Ever since I met Laura I fell in love with her art! Her style is simply fascinating, filled with magic and charming characters! Stalking her art gave me the chance to get to know her a little bit and she's a very sweet and helpful person, offering resources to pretty up your profiles, giving words of help and support, creating tutorials for growing artists...
All in all, Laura is a wonderful artist and deviant, totally deserving of being May's Manga and Anime Artist of the Month!!
Getting to know Gasara a bit!
Hello there! Why don’t you tell us something about yourself? We’d love to know a bit about you!
I think that's all the important things covered.
What influenced you to start drawing manga and anime styled works? Have you tried or considered switching to another style different than manga? (realism, cartoon, abstract, photography…)
Digimon was the catalyst. That was the first anime I really got into, back when I was about 14 or 15. Shortly after that I started watching a lot of anime on Cartoon Network and Fox Kids, such as Tenchi Muyo, Escaflowne, Gundam Wing, and Teknoman. I just fell completely in love with the style of the animation and the more mature storytelling. I'd always loved cartoons but anime was just a revelation. Getting into manga was then just a natural progression.
I would have to say that out of everything though Beyblade has to be the most important influence. While I'd already drawn a lot of fan art for the anime I was watching, Beyblade became a real passion and I started buying doujinshi which prompted me to draw my own comics. The circles Utageya, Mugensaika, Gekkasai and B-Lack influenced how I began to draw and eventually my style developed from that into what it is now.
I've never considered switching to another style because how I draw has never been a conscious choice. If I end up drawing in a different style in the future it will be because of how things develop rather than deciding to change. That said, I really enjoy the anime/manga style and while I can appreciate realism and photography, for example, they're not something I'm really interested in turning my hand to.
3) What is the part you love the most about drawing in manga style? And the least?
I think what I love most is the freedom that the style affords me as an artist. I love quirky, whimsical imagery and I think the anime/manga style compliments this nicely. It's easy to create interesting characters and to build bright wondrous worlds where things don't always make sense but it seems acceptable somehow. I can draw floating rocks and stars hanging from chains in the sky and it doesn't need a reason or an explanation.
And my least favourite? There isn't anything I really dislike about actually drawing in this style but I am rather disappointed that there's still a certain stigma associated with it. Many people still reject it as a 'proper' form of art, as though it's somehow worth less than Impressionism or Realism for example. Doing one or the other doesn't make you a better artist, just different. Art is art and I think it's the diversity of it that makes it so interesting. So whether people draw cartoons, stick men, take photos or paint realistic portraits their art should be treated with the same respect that anyone would hope to get for their own.
4) Show us your favourite piece from your gallery! How about another one you love from someone else?
Oh, goodness! That's such a hard decision to make. I think I'll have to say... this piece:
I've always loved jesters. I think I rather romanticised the idea of them when I was younger but there's just something so interesting about them. So for that reason I'm saying this one, and because it captures my love for medieval and whimsical imagery.
But really I cannot choose...
And from someone else? This one by goku-no-baka:
Because Goku is amazing. Because she can draw really intense, breathtaking pictures... And then she will put sausages in them. Goku's art always has the best sense of humour and I really love that.
5) I’m in love with your characters and designs! Can you give us some insight on their story?
Thank you very much! Well, to put it very simply, they get in trouble. It doesn't matter which character you take from any of my stories they will get in trouble. They're basically all adorkable troublemakers with hearts of gold.
From To the Soul you have Masa, a mercenary with eleven shadows, and Munryeo, a priest with half a soul. Munryeo is on a mission to put his soul back together and ends up dragging Masa into things - which he's not overly pleased about. They get in trouble with the Queen and basically try to cure their afflictions without getting arrested. It doesn't always work out.
And from In Fang + Thief / Boys Over Faeries (a two-part story) you have Meiro, a cross-dressing host, and the constantly exasperated Xero who run a bar in the slums of Lower Asgard. The young thief Jun gets in trouble with the law and ends up living at the bar. Chaos ensues.
6) How is your creative process like when you create a new character for your stories?
Haha, there isn't actually a process. I don't necessarily create characters in terms of purposely sitting down to invent or design them, they just happen. It's pretty much just a single thought. And if I draw a character then that initial design will be the one I use. I don't refine or redesign or draft or edit. There may be some natural progression over time but more often than not whatever my first concept is, that's it. And, really, that's not a very useful answer, is it? I'm so sorry... orz
7) What do you love the most about drawing/creating them? Are you considering drawing a manga to tell their story?
I am a very sentimental person. I get attached to the most ridiculous things. Nearly every inanimate object in my house has a name (Dave, usually. The occassional George). My characters? I love them. I adore them. They're my bros. I am ridiculously attached to them and their stories and drawing them is just an absolute joy.
All the characters mentioned above are from manga I plan to draw. They've been in the planning stages a long time now (In Fang + Thief / Boys Over Faeries since 2004 and To the Soul since 2008) but this year will see the start of actually turning those plans into real work. I hope to have the first chapters of both series available later on in the year.
8) What piece of advice would you give to every person out there who wishes to follow the Manga artist path too?
Go for it. Go forth and follow that path. If you have the urge to do it, if you have the inspiration, then you're ready. Draw what you want to draw and let your passion speak for itself. I won't give you any technical advice because I don't think art is really about being good, I think it's about doing and enjoying. So go forth, guys, and enjoy!
9) Is there something else you’d like to say to our readers? Feel free to express yourself!!
Be proud of yourself and enjoy your art. I really think that is the most important thing to do as an artist. I've said this quite a lot in my time on dA but I find it so heartbreaking to see young artists being so hard on themselves. There is a lot of magnificent art here, in real life and all over the web, and I know how easy it is too look at work like that and think 'Am I good enough?'. Well, let me tell you this: You are. You most definitely are. Sure, there might be areas where you could improve, that's true for everyone, but you will. You will improve. And you will learn. So please, please don't worry about whether you'll get better or if you're as good as this person or that person. You will and you are. So please enjoy your art and let it make you happy because you deserve to be ♥