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Minna Sundberg is a twenty-two year old artist from Finland. Finnish and Swedish mythology play a role in her art and you can see her at her best in the illustrations of “A Redtail’s Dream”, a web comic of her creation. Take a look at her gallery to witness some of Redtail’s adventures as well as some of the crazy creatures that have been commissioned to her.
ToonariPost (TP): How and when did you first start practicing your art (are you traditionally trained or self-taught)?
Minna Sundberg (MS): I guess I could say I’ve drawn ever since I was old enough to hold a crayon, but I didn’t really start practicing “for real” until I was about 12 years old or so. It was around that time I started browsing the internet and I found such amazing, inspiring art! I wanted to become as good as all these artists were, so I got to work.
TP: What mediums do you use for your art work? Which is your favorite and why?
MS: When I paint digitally I use Photoshop CS4 and a Wacom graphics tablet. Watercolors and ink are what I use when I do traditional stuff. I can’t really say which one is my favourite, as they both have their merits. Digitally, I can produce huge, detailed pieces with relative ease, on the other hand watercolors and ink are more “fun.”
TP: What piece of your work is your favorite and why? Which one are you most proud of?
MS: The one I’m most proud of is “The Smallest Hero.” I worked very long and hard on it, and it turned out pretty much as I envisioned it. Of course I spot errors in the piece in retrospect, but I can live with those. My favourite work right now is “Zombie Catocalypse” simply because I had fun drawing it, and zombie cats are neat.
TP: When you first started did you ever hit any bumps in your art process. What were they and how did you overcome them?
MS: Yes, my main issue was that I hated drawing backgrounds. They always turned out either bland or too overpowering, so I just kept drawing characters and creatures without them, and therefore without any real context. The only way out of it was to force myself to draw backgrounds now and then until I got good enough at it that I didn’t need to force myself anymore.
TP: Who or what are your inspirations and why?
MS: I’m awful at remembering names, so I’m not going to start making a list of artists whose work I admire. Often I get inspiration from a great color combination I see in someone else’s art, and from video game artwork. Most of my inspiration kind of just “comes out of my head,” as I’ve heard artists usually say. I’m sure there’s an underlying source of influence for all that stuff, but at this point I can’t really track it to anything concrete.
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?
MS: A few times, but I haven’t really had to deal with any messes because by the time I’ve been notified these situations have usually been cleared up by someone else. I don’t really know how to feel when it happens, mostly I just wonder about the mindset of the kind of person who would bother with claiming someone else’s art as their own on the internet. I mean come on, what’s the point? Just seems boring.
TP: What is your favorite subject to draw and why?
MS: Classic, northern nature scenes. It’s easy, loose and makes me feel peaceful.
TP: If there was any art medium that you wish you could master, what would it be and why?
MS: Oil colors, maybe. I’ve seen such majestic paintings done with those, plus I’ve tried the medium out a couple of times and it was kind of fun. But it’s so messy, and takes too long to dry so I think I’ll pass.
TP: Outside of art what is your life like?
MS: Hah, that can be summed up in two things: school and video games. I’m getting my bachelor’s degree in the field of Graphic Design at Aalto University in Helsinki, so I’m practically a full time student right now. If I could have it my way I would spend all of my spare time drawing, but I have to rest my drawing hand now and then so I usually spend that time amusing myself with video games. Yes, I’m not a very social person.
TP: What are your goals in life? Do you plan to continue art as a hobby or make it a career?
MS: I’m definitely aiming for a career in art, exactly what kind of career I do not know for sure yet. I have a few paths I would like to follow, but I’ve still got a couple of years to make a decision on that issue.
TP: Do you feel that your culture has influenced you in some way that makes you different than other artists?
MS: I’m not sure how “different” it makes me as an artist, but yes, I am influenced greatly by both Swedish and Finnish culture and mythology. It’s not something I’ll try to get away from in the future either, if anything I feel a calling to dig deeper into these quite similar, yet so different ponds of inspiration.
Image Courtesy of http://shadowumbre.deviantart.com/