Artist #8: Ruth Redmond

20 Feb

I discovered Ruth and her uber pretty artwork at Nom Con when I attened the convention in August last year. I instantly loved her stunningly colourful piece (second last image in the post) stuck to the wall in one of the corridors and even got a print off her in the Artists Alley. Later, I found more of her work online, on her deviantART. She’s also part of Milky Tea and Zenpop Manga, both of which are driving forces behind a new generation of Western manga artists. She’s got lots in the works so keep your eyes peeled for her books hitting shelves in the future!

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What first interested you in art?
Forgive the cliché but I’ve been drawing since ‘I could hold a pencil’ hahaha~ Though I did lose interest in art for a while when I entered secondary school. I regained my passion however when a girl in my year thrust a copy of the manga DNAngel into my hands – I suddenly found art exciting again! I ate up every manga, western comic or art book I could get my hands on and drew ferociously (just in time to almost mess up my junior certificate exams, yay!). I like to think my interests in the art world have diverged a lot since then, but I will always attribute my passion to manga. Thanks Japan! Hahahaha

Did you get much encouragement to continue or make a career out of it?
My Parents wanted me to be cautious at first and as they put it to ‘not put all my eggs in one basket’. Basically they wanted me to keep studying and keep my options open. But now they fully support me in all my artistic endeavours and let me know they are proud of me. I am very lucky to have such cool and understanding folks.

Have you studied art or are you self taught? Do you have any plan to study it?
I am mostly self-taught but this school year I made the bold move to change from biology to art (bold just because it means I left myself with just nine months to catch up with the rest of the class in art history before my final exams). It was one of the best decisions I ever could have made though, it’s only possible to learn so much by studying art by yourself. Having a teacher guiding me has really helped me to focus on what I need to work on the most. And yeah, I plan on studying animation after school. I’m working on my portfolio at the moment. It’s so nerve wracking! Especially since I have something like 9 weeks left before I have to submit it, urk!

Where do you get your inspiration from?
Wow, so many many places. Nature, music, other people’s work, pretty much everything inspires me, though it isn’t always reflected in my work hahahah~ does that make the inspiration void? Basically there are loads of things that make me feel like creating art, but it isn’t always related to the subject matter of my work. That is what inspiration means to me, something that makes me want to do, but not necessarily draw from. I do often draw my reference from fashion magazines though. The poses in those are often too good to not try!

Who are some of your favourite artists?
Again, that feels like a tough question! Hahah I just love so many people’s work! Sometimes it’s not even their work I love so much as their world view and dedication to what they love, such as Giotto di Bondone or Osamu Tezuka, neither of their styles make me go “wow I want to draw like that!” but I love their diligence and find them very inspiring. But as for people I would like to draw like? There are an awful lot hahaha, Michelangelo Buonarotti would be my end goal I guess hahah~! If I could master human anatomy as he did then I would be one happy camper. But also I really like the work of Alphonse Mucha, Calix Vincent, Oh!Great, Jin-Hwan Park, Wenqing Yan, Sakimichan, Reilly, Bard, and I think I’ll stop there or I might just bore you to tears with an infinite list of names. I like a lot of artists!

What are your hopes for your artwork? Do you see it in your future as a career or just a hobby?
I really hope to eventually make at least a couple graphic novels over the next decade. I have many stories to tell though so who knows! And I’d love to get a job as an animator and work on a film. To have one of my stories turned into a film or series is the sparkly diamond on the hazy horizon for me hahah~ So basically, yeah, I definitely want art to be a career for me. If it becomes a hobby…I dunno how happy I would be with that.

Which of your pieces are you most proud of?

Um. That’s a toughie. There are aspects of certain picture that I really like, but I have very few images that I’m really proud of hahaha~ is that sad? I guess if I had to choose three though I’d say [page one of Hansel & Gretel, this Nom Con fanart and this piece].

How would you describe your style?
I think a lot of people would be happy to lump my style under the umbrella of Manga and I guess in a lot of ways it belongs there! Hahaha~ But I also think it is becoming increasingly European and in any case I think it definitely leans more towards the realistic side of either of the styles. I love doing pretty, almond shaped eyes with big feathery eyelashes hahaha~ Pouty, full lips are fun too and I love hands as well

What made you focus more on that area more than another?
I think I like eyes and lips so much because they are such an integral part of female beauty in fashion magazines, since so few models have much boobage, and as I mentioned earlier I like drawing reference from magazines like that. I think I like hands because, well, they’re just fabulous! Hahahah~ I like all the little bones and the way they can be so dextrous and yeah, just wow.

What‘s your favourite medium to work in?
I love, love love working with markers! I use promarkers at the moment and they do a good job most of the time. But in the future I’d love to have a nice collection of copics. Don’t tell the promarkers I said that. Hahaha I have three copics at the moment and they are my babies~ I also like working with watercolour, screentones (in my comics mainly), coloured pencils for life drawing and crayon is fun too. I’m currently experimenting with photoshop for some tentative attempts at digital work, though I hear Sai is easier to use.

Are you working on anything at the moment?
My aforementioned portfolio mainly. But in the little spare time that I have I’ve been doing the groundwork – character designs, page layouts etc – for a small anthology of various short stories in a few different traditional mediums. Once my final exams are over in June I’ll be diving straight into Project Ponder and hopefully have it done in time to get printed in book form for August. Fingers crossed!

What drew you to the fandoms or characters you base a lot of your work on?
I’ve never really been into drawing fanart, I do for contests and sometimes do images of my friends’ characters but not big fandoms or anything, no Naruto in my DA gallery hahah. So yeah, none of my characters are really based off of fandoms. Oh! Except for maybe Claire, one of my very oldest characters. I think I unintentionally based her off of Hikari from Special A hahaha~ Other than that though I get the vast majority of my inspiration for my characters appearances and personalities from my friends and people in my school and also from feelings I’ve had at one time or another. Some of the time they’re feelings I’ve never been brave enough to express in real life, so my characters are cathartic too.

Can you give me an idea of your creative process?
Certainly! I often sketch out the entire image in a rough form or in separate elements into a small sketchbook (like a lot of artists I carry a small sketchbook around with me at all times). This is when I can work out the basic composition and see how difficult what I want to create will be, maybe make changes to the original idea. Then I do the proper, full detailed sketch onto nice quality paper (130gsm approx.) before lining it with black and/or coloured fine liners, usually 0.05 – 0.3. I rub out the sketch then colour the image with markers or whatever. If I make a mess on the page I can also trace the image onto a clean sheet of paper with my light box (a wooden box with a plastic top that shines light through from underneath). I always trace the lineart onto a clean page that has never had a pencil near it when I’m making B&W comics.

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