Interview No. 112
Interview By: @The-Great-One
Today's guest is one of the first artists that caught my eye when the Art Portal was launched. Her works range from cartoony comics with Sleep Talker and Miracle Treat Day to stylized pieces with Waiting and Royal Flush. She has won two Daily 3rd Place awards for A Sabtastic Sketchbook and A Sabtastic Sketchbook 2, showing off her sketches. This is just a small portion of the works of the talented young artist, @Sabtastic.
Q: How did you find Newgrounds and why did you join?
A: Gosh... I think I was 14 when I first found out about Newgrounds. Never bothered to make an account until I was 19, though. Just lurked. I have an artist friend who always showed me the animations that Ego, AlmightyHans and HappyHarry made so I liked the talent that Newgrounds had to offer right from the beginning. The reason I signed up was because of the launch of the art portal in '09. I was ALL. OVER. THAT. SHIT. Seriously. Before that, all I had was DeviantART.
That, and once I figured out that I was scouted by Jose, one of the mods (Mindchamber), I felt super honored and didn't want to disappoint. From then on, the reason I stuck around was because of how welcomed I felt by the community, here.
Q: When did you get into art?
A: I have a lot of strong artist role models to thank for my interest in the arts. My mom was a talented artist back in the day, so I always had a source of support and encouragement as a child. My 3rd grade teacher was also an amazing artist. Even to this day I can only hope to be a teacher half as good as she was. My compulsive need to doodle in class wasn't seen as a problem to her, but more of a talent that needed cultivation and direction. Now THAT is teaching.
About the time that Pokemon came out in 2000-ish is when I really started to get into drawing. I drew the playing cards for friends and eventually tried drawing the gym leaders and trainers--which got me an early start at drawing people.
Q: When and how were you introduced to video games? What was your first video game?
A: Basically the second I popped out I was playing Nintendo. My parents had pretty sweet taste in games. Castlevania I and III were favorites of mine. Mom and pops played Super Mario Bros. on the original Nintendo while I was just a little baby fetus.
Q: Your first art piece on Newgrounds would be entiteld Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft. You state that you are a fan of the old Tomb Raider games. What is the process in drawing a human person? What is it about drawing a video game character that adds to the process of drawing a human person?
A: Funny story about that one, actually... My first boyfriend was a huge fan of Angelina Jolie, so this was drawn as a gift for him. His version... was less... safe for work. I don't have a copy of said picture to this day, but that's why it the drawing you asked about even exists--FIRST PAIR A' BARE TITS I EVER DID DRAW.
Anyway, back to your actual question. My process for drawing a person is pretty common. I look for references, find a pose that I'm content with drawing (usually from a photo reference) and compile my sources into one completed drawing. The Angelina Jolie piece was entirely drawn on Photoshop, so back then, that was out of the ordinary for me. Normally I'd sketch out my work in pencil/pen and scan it in to be altered digitally. I also used a photo reference for her face.
The reason I tend to stick to video game characters is a preference thing. I have more fun drawing subject matter that actually interests me personally--like many artists out there.
Q: One comic of yours that I am intrigued by is entitled Sleep Talker. This is based on a true story, could you elaborate more on it? Why did you put it in comic form? Will we be seeing more comics like these in the future?
A: Man... This interview is a real nostalgia trip! I forgot all about that comic.
The only reason this got drawn was because of my hopeless binge-gaming problem. I was trying to beat The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess for like two days straight, so when I finally took a break, it was all I could think about:
There's one part in the Goron Mines where you first get to use your iron boots on those magnet arm things. You walk around upside-down and Link's hat happens to defy gravity by a) not falling off, and b) not flopping down to point towards the ground. Even Link's hair stays perfectly immaculate while upside-down. This was just too much for my brain to handle, apparently, so I had a dream about it later where I actually criticized Link for having such a gravity defying hat.
Also yes, I do plan on making more of these comics in the future. They just sort of happen at random, unpredictable intervals.
Q: You have only two animations here on Newgrounds. One entitled Here Goes Nothing! and the other entitled Left 4 Dead Chomski. How old were you when you were introduced to animation and what made you decide to give animation a try?
A: I can confidently say that if it weren't for Newgrounds, I wouldn't have gotten into animation at all. If I remember correctly, I was most inspired to try animating when I was given my first Bamboo Fun tablet during the Wacom giveaway back in 2009. Newgrounds was also responsible for this, so I owe the staff here a lot in terms of my personal development and motivation as an artist.
Q: Prismacolor OC Portraits has me intrigued. You state that these are characters that you have created and have written stories about them. Do you have any plans on bringing their stories to life in animation?
A: Some day I will, yeah. Right now there's no free time for me to do so... They've just been kind of sitting on the back-burner because there's no real way I can invest the time into developing a story around them.
Q: Art that is used to express one person's own life I tend to find be the most tragic or in some cases the most humorous. Miracle Treat Day would be this case. When SardonicSamurai was here we talked a lot about his works in which case was mostly venting through his art, one of these was Wii Are Sold Out. Do you feel at times that you vent through your work as well and what else can you tell us about Miracle Treat Day that you didn't in your description? Also I spotted 20 DQ logos.
A: HAH! There are 21! Look closely for those suckers... They're tricky!
But in all seriousness, yes. A lot of the artwork I draw is therapeutic. The act of drawing for me is calming, self-gratifying, and sometimes even financially rewarding. I might not necessarily draw 'sad' things when I'm sad, or 'happy' things when I'm happy, though. I don't find my emotions alter my subject matter a whole lot, as I'm normally a pretty happy / optimistic person overall.
Q: One thing I have an odd fascination for is seeing Pokemon drawn as if they were real life animals. My Pokemans - Team Tastic shows this in a creepy while also adorable way. When were you introduced to Pokemon and when drawing why this team of six? What is the process you take from adapting them from their video game form to realism?
A: This team was a selection of my favourites from Gameboy's Silver version. I drew them as an excuse to hop on a bandwagon that my friend Arvalis had started, putting a little realistic spin on it. I don't think I'm ever going to grow out of Pokemon. There's so much you can do with the characters, the styles, etc. I don't think there's ever a time when I DON'T want to draw them. Usually my process involves relating the Pokemon to a real creature, or parts of a creature. i.e: Pikachu being a mouse/rabbit. Once I narrow that down, I grab reference pictures of that animal and mentally piece those things together until it looks decent.
Q: I really love your comics, I really do. We come to Babies Hate Ugly People. I imagine that there is a story behind this, would you care to share it with us?
A: Haha well, that one was based on a real-life event, too. My sister and I were out shopping at London Drugs (some convenience store) and saw this baby in line with her mom. Mel (my sister) being the fountain of useless trivia that she is, pointed out that babies like looking at symmetrical faces, and that they like to mimic your expressions, so naturally, she smiled at the baby. The baby was beaming back at her right up until I peeked over Mel's shoulder and it caught a glimpse of my apparently hideous mug. It promptly burst into tears.
Q: Out of all your works, I have to say my absolute favorite by you is Waiting. It originally started off as a picture of Sheik, but it changed into an original character by the name of Rogue. Why did it change as you kept going? What was the process took into making this?
A: This artwork just goes to show how hap-hazard some of my stuff can be. I never know entirely what I'm doing until I'm at least a fifth of the way through. Very rarely do I fully plan out my sketches and organize composition LIKE EVERY GOOD ARTIST SHOULD DO... I'm very fickle when it comes to art, so I think that's why I don't tend to do a lot of comics--THAT TAKES PLANNING.
Q: Myra In Her Study was a personal project for you. A mage that is a lot of fun to draw. What is it about her that makes her fun to draw and why is this character personal to you?
A: Myra is a very versatile character. When I draw her, I get to play with light sources because of her magic, I can create outlandish costumes because mages tend to wear weird shit, and I get to experiment with interesting visual effects because she can do all sorts of summoning/elemental spells. Myra is always a go-to character for me when I have artist's block because I can pretty-much pull an idea out of my ass and draw what I think a 'dragon summoning spell' would look like, and it will usually turn out to be a good learning experience for me. That and I really like light sources, so she's the best excuse to draw them with.
Q: One piece I am drawn to is Royal Flush. Brad is quite the handsome man you have drawn here. Where did the inspiration for Brad come from and what was the process in making this piece?
A: Sorry to keep bothering everybody with my shitty characters. lol I literally thought them up when I was 12 years old. Most of them are based off of characters that I liked in the video games I played. I think Brad was based off of the thief in Dragon Warrior III for the Gameboy. hahaha
Anyway this particular artwork was drawn traditionally, inked with a pigment liner, and enhanced digitally when scanned into Photoshop.
Q: A Sabtastic Sketchbook and A Sabtastic Sketchbook 2 show off a lot of your work. Some impressive stuff in both. How important would you say it is for an artist to have a sketchbook? What kind of sketchbook would you suggest they have?
A: Sketching = Practice and practice makes perfect!
If there's any one piece of advice I could give to new/aspiring artists, it would be to carry around a sketchbook all the time--or leave them in the places you go most often. AND NONE OF THIS LINED-PAPER BULLSHIT THAT I KEEP SEEING WITH ALL YOU 'CASUAL DOODLERS'. If you like to doodle-- why not recognize it as something that's worth more than a scrap of cheap lined paper? Anyway, the key to being good at ANYTHING is to keep up with regular practice.
Sketchbooks vary from artist to artist. I get the most out of using Moleskine sketchbooks because I find that they're high quality, they have a nice tooth to them, and when I fill them up, I have a neat little bounded book to put on my shelf, rather than a stack of unkempt papers in a box. If you REALLY have to draw on loose-leaf paper, make your drawings on double-weight paper or card stock. Heavy paper that isn't straight out of your printer cartridge. People are way more likely to buy art when it's made on quality material.
Q: What would you say in your opinion, is the definition of art?
A: Woo! That's a... really big question...
I don't want to come off as some pompous scholar by answering with something really long-winded/philosophical (because I'll just sound like a complete idiot), so I'll <search desperately for something cool to say on the internet, and> let Pablo Picasso say it in his own words:
"Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life."
Take that one in for a second. It's a good'n.
Q: What can we expect from Sabtastic in the future?
A: A new game, actually! I'm making something super low-brow, just for the sake of practice, but it's going to be a 2D game inspired by Space Invaders. Believe it or not it's actually a small project for a University class! I'm learning how to program, so MSGHero and I are working on translating it to Actionscript... It should be up on Newgrounds any day now!
Art-wise, I'm not up to a whole lot. Aside from the occasional art commission, I've been taking back-to-back semesters full-time at the University of Alberta, (my Education Undergraduate studies) so I haven't had a lot of time to myself. Gotta pay bills and keep food in the fridge, so I'm working about 30 hours a week at my reception job for a local pool on top of that. Doesn't leave me with a whole lot of time to pursue all of the ideas I've got cooking, which sucks, but I should be taking an intensive drawing/painting 'boot camp' in April, so let's hope that puts a fire under me!
As I stated at the beginning of this interview. Sabtastic is one of the first artists who caught my eye when the Art Portal was launched. She is a brilliant artist who I have put off on interviewing for quite a long time. She shows that anybody who simply doodles can become a great artist here on Newgrounds. A great place to learn, collaborate, and make friendships. To show off your works to the world. Sabtastic is truly a gift to this site.