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Ein Lee is a freelance artist currently studying Western Literature and foreign languages at National Tsing Hua University in Taiwain. You can find her artwork on her DeviantART page, her various other art adventures on her personal site, and a publication her art has published in here
Toonari Post (TP): How and when did you first start practicing your art (are you traditionally trained or self-taught)?
Ein Lee (EL): Like many people, I started drawing as a little kid. Thankfully the little artist inside stayed with me until now, allowing me to continue my childhood hobby. I’m mostly self-taught. The most advance class I’ve taken is high school art, which I credit with teaching me to stop fussing and just observe. It helped me slowly realize that everything I needed to know was right in front of my eyes. If you can see it, you can draw it.
TP: What mediums do you use for your artwork? Which is your favorite and why?
EL: I work digital these days (in SAI and Photoshop), with a Wacom tablet. Not only does it yield the most superior results (for me, anyway), it’s also very economical. No need to use paper and art supplies!
TP: What piece of your work is your favorite and why? Which one are you most proud of?
EL: My favorite piece currently in my gallery would probably be “Sleepless Nights”, and the one I’m most proud of is “Back Alley Ballad.” They were both rather inspired. By inspired I mean more of the feeling and emotion that was present during the drawing process. It’s pretty much motivation in its purest form (like a high) that helps the piece get done quickly and smoothly. “Back Alley Ballad” was inspired by a physical object though, a figurine of a little vagabond violinist!
TP: When you first started did you ever hit any bumps in your art process. What were they and how did you overcome them?
EL: To be honest, most of the time I’d been drawing I never took art all that seriously, so I was never critical and just drew for the heck of it. In recent years I’ve realized how important art is to me, so I’m much more careful when drawing. Whenever a “bump” comes up, I save and close the file and do something else. After a break I’ll come back and take another look at the drawing, and most times, whatever didn’t look right earlier will become glaringly obvious. Then I try to fix it. If it’s so bad that nothing I do can save it, I just dump it, or try the concept again differently.
TP: Who or what are your inspirations and why?
EL: My main source of inspiration nowadays comes from books. I collect art books and any sort of book that has inspiring imagery, from pattern source books to interior decor guides to anime art books to landscape photography coffee table books…the list can go on.
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?
EL: Yeah it happens…most often petty things on DeviantArt, where people edit/repost the image. Usually the kind folks who notify me of the situation get more riled up than I do, and I’m really thankful for that, because most of the time I can’t really bring myself to spend time bothering with art thieves. If it’s something bigger, like unlicensed commercial distribution–which thankfully I haven’t dealt with yet–that can be a problem (understandably, for anyone).
TP: What is your favorite subject to draw and why?
I like to draw people, because people love people, right? It certainly is true for me. I also love to draw clothing, because fashion is endlessly entertaining.
TP: If there was any art medium that you wish you could master, what would it be and why?
EL: It’d have to be 3D art. Looking at all the amazing animated videos and games, you really have to admire the detail and work that goes into the process, and how everything (even videos with only animated text) can come alive once finished.
TP: Outside of art what is your life like?
EL: Sometimes my family and I joke about how I practically lead two lives. I go to college and I major in western literature and foreign languages. Most of my friends there only know I draw for a hobby; nothing of my “career” (if you can even call it that). But I’m sure as art becomes more integrated into my life, my artist identity will meld smoothly with all the other facets.
TP: Why did you choose to go to college for western literature? Can you tell me more about this interest of yours as well as the languages you are learning?
EL: Studying western literature was a personal choice, and it’s kind of a long and boring story… but I suppose part of it is just sheer interest. For second languages, I’m currently attempting to further my rudimentary Japanese, and French soon.
TP: What are your goals in life? Do you plan to continue art as a hobby or make it a career?
EL: My only goals in life so far are to keep living contentedly, taking things as they come, and of course, keep on drawing. Maybe learn to draw comics decently too. I think art is a very likely career for me, though I have a lot of work to do before I can say that confidently.
TP: Do you feel that your culture has influenced you in some way that makes you different than other artists?
EL: Not my culture per se, but maybe my background. I grew up in a lot of places, living for a year or three here and there, so I get a lot of weird concepts and outlooks and ideas that kind of integrate themselves into my art. That’s definitely a good thing, in retrospect. I grew up in the states (moved around a lot there) and spent some years in Thailand and Taiwan, so yes, I’d say they are quite different culturally.
Image Courtesy of http://einlee.deviantart.com/