Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween: Interview with Fan Art Guru, Rat Girl Studios!

Happy Halloween! We have a treat for you!

Do you appreciate fan art? Do you ever wish you could create your own? Look no further! We have some great drawing advice from Hunger Games fan and expert fan artist, Kate Wheeler of Rat Girl Studios.

When we first started our Tumblr, one of our very first posts included fan art from Rat Girl Studios. In fact, we may have posted just about every Hunger Games drawing she has ever done. So I will say that yes, I am a huge fan. You also may remember Rat Girl Studios from a certain Hollywood Crush article that featured her drawings of what Katniss' various outfits could look like. For example, her reaping dress, pictured below is not far off from what will be in the movie. Check out all the drawings she did here.
WD12: When did you first start drawing?

RGS: I can't even remember when I first started drawing, probably when my parents first gave me a crayon.  I while back I found an old journal from 2nd or 3rd grade.  We were given a writing prompt every day and we're supposed to write a paragraph.  My paragraphs were all about 2 or 3 sentences and the rest of the page was filled with drawings.  In one I was supposed to write about someone I looked up to.  My response was my sister because she was old enough to be allowed to go horse back riding.  The rest of the page was covered in drawings of horses.

WD12: How often a week do you draw?
RGS: I sketch all the time.  I draw 7 days a week.  Not all of my drawings are golden, but I'm always doodling something.

WD12: As an artist, what inspires you?
RGS: I'm inspired by just about anything and everything.  In the art world I adore art nouveau.  Some of my favorite artists are Alphonse Mucha, Adam Hughes, Yoshitaka Amano, LeUyen Pham, Tony Diterlizzi, James Jean, Gris Grimly, Skottie Young, and so many more.

WD12: What's your favorite Hunger Games book and why?

RGS: I think the first book is my favorite.  The book just drew you in even before you knew the characters. I love all three, but I'll always remember how I randomly picked up the Hunger Games, knowing nothing about it and reading it within 24 hours.  I couldn't put it down.

WD12: What's your take on the new character posters released by Lionsgate?

RGS: I think the posters are great.  They're epic in a subtle way, a tease to get you excited for more to come.

WD12: Who is your favorite Hunger Games character and why?
RGS: Do I really have to choose a favorite? I think I relate to Katniss the most personality wise and I understand her. I find Haymitch to be the most interesting and complex, but I have a great adoration for Peeta. Peeta is just a really nice guy, a genuinely good person who loves unconditionally.

WD12: What's your advice for Hunger Games fans who want to start creating fan art?

RGS: Like the Nike commercials say, "Just do it".  The great thing about literary characters is that though they give a description in the book it leaves it up to your imagination how that all comes together, so really you can draw them how you see them based on a few guidelines.  My version of Katniss is different than some others and that doesn't mean either is wrong.  Just be prepared to receive criticism, good and bad.  Everyone has their own image of these characters in their heads and sometimes they take fanart personally.  I've often gotten complaints 'That isn't how I pictured that character at all!" or that I got the outfits wrong.  However I've also gotten many wonderful comments about how I captured the characters perfectly.  Take it all with a grain of salt, because its your vision, not theirs.

Third place prize for DWTC's costume contest!
WD12: Character drawing is really hard! What advice do you have for someone struggling with drawing anatomy?

RGS: If you can take a life drawing class then do it!  Going to art school I've taken quite a few life drawing classes and its greatly improved my skills.  If you can't take a class I suggest looking at some anatomy and drawings books.  Just keep practicing, I still get it wrong at times.

WD12: What's the origin of "Rat Girl Studios"?

RGS: When I was in my sophomore year at art school I was taking a life drawing course for illustrators. Though it focused on anatomy we were given a lot of artistic freedom.  At the time I liked to draw rats and happened to incorporate one into one of my drawings.  My professor saw it and loved it.  After that he would be disappointed anytime there wasn't a rat in my drawings, so I spent an entire year drawing rats all over the place.  I even had two pet rats, Beatrix and Ophelia, which was when I started going by Rat Girl Studios.

WD12: What's next for Rat Girl Studios?

RGS: Right now I'm working on some watercolor paintings, building up my portfolio.  I'm also applying for grad schools at the moment to get my degree in library science.

The truth is, anyone can draw. Don't feel like your inability to draw should keep you from expressing yourself! As long as you practice, practice, you will always get better no matter what your skill set may be. Now get to it!

Thank you so much to Kate Wheeler for allowing us to interview her! If you want to win one of her drawings, Down With the Capitol is holding a Halloween Costume Contest (you have until 11:59 ET tonight to enter) and third place prize is a Rat Girl Studios drawing!