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Interview with littlbox and Karlestonchew - Part 2

Posted by TheInterviewer - October 13th, 2020


Interview No. 170

Interview By: @The-Great-One

Today is a special day for The Interviewer. Two interviews on the same day. These do have significance though to be connected. They are both underrated talents who have just started to become blips on the radar of Newgrounds. Not only that, they are also contest winners! Today's guests are the winner of the 2020 Art-Inspired Music Contest and the winner of the 2020 Music-Inspired Art Contest. I am pleased to welcome @littlbox and @Karlestonchew.

In this second part we will be talking with @Karlestonchew.

[ PART 1 | PART 2 ]

Q: How did you find Newgrounds and why did you join?

A: If I had to guess it would be around 2010, though at the time I only really knew Newgrounds as another site for flash games. It took me probably until around 2013 to connect the dots and realize that all my favorite animators I’d watch on YouTube were from Newgrounds. That all being said I didn’t create an account until 2015 and posted art very occasionally. I mostly just lurked and watched animations. Back then I was mostly posting art to DeviantArt and Reddit. About a year ago though I became way more active here, and Newgrounds was (and still is) my number one place to post my art. I realized just how much more I liked Newgrounds in comparison. DeviantArt is a little too “cliquey” in my opinion and reddit is just huge and of course anonymous, so it’s hard to meet other artists and collaborate or grow any sort of following. Most importantly though, Newgrounds feels like a community that’s main objective is to promote and create quality content, while the others are just companies trying to make a buck.

Q: At what age did you become interested in drawing?

A: Like most kids I loved to doodle and create my own comic books, but I don’t think I really focused on improving and putting more thought into it until I was probably 14 or 15. I got myself a Huion 610p drawing tablet, since it was the best bang for your buck tablet at the time, and used that thing all the way until a couple months ago when I upgraded to one with a screen. If they still make them I’d still recommend them as a starting tablet.

Q: When rtil was here we talked about charcoal drawing. It is an artform that I love. My favorite piece by you is Charcoal life drawing. What can you tell us about working with charcoal and how this piece came together?

A: This piece was actually an assignment for a college drawing class I was in and was drawn from a live model. We spent the first class with the model and then were sent off to finish it based off a picture. My apartment was right next door to the art studio, and we had 24 hour access to the building so I spent a couple late nights figuring it out. We did a lot of work in that class with charcoal, so I got decently acquainted with it. I’d say if you’ve never used charcoal before and you’re used to drawing in pencil, charcoal is pretty easy. It erases right off (within reason) and unlike a regular pencil can get super black so you can create very strong moments of contrast with one tool. That being said, it’s messing, which is certainly one of the reasons I haven’t revisited it since that class. You also have to be pretty careful with it since it smudges easily unless you use fixatives. I gave that piece to someone as a gift and had to apply the fixative indoors since it was winter, and my apartment smelled like spray paint for a week.

Q: One piece I was drawn to was Streetwear Girl Painting/Study. You said you were using streetwear subreddits to practice drawing clothes. Why do you recommend this for those looking to draw clothes and outfits?

A: Yeah, I have two main points about that. One, I think that the outfits you’ll find on there are a lot more interesting than say just some dude with a t-shirt and jeans. Sure, you could draw/paint “t-shirt guy” and come out of it gaining the same knowledge of how clothes mold and form to the body, but would you want to hang that on your wall? What people on these subreddits are trying to do is create something new and unique yet fashionable, so just like a piece of art it’s nice to look at. It’s distinct enough that you could draw some of these people and have a pretty interesting character in the end. Which brings me to my second point, studying unique fashion (like streetwear) is great practice for character design. I definitely wouldn’t call myself a character designer, I mean I’d love to be, I’m just not there yet, but I would say probably at least half of a good character design is the costume the artist puts them in.

Q: You started experimenting with pixel art for Pixel Day 2020 with Pixel Subway. Why did Pixel Day inspire you to give this art form a shot?

A: This one’s got a pretty short and simple answer. I had wanted to try pixel art for quite some time, and I mean when’s a better time to give it a shot than for a day themed around it?

Q: Looking at your works, your line work and color is incredible. It seems you transition these skills into your pixel art seamlessly. Is the transition that easy or is there something different about it?

A: I would say that I think for me pixel art makes some things a lot easier while other things harder. When it comes to landscapes and colors, it’s easier. Landscapes with normal digital painting are pretty tricky for me. There’s just so much I want to include, and I have to really measure and plan things out in my head. On pixel art that process is made much easier since I’m so limited. And then colors are made easier since when I put together a palette beforehand I know what I can expect later on, with painting you can blend together thousands of unique shades of colors just from two base colors (I guess technically infinite with traditional paints). What’s harder with pixel art for me are living things. When I draw a person or tree, I prefer a level of detail that often isn’t there in pixel art. In my most recent pixel drawing Tire Change I spent most of the time just figuring out the trees in the background.

Q: Your take on abstract art entitled Delicious meal! is as enticing as it is disgusting. How would you define abstract art? Could you use this piece as an example?

A: In the context of a painting, abstract art to me is about trying to convey whatever feeling/mood a realism piece is while doing in a non-objective way. Meaning you can’t recognize anything in it as something you might see in your everyday life. Using this piece as an example, you can look at it and be frightened and a little grossed out (which is what I was trying to do to viewers) without recognizing something as a body part, blood, or something else. Although, I admit I cheated a little by adding those teeth in the top middle there. It’s difficult to define and I think that’s the point, which is also why it’s so controversial. And I totally understand the controversy but trying it out myself made me appreciate some abstract artists a bit more and gave me a way to rationalize why I might like or dislike an abstract piece. This all of course ignoring those billionaire art auctions where finger paintings are sold for boatloads, that’s a whole other rabbit hole.

Q: Havel the Rock Pixel Portrait is another wonderful piece of pixel art. It seems inspiration struck when you were past bed at a reasonable hour. When did the inspiration strike and what made you want to keep going until it was done. What advice do you have to give to other artists who get struck with inspiration out of nowhere? How can they cope with it?

A: This one was something I decided to do when I was feeling a little bored of another painting I was working on. It was meant to be a doodle to help me relax before I went to sleep, but I ended up spending a lot more time on it. I knew that if I didn’t finish it that night, I probably wouldn’t revisit it, so I just kept going through. The advice I’d give is if inspiration strikes and you have your tablet or sketchbook available, draw it right then and there, it’s worth it in the end. I’ve tried writing my ideas for drawings down for future me to draw and it never works, I just can’t see it the same way. Don’t let sleep stop you, caffeine does wonders.

Q: You entered the 2020 Music Inspired Art Contest and came out in 1st Place. What drew you to this contest? How did you come across the song Outside? What about the song made you bring us Quiet Crossing? Why pixel art for this piece?

A: The biggest reason I wanted to do this contest is that I saw it was run/judged by some of my favorite artists on Newgrounds. Sevi and Miroko I admit had been recent discoveries, but I have been following Sabtastic’s art since I was in high school, a lot of my first digital art had been demon girls inspired by her drawings. Getting judged by some artists in the community I really respected was enough convincing for me. For the music I had been listening to the album EPIC by PICE (Andersson187 on Newgrounds) which is just an amazing collection of chiptunes. I thought this would fit great with my recent pixel art kick so I put two and two together. I was undecided between two of the songs on the album, Outside and Another Time, but as I got closer to finishing the piece I thought Outside just fit better. Both songs are very relaxing, and I wanted to match that. Then to find inspiration I went on google street view in Tokyo saving snippets I liked to use as reference.

Q: With different pieces of your pixel art there is some animation to them. Have you ever thought about making a movie or a game?

A: Yes! I’d really like to do something like gatekid3 and Andyl4nd do here on Newgrounds. Their pixel art animations are great and are leading me to discover a whole genre of animation I feel like I’ve only seen used to tell stories in video games, but not in stand-alone movies. As for a game, I have some coding experience and have made a couple pretty basic games a while back in Java and C++, though I’d probably use this opportunity to learn something a little simpler and more made for making games since there’s so many great tools out there now. I have some ideas, so both are quite possible.

Q: What is in your opinion, the definition of art?

A: Ah, this question took me a bit to think over, and I was almost tempted to give you a textbook definition but I’ll interpret this as “what art means to me”. Art for me is balance. I’m an engineer by trade which is quite different from creating art. Both allow me to be creative but in different ways. I love my job, but art gets my brain working in a different way and keeps me sane. I think everyone finds something like that whether it’s music, writing, so on, but for me it’s art.

Q: What can we expect from KarlestonChew in the future?

A: Well, it’s October so you can expect something spooky coming this month. Also, I’m playing a very small part in an awesome collab recreating Neil Cicierega’s The ultimate showdown that will be out in December (link: https://twitter.com/CollabShowdown). And for the far future maybe that movie or game we talked about.

Karlestonchew brings life to pixel art like I haven't seen in quite a long time. His interpretation of the song Outside into Quiet Crossing just matches so beautifully. If only we could have seen the picture form in his mind while the song played. Thankfully he was gracious enough to share it with us. Mark my words, I expect him to be a game changer on this site within the coming years.

[ PART 1 | PART 2 ]

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