Interview No. 107
Interview By: @The-Great-One
Today's guest, is the seer into your eyes. She is known for doing the wall background for the Newgrounds Shop Page. She has also done portraits of the different Newgrounds members here, worked with other artists in collaborations, and has been helpful in showing new artists the ropes not only here on Newgrounds, but in the real world as well. Her kindness knows no bounds and her art has no limits. I am pleased to welcome... @CosmicDeath.
Q: How did you find Newgrounds and why did you join?
A: My boyfriend at the time, Sean, introduced me to NG to keep me busy instead of dancing around him while he tried to code games. He had noticed an art contest that Poxpower was running in the Art Forum and sent me the link. I was really impressed and it brought me out of an art slump.
Q: When and how did you get into art and animation?
A: I got into drawing as a child. I had friends, but I never felt like I interacted with them as well as they did with each other - so I just focused on stuff I could do on my own. Sadly, I can't animate worth a DAMN. I think I made something in a flash class at college once, but it sucked a big bag of dicks.
Q: Did you study art at Northolt High School?
A: I took standard art classes set as part of the curriculum, but I actually didn't show up to school very much aside from those art classes. Northolt is a dive. If you're traveling through NW Greater London, don't get off the tube at Northolt station because you'll get your shit pushed in.
Q: When did you enter Lincoln College? What did you learn there?
A: I attended Lincoln College from 2005-2006 on a condensed foundation course, and I had some awesome tutors. But one in particular was Roy, a Fine Artist that graduated from the Royal College of Arts in London. He taught us much more refined life drawing techniques than I'd experienced before. And he was hella strict. I have fond memories of a couple shed tears by milder-mannered students.
Roy: You helped ignite a desire for excellence in myself, and though I haven't achieved what I want yet - and may never achieve it - I will continue to strive for it because people like you have opened my eyes and my imagination. But best of all, you've taught me skills to depict the future I want for myself. Now it's down to me.
Q: What drew you to learn Fine Art at the University of Lincoln?
A: After Lincoln College, where I'd completed two years worth of coursework in a single year, I felt I was ready for a University level course. I worked on a joint honours BA in Fine Art & Illustration at the University of Lincoln, but Fine Art started seeming more and more like a big pile of bullwinkle. I guess I'd grown less tolerant of the conceptual side of art and was surrounded by people who were very good at talking-the-talk, when all I wanted to do was paint stuff that looked awesome. So I dropped Fine Art and concentrated on Illustration. Huzzah!
Q: You were a co-founder of a group of Lincoln art students. What was this group called and how did it form? Also would you say that this group helped you in working with different Newgrounds Collaborations?
A: It was called StArt. There were many co-founders; the main person that brought us together was Lauren, a graduate art student that put up flyers to gain interest at local art campuses. It drew the rest of us in while we were in college and university. The experience of it was way different from the experience of collaborations though NG, online. In person there are a lot of high-fives, umming and ahhing, and awkward pauses where people wait for you to give in to their ideas whilst politely resisting the ideas you've laid out in turn. Online, you can just assume that the pauses between IMs is the other person peeing or getting a delicious sandwich.
Q: What can you tell us about your relationship with Newgrounds member Timmy?
A: *whisper sputters* It's a secrets *sputters spittle* pss pspspgkll;
Q: What brought you from the United Kingdom to the United States?
A: I moved to Texas for Sean (aka Weasel). He's a great guy, and we were together for about three years, but unfortunately we wanted different things in life. People have asked me if I regret moving for a relationship that didn't pan out, and my answer is no. I don't know if I'm trying to rationalize it, but I look back on the highs and lows of my life and feel grateful to have experienced it all and be who and where I am now. I would probably make some changes here and there, some minor tweaks, but not at the cost of any heartache in case it made me less compassionate. And I seriously can't afford to go losing compassion, I'm pretty sure I didn't start out with a deep bucket of it.
Q: One of your favorite books is Clive Barker's "Imajica". What can you tell us about this book and why do you like it? Also would you say this book has any subconscious inspirations in your artwork?
A: Haha, yesss! Imajica is absolutely my favourite story; shortly followed by Weaveworld, also by Clive Barker. In my observation, there are several stories Barker has written where the main characters hold greater potential or power than they are immediately aware of in the beginning of their journey. They have pasts unknown to them, or secrets that are buried to save themselves from the dangerous burden of knowledge. I am in love with this character concept. It inspires me, and makes me dream of a life where anyone could be walking around, a stranger to themselves - lost and wandering through life with the wings of backstory waiting impatiently to unfurl, but living in agony through backbreaking ignorance. It is so exciting during character development as they are awakened to their true selves with painful consequences.
It's not just the characters, it is also the world around them/us. The realities we can't see, but which are hinted at by the superstitious, feared and exalted by the religious, misunderstood or ignored by the masses... It's similar to many of Neil Gaiman's premisses. I strongly encourage you to go check these guys out. BAD ASS.
Oh yeah, and it inspires my dreams/daydreams more than my art - to answer your question, haha.
Q: What is The Future Fire?
A: FutureFire.net is a sci-fi e-zine where authors can post their new, previously unpublished science fiction short stories to share with others. There are artists that illustrate images to accompany many of the stories, as which I've participated twice. I'd like to see more artists contribute, and for the site to grow, but personally, I think I'm more a fantasy than a sci-fi fiend.
A: That was the first contest I ever entered, and the thing that brought me to Newgrounds! I am a sucker for drawing nekkid ladies, but I was timid when I joined in case I drew anything that would get me banned from the site. I was new and didn't realise that there is a constant flow of phalluses coursing through NG's veins. Also, I traced most of that drawing from a photo I took of myself, taking care to enhance the breasts to a nice backache-inducing size. I was swiftly corrected on the rules of tracing (even from your own source images) and haven't done it since. My submission was nothing to write home about, but I'm glad I took part 'cause I wouldn't be sitting here talking with you otherwise. Go NG!
Q: While browsing the Art Forum it appears you have had a run in with different art thieves over time. What can you tell us about these thieves and what should other artists be on the lookout for if they suspect a thief?
A: That must have been a while ago, 'cause I can't really remember. But I'd say, if you see differences in drawing style, lineweight, and general colour palette/colouring style between submissions, be cautious. Also, it seems like people who steal artwork and post it as their own, don't seem to understand that WE HAVE THE INTERNET TOO - they often post really epic artwork for the thrill of getting lots of attention, but that only makes it easier to track down the artist who actually created it.
"When I was younger, I used to draw a lot of eyes - they are fascinating and so important to render well giving a face life and emotion. The gateway to the soul and all that jazz."
You still tend to focus on eyes a lot. What is it about a creature's eyes that you find fascinating. In other words could you give us more elaboration on this subject?
A: I think realistic emotion or feeling is one of the hardest things to depict and replicate in drawn characters, and a lot of that is in the eyes. The behavioural aspect of oculesics gives more insight into why and how this is so important. But for now let's just say that eyes create an emotional link to the viewer, even when they aren't attempting eye contact.
Q: The Art Portal was released on June 3rd, 2009. What were your first impressions of it and what do you think of the Art Portal overall? Is there anything you would change or improve?
A: Whelp, I thought it was just dandy. Sadly I don't get a lot of time to check out submissions unless they are Front Paged. Tell you what, though - I'm glad we have good Art Portal mods. It can be tricky navigating the Art Portal, but they manage to weed out the shifty crap that could land NG in bother. Thanks guys!
Q: You like many artists on here would have an art thread. Yours is entitled CosmicDeath's Digi-sketchbook. What do you believe the purpose of an art thread to be? Should Newgrounds artists have one?
A: Damn, I forgot I had that thread. Looking back on it, it seems the purpose would be to post cocks. Lots and lots of cocks. Maybe we artists should save the Art Forum for general art discussions rather than as a showcase arena. Isn't that what the Art Portal is for? *me-no-know*
Q: When GoryBlizzard was here, we talked about the Newgrounds Stickam Chat. He didn't really have much to say about it, but perhaps you can tell us about it. What was the experiences like in Stickam?
A: Stickam is where I spoke to a lot of Newgrounders for the very first time. It was a slaughterhouse for anyone foolish enough to disclose their feelings, haha! There are a lot of people from NG that I would never have met in person if it hadn't been for NG's Stickam Chat. I first spoke to Timmy there, for example.
Q: Your first submission to the Art Portal would be Blue Brain (poster). Who was this poster for and what can you tell us about the process in making it?
A: I was just dicking about to make something for a Planet-K advertisement poster, but ended up having technical issues with no one wanting to shell out for the commercial use of the poster's font. So I took the graphics I'd made and put them on a funky background and submitted it to the Art Portal. The graphics were remade from open-source medical stock images that I reshaped, drew over, and then put through a process of PS filters to get the desired style. Someone lovely put it on a mousepad for me.
A: I like thick leather cuffs, haha. I also do other stuff; check out my crafts and humble photography at http://jemacmillan.carbonmade.com/projects/32605 84#1
A: I've drawn some other people too, like Poxpower and Jazza. I guess I just didn't post them on the Art Portal. It started with me wanting to get better at drawing faces, so I asked people I liked if I could draw them. Now people are asking me to draw them, but I took up full time employment and can't seem to get into anything that requires that much attention and care for the time being.
A: It was a neat project, and ran through really quickly. My contribution was relatively small; I just wanted to draw boobs and zombies!
Q: I thought I'd seen it all, and then came The Cupcake Collab thread which would lead to the movie of the same name The Cupcake Collab. What drew you to this thread and what drew you to make an undead cupcake named Cupcakey?
A: I wanted to support Renaenae and the collaborations she was pulling together in the Art Forum. I was staring (drooling) at picture of cupcakes for inspiration (orgasm), and I noticed how the folded edge of the baking sleeve kinda looked like teeth. Teeth biting, cupcakes biting back, etc etc. Cupcakes are delicious.
Q: What is the Operation Holiday Flood?
A: It was another collaboration led by Renaenae. She's a legend at rounding up artists and forming a decent, fun project. People were paired with one another and made efforts to work together to create images to accompany "12 Days of Christmas". They were posted one at a time, in the correct order, over 12 days leading up to Christmas; and the thumbnails, when viewed together on searching for the shared tag word brought up a complete image with the artists' signatures and a theme background including the title of the project. It was a bit of a complicated effort but totally worth it.
Q: At the time of this interview, you're art can be seen as the wall background for the Newgrounds Shop page. I have to say it is quite possibly my absolute favorite by you. It can be seen when a Newgrounds Holiday background isn't up. When keepwalking was here he said Tom contacted him and told him what he wanted. Did Tom contact you as well and what were his descriptions for what he wanted?
A: Bob contacted me and asked if I'd like to create one of the skins for the redesign. Most of the colours were already picked by other artists, but thankfully grey was still available (I lubbs me some grey). As for it being your favourite, that's probably because it was touched up by the magical hands of Stamper. It didn't have nearly as many beautiful starbursts or cosmic swirls when I sent it in, but I think he went and did a few tweaks here and there to make things work better with the feel of the site. My first skin attempt was rejected because it was too distracting from site content and bordering on being too mature, so I dialled it back. Maybe I dialled it back too much? Haha, I dunno. Thanks though!
Q: What is in your opinion, the definition of art?
A: Ooph... Lemme knock back a few drinks and ask me again later. When I'm passed out.
Q: What advice would you have to give to those who are looking to go from doodling to masterpieces?
A: I used to just scream, "Practice!" Now I make the assertion that I was wrong for thinking that everyone can paint the Mona fuckin' Lisa if they just try hard enough. Not everyone can be a brilliant artist. Hell, I'm not even a brilliant artist. But I think there are varying degrees from which innate visual talents can blossom. I think some of it is simply having an eye and imagination for it, and the ability to problem solve that communication between your imagination and a platform through which you display what you see in your head to others. Practice just seems to work to hone and expand your methods of communication.
It isn't all doom and gloom though. If you want to start anywhere, start with your drawing and perception skills. Draw any and everything around you and then put it away and don't look at it for a few weeks. Keep drawing things in the meantime. You should spend at least 85% of your time actually looking at the thing you're trying to copy. Be productive and don't slack off. By the time you come back, you should notice an improvement from those older drawings - the key is noticing HOW you've improved. Look at what you are doing better. Look at what you see wrong with your old drawings and steer even further away from those same mistakes. Strive for perfection in capturing the things around you in real life. The more you can capture what you see with your eyes, the easier it will be to depict things from your imagination. If you don't notice an improvement from your old drawings, maybe you are just not concentrating enough, or maybe you should keep your day job, or maybe I'm an asshole.
Q: What can we expect from CosmicDeath in the future?
A: You can expect I'll be making a sandwich after this interview.
CosmicDeath is not only a fantastic artist, but one of the nicest people I have gotten the chance to speak with. The way she draws eyes has appealed to me. From the Newgrounds Shop Wall to her own pieces. Even how she draws different Newgrounds members eyes, as if she is truly capturing their souls into a painting. Nothing short of just beautiful.