Interview by Nicole Campos
Hi there! Tell our WeLoveFine.com community a little about yourself - where are you from, how long have you been a designer, etc.
Hi, my real name is Chris and I’m known online as Tsitra360. A nice and easy way to remember my name is that it’s Artist spelled backwards. I’m from Springerville Arizona in the White Mountains. Besides art and graphic design, I do many athletic activities such as snowboarding, soccer, golf, and jogging. I do some forms of Graphic Design for various local businesses nearby, however tee design is verily new to me.
Is drawing something you've always been interested in? And are your awesome skills self-taught or did you study design?
I started drawing relatively late. While a lot of artist would say they were drawing since they could hold a pencil, I didn’t start until my freshman year of high school. In fact I hated art, I didn’t want anything to do with it. It wasn’t until I took a mandatory art class that I discovered I loved drawing. My art teacher, Mrs. Aldrich, did teach me many fundamentals of drawing. The class curriculum was very limited and was more focused on written assignments, so I ended up being more self-taught. I owe all of my art interest to her. This was the turning point in what I wanted to do with my life.
As your style developed, who did you look to for influences and inspiration?
I started watching a lot of time-lapse art videos on Youtube, I loved watching the progression of a sketch turn into a full illustration. My early influences from Youtube would be from Macpulenta and Syrca, great digital artists. Another artist that inspires me is actually a traditional artist. Her name is Linda Huber, who goes by the name Imaginee. She is extremely talented with the traditional pencil and creates the most life-like pencil portraits I have ever seen. In the six years I have been drawing, the first three was in traditional art and I studied a lot of her artwork and techniques.
Your art prints have a very whimsical, distinctive style - talk a little about how that came about and why that became your signature style.
My style...I think is a result of multiple style studies I have performed over the years. It became like a hobby in itself where I would analyze the way a piece of artwork looks the way it looks. I would duplicate the other artist’s artwork even to the point you can’t tell what is the original. This method allows me to have a deeper understanding of the piece and gives me a deeper appreciation of the work than just observing. Of course I don’t actually mimic another artist’s style into my own, what I do is actually apply what I learned from the composition and color dynamics I observed in my studies. Studying from a variety of styles allowed me to create my own style that fits me. As a side effect, I developed a natural ability to recreate what I see and apply a creative twist to them. A useful ability I would need when I progress to become a concept painter.
Who are your favorite ponies to draw and why? On the flip side, are there any characters you find tougher/more challenging to capture?
I honestly like all the characters equally. They all have a realistic personality that I can apply to real people I actually know. That’s one reason I love the show so much. To actually just pick one, it would have to choose Pinkie Pie. She is fun to draw and allows a lot of freedom of creative expression because of all the crazy things she does. The one I consider the hardest to draw would be Twilight Sparkle. Something about her eyes is hard to capture, even though its a relatively simple shape to draw.
Are there any other styles or disciplines that you haven't really worked in but that you'd like to try?
Concept Speed Painting. I grew up learning how to draw objects and subjects full of detail. I like the idea how a concept painting’s main purpose is to convey an idea, where each line or brush stroke isn’t necessarily detail but is an aid to the viewer’s eye. It’s amazing how the brain can actually form the details itself. That’s where Concept Speed Painting receives most of its power from. Artists who excel in this field has the ability to create massive landscapes, bustling cities, or complex robot designs in a matter of hours. I’m already hard at work developing my skills in this category. In any field of art, time and hard work is necessary. It takes a lot of patience to develop those skills.
What are some of your other favorite pop culture characters and shows? Any characters in our store you haven't designed for yet that you'd like to try?
As a kid I grew up watching Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network programs like Rocket Power, Pokemon, CatDog, and Ed Edd n Eddy. Unlike other kids, I actually never bought comics, so when the Marvel or DC movies came out they were all new to me. So if I had to choose...I would love to create an Avengers illustration. The movies they came out for those characters are some of my favorites. Since I didn’t grow up seeing them in a comic style, I would probably aim for a realistic style for all of them. Kind of like a movie poster, highlighting a unique trait of each character...We’ll see ;)
You can follow Chris on Twitter at @tsitra360, and follow us at @welovefinetees!