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Tibb's Eve? What's Tibb's Eve? I flicked through the magazine my interviewee had sent me as the plane rumbled off into the sky, leaving Japan — and Chou Toshio — behind. I was traveling to the other side of the world again: East to West, Orient to Occident, bad to worse. I'm talking about the airline food, of course. Apparently Tibb's Eve is like most weekend nights in Britain — people get incredibly drunk and "have a good time". I waved away the tiny bottle of wine that a steward was offering me and daydreamed out of the window. In what state would I find paintseagull after those kinds of festivities? How would she get to America anyway?
To my surprise, and definite relief, I shook off the snow to find paintseagull sitting neatly in the corner of a warm pub. People near the bar were definitely getting smashed, but fortunately my interviewee had restrained herself to a mere pint of brandy. The interview could now begin.
I guess I'll start this off as I always do — where are you from, and other basics like that?
I'm from St. John's, Newfoundland. I'm currently living in Toronto, but I'm in St. John's at the moment for Christmas holidays.
Ah, good old Canada; a vestige of the British Empire.
paintseagull rolls her eyes and — so as not to give the impression of impoliteness — quietly clears her throat, awaiting the next question.
So what got you into the wonderful franchise of Pokemon?
Nothing specific got me in to Pokemon, it just always appealed to me since I first saw commercials for the TV show and games. My first game was Blue — I think it's funny that when I was younger and first got into the games, I had way fewer friends who played Pokemon than I do now when I'm much older than the target audience!
What brought you to Smogon?
I kept seeing it mentioned on Serebii, which I usually just went to for news. So one day I Googled it and found out about the competitive Pokemon thing, and thought it was pretty interesting. I never really got into competitive battling, but decided to try a CAP design and then started a thread in Smeargle, and just stuck around.
And what a good thing that you did!
paintseagull looks away sheepishly and takes a swig of brandy.
Indeed, you seem to have quite a fondness for CAP, and for one of its most prolific contributors Rising_Dusk. Why is this?
I just think it's great how CAP really thinks out every single detail about the Pokemon they make and then can actually play with them, and the other great artists there drew me to it as well. RD and I just got to chatting one time about beer and grad studies, and it's come up a few times since!
Moving onto subjects other than the website, what is your history with art? What has inspired you to pick up the brush/tablet/seagull?
I haven't had any education in art, except for a couple classes in high school. As for what inspired me, nothing in particular I guess. It's just always been something I loved doing. I don't remember ever not loving drawing. I don't think I was hugely talented as a kid, I've just practiced lots, and I don't really super believe in talent anyway. Anyone who wants to learn to draw can do it.
Linking quite neatly into the next question: how did you develop your style?
Gosh I don't know about the style thing. Honestly it really isn't something that I do consciously. Everyone has always told me "that's so cute!!!!", even when I try so hard to make something not cute. So now I just embrace it and try to make everything as cute as possible, most of the time. I also try to keep anatomy and proportions and composition and perspective in mind even when I'm doing something cartoony. The coloring thing is actually something I always try to fix. I think the low contrast thing feels safe to me subconsciously. I have to actively fight against myself to push the contrast.
So can we expect more 'daring' pieces in future? Not Chou Toshio 'daring', mind you.
paintseagull laughs politely, but in some ways it's a traumatic memory for both of us.
I would like to keep pushing myself, yes. I try to learn something new when I'm doing a bigger, more finished piece, but at the same time I want to embrace what I'm good at, because for a long time I felt like I didn't really have a niche or style for my work.
Do you have any plans for the future, artistically or otherwise?
No plans specifically art-wise. I hope to continue to do things for The Smog because it gives me a reason and a deadline to keep producing something, and I never get sick of drawing Pokemon. Hoping to also continue developing my photography skills; I love how I can instantly capture something that inspires me with photography and present it from my perspective. Post processing is fun too.
And I have to ask: what did you think of the Smeargle's Studio Secret Santa this year? That's a lot of sibilance right there.
The Secret Santa has been awesome! I like my request and I like what I received and everything that everyone else has done has been great and creative and funny. Though we should ban Rodan he's an asshole.
This outburst surprised me a little; the brandy must have been getting to her.
It's definitely true that Rodan's original submission was... lacking in Christmas Spirit. Finally, the most important question of all: the question that will cause the earth to shake and the skies to rain down fire (in the Winter, no less!) What is your favorite Pokemon?
Raichu! I've been playing since first gen, and how can a first gen Pokemon not be your favorite? Electric-types in general are my favourite too, though poor Wingull! :( Wingull was never my favorite. Seagulls are a favorite animal of mine which is part of why I go by "paintseagull". For a Pokemon forum I figured I ought to use a Wingull avatar with a username like that.
One day I'll be able to predict a favourite Pokemon correctly, and then I'll become rich and famous! Or I'll just get a bit of self-gratification in my head, but whatever.
paintseagull's art is a beautiful blend of light colors and clean lines, which overall makes for a refreshing viewing experience. While her art may not be as dark as Yilx's, or as detailed as Chou Toshio's, it is a fantastic canvas of simplicity and talent.
In some ways paintseagull's work is reminiscent of that of a child's, but with much better technique and execution; the colors are slightly desaturated and the brushstrokes prominent, but at the same time she manages to maintain crisp outlines and whimsical line art. It is this adorable line art which forms the backbone of paintseagull's pieces, which is emphasized through the aforementioned techniques.
You can check out paintseagull's art thread here.
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