Interview transcript from the
interview in February! I forgot to post it but here it is ^^ this makes a pretty good FAQ because lots of the questions I answered here are questions I get asked a lot.
- - -<thefluffyshrimp> *KuroiiChan asks "I know your mostly self-taught, so how did you teach yourself? Do you have any tips on what to study?"<shilin> I learned most of what I know from simply drawing, I never sat down to practice particular things so I don't have any useful tips for it. ):<shilin> My way of self teaching is pretty slow and inefficient, but it allows me to still enjoy drawing and not get bored by feeling obliged to practice.<shilin> So if that works for you, the only things you really need to keep in mind is to have an open mind, and pay critical attention to everything you see. (:<thefluffyshrimp> ~CryingMaiden asks "When you're using programs or even just traditionally drawing how do you control your lines?"<shilin> If by that you mean smooth or accurate lines (accurate to what you want to put down), then it's mostly from either zoom or how I move my hand I guess...?<shilin> Zoom out and draw really fast for a long, smooth line, or zoom in and draw slowly and carefully for an accurate line.<shilin> For traditional art, you can kind of emulate the zoom by moving your entire forearm rather than your wrist, but I am not sure how proper that is and if it's right or wrong to do. XD<thefluffyshrimp> ~LadyxAolani asks "Do you have a team of people working with you to bring/keep this alive? If so, how far into fleshing your story out did you assemble them, how many people are at work with this, what do they do, and was it difficult to gather them?"<shilin> I don't, I do everything on my own because I'm a control freak and I need everything exactly as I want it haha!<thefluffyshrimp> ~AnataNoOkasan asks "Are you ever going to start making painting tutorials, or any kind, once you have free time from Carciphona?"<shilin> It is rather hard for me to make tutorials because while there is a general order to which I do things, there is no set procedure that I can share that would be of any help in my opinion.<shilin> Because of that, I did start posting sped-up livestream recordings of the painting process of certain pictures.<shilin> It is a lot more difficult to figure out what I'm doing and looks cool more than it is immediately useful.<shilin> But if there are times where you wonder what I did to create certain parts of the picture, you will be able to find your own answers there and use that knowledge to try things out yourself (:<shilin> Said videos are at my youtube account [link]
. <thefluffyshrimp> ~Malzberry asks "How did you manage to balance both University and creating your graphic novel at the same time?"<shilin> WELL.....<shilin> I did not really balance it very well because my comic was on hiatus for quite a long time during that time.<shilin> But mostly not because of university, but because I was playing RO (Ragnarok Online)...<thefluffyshrimp> ~bemtheman and ~Jae-san asks "How long have you been drawing?" and *deilawliet asks "How long did it take to get so good?"<shilin> I have been drawing since I was like 5, for fun of course, and it took from 5 till now to get as good as I am. ^^<thefluffyshrimp> *StrongButGentle and ~Roselink-Noodle asks "What inspired you to write Carciphona?"<shilin> I started with 1 or 2 isolated original characters like most people did (in this case Veloce and Keri!) and I really wanted them to have some sort of story.<shilin> But Carciphona went through like 5 or 6 different stories before it became what it is now
.<shilin> Most of them are not even remotely similar and I can't remember any of them because I simply altered them little by little over time before they mutated into Carciphona.<shilin> So long story short, there wasn't really any inspiration aside from my wanting to make something cool!<thefluffyshrimp> ~Narutolover07 asks "What artist inspires you to draw?" and *miss-marv asks "Do you have any artists that are an inspiration to you?"<shilin> My favourite artists over the years that I can remember on top of my head are SR ([link]), maggi ([link] ), RA ([link] ), *auroreblackcat, paristo ([link] ), and the artist who drew Shin Angyo Onshi.<shilin> Their art just makes me want to open a canvas and throw something up and have it look cool hahaha.<thefluffyshrimp> ~furrypetslover asks "What kind of art studies do you enjoy doing the most?"<shilin> Can I ask for clarification on art studies? Do you mean what medium/format of art I like or do you mean what I enjoy drawing the most?<shilin> If not I can answer both.<Melancholy-Minds> "Sorry, I should've been more specific xD Like figure drawings, buildings, sketch practices basically. Studying anatomy, etc."<shilin> Ooh, I don't do studies in that sense, I never practice for the sake of practice (haha terrible) but I enjoy drawing scenes in my head, like a still from a movie, more so than say, concepts or character designs, if that is relevant.<thefluffyshrimp> ~Leatrix, ~J-DYTE and *Kuroiichan asks "Shilin, what inspired you to start drawing/painting in the first place? How has it kept you going all this time?" and "What keeps you inspired to draw?"<shilin> I started drawing lots of characters from anime I watched when I was very small, or characters from storybooks that my parents bought me.<shilin> It feels really satisfying to draw, and that's why I kept drawing until now.<shilin> A lot of time drawing allows me to I guess escape, even though it's not really intentional and there's nothing terrible happening in my life, but it feels great to create and come up with things on my own, and that itself keeps me drawing way more than external forces.<thefluffyshrimp> ~bemtheman asks "how did you create your own style?" and ~kousou and ~Blizzardwolf23 asks "How did you end up with the style you currently have now?"<shilin> I always am more of a copycat when it comes to learning, so I learned everything I know-- and therefore created my style-- from observing what others do right or what works in the past; it's only recently that I feel comfortable with what I know/what I have that I can sort of experiment and make something that I like.<thefluffyshrimp> ~Elymnesis asks "How much of art do you feel is talent, and how much do you feel is hard work and practice?"<shilin> All of art can be hard work and practice if you have no talent, but if you have talent that is great, too, because you won't have to suffer as much.<thefluffyshrimp> *deilawliet asks "What helps with your color selection?"<shilin> Intuition HAHA. I try a bit to pay attention to colour theory now but I honestly am very bad at it.<shilin> (Please do yourself a favour and learn the basics and don't be like me, I'm a bad example in this area.)<thefluffyshrimp> *toshiro12 asks "Any (general) drawing tips?"<shilin> Just draw.<shilin> End of story.<thefluffyshrimp> ~TheNewHorde asks "Shilin, What was the break through point that helped you realize that you needed a new dA account? Was there a specific work in particular in which you realized you'd hit another level with your art that outdid all your previous works?"<shilin> Nope! But there was a point where I suddenly realized how dumb my previous username was and I should probably switch to something less crazy.<thefluffyshrimp> ~CryingMaiden asks "Do you use dip pens?" and *deilawliet asks "What colour is your lineart?"<shilin> I don't use dip pens or any pens, the only traditional medium I can use is pencil ):<shilin> I use black to draw lineart, but I usually change the colour to match its surrounding colours after I've finished painting, by using preserve transparency.<thefluffyshrimp> *StrongButGentle asks "What character in Carciphona would you say is the most like you?" and ~kontrolieris asks "Which character do you like more: Blackbird or Veloce?"<shilin> Every character takes strongly after how I can think in different ways, as unlikely as that sounds, so every character is equally like me haha!<shilin> It's hard to decide who I like more because they're very different, but I think in the end I would have to say I like Blackbird more because she is adaptive to change, and she accepts change without a grudge.<thefluffyshrimp> ~LadyxAolani asks "Do you ever see Carciphona getting animated?"<shilin> No, unless I suddenly become a billionaire and can hire whoever I want and be in absolute charge, because I am not ok with having to change the story to meet certain standards (i.e. broadcast ratings) or guidelines (i.e. episode length or series length.)<thefluffyshrimp> *deilawliet asks "Were you a "bad" artist when you started out or have you always been awesome?" and ~bemtheman asks "Would you consider yourself naturally talented?"<shilin> Of course I was a bad artist when I started, I was a bad artist for a long time and depending on who you compare me to, I'm still bad!<shilin> I would say I have some intuition or alright judgment for aesthetics, but I would not ever consider myself talented because most things do not come to me easily.<thefluffyshrimp> ~CryingMaiden asks "When using programs or even traditionally, how do you keep your lines so smooth? How do you practice line control?"<shilin> I don't practice line control, I suppose I just find ways AROUND what doesn't work.<shilin> I take time and take care with my lines. I am ok with redoing it many times until I get something I am satisfied with.<shilin> Though you can only see the product and you like it, I can assure you almost nothing was done in one shot, so just have patience. (:<thefluffyshrimp> *loon2x asks "Do you procrastinate or experience slump? Or what do you do motivate yourself?" and *deilawliet asks "How do you handle art block?"<shilin> I rarely ever have art blocks, mostly because I have more things I want to draw than I have time for, but I do have times where I don't feel like drawing.<shilin> If that happens I simply... don't draw, and do something else like write scripts or fix websites or even do chores.<shilin> A lot of good artists suggest to just be a trooper and get through the block, it is good advice but for my personal schedule, it's not suitable for me and so I don't follow it.<shilin> The most important thing is always to listen to an advice and weigh how much it applies to you, rather than take things as gospel.<thefluffyshrimp> ~malzberry asks "What kind of music do you like?"<shilin> I like classical music (haha big surprise), big massive orchestral works or angry piano pieces.<shilin> I like angry music in general haha.<thefluffyshrimp> ~Leatrix asks "What drawing made you decide you should pursue the artist profession more seriously?"<shilin> No drawing made me decide that LOL. The decision was made over financial viability rather than intensity of interest.<shilin> I accumulated enough ways to make money from art over the years so I decided to try it out.<thefluffyshrimp> ~Pablo666123 asks "How can one become as good an artist as you?"<shilin> Love what you do, pay attention to what you see and what others do, take the time to try out things, and be willing to work forever to get the result you want.<thefluffyshrimp> *toshiro12 asks "About how long does it take to draw something?"<shilin> From 20 minutes to 50 hours.<thefluffyshrimp> ~Jombu asks "How tall are you ?"<thefluffyshrimp> (lol)<shilin> A little less than 5'2 ;-; <thefluffyshrimp> ~AzureDestiny asks "Shilin, for the buildings and objects in your manga, do you use references?"<shilin> I research on the style of the building for reference, I don't necessarily find a building that suits the purpose and draw it out.<shilin> For example for the mansions in my manga, I would look up European buildings of the time and see how the pillars and reliefs are placed to get the look, and then try to emulate that.<thefluffyshrimp> *Crys234 asks "What do you do to stay concentrated while working on an illustration/project?"<shilin> If I'm drawing out something or setting down colours, i.e. there is a lot of thinking involved, then I am focused without any help.<shilin> If I'm spending 20 hours rendering and it's becoming mindless, sometimes I listen to music or documentaries that I like to watch so that I don't get bored (:<thefluffyshrimp> ~Enock asks "Shilin, I always wonder if you ever had problems laying out your panels?" and ~Blizzardwolf23 asks "Shilin, Did you ever have any problems in drawing specific things like backgrounds, people, or action scenes?"<shilin> When I draw out the story at first in thumbnails, I usually don't ever have problems with paneling because it feels natural to watch it unfold in my head. It's usually when I go over or under the page limit and need to cut things out/stretch things out that I get really stumped about how to move things around.<shilin> I do run into a lot of trouble drawing a variety of things simply because how bad my basics are and how little practice I do. If one painting takes 10 hours and the other takes 15, those 5 hours are probably spent fixing that very thing that I'm stuck on.<shilin> Moral of the story is practice drawing everything, even stuff you don't like :1<thefluffyshrimp> *deilawliet asks "Shillin, do you colour everything on one layer?"<shilin> I usually paint the characters on one layer, then the background on another layer, and then some effects on top. Sometimes I use separate layers for stuff like jewelry or details that I know will be more convenient to paint in a separate layer.<thefluffyshrimp> ~LadyxAolani asks "Is this your first series publication?"<shilin> Yes (:<thefluffyshrimp> ~Altaeyyr asks "I was actually wondering if you draw inspiration for your character designs from specific cultures... There's always so much detail and so much precision that I've always wondered: do the designs stem from something (historical, mythological, etc) that you find fascinating?"<shilin> I do put a lot of the things I enjoy into Carciphona's world, and subsequently the designs of the characters from those places.<shilin> Renaissance/Baroque/Rococo architecture, historic Asian clothing and settings or simply marvels of nature that I come across (like exotic/monumental land phenomena), all serve as inspiration for my designs.<thefluffyshrimp>~Jaggy1233 asks "Shilin, so many people say it's next to impossible to make it as an artist. You seem to be doing a very good job of it though. How do you keep yourself motivated and avoid getting pulled into thinking things like "I can't do it"?"<shilin> As a person I am wired to think about how I should act in resolution to a situation, rather than marvel at the weight of the situation and do nothing about it. While I do feel down from time to time, I rarely have the time to think "I can't do it" because once I do, my life will be over.<shilin> There are a lot of ways to make it as an artist, but everyone sees "making it" differently; some people make it when they can support themselves, some people make it when they're recognized by the world.
To some people, what I do is not making it at all because I'm not making any meaningful contribution to art or the industry.<shilin> But you see me as making it because I am doing something I like for a career and that's probably all you want to do.<shilin> In that case, just find ways in which you can keep doing what you like, it's not actually that hard or impossible, you just have to be ready to be very resourceful about it.<thefluffyshrimp> ~kenzie-riann asks "Shilin, do you still play RO (Ragnarok Online)? I've watched your art for years (I found you originally on Elfwood, lol), kinda fell out of the art world for awhile, then found out you play RO like, last year. I absolutely love your RO fanart!"<shilin> HAHA ELFWOOD OH MY GOD.<shilin> I don't play RO anymore; I stopped a few years ago.<shilin> I love drawing for RO (Ragnorok Online) but I am sad it's been going downhill for a long time ;-; I'll miss it forever.<thefluffyshrimp> ~LadyxAolani asks "Shilin, how long did it take for you to establish a fanbase for Carciphona?" and ~LadyxAolani asks "Shilin, when you realized that you really wanted to go all the way with Carciphona, when and how did you start putting yourself out there and promoting it?"<shilin> Carciphona (or previously Blackbird) started 7 years ago, so that's how long it took to slowly accumulate more readers for CP. Up until a few months ago I didn't really go out of my way to promote the series.<shilin> If anything, any interest in my series came from my established following for my art here on DA and I had no way aside from posting art and telling them "oh by the way I have a comic."<shilin> But I've tried to use online ranking sites and push for votes a few months ago, as well as trying out some advertising things.<shilin> But those are the only things I've tried.<thefluffyshrimp> *cho-zero asks "I have a lot of issues with printing my works at commercial printers in terms of color and paper quality. I'm just curious as to how you chose your current company in which you print your Carciphona books."<shilin> My books were printed in China so it is already cheaper by default and I didn't have to sweat the difference between good and bad printers.<shilin> So I went for the largest printer in the city which my uncle lives in and I guess that's why their quality is pretty good.<shilin> If you want to be sure about printing, ask for or even buy sample books and test copies before you commit.<shilin> For a few dollars it makes 500% sense to make sure before you print a huge volume.<thefluffyshrimp> ~pandaarya asks "Shilin, I know that some artists go through multiple color schemes when starting a work. Do you do the same thing? Have you ever stopped working on something because you don't like how the colors are turning out?"<shilin> I have, but I rarely pick between multiple versions because I am terrible at picking out one I like and the method makes no sense to me personally (due to my lack of knowledge).<shilin> Any changes or overhauls I make are all part of the linear process of finishing the piece.<shilin> It's rare that I drop a piece I don't like mid-painting though.<thefluffyshrimp> ~mdee1 asks "When you started drawing, what did you specifically draw? Boxes, People, Perspective?"<shilin> When I started drawing, I drew Sailor Moon!<shilin> Wolves chasing and eating rabbits!<shilin> Then I evolved and started drawing Pokemon!<thefluffyshrimp> ~Omnivorx asks "Were there any books/manga that inspired you when you were developing the concepts for Carciphona?"<shilin> Those would be my favourite mangas (and the only mangas I've ready pretty much...) Slayers, Mahoujin Guru Guru, and Shin Angyo Onshi. The last one has a lasting impact on me in terms of the atmosphere of the story, and they inspire and motivate me to refine mine into a meaningful story.<thefluffyshrimp> ~AzureDestiny asks "Shilin, for the story-line of Carciphona, do you have it all planned out in an outline of some sort, or are you just winging it?"<shilin> If there is to be a timeline of the story, there are still a LOT of blanks in between various points that I have planned out and indeed a lot of winging going on, but I always make sure I am at least one or two arcs ahead of what I'm posting, so that whatever I'm making up on the spot will not damage or weaken the core of the story.<thefluffyshrimp> ~TheNewHorde asks "What was your first art job? How did you acquire it?"<shilin> I did commissions for fun and for learning here and there and I don't think those count as jobs, I guess the first proper gig I got was illustrating a promotional piece for Adobe CS4's release in 2009?<shilin> Like every other gig I got after that, I was contacted by the client after they saw my work and I didn't actually find the jobs myself.<thefluffyshrimp> =BalloonBear asks "Hw do you come up with all the dynamic poses and the story behind your drawings?"<shilin> Most of the time I follow a vision I already have in mind, but other times I start with something boring, standard and simple, and slowly alter the elements (perspective, parts of the body) to exaggerate and bring more interest to the drawing.<shilin> The story just comes organically as I work on the piece; not a lot of things I draw are completely planned in advance.<thefluffyshrimp> ~furrypetslover asks "How many drawings do you usually work on at once? (Excluding manga pages.)"<shilin> If you mean full illustrations (not roughs), just 1. Sometimes I might have 1 or 2 commissions to work on, and I alter between those and my own works while waiting for approval.<thefluffyshrimp> =BalloonBear asks "Your drawing has improved so much over the years; do you have any encouraging words for growing artists?"<shilin> There isn't any destination or level of achievement to attain in being an artist, all you really have is your love for art and that's all you need to enjoy art.<thefluffyshrimp> =IsiusMaiko asks "Did you learn to paint your fabrics just by practicing and experimenting by yourself, or did you get taught somewhere or read tutorials? I find it fairly easy to paint watercolours and acrylics, but I get a little frustrated in photoshop/SAI when trying to get the look I want."<shilin> I looked at how others paint clothing, and I learned from trying out effects they have attained (practicing and experimenting like you say). Different people find different media logical/illogical, so maybe your fluency in watercolours/acrylics is making it difficult for you to adjust to digital painting.<thefluffyshrimp> ~joydom asks "Shilin, do you think being on social networks (dA, tumblr, fb page, blog) has helped your artistic endeavors?"<shilin> It has helped me gain readership, which in turn made it possible for me to make enough of a living to do art full time, so yes, it has helped my artistic endeavours.<thefluffyshrimp> ~Melancholy-Minds asks "Where did you attend university and what was your program of study?"<shilin> I went to University of Western Ontario and I studied Music with focus on performance.
Carciphona volume 3 is now in print
and available for sale!
Carciphona is now on SmackJeeves
Anime North: May 25-27, Toronto (Confirmed with table) Otakon: July 27-29, Baltimore (Confirmed with table) FanEXPO: August 23-26, Toronto (confirmed with table)
All done! see you next year ^^
Carciphona is my original manga series. It is available to read for free online and updates weekly on carciphona.com
, and is published by myself in print whenever I finish a new book. Most of the artworks I do are for this series. Please check it out and if you enjoyed it, share it with your friends and those who may be interested! Thank you for all your support ^^ facebook.com/ashenray facebook.com/carciphona
Skin by Ikue