Effektdmentality (Mania.com)

By:Blazej Szpakowicz
Date: Sunday, March 05, 2006

Welcome to the latest edition of the DCG Artist Spotlight!

Our victim today is Effektdmentality.

Comics2Film (C2F):How and why did you start drawing? How about manipping?

Effektdmentality (EM):I've been drawing as long as I can remember. My birth mother, who loved arts and crafts, instilled that love of art in me from a really young age. Before she passed in 1993 from cancer, she had told me to find something that I loved to do, and to stick with it, and so art really became a huge part in my life.

As for manipping, I began back in 2003ish, when I was taking a Desktop Publishing/Commercial Media class in my junior year of high school. I had been a regular visitor at C2F and the DCG for a year or so, but until that point I had never touched Photoshop. Fortunately, the class included a few lessons in Photoshop Elements, and I began to try out a few manips, my first DCG manipped submission being mySolid Snake.

C2F:What is your background in art?

EM:Well, I've been drawing as long as i could hold a pencil. Most of my technical/Photoshop training comes from classes at school. Other than that, nothin' but practice, practice, practice. Right now, I attend the Acdemy of Art University in San Francisco, California, where I'm majoring in illustration.

C2F:What drawing tools/software do you use to make your art?

EM:For my hand-drawn stuff, its usually .5 or .7 mechanical pencil, white plastic eraser, and a few different types of permenent markers, including thin, regular and thick width Sharpies, Copic double-ended (brush and chisel tipped), Design Art Markers, and Dixon Markettes. The latter three are actually provided free of charge by my job as a caricature artist at Paramount's Great America in Santa Clara, California. For hand colored stuff, I use Prismacolor thick lead colored pencil and Art Stix (woodless square sticks of colored pencil lead, about a pencil thick, which are again provided by my job).

For manips and digitally colored art, I started out using Photoshop Elements which I had to use at school. In other words, a lot of my earlier stuff was done over HUGE amounts of time, since my classes provided only short blocks of worktime. I then gradually worked my way up from Photoshop 7.0, and nowadays I use Photoshop CS.

C2F:What inspires you? Where do you get your ideas from?

EM:First off, everyone at C2F and the DCG! You folks rock my socks! Aside from you guys, anything can spark something. Things I see in movies, comics, saturday morning cartoons, everything. A lot of my work is concept art like the X3 series [Psylocke,Beast,Jubilee,Gambit]or reenvisioned characters like theCaptain America, and with the first I took inspiration from seeing the first two movies and wishing there were other memorable characters, and with the latter I looked at the actually origin of Cap and figured, "Hey, if he was in WWII, why not make him look like he was in WWII?"

C2F:How is the way you approach a manip different than when you do adrawing?

EM:A lot of it has to do with the planning of the design. With a drawing, I kinda have the freedom to change things up. If the hand doesn't look cool like that, I can try it like this. Stuff like that. With a manip, I always spend a great deal of time looking for the right size picture, or the perfect pose. I don't think I'm really good at Frankensteining body parts to put them the way I want (a weakness), and so my manips tend to really depend on the initial source image.

C2F:What's your favourite of your own work?

EM:In hand-drawn stuff, I'd say a tie between my MangaBatman and my Manga Green Lantern,with me leaning more toward the latter. With Batman, I really like the incorporation of the Japanese look to the Batman character. It was also a lot of fun infusing the Batman story in the Art Notes with as much Japanese influence as I could. With GL, I thought I had gotten the manga look perfectly. Although the origin story was far lacking in comparison, the color and artwork make it one I'm especially proud of.

As for manipped work, my favorite isChristinaRicci as Raven, hands down. From the pose to the costuming to the color, I'm really proud of that one. It shows the extent of everything I've learned about Photoshop and manipping, and it really pushed me to try new stuff. For that, it's my favorite manip of my own.

C2F:...and your least favourite?

EM:Oy, where do I begin? Ummm... for drawn work, it'd have to be my X3 Jubileeand X3 Psylocke.The proportions are absolutely HORRIBLE, nowhere near correct and realistic human anatomy. From manipped work, it'd have to be my JLA manip.SOOOOO blurry, proportions are off, and way too smudged, its just a digitally finger painted mess.

C2F:What do you think is your strongest asset as an artist?

EM:I dunno...I guess I'd say I have a fairly good concept of proportion and form. Yeah, that'd probably be it. I dunno, you pick. :)

C2F:What do you still need to work on?

EM:Loads....lemme see....probably anatomy in my drawn work would be the biggest thing. A lot of my hand drawn stuff has gotten comments as to working on anatomy, especially in the neck area. I also think I need to work on making stuff that's not just costume concepts but also things like scenery and conveying emotion, things I know could help my art out immensely.

C2F:Who are your favourite DCG artists?

EM:Geez, theres so many to choose from...B,Shaylinn,dperceful,Marcelo Gomes(Fastball Special, absolutely BRILLIANT),Albea,Biohaz, I could go on and on...

C2F:How about mainstream or comic book artists?

EM:Jim Lee, Alex Ross, Michael Turner, Ed McGuinness, Mike Mignola, the Romitas, the Kuberts, Kirby...

C2F:What was the best piece of advice you ever received from anotherartist?

EM:For the DCG, UIR! Holy crap, I didn't believe it until I finally did one at the encouragement of guys like dperceful and B, and it helps SO much. By critiquing, a) I can tell what kinds of stuff other folks are cranking out, b) I can help other artists fix their art's weaker spots, and c) I can learn a lot about my own art. My professor told me that the first step to fixing your art's mistakes is to be able to see them; by reviewing other work, I am constantly learning about stuff I see in other work that may be apparent in mine as well. In that way, I am better able to see the things I need to work on.

C2F:What characters do you want to draw or manip?

EM:Everyone! Kidding aside, I really want to do a new JLA manip, kinda just cause I want to erase the memory of my first JLA manip *shudder*. I also want to try out drawing and/or manipping scenes and stuff, just to push it to the next level.

C2F: What (if anything) are you working on right now?

EM:Currently I'm working on my "Teen Titans: The Movie" manips. I believe the latest that's been posted up isMichelleTrachtenberg as Starfire. [Justin case anyone was wondering how far in advance we sometimes do these spotlights,now you know... -ed.] I'm also working on some Batman Begins sequel manipsand a movie version Captain America manip, although casting is being a pain.Any suggestions? For drawings, I'm working on some stuff for a friend's webcomic.I'm also doing some art jobs for my old high school, marching band in particular. When one such as myself spins a rifle for 3 years as one of two guys on the colorguard, you kinda get a rep :)

C2F:You're stuck on a desert island with nothing to read except for theentire run of one comic book series. Which one would it be?

EM:Hmm....thats a toughie. Hoo boy, i dunno.

C2F:How do you approach the translation of a character into amanga-style version, as in your recent series of Manga Style JLA heroesand villains?

EM:Well, I first look at the character's Western version. What kind of character is he/she? Darker? Happier? All that good stuff. After finally deciding on the overall look/stereotype of the charcter, I try to find a matching Japanese counterpart. For example, I made Batman, normally a very dark and lonely character, into a lone samurai; with Green Lantern, I transformed Hal Jordan, a somewhat confident (maybe even cocky) all-American pilot-turned-hero into a bubbly, cutesy pilot of a giant mecha made of green light (see Art Notes for Manga GL). As for the visual aspect of the character, I try to keep the recognizable aspects of the Western version, character, I try to keep the recognizable aspects of the Western version, like colors or insignia, and then mix in the Japanese/Asian influence, some being more recognizable than others.

For more of Effektdmentality's art,check out his DCGgallery.

Interviewer: Blazej Szpakowicz