An Interview With An Introverted Artist

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Frank Iero (left) with Gerard Way (right)

Frank Iero (left) with Gerard Way (right)

Frank Iero (left) with Gerard Way (right)


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Welcome Raiders! What you’re about to read is an interview with the third place winner of the ‘whale of the day’ contest, Sarah Abrams. Sarah is an eighth grade student at this school who is enrolled in Mrs. Goza’s art classes, but she also has many other drawings in a large collection. This interview will not be about the ‘whale of a day’ contest, but rather her own art and experiences. If you are interested in the painting that she did, it will be displayed at the Point Vicente visitors center for a time. When it returns to the school, it will be uploaded here. Without further ado, here’s the interview!

Sarah pictured next to her twin sister, Rebecca

1) What is your favorite medium to use when drawing?
Answer: “I prefer to use pencils. Pencil sketching is my favorite method, I think I use it the most because I’m most comfortable with it. I have the most practice using pencils. My favorite part about using them is that you can erase them. That is very awesome because I make a lot of mistakes, but they always get better because I’m using erasers. Recently, I’ve liked colored pencils a lot because they add contrast as opposed to just endless grey, also I have these really cool artist pencils (courtesy of my friend RJ, he gave them to me). They’re also erasable, ‘my favorite quality’! So yeah, I like to experiment with colored and normal pencils.

Mikey Way pictured with his favorite guitar

2) How much time goes into each piece?
Answer: It depends on what piece. I do a lot of different things, there’s realistic pieces that I’ve done before, and those can take several hours, there’s realistic cartoons, which are still animated but they’re anatomically correct. Those ones take two to three hours, the more simplified cartoons that I draw take maybe one and a half hours…? Usually over an hour unless I really have no motivation for the piece, in which case it takes as little as thirty minutes.

Portrait of Gerard Way

3) What’s the kind of mood you like to set up while drawing?
Answer: Well, normally I’m not very picky, but let’s say I’m drawing at home. I have an artist’s desk, which is really cool ’cause it’s elevated and at the perfect angle for drawing. Anyway, I go and set that up by just clearing out all the space. I have like, so many different pencils, so many, (it’s all I get for holidays) and I get them all out and I end up with fifteen different surfaces near my drawing table. I just put pencils on everything. Pencils EVERYWHERE. That and smudge papers. I have my pencil sharpeners, and really, just lots and lots of erasers.
don’t even know how many erasers. After that I put on heavy metal music, I have an emo music playlist. It really helps me focus. I also have this light, a very bright white light that I use to see the drawing better.

Art Request for “Character Playing Video Games”

4) Aside from the drawings in your sketchbook, what are your favorite art styles? (realistic, cartoon, anime, etc.)
Answer: To look at, I’m most impressed with realistic styles. I really like anime because I think it’s very aesthetically pleasing. I also prefer anime to draw because it’s easy, but it’s not my most favorite thing. I love realistic cartoons, like in my drawing of Dean and Castiel and my other drawing of Frank and Gerard. Those drawings are not exactly anime, but they’re a realistic cartoon style which I almost prefer over anime because it’s just better looking to me. Maybe it’s the weird body proportions in anime that unsettles me…

Gerard Way and Frank Iero (Black Parade)

5) Have you ever considered doing more pieces with watercolors?
Answer: Not really. So, I do like watercolor, and you know it’s really pretty. There are a lot of things about watercolors that I do like. It’s really easy to finish a piece quickly. It takes a long time to color in an entire page with colored pencils but it takes only a little while to paint it. It just goes a lot faster, the only problem being that paint doesn’t come with an eraser. I’m kind of unconfident about that sort of thing. Again with precision, paintbrushes are loose, I guess, and they’re not very fine tip. It’s difficult to paint in the extreme details. I prefer to use a very thin pencil because it goes where I want it to go. The drawing of Dean and Castiel has watercolor in the background while their silhouettes were painted in with acrylics. I didn’t do that one with marker. That one was very difficult, it took me so long because I want really distinct shapes. I have this tiny artist paintbrush that literally looks like it’s the size of a sewing needle. It’s the only paintbrush that I feel confident using!

Dean and the Angel Castiel (supernatural)

6) You have a lot of LGBT representation in your art, what is your opinion on the subject and why do you enjoy drawing it so much?
Answer: I completely support the LGBTQ community. My art usually reflects my interests. Sadly, gays and lesbians aren’t yet widely accepted. I want to put out a message that it is okay to like anyone you want, regardless of gender, race, or economic situation. As for my drawings, I drew those pieces because I think they’re cute. I ship Gerard and Frank as well as Dean and Castiel. If Dean was a girl I would have drawn it just like any other piece, I just don’t care.

7) Have you ever considered doing this as a career? What can you tell us about it?
Answer: I thought about doing art for Disney, perhaps working as an animator? That might be cool. Character and set design, something along those lines. Being a comic book writer interests me, my only problem being that I don’t have a whole lot of patience. I can spend several hours on one drawing, but writing a comic book series where you have to draw the same character over and over in all these intricate positions… I would lose my focus. As a career it seems interesting. I’ve also thought of doing other things like starting a band.

Abrams coloring a sketch of the “Supernatural” main characters

8) Do you take art requests and if yes, what’s the hardest thing about doing them?
Answer: Yes, I do take art requests. If someone asks me to draw something I usually go to “challenge accepted” mode. The thing is most of the time I’m to shy to mention that I take requests. Once in a while I do. I’ve drawn a wolf and a fox for some people, along with various other things. Bottom line is that I do take requests if anyone’s interested. The hardest part about taking them is not impressing the client, it’s impressing myself. Usually I show them the drawing before it’s complete and they say “oh! that’s amazing!” and yet I look at it and think “I see so many mistakes” and promptly throw myself in the garbage because I’m trash. One time I drew this picture for a boy and I didn’t realize until three months later that I gave the character two right hands. He never noticed and I wont point it out for him. Just sayin’, I’m very critical of my own art.

Victor Nikiforov and His Fiance, Yuri Katsuki

9) What do you dislike about drawing?
Answer: One thing that’s very difficult about drawing is that you draw something, and you think it looks decent, and you go online and see everyone else’s work. It puts your life in perspective… the perspective that you’re trash and should never pick up a pencil again. There’s that. Another thing that’s hard is spending hours on a specific drawing just to finish it and look at it and say “yep… this is terrible”. It’s so unsatisfying when you spend hours on something and it’s just not how you wanted it to turn out. What’s really bad is when you finish an art project and you’re super happy with it and you think “oh this is beautiful!” and then you show it to your peers and they say “what is this garbage you strangled from the void?”.
Just…no.

10) Tell us about the “day after” rule.
Answer: Ah yes! The day after rule. See, I have this thing for me where I draw something and I think it looks great, sometimes it does look great. But you have to take your own perspective with a grain of salt because you’ve been staring at this sheet of paper for four and a half hours. You get kind of used to looking at the art. My solution to this is to draw it, look at it, say “does it look good?”. Yes. Okay, step one down. Then you leave it alone for a day. At that point your mind is clear, so now you can look at the drawing and judge how good it is. If it still looks good you did a good job. If you look at it the next day and it’s bad… well, you see your true colors. If you get past the first day you’re fine, but I dare you to look at it a week later. A month. A year. The first drawing that I ever liked for more than two days was a drawing of Gaara from Naruto. That was nice. It was a good feeling. Was.

Titled “Hug”

11) What do you have to say about your original artwork?
Answer: So, in fourth grade and fifth grade, I really liked Sonic the Hedgehog. I still do, but nowhere near as much as back then. I would draw fanart of the characters. It’s very, very bad. The inking is terrible, the proportions are wrong, I did NOT know how to do hands, and it SUCKED! It was so terrible that the only thing I can say is keep drawing! Keep practicing unless you want your art to stay like that forever. My original drawings were very bad and very terrible. It literally looks like a drunk kindergartener was asked to draw while ice skating and using their non-dominant hand. My advice is to keep drawing and drawing, and looking back on your drawings. The best part is when you look back and say “yeah… that was awful” because it means you got better. I always hate my old drawings. That means I got better. Probably.

(from left to right) Dean Winchester, the Angel Castiel, and Sam Winchester

12) Any last advice for aspiring artists?
Answer: Don’t become an artist. It’s painful. And sad. You’re gonna end up alone with a lot of cats. Cats that you can’t draw. You also end up complimenting people really weirdly. You know, I went up to a boy not to long ago and I said “man, you have a really nice hand structure. They would make terrific models.” He was so confused. You start thinking these weird things like “I really like the way your ears are shaped”. Ah, the perks of being an artist.

Thank you for reading! If you have an art request for Sarah, you can submit it to her at school or through her email [email protected]

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