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Cynthia L. is an illustrator of the fantastical based out of Toronto, Canada. If you need another world to transport yourself to for while, just take a look through her gallery. The colors, the characters, and atmosphere created in each image is at once nostalgic of imaginary childhood make-believe friends and thought up places of retreat.
ToonariPost (TP): How and when did you first start practicing your art (are you traditionally trained or self-taught)?
Cynthia L (CL): I started drawing in high school after taking art, where the teacher was a stellar artist and a big motivational factor to keep practicing. Generally, I am self-taught because high school was mainly art history and I pursued science in university.
TP: What mediums do you use for your art work? Which is your favorite and why?
CL: I use mixed media, but a large percentage of that is watercolour paint. I adore watercolours because they are prone to imperfections and irregularities, and the results can often be unpredictable. It’s really the reason why I love traditional mediums.
TP: What piece of your work is your favorite and why? Which one are you most proud of?
CL: To be honest, I don’t remember the pictures too clearly after they are done. I think this one is a favorite at the moment because it is simple, but still has some mood to it. I’m proud of this one because it took so long that it threatened to jump into the abandoned paper pile but didn’t.
TP: When you first started did you ever hit any bumps in your art process. What were they and how did you overcome them?
CL: There were and still are countless bumps in the road. The first couple were probably drawing proportions and colours. I overcame or learned to live with them by trying to allocate some time to draw every day.
TP: Who or what are your inspirations and why?
CL: When I first started drawing, it was actually all fashion designs. Alexander McQueen was such a huge inspiration with his ornately beautiful and eccentrically morbid works. Later on, when I became more interested in the picture book illustration style, Tove Jansson was a HUGE influence. Her stylistic works are full of imaginative creatures and scenery, and that fantastical other-worldliness is something I strive to create day.
TP: Have you ever had to deal with a situation where someone else took credit for your work? If so, what did you do to resolve it? How did this art theft make you feel?
CL: Art theft doesn’t really bother me anymore if the person is not using it for monetary gain. It used to upset me because of the time and effort put into a piece, and I’d still contact people if they are blatantly announcing that the picture is their own. But then I realized that the person will never get anywhere by works taken from others, and all the while I continue to make new things beyond the few stolen pictures.
TP: What is your favorite subject to draw and why?
CL: My favorite theme would be children in an imaginary world, partially because I’d like to illustrate children’s books one day, and also because I hope to capture the magic of the world seen through a child’s eye where anything can be, and is possible.
TP: If there was any art medium that you wish you could master, what would it be and why?
CL: I’d love for more than anything to master water color. It is my main medium of use, but I’m far from using it to its full potential.
TP: Outside of art what is your life like?
CL: I have a loving family, a handful of very close friends, and fantastic coworkers. On my off days I like to attend art events or explore downtown. When I work, it is in an art store. So I guess art is my life right now, haha.
TP: What are your goals in life? Do you plan to continue art as a hobby or make it a career?
CL: Actually, I had a complete life direction change recently. I’d gotten into teacher’s college and was going to pursue teaching science. It wasn’t a direction that was driven with the right intentions, I think, because I was quite unhappy. It took me a while to finally let go of that, so now I am going to pursue graphic design and hopefully make creative output into a career.
TP: Do you feel that your culture has influenced you in some way that makes you different than other artists?
CL: I don’t think it makes me different, but there is quite a bit of Asian influence in my art because of the cultures I was exposed to as a child. Since I was raised in China and Japan, I think maybe some of the values and feelings in the pictures are slightly different.
Image Courtesy of http://deathofrats.deviantart.com/gallery/