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Samantha Gorel is an artist who mainly creates through the medium of copic markers, along with the aid of watercolors and gouache. This year she will be attending her first convention as a vendor at the Phoenix Comicon. Two of her teachers have had the greatest influence on making her into the artist she is today. One taught her to trust herself and be confident in what she wants to accomplish.
The other teacher had a more unconventional approach such as leaving her in the middle of nowhere for 24 hours along with teaching her to scuba dive, taking her into the center of the biggest fire in Arizona’s history, and making her understand and love every inch of the world around her. All the love she has received keeps her going whenever she finds herself having a hard time with art or she just can’t get something right.
ToonariPost (TP): How and when did you first start practicing your art (are you traditionally trained or self-taught)?
Samantha Gorel (SG): I first started drawing in 6th grade. My friend bought a “How to Draw Manga” book from one of those book fairs. We learned how to draw only one chibi and that’s all we could do, but I drew that single thing about 100 times. Then I went out and bought a different book. I never attended any art schools (though I wish I could have); all of my knowledge of art has come from instruction books and the internet.
TP: What mediums do you use for your art work? Which is your favorite and why?
SG: I use mainly copic markers, Winsor and Newton watercolor and Turner Acryl gouache. I use copics the most, but recently I’ve been really into acrylic gouache because I’ve been using it like watercolor, but it enables me to manipulate the opacity.
TP: What piece of your work is your favorite and why?
SG: This one is probably my favorite. I like the composition and colors in it, and it’s a bit less girly than the others. I really love using foreshortening because it lets me create a more dynamic picture.
TP: When you first started did you ever hit any bumps in your art process. How did you overcome them?
SG: I hit a ton of bumps all the time, especially as I get further along in my art. When you are young and a bad artist you think you are pretty good and have a lot of confidence. But now that I’m older and all my friends are professionals, with a mastery of anatomy, I realize how little I really know. I can only get over my bumps and problems thanks to their encouragement and guidance.
TP: Who or what are your inspirations and why?
SG: Kaoru-chan, Elenath and Emperpep from DeviantART and Satono Sakiyama (one of the artists commonly seen in Style School), Babiry and a bunch of other artists from Japan and DeviantART. I really love looking at others art for inspiration.
TP: I see you will be a vendor at Phoenix Comicon this year. How are you preparing for it and what are you looking forward to the most?
TP: How will this convention be different than any others that you have been to? How do you decide which conventions to go to and which to pass by?
SG: This is by far the biggest convention I have been to. All the others have only had around 5,000 people at them. Comic con will be huge and I’ll probably go into shock the first time the doors open. I hope one day to become an invited guest, but for now I go to them based off of how close they are to me because travel and lodging costs make it very hard to make a profit.
TP: What is your most memorable moment from any convention you have been to?
SG: My first convention, the moment when I realized how unprepared I was. I learned that day that doing the art was only half the battle and that I needed to present my art professionally as well.
TP: Would you consider working with other artists to do a piece?
SG: I usually like to work with artists who are either close to or better than my art level, or close to or better than my production level. For example, if someone is a great artist, but has no convention experience, or if they know all about conventions, but the art is just so-so. I learned the most from one of my friends who showed me that she didn’t need the best art in the world to make other people think she was a great artist. I also like to help out beginners a lot. But I will admit my all time favorite people to work with are my professional friends who are awesome at everything, because I learn so much from them.
TP: If there was any art medium that you wish you could master, what would it be and why?
SG: Does anatomy count? Haha I don’t really see it as mastering a medium, rather than knowing where to put which colors, and hand control. I guess if I had to pick anything though, it would be comic book pages. The medium of creating a believable and beautiful story is amazing to me.
TP: What are your goals in life? Do you plan to continue art as a hobby or make it a career?
SG: I am currently going to college for Biology Conservation and Botany. I would love to have a career in art, but i know it doesn’t make much money and I want to be able to comfortably support myself. So I will pursue art as a professional hobby. Meaning, I will work as a professional and towards a career, but i won’t quit a regular job, unless I can pay my bills without a problem with my art.
TP: Do you feel that your culture has influenced you in some way that makes you different than other artists?
SG: I wish, I’m an American and my family was all born here so I don’t have much culture in me. Only a fascination with other cultures, which impacts the artists I like and the materials I use, but unfortunately that’s it.