I came across *AlanaKai
when I was picked to be her Secret Santa for the Mass Effect Holiday Cheer over at Tumblr. Aside from finding out that she's a big fan of Samantha Traynor, she's also a very talented artist who is able to effortlessly switch between using traditional and digital media. Here are some samples of her works:
The more I looked at her body of work, the more I became curious about her as an artist. She was kind enough to set aside some time to answer my questions, and here's the full interview:Tell us something about yourself.
My real name is Imogen and I live in England with my partner and two pet rats. Most of my time is spread between art, guitar practice, playing video games and drinking tea.What is your favourite medium?
I love the effects you can get with oils and sometimes acrylic, but I normally go straight for Photoshop when possible. It's so much less messy and less expensive. In my experience comparing oils and photoshop, it is easier to get oil paintings to look ok than digital, but much harder to really master oils than it is to master digital art.Where did you get your art training?
I haven't had much formal art training. I've done a couple of life drawing classes which were really good fun and very useful, I'd highly recommend people look into finding some reasonably priced ones in their area. Apart from that, I've just taught myself.Who are your favourite artists?
In terms of famous artists, my particular favourites are Bouguereau and Francis Bacon. Recently I've also been admiring Maira Kalman a lot, and someone local to my town, William Etty. Here on dA, my longest lived inspiration is `Saimain
, who has been a big motivation and influence to me for the whole 8 years I've been on here.Where do you usually get the inspiration for your work?
It's usually based on a pre-existing creative endeavour, either my own stories and characters or other video games and novels.Do you set aside a certain number of hours each day to create or do you only create when inspiration hits you?
I have a non-art full time job and a fairly busy social schedule as well as other hobbies, so it can be easy for me to go days or weeks without working on any art at all if I wait until inspiration hits. What I normally do these days is to put time slots into my calendar well in advance, so I always have time reserved for art.How long does it usually take you to complete an artwork?
Usually these days I just do quick sketchy pieces to practice particular aspects of composition and observation. These take 2-5 hours. If I want to do something full and finished, it's more in the region of 10-20 hours. I think I am quite slow, but working to the best of your ability does take time!Do you have a favourite piece from your own works?
I think my favourite is this one:
It's pretty simple and hasn't got much attention, but I like it because it was something different for me, it was relatively quick and fun to do, and I quite like how it turned out. But I both love and hate my whole collection depending on my mood, like most artists!It says on your Deviant Art profile that you're a hobbyist. If given the chance would you like to pursue a career as an artist?
I actually survived while I was unemployed for a few months by doing commissions, and what I have learned from that is that I would never want to make a career out of it! Art is what I do to relax, and making it into a job takes the fun and relaxation out of it. The joy of art is that it's what I sneak away to do when I'm supposed to be doing other stuff.Any advice for the beginner artists out there?
Firstly, for most people, it takes many years to get good at art. I mean seriously, I can't overstate this, it takes a really long time. It's been my main hobby for about 12 years and I still have an awfully long way to go. So don't be discouraged when progress is slow.
Secondly, don't always practice what you can already do. Think of things you aren't good at and practice those. It may not produce a wonderfully satisfying result every time, but it'll make you better. In my view, this is key for anyone who still needs to improve their art, like I do!You can visit Imogen's Deviant Art gallery here and her Tumblr blog here.