What all do you do on Elftown?
Well, mostly I rp, but I like to admire other people's art and study it for techniques I'd like to pick up. I've really improved since I joined the site, or so I like to think. I was the daily poet a long time ago, so long ago I forget what I wrote. I also really like helping other people too, if I know how to help them anyway, with how to draw something, or who they might look at to learn, or play a filler character in a roleplay. It's so great to know so many talented artists, especially before they became so well known.
So.. I roleplay, try to contribute when I can, help others (though I don't have an ET title), show art, and learn from others' art.
As an artist, what mediums do you use?
I love charcoal, when I have the space and the desire to clean up after myself. It's just so fast and smooth.
I also work a lot with just sketch pencils to practice my control and I'm so spoiled now. I can't stand trying to draw with a mechanical. I guess that happens to everyone though.
Recently I've been using photoshop because it seems to be pretty standard for artists after they become full fledged artists (or beginners who are ahead of the learning curve). I really love how it keeps up with me better. I'm one of those people that just wants the image to exist on the page right away so I can show people what I'm thinking, but unfortunately I don't practice enough so it still takes me hours and careful thinking to get even the basically good drawing down, and days at least to get up to my full potential on a drawing, and that's assuming I had a strong concept to begin with.
I just got CS5 on my computer though so I can try Illustrator. A friend told me it kind of corrects your lines because the program understands what you are trying to do. I'm looking forward trying that intuitiveness. If I can find mediums that understand quicker, hopefully I'll become less antsy. I'll get faster, and eventually, I should be able to have a much faster work flow. Wouldn't that be nice?
OH! haha, i almost forgot. I'm a trained Printmaker. I recently got my degree in Fine Arts, with an emphasis in Printmaking, so I can do lithography, intaglio processes, silk screening, such things. I work for a company called SustainU where they make 100% American recycled shirts using silk screening, and I absolutely love it. I don't have the supplies myself, so I can't do that just yet, but if I did have them, I would probably silkscreen too.
What all do you use photoshop and other similar programs for?
Well.. just.. drawing mostly. I use them to try and close the gap between the speed I want to get an idea out of my head, and the speed at which I ACTUALLY draw. My wacom tablet is one of my most prized possessions.
What kind of RPs do you like participating in?
Usually just whatever my friends are creating. I have a lot of friends who have wonderful ideas for stories. My favorite genres are steampunk and scifi but I don't usually do those rps. I also enjoy post-apocalyptic stuff, which is, I guess, what I do the most of, both when I create my own roleplays and when I find myself wanting to join another. Things that mix myth with reality are very interesting too. I rp in fantasy roleplays simply because they are pretty popular and common, but I try not to keep joining them. I like new ideas, not the same old tried and true all the time.
What do you like most about sci fi and fantasy?
Well.. the limitless possibility I guess. If you take a lot of creative liberties (which I tend to...) you can make nearly anything. As time goes on people are becoming less and less creative, even dressing so much alike... it's like they've become clones, told to wear this uniform and nothing else...
But scifi and fantasy, that's where possibilities shine. You can make any creature you want, any abilities you want, in any corner of the undiscovered universe. I love that it's a great way to take an idea from your head, that's all your own that no one else can hear, and it'll be private, just for you, and then put that on paper (or a wiki) and share it with the world. Humans aren't telepathic or anything of the sort, we can't hear or see each others' thoughts, art is the only way we can show other people what is on our minds, and I just think scifi and fantasy really lend themselves to creativity.
What are your interests and hobbies outside of Elftown?
Well... I don't really have any hobbies as of yet, besides making up art projects in my head (if that counts?). My interests though are bowling, crafts, mechanics, screen printing, doodling/sketching, and, vaguely, animation. I also like looking into 'how to draw' stuff, but only occasionally.
What inspires you to create art?
Usually just anything I find amusing. Breaks from reality and all that, those things you'd have to stop to admire for the simplicity of it. All my life I've been taught to analyze art, what does it mean? What's it for? What if I just want to make the duck blue because I wanted a blue duck? I just want my art to be admired and enjoyed for what it is, not the meaning behind it because I, myself, don't feel like I make anything of meaning. It's usually just when I'm trying to escape reality and enter a world of endless possibilities, when I have to see something, so clearly, in my head to draw it. I have to actually look (in my mind's eye) at what something looks like and appreciate it.
I guess... the ability for art to be anything inspires me to create it. It's the only way I could ever share with the world what's on my mind, because words have always failed me. I got very upset and very tired early on with people getting mad at me just for saying 'I'm upset, and this is why' that I decided I would just escape reality and put these other worlds on paper, show people where I was going, and if they cared enough, they'd look and find out. 'Course... no one cared enough early on, until I finally decided to study it in college and they knew that's what I was going to be doing with my life.
In any case, I guess I just wanted people to care when I was upset, and to show people I left, to show people where I went, what they forced me to make (and see smiles from them in return, like I just got rid of all their anger and worries, if only for the moment they looked at my art) THAT is what inspires me.
Would you consider art an emotional outlet for you?
It used to be... When I was young and first joined ET it was actually because I was encouraged by my semi-abusive boyfriend. My family more or less neglected me except to snap at me for not eating what they made, or eating their food (never seemed I did the right thing). A lot of my work was based on just trying to get that emotion out. I guess that's where all the monsters I drew came from.
It's always been very disjointed though, oddly enough. I never had this full world in my head, or any story line, just these creatures and moments in time, doing.. whatever they were doing. Sometimes I like to draw things because I'm happy, they usually come out small and cute, even fluffy. I'm pretty sure I have basic skill (I always did well in my drawing classes) so I guess I could draw anything if I took the time, but nothing comes out beautiful unless I really feel like doing it. I guess when all my life I was pushed toward emotionless I just loved how it felt to express myself in a seemingly harmless way, and I want others to feel just as happy about it, to know how much I cared, and know it's ok to enjoy things and just... be happy, even when people say that's pointless or stupid. You matter! What you do matters! And there is nothing wrong with just being happy!
Have you ever expressed yourself through writing?
The same way I did with drawings, though my rps are much more fantastic (in the old sense of the word) than my drawings. I prefer to keep my drawings fairly simple because that always made me more happy than spending days on them. With writing- well, I used to do poetry, but I'll be the first to say it was very childish and poor. I've hardly done anything I'm proud of in that regard, but some of the stories I've come up with for rps I still really like.
Just like with my other art though, it's ultimately meaningless unless I can have other people participate and really enjoy it as well. Sure, I express my desire for greater worlds where humans are pushed further and rise to their true potentials, but they are just stories. The world as a whole makes me so sad. Everyone is becoming completely complacent and lazy, mindless. Why can't people create and really aspire to greatness anymore? I like to think I write about that, people who, even if they don't become great, they strive to be, and I never wanted to be famous or rich (in this world it would mean I did every degrading thing short of selling my soul... and maybe even that), it would be meaningless and I just don't want it. No, I want to see others be innovative, creative, aspirational, and while I don't have the influence yet to do that in the real world, in my writing I love to express that desire, to see others really FIGHT for their world, and I enjoy it most not when I think my writing is good, but when I see others enjoy it.
Have you ever had formal instruction for drawing, painting etc.?
I just recently completed my 4 year Bachelors degree in Fine Arts at West Virginia University (1 semester abroad at the University of Hertfordshire in England) with an emphasis in Printmaking. It started as an emphasis in Electronic Media but I was pants at remembering settings when saving files and what display ratio went with which kind of project.
What is your advice for all of Elftown?
Um... I suppose to always pursue what interests you, no matter what subject it has to do with or what others say, or how varied your interests are. You'll always find a way to do something you love, often where a lot of those things (if not all) come together. And just relax. Never feel like there is a timeline you have to adhere to (I have to graduate high school, go to college, grad school, etc). Something you will love doing will come along if you just relax, and do what makes you happy, even if you don't see how something like mechanical parts and feathers could come together right now, it will come to you in time. Just remember to take your time, because the best days are days spent being happy.
Any comments, critiques or criticisms on any particular Elftown matter?
Nothing in particular... I wish the whole place could get a makeover from layout to color scheme, and perhaps have a chat option inlaid like Facebook instead of a stagnant 'online friends' box for the same purpose Steam has a chat option: to help you communicate with your fellow players and keep the game(s) rolling. That's all strictly updating stuff though... Elftown still has completely foreign corners to me that don't allow me to make completely unbiased suggestions. Forums, for example. I don't use them, I think they are ugly, but I'm sure they help others communicate effectively here. And on that note, I know you can't keep up with EVERYTHING here, but there is like... no way to navigate the wiki pages here, even the help pages are hard for me to find sometimes! I find it difficult to find anything really... I suppose my only main suggestion to all of Elftown would be to reformat the place. All the info and stuff contained here is grand, but it's hard to navigate. I think everything just needs tidied up and reorganized. Just to freshen up the place.
And lastly two pictures of you that can be used for the feature: