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Welcome to the interview of Ein Lee
This month’s featured interview is with manga/fairytale artist, Ein Lee. She is a self taught artist that used Deviantart as a platform to get her art across to the masses and eventually a career from it. She is an inspiration to artists that make their own path into an art related field of work.
She currently is working on a few different projects but took the time out to do an interview with us and I am thankful for her time. I hope you take some insight into the mind of a great and talented artist.
Her Official Site: SITE
Her DeviantArt Page: DEVIANTART
Her Blog: BLOG
1. I first saw your work at ACEN and bought your Nautical piece, and have been a follower ever since. For those who may not know who you are, how would describe yourself?
I am someone with a lot of things I want to do, but never enough time. It’s not easy making time and we inevitably end up sacrificing a lot for our passions, but…YOLO! That being said I’m also very envious of people who always seem to be in gear and are super productive at everything they do.
So basically, I’m a busy person who’s envious of efficient people.
2. We just started doing tutorials covering Paint tool Sai and I noticed you use it quite a bit along with Photoshop. What about Sai do you prefer?
I prefer just about every “organic” aspect of Sai. Because I like to oversimplify things, in art programs I mainly see two parts: the technical stuff (all the tools, filters, settings, etc.) and the organic stuff (how the canvas navigates/anchors to the window, how faithfully the digital pen follows your strokes and pressure, etc.) and for me, Sai has all the right organic parts. The few but useful pen tools, occasional vector line, and no-nonsense interface makes up most of what I need. Photoshop is much more technical, and I use after Sai when I need that controlled process to fine-tune a drawing.
3. How do you go about choosing the colors in your pieces? Do you work with a color palette?
Nah. When I’m working on an image which has a very specific color scheme I’m trying to produce, I’ll do anything to get it–photo references, numerous experimental color combos, spamming color filters in photoshop, etc. But usually that’s not the case, since more often than not I have just a vague idea of what I’m doing (more fun that way). If I’m drawing a character that I imagine to have pink hair, I’ll likely use a certain shade of pink and work a palette (muted? saturated? warm? psychedelic?) around that. Or if it’s a pink haired character backlit or in bright sunlight, I’ll try to get a mood down by working out the values. I always work directly in color (never monochromatic), but I do know it’s quite useful for many artists in establishing values before overlaying color.
4. How do you enjoy spending your free time when you are able to enjoy it?
Reading books or online shopping. Aside from browsing visual art of all sorts, books and fashion are a huge source of inspiration for me. Granted a lot of the books are coffee table books or artbooks, but I do enjoy novels. Especially YA novels. A lot of hit or miss, but at least they tend to be better at keeping me awake than books that have their covers too far apart.
5. What brushes do you use in your work, are there certain ones you find yourself using more than most?
In Sai I use the pen, brush, water, and crayon tools for 100% the drawing, and the occasional blur tool for painterly styles. A lot of people ask for brush settings, but honestly there’s not that much to adjust, just spend a minute or two trying each brush out and you should find what works.
The crayon tool has a special place in my heart because I used it to develop a painting technique mimicking traditional art, which I’ve since used (to very satisfying effect) for illustrating my storybooks published in France. It was prompted by readers who responded that the clean pen-line style of my first book felt too digital. Mostly it involves overlaying the illustration with crayon tool strokes that add depth and richness of color to an otherwise antiseptic digital style (which I guess has its own charms, just not for a children’s storybook), since I rely heavily on thin, neat computer generated lines.
6. What digital artists inspire you in your own work and who do you look up to?
A lot. If they’re good at whatever it is they do, then most likely I’m a fan. But one artist who influenced my style early on is Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, who I came to love through the .hack series. He’s good with digital tools, traditional tools, drawing comics, and I recently learned he’s an extremely talented animator too. Can’t blame him for wanting to stick to character design and manga work though.
7. What are your all time favorite movies and why?
Hmm…I’m not a big movie person, actually. The famous anime movies are a given, but I remember really liking AI. And that was a long time ago. I think I’ll go see some movies..this weekend.
8. What or who inspires you most when you go about working in your own pieces?
Aside from the want to improve and enjoyment from creating visual images, I’m also motivated by my own obsessive need to finish drawings. Seeing a finished illustration I’m happy with is great inspiration to keep the ball rolling. I have a lot of WIPs and I’d love nothing more than to see them all immaculately complete! Hopefully within this lifetime…
9. What are the mistakes you see younger digital artists making when they are just starting out?
Not trying new things and staying in their comfort zone. I’m sure everyone’s guilty of this (I am…very) but I know it and consciously try to keep an open mind. It does wonders for a person’s art if they just dive in and experiment, without thinking of consequences (it’ll probably turn out nicer than expected), or following the same rigid formula and same boring subjects.
And most importantly, draw stuff you like that makes you happy, regardless of what other people might think. Nobody said those drawings have to be made public
10. Finally, What advice can you share out to those aspiring to become great digital artists themselves?
It takes time to get your art out there and you can start whenever you feel ready. If the response isn’t as expected, just keep trying. It’s what I did, for many years.
And, have fun!