Where did you grow up and when did you say to yourself: ‘’I wanna be an Artist’’?
I grew up in Toronto in Canada. I remember as a child I loved to doodle but I never really knew what I wanted to do until high school. I remember when I was about 15 or 16, at a family gathering, one of my distant relatives who also does art professionally saw my sketchbook - after my mom shamelessly told her that I liked to draw (oh parents). Anyway, from what she saw in my style she suggested that I should look into school for animation. After that I started looking into schools in Canada and I was excited and obsessed (and I’m still obsessed today - haha). I dove into a whole new world of art and animation and I couldn’t stop thinking and talking about the animation industry and of course the art. After making a portfolio I was accepted to Seneca College and I am currently in the middle of my second year.
Have you always been supported in your artistic path or has it been challenging to let your family and friends understand your choice?
My Family and Friends have always been super supportive with my decision to go into the arts. Originally, I thought about architecture but it never really hit me as emotionally as animation and character design do. When I told them that I wanted to go to school for animation they were ecstatic. They knew I loved to draw and were very happy that I decided to do something I love as a career. My childhood friends always knew me as that girl that liked to draw and doodle (and who didn’t pay attention during math class because she was too busy doodling) – they accepted my love for drawing. In High school I was very fortunate enough to have 2 of my best friends also interested in making art for a living.
What was the strongest influence you had when you were growing up ( artists, movies, cartoons, comics etc.. ) ?
When I was young I remember Ghibli movies being one of my favourite things in terms of art and storytelling. I didn’t know that that’s why I liked them so much at the time but, thinking back, everything about Ghibli movies always intrigued me, and still do. There was always such powerful character development in almost every single one of Hayao Miyazaki’s films and, of course, gorgeous art. That is what intrigued me about them as a child. I remember when I was younger I finally got an Ipod and I downloaded a bunch of Ghibli films on it. I used to sit around and re-watch the movies over and over again. Today, I also have days where I just want to sit around and have Ghibli movie marathons. My Family and Friends have always been supper supportive with my decision to go into
Did you go to an art school or are you self-taught? What helped you prepare to become the artist we know today?
Currently, I am attending Seneca College for animation and I’m definitely learning a lot there from all my teachers and peers. My friends at Seneca are all very motivating and love drawing which makes me love drawing even more than I already do. The teachers there encouragingly push us which is great because having someone to see you grow and guide your art along is so helpful. Being surrounded by people that share the same passion as I do has pushed me and has made me grow as a person and an artist.
Did you have a favourite subject to draw when you were a child and do you still have one today? If you do, what makes it so special?
I absolutely love drawing people. I want to be able to tell stories in my drawings and answer questions like; who is this person? What do they like? What do they dislike? What makes them, who they are? Every character has a backstory and I want to be able to tell that story through my drawings! Café sketching and subway sketching is definitely one of the most relaxing ways to draw – Real people already have a story to tell and you can see it by the way they walk, the way they dress, or the way they try to not notice you drawing them. But anyway I love drawing people and café sketching and just designing characters overall.
What is your process in coloring your art and what type of tools or media do you use?
I’m a Photoshop person! I don’t even know if I have a process yet I’ve been experimenting a lot lately. Sometimes I colour my art linelessly while other times I keep the lines and colour underneath the lineart. I usually do everything digitally though. Recently, I’ve been wanting to do more traditional stuff (because I definitely don’t do that enough)
What part of the creation process is most fun and easy and what part is the hardest?
The hardest part is definitely coming up with a story that goes along with the character. Whenever I make a design that has no backstory, I always feel bad about not being able to incorporate anything into it. However, this is also the most fun part about designing! Like I said before, I want to answer all those questions about my character through the design. I always get really excited when I find out ways to incorporate the characters personality into the design somehow. Whether it be their posture, clothing choices, or just the way the stand normally. I find that everyone stands and walks differently and it usually says something quite large about their personality. Storytelling through drawing is definitely the most exciting part about designing!
What is your long-term career goal and what would your dream project be?
Oh man, I don’t even know yet! I know that I definitely want to be designing and it would be absolutely amazing to design for feature film one day. I think it would also be really cool to be able to direct and to tell a story of my own creation. Yeah, I think if one day I could make and or contribute to a full length animated film that relates to people on an emotional level that would be the dream. The one thing I do know though is that I want to continue to be able to draw no matter what!
What advice would you give to an artist who is dealing with an art-block? How do you boost your imagination and keep yourself creative?
It definitely depends on the type of art block I’m having. If I have no ideas then I like to look at art or take a break and spend time with friends. Stepping outside of the art world tends to give me the best ideas. However, If I’m having a bad drawing day where my hand just won’t draw what my brain wants it to I like to do studies from life and other artists I admire. Or just take a break and relax for a bit and look at what I’m doing with a fresh set of eyes.
Concept art, animation, illustration, comics, there’s so many options to choose and when you’re young, sometimes the only thing you know is just that you love to draw: what should a young artist take into consideration to make the right decision when choosing an artistic path?
Hahahaha I don’t know if I can answer this yet because I still don’t know exactly what I want to do. But as long as you like to draw and draw what you like I’m sure the right artistic path will come your way naturally. You just need to let it happen. I know I love drawing characters but there are so many sub fields in the industry where you can draw characters. I really want to be a character designer but I also love storyboarding and recently I’ve been wanting to experiment and play around with traditional animation more.
Who are the artists who inspire you the most today and what are some of your favorite designs?
Oh wow there are so many! Some of my favourite character designers/ visual development artists are include Nico Marlet, Pascal campion, Shiyoon Kim, Cory Loftis, Helen Chen, James Woods, Cecile Carre, Nadya Mira, Carter Goodrich, and Shane Prigmore. They all have such unique styles. I love the way they all push shape, and colour in totally different ways. The animation world is so large right now and I find new artists that I like almost every single day! Charles Dana Gibson and Ronald Searle are two of my favourite illustrators. They were both fantastic draftsman. Oh man, their lines, and the way they use ink makes me so so so happy! I get way to excited looking at their work. Recently, I’ve been looking at lots of 2D animation. I love the looseness of Glen Keanes lines and the emotion he brings into his drawings is absolutely amazing. Milt Kahl is also one of my favourite draftsman when it comes to animation. He is able to have so much life in his work while still having nice tightened up drawings which is my favourite part about the way he draws.
Oh I can’t forget about Mary Blair and Eyvind Earle. They both had such great and iconic background designs. Their simplification of shape is top notch to be able to convey full landscapes with these amazing graphic shapes is something I want to experiment with one day.(Hahaha on a side note I got really distracted while writing about these people because I kept on drooling over looking at their art)
We have a soft spot for hand drawn animation, what is your opinion about the future of this art form?
I love hand drawn animation and I so wish that there were more opportunities for it in North America today. However, I feel that it is making a comeback slowly through crowd funding. Like for example, Hullabaloo, it looks amazing and there are so many great people working on it. Loads of people are definitely interested in traditional 2d animation still (including me) so I am sure there will be more projects like Hullabaloo (hopefully).
Social networks, crowd funding websites, print on demand online service, you name it. New medias on the internet are connecting the artists directly with their fans like never before. In your opinion, how is this affecting the industry and what are the pros and cons?
I feel like there are a lot more pros with the online art community then there are cons. I have heard of so many stories of people getting jobs just by continuously posting their art online. Also, having the chance to easily ask your favourite artists questions through social media or just comments on their blog is a great thing to be able to do and obviously there are some cons to having easy access to talk to artists but I feel like there is more good than there is bad. Additionally, crowd funding gives 2D animation a chance as well as giving artists a chance to do what they love with the support of their fans. There are also tonnes of websites with so many artistic resources that anyone at any age can learn I think it’s a great thing and its giving so many opportunities to people that they would not have had without the internet.
Finally, Where can we see your art online and get in touch with you? How can we buy your creations and support your work?
Right now I don’t sell anything but I plan on doing so this summer so I’ll update my blog and Instagram when I do! Stay tuned~ You can find me at: Racheljosepharts on Instagram and racheljosepharts.tumblr.com If you would like to contact me my email is: Rachel_Joseph@outlook.com
Thank you Rachel :)