I first came across ~vantid when I started out here at DeviantART. I have been a fond admirer of ~vantid's work for sometime now and it has been such an honor to sit here and watch this deviant grow in talent and in skill! Each piece brings to the table beautiful landscapes and details beyond imagination. ~vantid's passion for what she does is clear and out on the table with each piece she presents! It has been such an honor to be able to feature and interview you, Amber! Thank you!
So without further adue, I hope you guys enjoy this feature and interview!
Tell us a little bit about yourself! What first perked your interest in the Anthro community and Anthro art itself?
I've been drawing funny animal headed people for as long as I can remember. I never liked humans in art so I scorned them as a kid. Animals are way cooler! When I first joined the internet in 2001, I met on a forum we both frequented. I looked at her website, found a section on "furry", and went looking. That's when I found Elfwood, Yerf, and the VCL.
What is your favorite medium to work with? Why?
I enjoy working in coloured pencil the most, with digital edging right up on it. I feel the way I handle coloured pencil has a unique feel to it, one I'd like to spend more time cultivating. I feel very at peace when working with a finely pointed pencil across my favorite paper. The medium is precise, capable of amazing realism, and yet I can also paint with it by dissolving the pigment in mineral spirits and a brush. Coloured pencil art has a vibrant glow that is very satisfying to create. Unfortunately, no scanner can capture its beauty satisfactorily.
What is your favorite piece from your gallery? Why?
Sometimes when painting, I get a sense of actually being there as I work. I want that from every piece, but with Seawolves it came very easily. I feel very connected to water so as the texture of the waves emerged, I felt I could make it sharper and ever more realistic. As I said, i try to draw upon my own experience for my work, and so I tried to channel the sense of wonder I felt upon seeing orcas in the wild so close that the mist from their exhaled breath hit me in the face. I wanted people to feel as if they were underwater with the werewolf, and I wanted the lighting to be beautiful.
Your work envelopes the most beautiful detail and colors! Your work is always unique and refreshing to the viewer. Where did you pick up your artistic style from? It looks like you use several different styles of art and painting. What is your favorite to work with?
Thank you so much! My style has been evolving all my life, and will continue to do so, but I do strive for a certain look. I like for there to be an emotional connection with the viewer, and so I look for artwork that inspires that in me. is one of my favorite and influential artists. I love her sense of light and emotion.
I have looked to many wildlife painters for inspiration, Guy Coheleach and Edward Aldrich are two of my favorites, that I am hard pressed to choose. Both have delightful squishy renderings of animals with gorgeous colours and compositions that make my eyes wiggly with joy. Guy Cohealeach's sketches changed how I sketched. His gestures were loose and obvious fast, so I called them shot gun sketches. He obvious just pointed a pencil at the paper and went BANG! And there he had some art. Seriously though, I decided to try some of how he sketched, and it has stuck with me ever since.
It was Edwards Aldrich's wildlife painting book that turned me on to Rembrandt's work. Rembrandt's deep light in his portraits moved me to do the same with my own work, while emulating the look of oils in my digital painting.
Later, it was Terryl Whitlatch's along with William D. Berry art that inspired me to rethink the forms of the animals I draw, and gestures from Claire Wendling. I am still finding artists that inspire me to rethink the way I work, yet I strive to stay with the look of my own work. I never want it to look like someone else's art!
Where does most of your inspiration come from for your artwork?
I try to draw from life experiences as much as possible, whether it's observing an animal in life or enjoying the feeling of the moment. If I can get whatever it is I see or feel on the canvas, then I've done my job as an artist. I spend a lot of time making adventures for myself, and I find adventure in everything. Some adventures include trips to mountains, forests, and oceans. Others are simple bike rides down the road or a drive to the grocery store. There is so much to see even among the mundane. Light and shadow, textures and hidden gems of inspiration.
I also spend a lot of time looking at photos on DeviantArt, Tumblr and Flickr. I look at other cultures, scenery, stunning compositions and lighting, attitudes in animals and people. Things often coalesce into solid ideas after lots of browsing and researching about new things.
Being an artist we always find ourselves improving and growing from our old works. What is your least favorite piece in your gallery? Have you learned a lot since this piece artistic wise?
Well, how about I choose a piece that I am fond of but have since grown enough to realise how much it could be improved?
Sushi Cat is a concept I am very fond of and hope to revisit some day. I can now see the perspective of the floor doesn't match the cat, the rendering of the wood texture is poor, as is the serving of sushi. I should have painted an ornate arrangement of fish like what is presented at a fine sushi bar so show pride in both the art form of sushi and my own work. I've learned more about anatomy and could improve upon how the cat looks. I have also learned a lot about reflections and would have painted the gold accents with more accuracy. Composition is something I've learned more about, and I would have had more space above his head, and perhaps a little less at his feet. All in all, it's still a successful piece, one that I am proud to have made, but it also demonstrates how much I have learned, and perhaps not learned, in the last four years.
Being an Anthro artists what do you find to be personally challenging about the medium in itself?
I think many anthro artists will tell you, blending animal with human! The degree of hybridisation always varies, and to me making a mostly human anthro is the hardest of all. Getting digitigrade legs to look solid and real is always a challenge. I have to look at bone and muscle, tendon and skin, and then fur patterns on top of that. Fur on the human body is a challenge because I try to imagine how it would change from one part of the body to the next like on real animals. Which way does it lay? Where will it poof out toward the viewer, where away?
How long have you had a passion for Anthro art? Was there someone who inspired you? A group of people?
As I said, I've been drawing animal headed people for my entire life, along with fantasy critters. I do have a preference for animal creatures over full blown anthros, but I appreciate them all. Anyway, artists like , , and we some of the first folks that made my 19 year old self go "Whooaaaaaaa, I wish I were as cool as them!" I began to make friends with people online, and they were certainly an inspiration. I had a lot of fun drawing other people's characters
Is there anything that you are working on, project wise / art wise, that you want to share with the community?
Besides my commission work, I have plans for next year's Werewolf Calendar! I am doing a piece about extinct werewolves based on the Japanese wolves. I get to paint moss, and a cool old bell, and WATER! Haha. I have many plans for more art with water as well, I want to do more animals floating beneath the surface, and I also have more animals with beer I'd like to do.
Artwise I have been teaching myself watercolour. I hate it and love it, and have fun with it.
Do you have any advice to offer future / current / aspiring Anthro artists?
Don't try to copy someone else's look or style. Some artists have very unique or signature ways of drawing certain features like eyes, hands, or texture. If you emulate that artist, other people can tell you are just mimicking someone else. If that artist really inspires you, that's awesome! But don't get stuck in a rut of making a knock off of someone else's work. Look to nature to inspire you, and find new ways to express your vision.
There are hundreds of online resources for artists, from art books to colour theory apps to anatomy diagrams. Spend time learning, always learning. Read books. Watch documentaries. Raid the favs of your favourite artists to see what makes them want to get arting! I see a lot of people worrying about not getting commissions. Don't worry about taking commissions, just draw! Be happy with creating art for yourself. Find the joy of inspiration and creation within yourself.