How about stepping into the professional aspect of art?
I think the best advice I can give new artists is to use references! And I don't mean using other artists work as a reference, use photographs or real life. Pay close attention to the references, learn the anatomy, see the way the light reflects and wraps off of and around things etc.
No matter your subject or the medium used, references are a vital learning tool for us all.
Well before stepping into the professional side of things I strongly suggest that people not only have their basics down, but also have a good backbone and a willingness to realize that things aren't always rainbows and sunshine. When you're working for someone else you likely will draw a lot of things that you simply don't care for. You'll likely have to deal with clients who will at times be incredibly rude or inconsiderate. You will likely have people ask you to work for free and then be upset with you when you decline. You may lose out on sleep or going to that one movie with your friends because you're struggling to meet a deadline. These are all things one should be prepared to handle if they wish to work as a professional artist.
When doing equine art or drawing animals or humans, what avenues (both online and offline) do you suggest new artists look for resources?
Like I mentioned above, using references is really important. References will help you know where you're struggling with your piece. There is a really cool site that I like to use from time to time artists.pixelovely.com. It sets a rotation of photos for you based on what you pick (there are different types of animals) and then you can pick how fast the images rotate to the next one.. it's a fantastic tool to get you sketching from references and it's perfectly fine if your sketches don't look that great. The goal is to get practice in and this site is absolutely fantastic for it!
Does one have to know everything about horse, and horse riding and taking care of them to do equine art?
Not at all! I am a horse n00b, as in.. I am not privledged to actually get to be around horses. I've sat on a horse fewer times in my life than I have fingers to count and if a horse were ever left in my care the poor thing would probably die because I just don't know enough about them. I draw them, a lot, and that's good enough for me!
Often times, artists are stuck in the much discussed about artist's block and/or writer's block. How would one avoid that and what possible things can they do? Or is it a different approach they must take? How would it, if at all, impact working with others in a job?
Artists block is an awful and dreadful thing. I don't know if there are ways to ever fully avoid it, but when it hits there are things we can do to help overcome it. What works well for me is to stop, take a deep breath and put whatever I am trying to work on aside. Then I just doodle abstract things which helps me work through the block. Usually after an abstract doodle I can sit back down with my original task and work as usual.
I believe it's a mixture of needing to break out of the thoughts that we are having a block, as well as getting our wrist to do something more free flowing before attempting the piece again.
What's your favourite artwork/artist/writer on DA and outside DA? Any favourite art sites, blogs, magazines/ezines that you could suggest that are your favourites?
On DA my favorite is definitely ShePaintsWithBlood! Outside of DA I'd have to go with Beth Cavener Follow the black rabbit. A few years back one of her controversial sculptures were purchased by the local university and I had the opportunity to go and see it. Amazing! Absolutely amazing and stunning! Her sculptures should be seen by everyone!
Unfortunately I don't follow any blogs, magazines, etc. I spend all my time with other things instead.
Throughout your career and journey as an artist, are there any particular obstacles that you remember strongly and overcame?
I actually set out to be a writer some years back because writing was something that always came naturally to me and I was very good at it. It's funny because I don't have the attention span to read most literature so the thought of me spending my time in literature communities was strange. Anyway, I ended up hitting writers block about 13 years back and no matter how hard I fought it, the words just haven't been able to flow the way they used to. I started drawing more again instead of writing and gave up on being a writer while putting my focus into my drawings instead. Now I'm finally to a point where I can tell stories with drawings and don't need words.
What are some things artists can do to be prepared for obstacles and unexpected situations that may arise before, during and after their work?
I'm not sure there are any sure-fire ways of being prepared for such things. I think just accepting that they happen and just taking things one step at a time as obstacles pop up is a good way to approach it though. Additionally, knowing your limits is very valuable. This will help in decision making when it comes to things like, can I actually draw what this client is asking for, or, if I don't get some sleep now I wont be able to draw well tomorrow and the piece will take even longer, etc.
Take care of your bodies and your overall health. Constantly working on art can do a lot of long term damage if you aren't giving your body the proper care!
Are there any rituals that you perform to the art gods before you start on an artwork? What's your regular routine like before you start your work or assignment?
I'm a pretty straight forward type of person and the way I approach projects or work reflects that as well. Basically I sit down and just get to it. I think the most routine I get with it is making sure I have plenty of water to drink near by, and I have music playing.
Are there any particular techniques that you like to use frequently? Any particular look/style you aim for?
I think over the years I've finally found my groove and have my own distinctive style at this point. I'm a sucker for overlay layers, be it to add texture, to add depth and shading, or to add fun colors.. give me all the overlay layers!!!
LO! There's a major error in your artwork and it will take a long time to fix it. How do you deal with it and what do you do?
It depends on the piece, most of my work is pretty sloppy and lazy overall because I am impatient and don't do well forcing myself to actually apply myself with my art. More often than not big mistakes just stay there and I simply don't consider the piece a good piece. If I catch the mistake in early stages (sketching inking or early coloring) I will scrap the piece completely and start fresh. There is no taking a long time to fix anything for me. I generally finish a piece start to finish in around an hour unless I am trying something new.
Are you finicky about having the perfect 49% opacity, or just the right amount of water in brush or exposure even though another setting could have worked? How much are you willing to edit your work?
I am very finicky about things like opacity, but most of all I am finicky about using colors that work well together. Sometimes I will spend significant amounts of time tweeking the colors until I like the result. I have also been known to scrap entire pieces because I do not like the color combinations of the characters. I will edit what I feel can be salvaged, anything else gets tossed.
Do you have to have be in a specific state to do your art?
The only state I need to be in is at least semi conscious lol. I can sit and doodle pretty much any time, and I often work while in pain. It's just a matter of pushing through the distractions which isn't such a problem as long as I want to draw.
Here's me looking over your shoulder looking at your sketchbook while you are doing art. What do you do?
I get very nervous and uneasy. I do not like it when people invade my space and as a result I would likely stop drawing, get up and go somewhere else. While I don't mind letting people watch my process I can't handle people directly in my space while I am working. It's a big problem for me, and I used to have to wait to work on art until my kids were in bed in order to avoid me turning into a ball of rage because they stood next to me while I was drawing to ask me something.
Are the individuals in your family, relatives, friends supportive of you pursuing art/appreciate what you do as a hobby/career?
Yes, I've been really fortunate to have friends and family who have always been very supportive of me and my art. That being said, the drawback to it is that sometimes they are too supportive. I remember thinking I was an amazing artist when I was younger because everyone around me supported what I did and gave me a lot of praise. As a result I didn't realize until much later that I should be pushing myself to improve rather than remaining at the skill level I was at at the time.