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.
There is a lot of talk about how art isn’t just art – it’s not just pretty words and pretty paintings created to keep the consumer’s attention for a second or two. Art, first and foremost, should be more than that – it should make us feel.
And yes, we talk quite a lot about that, but no one has ever put it into words as uniquely as NWarrior has. Interviewing them, an incredibly talented artist for Inktober Spotlight was an experience of its own, and one we tackled with great pleasure.
We talked with NWarrior about a lot of important things, namely bravery in putting our pencils to the paper, inspiration and how rules can sometimes nip the talent in the bud.
Bethany: Tell us a little about yourself, NWarrior.
NWarrior: Throughout my life I had many names, but you can call me NWarrior.
I am an artist and this is the biggest thing in me and my life – I love art, making art and being in art. Illustrations, comics about irony food, animation with my favorite characters from tv shows who play with flowers, and plans about original serious projects – I live by this and it is so important for me.
At the moment, I am teaching myself animation. Also, I am learning how to live and how to talk with cats.
Bethany: How do you feel your personal life impacted your art?
NWarrior: Oh, my art and my life are literally one thing. Everything I do in life is connected with my art: Go for a walk – oh, I need to draw this beautiful sky! Some events happen – oh, I need to draw my emotions to better remember it! Total revision of values in life – well, time to think about an art project about this.
It works in the opposite direction, too: I get new friends because of art, I learned a new language because of art and I am looking for information about my new favorite singer from the past century.. because I want to make some art about it, of course!
And about really personal things – I have a very difficult relationships with myself and my thoughts, and my art always helps me figure it all out.
NWarrior created this beautiful piece exclusively for L+A. Thank you! ❤
Bethany: How did you start drawing?
NWarrior: I think that, like a lot of people, I started drawing as a kid and then when I got acomputer I was so excited about drawing programs! I was making first animations with basic computer software, like Paint, you know. The interesting thing is that I lived in a place where there weren’t any good artists’ materials, like cool brushes or something, so I started with things which I could get, like Paint on computers. And this is a nice thing about learning things – if you start with basic materials, you learn how to make basic things, and then you can understand more clearly that you need more – if you have a cool software or materials at start it’s more hard to realise what you really want.
So I started drawing and trying to make films. My first film is a very dramatic thriller, by the way – there are 6 frames of animation in there – fish go to the camera, punch it and swim away. And I had a film with about a dude who went to space by using a seesaw. Oh what times!
And then I started seeing others’ art on the internet (like many people I didn’t even realise that someone actually drew all these things at first), I found artists, communities, and it’s been like that for like 5 years, I guess, and here I am.
Lana: Yes, I think that not having a lot of options really creates a sense of focus. You know that you really want to make art, it’s not just a side project to you, right? And do you think that it has made you be more inventive?
NWarrior: Oh yes, inventing is the thing!
Besides not having a lot of choice in materials I had a lot of experiences in my life, which influenced my way of thinking and gave me inspiration to be inventive – I went to one club (you know, like drawing club or knitting club thing), and we organized events with project plans there (some kind of local festivals; one project we made was about teaching other people how to make projects), I had it in school as a subject. When I studied in university I found my way of optimization balance because I needed to make a big thing in a very short time without a lot of materials, and…. I learned about some inspiring concept in modern art, which gave me a lot of thought about planning and optimization!
So I have some methods which help me be inventive – “project mind”, “optimization balance” and inspiration from modern art! I wanted to talk about them in tutorials or videos, but I think this article is a great chance to start to share my methods with people! So, here is a quick review of my secret (now not) methods which help me in being inventive:
First: “Project mind”. This is about that everything I do is a project to me – from making omelette to planing of my own comic series. In customary things like making breakfast I don’t really think about this – because I have a trained algorithm, I usually eat every day! – but when I need to do something more difficult, like going shopping with limited money or making an animation with a deadline – I write a plan with goals of my actions, list of actions which I need to do and sometimes I add additional conditions (time, budget, etc). If I have troubles with something (can’t make it to the deadline or don’t have enough resources), it’s time for the second now-not-actually-so-secret method!
Second: “Optimization balance”. This is about that there are three factors – “budget, time, quality”
and the thing is that I make a project while paying attention to all three – I need to do a thing before the deadline, with resources which I have and this thing should have quality.
“But how can I make a lobster with spinach for breakfast if I only have milk and eggs in the fridge, don’t have money and I have to go to my job at 9:00, but I haven’t eaten yet and it’s already 8:50?” may be your question, and here is my answer to this – sometimes you realise that your project is not about lobster, and about nutritious breakfast, so you can use eggs and milk for making an omelette – it will not be lobster, but the actual goal is reached, just in another form.
And the most interesting – getting inspired by modern art! Besides realism there are a lot of other concepts in art, with their own goals and principles – the goal of one of these, for example, is about making colour the main thing in a picture and not just an instrument for visualisation of another thing. Other concepts have a goal of showing emotions from an event, which is painting, and I love all of these, but here is one cool concept which I really want to learn how to do and I am so in love with this:
this is a concept about using as little materials and forms as you can to show as deep and as big idea as you can. And this is so inspiring for me, I love the contrast of this concept, you get so much feelings when you see something very deep in something very simple.
So this thing at this moment is mostly motivating me in art – i don’t have a lot of time and resources, but I want to say so many things to this world!
So yeah, everybody is inventive in their own way – someone invents new styles, someone invents a way to draw in extreme and toxic atmosphere, someone learns how to invent, someone is having a life experience phase and doesn’t know how to bring it to art yet – every way of drawing, art and invention is as great, valid and important as is every human!
Bethany: Who are your influences, when it comes to art?
NWarrior: I am getting influenced and inspired by everything that I see and do in my life, but if we talk specially about art things, then – modern art and modern artists!
After some lectures about modern sculptures, I was so inspired and it definitely gave me a lot of energy and ideas. I started making something like expressionistic sketches – drawings which show my thoughts and emotions from experiences – and I love to do this so much, mainly because I have memory troubles and this helps me remember important events. Sometimes it gives me more memories than photos!
Usually in art I am looking for something unusual and surprising, so firstly i love art of beginners – those drawings are so cool! They are something special, like, I love seeing emotions on beginners’ drawings – they are so natural and honest, right from artists’ minds, because they don’t use standard rules.
So this is my favorite thing! And it gives me inspiration and motivation to be more free in the drawing process.
But if we talk super concretely, Malevich with his “Black square” influenced me the most ( i want a t-shirt with that print, actually!). And also there is one special artist whose art I especially love – Hon. I think I can say that they do (and did) modern art about which i talked earlier, but they are super-special for me.
Lana: What are the differences you see between your drawings when you first started out and now? Is that passion you say you can see in beginners’ drawings still there, when it comes to your drawings now?
NWarrior: I love all my art, but the thing is – I hate my past and i have very bad memories – the only great thing about my past is art, but when I see my old drawings of course I start remembering those times, which is sad and sometimes creepy. I love all my art with all my soul, but i don’t usually look at it – I just keep them in boxes, i know that they are there and i love them but I just don’t want to remember the times when I made them, you know? I have some important and inspirational old art which I remember and think about still, but you know, I have a very strange relationship with my past, so.
I don’t think I draw “better” or “worse” now – I think that my art is cool just the way it is, in its time and form. I think that “skill” and aesthetic aren’t something that I can do better now – I just do it in a different way with new methods. So my new art is not better, and old art isn’t worse – my new art is just different. I think that if I didn’t know about the existence of bounced light, I would draw things without doing light with bounced light – I think I would break something in the universe’s system if I could draw things about which I’ve never heard!
I have things which changed in my art – ideology moments, because I’ve been drawing all my life and I had a lot of world view changes so some ideas in my old works seem wrong to me (like some ideas from my 10-page comics), but this is more about plot and script.
About passion in art – I feel very sad about all those rules of drawing which make people be afraid of being themselves in art and trying something new, individual and innovative. So I am very proud of everybody who wants to be artist, and someone who makes even little steps in this – this is so great and cool! In every sketch of a beginner, I see so much individual potential which everyone has – that’s why I get so angry about making rules with the “this is the rule, you need do it like this because this is right” explanation – a lot of people give up because of this pressure or they are afraid to even start! Imagine how much great art we will never see because of all these rules about the only right way of spreading paint on paper, so people are so scared that they are even afraid to draw the line!
So yes, beginners have their unique passion, and I am so proud of them! When everybody around you says that you can draw the line on a paper only in one way, and others ways are bad, just because this is a rule and there is no explanation besides it and also at your first process of holding the line you are supposed to draw a cool realistic portrait with bounced light even if you don’t even know what bounced light is – those are very difficult conditions for drawing the line on paper process, so I think that beginners are very cool and great! And they are heroes to me!
And by the way, drawing the line on paper isn’t even an allegory for full colored illustrations – did you know that rules about drawing strokes exist???
Bethany: We saw that you created your own animations – what is the process for this like, and what inspires you to do so?
NWarrior: I love to make different things, but animation is something special and magical for me. You see your character slowly becoming alive – this is such a great feeling. I see everything that I do as a project, and even animation isn’t an exception. I always have a plan, maybe not so concretely, but I keep main steps in mind, and animation with art even has a little bit of math – but this feels totally different from school or something like that; calculation here is for helping and making process more obvious, so you will not ask yourself “why do I even need to know the sinus of this triangle” in animation.
In animation I usually have different phases, every single one has a different range of emotions, so making an animation feels like a roller coaster with pillows and candies: everything starts with inspiration and you are so excited and you literally scream something like LET’S DO IT YEAH, then you are a little bit angry because you can’t figure out how to make that character’s hand movement and the worst of it is that you know that this is something basic and simple, but then, after some tutorials on the internet, you are screaming
from happiness again because a character is waving their hand and winking and they are going to dance now and this is yours and you are happy and I love this so much.
Talking about inspiration – process by itself brings so much happiness, but a very important thing is other people’s reactions. Friends, people who see my things – after their commentaries with warm words, I become very inspired and motivated. I remember, I cried from happiness while reading comments under one of my animations – people told me that this thing made their day better and other things like that.
I saw a comment about someone showing my animation to children as an example of sharing concept – I still remember this and it still makes me so happy. After these things, I think like “I need to make more, let’s work!”
Thinking about bringing positive emotions with art to people gives me a lot of inspiration.
My biggest fear is to bring someone negative emotions, so I am working on myself and trying to make more happy, positive and helpful things.
Lana: As a writer, I try to do the same – I try to help people with my works. But sometimes I feel like there is so much negativity in art, where there should be positivity. Do you ever get the impulse to create dark art and then think – hmm, no, let’s do something that’s going to make people smile? Is that a conflict within you?
NWarrior: I’ve actually been thinking about this lately – I have a dramatic story with a lot of dark things. There are some thoughts and ideas which I want to tell with that story, and main characters feel better at the end, but just about same time as I thought about this story I finished my cute animation, and after getting so many warm words about people feeling happy after watching this, I started to think: do I really need to make dramatic and dark things?
Theme of art is a very individual thing. Someone brings their suffering to their art so this is their way to feel better and let their emotions out, someone tells about creepy dark things in their art, like war, and shows how these creepy things are really horrifying, and someone loves cute things and loves to draw so they draw cute things – every artist has their own goals (or principles) and art goals, that’s why art is so different.
My goal in life now is to become a good human, so I love to bring people some happy things and things which they want to see, and I think a lot of people (even me) need something warm and cute now. I still feel bad sometimes and I draw things about this, sometimes I draw something sad – it depends on my mood and events in my life. But my main art goal is connected to my main life goal (principle) so biggest projects and most parts of art are about the main goal.
So sometimes I can draw something dark, if I feel that I need to, but now I mostly want to draw characters with flowers and blankets.
Bethany: What are some challenges you face when creating art?
NWarrior: For me challenges are usual parts of my work, and I started to love them!
When I have clear and memorized algorithm of work, it becomes boring to me, so i am creating challenges for myself, like “what if I draw hugs but they must look like silhouette of the Earth” or “what if I try to make animated video in a new style of animation which I’ve only started learning a week ago?”
I always want something new and I love experiments because they’re more fun and bring more emotions!
Going through challenges and learning to draw isn’t the main goal for me. My main goal in the art process is creating my projects, they vary in forms – from illustrations to animation series, so challenges and learning things are just one of the steps to achieving my goal.
Bethany: Some of your art seems to be about televisions shows – as fan art. Do you prefer to create fan art, or produce your own original pieces, and why?
NWarrior: I love every way of art so sometimes I make more fanart, sometimes I make more original things. I make things when I have thoughts – if I watched some show and got inspired by it, I make fanart, and if I have something to say or new ideas for my stories came to me – I make original things. So I love doing both!
Bethany: What are some other things you enjoy doing? Do you ever feel them seeping into your art?
NWarrior: I love making everything connected to art, but some things I love for other reasons;
I enjoy communicating with people in a friendly atmosphere, so I like to go to festivals and spend time with friends. New cool places with new cool people are a great thing! It gives me comfort and power, and also I learn new things from people.
I wish I could knit toys and clothes, but I don’t have materials for this, and also I love playing piano, but I don’t have it, either. And I love making “walls of cool things” – places in apartment where I put things with important memories, making colour balance in my clothes and being hugged.
Bethany: Seeing as we are a feminist site, what are some challenges you think are present in today’s feminism?
NWarrior: Feminism helps me handle with my own challenge of becoming a good human someday. Feminism gave me a lot of information about this world and I can understand a lot of things clearly now, I found balance with myself and I learned a lot of very important life lessons.
Feminism is very important to me, but if you need someone to tell you about feminism – you can find a better person, because I am still learning.
Bethany: And finally, do you have any advice for aspiring artists?
NWarrior: My main advice is – don’t be afraid to be free.
Art is magic and you can do whatever you want here – concept art, drawing squad cats, or maybe you want to draw pictures with your body in paint – it’s only your choice!
Even in art people try to make rules with no explanation why this rule exist or how it helps you with YOUR art and I don’t like it.
Your art is only yours, so it is your deal how to reach your art goals and which steps you need for this. For example, I didn’t learn academic anatomy rules – because I don’t use them in my projects!
Don’t be afraid to try something new and experiment!
A lot of things I learned I found by saying: “hm, what if I try this thing”. And also, it’s very helpful to try new functions of programs and materials, then you can find out more cool things!
Playing with settings and materials sometimes gives really cool and unexpected results! And I think trying something new is the main thing about learning, so I don’t use “just draw draw draw” way for going to new steps of my art, my way here is more like “draw draw and what if I make all of this blue and press this button OH WOW now I can do a new thing draw draw”
So, don’t be afraid of your feelings and wishes, plan your own way of drawing and remember that you are cool and your art is beautiful!
You can find NWarrior on Tumblr.