Thanks for reading this post on a very creative and talented artist Alexis Royce. She has a deviant art page here you can check out more artworks of hers and please see the web sample from her work at the bottom of the interview for a quick snippet.
1. Do you remember the first experience you had with drawing/graphic art or manga that made you consider spending this much time to create your own artworks?
I started drawing regularly in middle school. I remember seeing this really awesome illustration of Hades from Hercules, and wishing that I could make something so neat. It kind of clicked in my head that I had pencils and paper, so there was nothing stopping me. My memory tells me that I drew something ridiculously amazing. I’m sure that my imitation was janky and horrible, but I was so proud of it. I got such a rush just putting lines down on paper.
2. Have you experienced any setbacks, or have any advice for new artists out there?
Don’t be scared to use references! That’s how all the amazing artists got that way. You can’t draw good trees from memory until you’ve practiced from references a bunch. Start building that visual library early!
3. Do you have any direct inspirations for your art or writing style and how do you plan your art so that you separate yourself from other artists?
Unless I’m doing a study, I try to think of style as little as possible. I prefer to grab elements from anything that strikes me as good. In the past, thinking about certain traits as “my style” has made me more likely to shy away from trying new things. It’s okay to feel comfortable in your identity as an artist, but for me, I don’t feel like I’m anywhere near good enough to set down roots.
As far as writers go, I love Alan Moore, and Hidetaka “SWERY” Suehiro. They write with this blunt sort of earnestness, and make characters that stick with you. If I could be half as delightful a writer as Swery is, I could honestly die happy.
4. What are some of your favorite tools in creating artworks and what tools have been lackluster in their use?
I am extremely fortunate, last year I obtained a Wacom Cintiq. The bones in my drawing arm are slightly deformed, so while it doesn’t get in the way in most aspects of life, drawing can be rather painful at times. The cintiq has been such a relief on my wrist and arm.
I also started using watercolors this year! It’s so much fun to be able to sketch with colors on the go now! Normal brushes were a bit of a pain to work with, but water brushes are just perfect.
5. What are some of the more recent anime you have liked? How about from previous seasons 5 years ago or longer?
Last week, I started a little project where I watch the first episode of every anime I can legally obtain, no matter the genre or scenario. It’s already been amazing, watching the sheer number of storytelling methods out there!
Currently, I’m completely addicted to Danganronpa 3. I’m usually not half bad at telling where a story is going, but this one is anyone’s guess! Danganronpa is a story normally told with games, but the creators specifically wanted to use an anime to finish their plot. I’m intensely excited to see what aspects of the medium they use.
6. How do you feel about the way anime has changed stylistically over the years, especially with computer art becoming prominent?
I like the way it’s progressed! In the late nineties and early 2000’s, it felt like a lot of anime failed to capture the stunning grace and energy of a manga-ka’s (and their team’s) linework. But now, it feels like studios are more coming into creating things with a cinematography and form that is distinctly different, but just as beautiful as their manga counterparts. And the animation quality coming out of some of these studios is marvelous!
7. Do you have any favorite music or shows you listen to while working?
I like to listen to new tv and youtube shows while I work; I have to keep the distraction-prone part of my brain busy so that everything else can focus. Novelty tends to work better than familiar stuff. But if I’m on a deadline, Lucky Star and the Shin-chan dub complete a magical atmosphere for me. I can stay up forever with those silly jokes ringing in my ears!
8. Do you have any favorite snacks?
I’ve had to cut back on snacks lately, so it’s black coffee all the way! But I’ll eat pretty much any snack or fast food set in front of me. I’m dreaming of cheetos right now.
9. If you are dreaming and living your dream where do you hope to wake up? Sorry that was a funny way to ask where do you hope your talents will take you?
I’m a full-time artist right now, so this is my dream! I don’t think I’d ever want to be a big-time creator, though. I couldn’t handle that kind of responsibility! I just want to keep improving, making enough money to pay the bills, and churning out enough pages to make my small little group of readers happy.
10. I really like your Sire series, can you explain any inspirations behind it?
Thank you so much! The premise for Sire comes straight from my love of old Western Literature. When I was young, I started reading at an early age, and noticed that adaptations of classic works had way better stories than the stuff that was written for my age group. But it kind of blew my mind early on that sometimes, a cunning hero would save the day, but in other books, another smart hero might be punished for not being honest. Different authors didn’t just like different qualities, but they would punish people for completely different reasons! Learning that morality can be kind of arbitrary was kind of a slap in the face, and I never quite let it go.
12. I got a chance to meet you at a con and you not only signed my book but drew a picture in it, as a fan that was really freaking cool! Can you recount any interesting stories or even caveats of being in the artist alleys at cons?
Well, I had to thank you, didn’t I? Even if I’m swamped at a con, I always do my best to make time to draw in the books I sell. The first time I ever attended an Anime Con, an artist I really admire did the same thing for me. People can spend their money or their time on anything. If they choose my comics, then I owe it to them to make it worth it!
13. Have you read any new Manga lately, (I still have to finish to many series like Ranma 1/2 and Vampire Knight… as well as Sire lol), and which authors are your favorites of all time?
When I was in Japan last year, I got hooked on Matsui Yuusei’s Assassination Classroom. I love psychological horror and death game stories, so I went in expecting something bizarre and brutal. Little did I know that I’d end up with a hilarious, heartwarming sucker punch to the gut! The anime’s out now, too, and it’s quite good. Yoshimizu Kagami’s Lucky Star is also a favorite of mine. They stopped translating it, so I’m brushing up on my Japanese so I can keep reading it.
14. I have had trouble really making my art unique I usually just draw and it comes out, do you plan your artworks or writing or try to convey any particular emotions specifically with your style and how?
I plan, but not as much as I should. I work from a script for my comics, and when doing larger pieces, I do a few thumbnails first to get the composition right. I’m a terribly emotional person, so my comics tend to be a touch on the melodramatic side. I worry that my characters yell at each other a bit too much. But then again, there’s a lot of yelling in manga, right?