Every October, artists all over the world take on the InkTober drawing challenge by doing one ink drawing a day the entire month. And this October, Loud and Alive brings you their stories.
In today’s Inktober Spotlight interview, I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing a very special artist.
Rita is a Portuguese student of veterinary medicine who you might know by her username – ritta1310, and in today’s interview, we’ve had the chance to talk about the importance of female representation on TV and in books, and how time for art doesn’t come on its own – you have to make it.
But not only is she a talented artist – she is also the one responsible for the Loud and Alive header. What started out as “Hi, Rita, do you want to help us, because we’ve got this project going on and we really want it to be diametrically opposite of White Girl Feminism TM “ turned into Rita creating an amazing work of art that we are so honored to have on Loud and Alive.
But enough about our site, let’s talk about the talented artist we’re featuring today!
Lana: Tell us a little about yourself. What do you do when you’re not “arting”?
Rita: Well, I study veterinary medicine at college so I spend a lot of my time studying but I also enjoy cooking, I love watching TV shows and, of course, reading.
Lana: How do you make time for art, being a student of veterinary medicine?
Rita: I’m not going to lie, it’s been tough. My major requires a lot of work and I barely have any time at all. In fact, I do this really terrible thing that none of you kids should do – I draw in class. It helps me focus and it kind of recharges my batteries when all the scientific terms and animal anatomy makes me feel as if my brain is about to explode.
But aside from that terrible habit of mine, I think the key is to prioritize and organize. My priority will always be college but I try hard to clear an hour or two for drawing.
Lana: How do you feel your personal life impacted your art?
Rita: In general I think it has helped me improve it. I’m always looking for inspiration, of course, and being with my friends and having new experiences are always an amazing source for that. My mood also influences my art. If I’m in a good mood I’ll probably do a much better job than when I’m feeling stressed or sad.
So I’d say that my personal art and my life go hand in hand but even during the worst times, I could never give up drawing.
Lana: How did you start drawing?
Rita: To be honest, I don’t really remember. I’ve been drawing ever since I learned how to stick my hand in a can of paint, but my mom said that when I was little, I saw her drawing a lot so I started wanting to do it myself and I haven’t stopped ever since.
Lana: Who are your influences, when it comes to art?
Rita: My influences are mostly fanartist such as myself. There are so many that I love that I would have to make a 10 page list just to name them all. Seeing all their different styles and amazing art makes me want to be better and I think influences my art style as well.
Lana: Activities related to fandoms get bad rap these days, but they can be both enjoyable and profitable. In fact, the first time I heard about you was when I saw your Harry Potter fanart. Do you think that it helped you get more exposure, creating fan art?
Rita: Absolutely. This is both a good and a bad thing. I love to do fanart. I’m a huge fangirl, I love my fictional characters and I adore drawing them but sometimes it’s due to that exposure that was based solely on fanart that, when the fanartist does original work, it’s not very well received or, at least, receives a lot less attention then the fanart they created. This can be a real let down, especially when you spend a lot time and work hard on that original art only to see it not getting recognized at all.
So yes, fanart does help with exposure but artists don’t do fanart for exposure. Fanart is fantastic; bringing characters “to life” is such an amazing thing to do and it really makes you feel more “connected” to the book/movie etc, your fanart is about it in a way that it’s hard to explain. You just feel like these book/bands/tv shows are a part of you and now you get to express that love for them by doing something you love, like drawing.
Lana: You also have your original characters. I write, so I know how that process goes. But what is it like for you, creating your own characters?
Rita: I think the processes are fairly similar. I try to create relatable and real characters that fit my imagination. I just get this idea and start developing the story around it. I think the main difference from writers to artists when making OCs is maybe the way you develop them. I, for example, started sketching Sam and Ivy (my OCs) as soon as I got the idea for them. I didn’t even have a clear idea of their personality or how they would look but I started to do various sketches, went though some pictures, got inspired by some people I met in real life until that final design arrived. And as I sketched and sketched, their personalities just kinda naturally came up. It was really an amazing experience.
New oc's Only starting to develop them but i'm in love with their dynamic His name is Samuel and finally settled for her Ivy for her name. Thank you guys for all you amazing suggestions and a special thanks to @delaney.reader for suggesting Ivy! 😙 #oc #ocs #originalart #originalcharacter #myart #ritta1310ocs #samandivy #ivyallan #samavila #savy
Lana: What are some challenges you face when creating art?
Rita: Too many to tell. As a self-taught artist, I find anatomy and coloring technics a bit of a challenge. Also, I really struggle to find time between working and personal life to create my art. But I really try to make it work and, as for the technicalities I struggle with when drawing, I usually try to use references and watch tutorials in order to work around them.
Lana: You draw a lot of female characters from books and shows. Do you think you would have the same interest in drawing, if there weren’t as many female characters? How important do you think having representation is?
Rita: Probably not. Aside from representation, I find women really fun to draw. They come in so many beautiful shapes and forms and I love giving them different personalities. Also, I really identify more with female characters than male. Maybe it’s because they are the same gender as me, so I always feel more inclined to draw them.
And when it comes to representation, I think it is extremely important to create different and relatable female characters.
Let’s be real, the world is filled with different people and at least half of them are women. I want a realistic story and, for it to be realistic, it needs all sort of badass ladies beacuse the real world is, too, filled with badass ladies.
Besides, it was because of amazing female characters that filled my childhood that I became the person I am today.
I wanted to study hard like Hermione and be brave like Ginny, and without representation, I would have no idea who my role models would have been. It’s important that other little girls experience this as well, not just when it comes to gender but also in race, religion and sexuality.
Lana: What are some other things you enjoy doing? Do you ever feel them influencing your art?
Rita: I love to bake and cook, also enjoy writing, reading and I sing a little bit. And yes, I often see that happening. Books, besides influencing me to do fanart, help me be more creative and that is always good. When it comes to baking and writing I feel like it’s more of the other way around. I got good at cake decorating and describing characters and situations thanks to my artistic side. Even at school, art is always around me. I found that even when doing reports and presenting works, my artistic skills always come in handy and even help me get a better grade! So it’s just like I said before, my art and personal life go hand in hand, they influence one another.
Lana: What are some challenges you think are present in today’s feminism?
Rita: I think it varies a lot from place to place and we need to be conscious of that. The challenges in Portugal are, for instance, very different from the ones in the USA and in Arabic countries. I find that, thankfully, my country is in a pretty good shape when it comes to equal rights between sexes. Women have high ranking positions, pretty much half of our parliament is female, STEM fields have pretty much the same amount of men and women.
The bigger challenges here are in issues such as abortion and surrogates etc. But in countries like the USA I think the biggest challenge is changing the way little girls are raised. I have never heard of anyone in my country whose parents told them they should be nurses instead of doctors, or that they couldn’t play with cars or dinosaurs because those were “Boy toys”, and I think that those little things establish a terrible conduct of life for women. So in summary, I think the biggest challenge lies in changing the misogynist way of educating that some parents adopt because, honestly, they don’t know any better.
Feminism needs to change the system in order to make both women’s and men’s lives better.
Lana: Do you have any advice for aspiring artists?
Rita: Yes, never stop drawing! If you like to draw and want to improve or even if you’ve just started thinking of becoming an artist of any sort, don’t give up! Everything can be achieved through hard work and internal strength. Even when you feel as if nothing is working or like your art sucks, IT DOESN’T!
All art is amazing, especially yours, because YOU made it! Life is too short and too unpredictable to give up on the things that make you happy. So practice lots, stay positive and appreciate yourself, because you are amazing.
Lana: Thank you so much, Rita! Is there anything else you would like to say?
Rita: I’d like to say that I very much enjoy this website. I love that it gives voice to women around the world and helps us make a stand. Also, thank you so much for this interview, I had a lot of fun.