Hello, please meet Ursula Vernon aka `ursulav
*laugh* Goodness, where to start? Well, I've been a comic book artist and writer for eight or nine years now, and an illustrator for close to fifteen. I live in North Carolina with my boyfriend and beagle. I'm a gardener and I like wombats.
1. Tell me a little bit about yourself!
I was very pleased to have finished my comic Digger. Seven and a half years is a very long time to work on anything! (And, uh, at the risk of being immodest, winning the Hugo for it didn't hurt.)
2. What is something you've done as an artist that made you feel really good about yourself?
I attend AnthroCon every year. It's my one big con that I still do.
3. Have you ever been to Anthro Con?
Heh! Well...everywhere. Having ideas isn't something I can turn off, they come from everywhere, and the real problem is figuring out where to devote time and energy!--I usually compare it to sitting in a swamp and deciding which mosquito gets to bite you today.
4. Mostly where do you get your ideas from when creating?
Hmm...varies depending on what I'm doing! With writing, I'd say the most important bit for me is the diving in. It's when I feel most creative, when I come up with the awesome little details that tie in together, when I figure out that no, that bit I wrote in as a throwaway detail in Chapter Two is actually vital to the plot and now I can do THIS and woohoo, I AM A MAD GENIUS!
5. At what stage of creating art is the most essential to you for your creative process? Based off this poll [link]
With art, it's the thumbnail sketching stage--ideas are a dime a dozen, my sketchbook is full of stuff that never goes anywhere, but if I get a teeny little sketch that actually excites me, THEN I've got something to work from.
Hmm. I think I have to pick two on this one, because none of these work unless the style and execution is at least solid, and style and execution is hollow if you don't have something worth executing. There are lots of elegantly rendered, utterly forgettable paintings. There are lots of great concepts foiled by lousy execution. And important messages badly rendered are just kind of...sad and earnest. "Okay, I get that you're really concerned about sweatshops, very commendable, but is this supposed to be a chicken or a spatula?"
6. What do you believe is most important when creating a fabulous piece of work? Based off this poll [link]
Well, when I had a day job--and most of us do for quite a long time--I had a lot of time juggling to do. I had to work my eight hours a day, I had a helluva commute, and then I had to make art and practice and do it for years and years, day in and day out, if I ever wanted to quit my day job.
7. As an artist, tell me one of the biggest challenges you had to face and how you dealt/faced with it.
It took a lot of work and commitment. I didn't go out and party a lot. I took my sketchbook to D&D. I had to keep putting in hours when I honestly wasn't very good and knew it and was working on a simple blind faith that if I kept going, I'd get better. So I kept telling myself "Yeah, I suck NOW, but in two years, watch out! I'll be so much better than I am now, it'll be crazy!" And indeed, in two years I WOULD be a lot better. (I'd still not be great, but the difference between sketchbooks was insane.)
Something to do when you're young, though. If I tried to do this now, at thirty-five, I'd need serious chemical intervention. I just don't have the energy to put in eight hours, drive an hour home, and then put in six more on art.
See above about doing it when you're young, and about telling yourself "Just wait, and in two years, if I keep this up, I will be so much better." It's genuinely true. Nobody starts out any good at all.A boatload of optimism and self confidence makes a delicious recipe!
8. Any advice to someone who wants to be an artist, or someone who is just struggling?
Also, life drawing. Everybody wants to draw the cool ideas in their head, but they won't look nearly as convincing if you don't put in some serious hours on life drawing. (Indeed "Drawing-out-of-your-head-itis" is a recognized ailment in art circles. Honestly, sit down and draw your left hand and your shoes and your cat and whatever. Go to the zoo and sketch. It's boring and you don't get something you can put on the internet and have people ooh and ahh, so lots of artists avoid it, but you get better much faster.)
Wombats have armored butts. This fact makes me just unbearably happy.
9. This is a random shoutbox, say whatever you like here!