What got you into art?
I've always enjoyed drawing cartoons, ever since I could hold a crayon! I was lucky to grow up surrounded by comics and animation, but what got me into making comics was encouragement and a wish to create my own versions of what I was consuming, to try and then create something different.
Who is your favourite character to draw?
I have the most fun drawing my characters because they are so personal. I enjoy drawing my octopus mascot Squishy-chan because Squishy is so simple and round, but can be very expressive in gesture. I enjoy drawing my protagonist Reiko, because to me she is an everygirl, a character type suited to a number of poses and expressions.
What do you hate drawing?
Buildings and backgrounds probably, but I have found mellowness with the routine of drawing such things. Some people really love to draw backgrounds and other objects! I suppose it's because I'm not particularly technically-minded and can get bored quickly. I enjoy the fluidity of unstructured drawing straight onto paper, but as I get older I find some routine-drawing (lace, textures for example) quite calming, so I guess I have learnt to combine the two for a better personal experience and a productive, more varied outcome.
So many! I have always loved the Art Nouveau style of Alphonse Mucha. I mainly enjoy contemporary artists' work, though actually I can be quite intimidated by so much of what I see.
A while ago I did an Influence Map, it is still available on my DeviantArt account! =http://pinkapplejam.deviantart.com/art/Meme-Influence-Map-180372195
What mediums do you use?
For manual work - a relatively rough type of paper but not too thick, in fact, the cheaper the paper the nicer the texture. I use coloured Pilot Eno leads to sketch out roughs and a 2B mechanical lead to pencil over. I use brush pens (Pilot Pocket is my favourite right now) and brush-tipped marker pens for fast shading.
For digital my go-to programs are Manga Studio 5 (Clip Studio Paint) and Photoshop. I sometimes use Paint Tool Sai.
When you're drawing, what do you put on in the background?
I have a massive stock of specific YouTube tracks lined up (usually obscure old-style synth stuff nobody else seems to like) and my old, trusty CD collection of 80's and 90's themes. Some retro anime classics always work a treat when feeling a little low!
What's your greatest achievement?
I was very happy to be published in the old Tokyopop Rising Stars of Manga anthology series, just before the manga bubble popped in the mid 2000's. To be honest I am always happy when I see my artwork published and printed somewhere, that to me is an achievement. I'm a bit addicted to print. I encourage everyone to try it.
What would you say to any aspiring artists?
I would say a few things! Get ready...
Always draw your thing! Then try to draw things to support and compliment your thing. Learn things when you are happy to learn things. Do not punish yourself if you cannot draw a thing the first time around, or if you cannot get the strength each day to draw every day. This is ok. Draw when you are inspired and try to draw if you are ready to draw but even when you are not inspired, if you have the time available. Sometimes, you really have to motivate yourself to pick up that pencil and most times, it pays off. (Even if it's a doodle, it all counts.) Remember you will not be able to draw excellently every day because you are not a machine, so enjoy the days when you draw something great and remember that those moments can, do and will happen, just not sometimes when you hope they will happen! Send your art out to people, to magazines and to editors - never wait to be discovered... or at least, discover yourself and enjoy your work! Support yourself to support your dreams and wishes. Make friends with comics, too.
I also wrote a chunky web page about the whole process of making indie comics in the UK with a manga slant. It may not be the magic answer people want to expect, but it is real, it is my experience and contains a lot of pointers that will hopefully help the determined. http://pinkapplejam.com/how-do-i-become-a-uk-mangaka/
Do you have any projects lined up?
Only Biomecha (www.BiomechaComic.com), I am in that for the long haul. It will be a 3-book series which I hope to conclude in 2018ish (!). I also do Manga School features for NEO Magazine, which are printed every other month. After that, I would like to do some standalone comic tales, maybe in colour, written by my partner (we have a few stories already brewing). After that... who knows?
Marvel or DC?
Gotta be Marvel! Don't tell my dad, though - he has pledged lifelong DC allegiance. I've been a massive fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe since the beginning in particular, plus I'm sure you'll agree Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends on Children's BBC always had one of the best theme tunes. But actually (in the 90's in particular), I found with so many American comics, I couldn't get into them 'properly' at one point because of how complex and legacy-driven they all were at one point (which is also why many girls got into manga from that time, I felt) - then the MCU launched, told everything from scratch to everyone, and bang -- here we are, all into the same stuff, on the same level. Absolutely MARVEL-lous (ha ha ha- er, I'll show myself out).
Chocolate or vanilla?
Chocolate! (Actually can we have both? Though chocolate is my preference.)
Captain America or Iron Man?
Finally if you could take any character and draw them in a new comic , who would it be and who would you choose to write it?
You know, I'd love to do a one-shot April O'Neil Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-standalone, in some form. What a gal. To be honest the IDW productions of TMNT titles have all been pretty good.We're so lucky to live in the era we live in with pop culture media. We're so very well catered for! What a time to be alive!!
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