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Exclusive Interview with Fan Artist Becc Johnson

unnamed-1As part of our ongoing series on Fan Artists I’d like to introduce you to Becc Johnson who works primarily in the Supernatural and Marvel universes, but has been known to throw in a mashup or two.

Hi Becc, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us here at TNWU.  Will you take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers?

I live in Queensland, Australia, where I grew up. I work at a small local school as a library aide. It’s very close to the beach and I rent a place nearby, so I spend a lot of great afternoons eating fish and chips by the water. I’ve always loved art and drawing but never had a lot of confidence with it. After seeing some amazing fan art on DeviantArt and thinking about the movies and shows that I liked, I decided it would be fun to try something like that, and I signed up to dA, that was late in 2009.

Have you always drawn/painted?  How did your work evolve?

I’ve always drawn and painted, though not more so than most kids when I was younger, the only difference being I kept it up. I started off traditionally and then when I was about 17 I started trying digital art and got my first tablet. I think in the beginning I tried a style that was simple and inspired by animation. I still think animation is an amazing craft, but I’ve learnt it’s not for me. I like the way a realistic image pops on the page.

When I started posting on dA those early works were very realistic, though I’ve tried lots of different styles since. I like experimenting, I’m a lot more confident now and I have a clearer idea of what I do and don’t like.

One of the greatest things (maybe the only thing) about getting older is that you do become naturally more self-confident.  Did you attend art school?  What was your favorite thing about art school?  Conversely, what was your least favorite thing?

I completed two years of study in animation at the Queensland College of Art, though I went on to study business and started working in libraries. My favourite thing about QCA was just having access to all the resources, all the art books, and magazines. That really opened my eyes. My least favourite thing was the travel; it was two hours one way! Not fun. Really I think I was lucky to be able to go there, and try something as niche as animation. Here, there really isn’t a lot of work in that field and often people don’t understand what it is.

I think that college and/or university is a great place to try different things if you have the time and resources.  A broad base of knowledge is never a bad thing!  Is your art your main source of income?  Is it a hobby?  If you sell your prints, where can people shop for them?

Art isn’t a huge source of income for me, though I did give freelancing a go and I’ve done commissions in the past, I’m happy at this point to not have the pressure of making it into a career. I have some prints available at my Society6 shop.

What medium(s) do you work with?  What about that medium speaks to you?  In what way does it allow you to express your vision(s)?

Pretty much 99% of what I post online is digital. I love keeping a sketchbook, but it’s my place where I figure stuff out and practice, so it’s quite boring, and I stick to simple pencil or pen. Working digitally allows me to think on the page while editing and altering parts of the image and testing out different ideas and effects. I love the ability to experiment without having to commit. The drawback of that being that it’s possible to waste too much time noodling around.

From where do you draw your inspiration?  Or maybe it’s better to ask, what makes you stop and think, ‘I’ve got to get that image painted/drawn’?

That’s a tricky question, sometimes I’ll see a photo that inspires an idea or I’ll want to paint it as a study piece, but more often I have an idea or I’m given a prompt and I’ll make a doodle then dig around online for some photo reference, either using Google images or Pinterest. When I can find a reference that works with my idea and if I can sketch things out more fully, honestly that’s when I get the most inspiration and I start to think, I have to draw this. Before that moment, it feels a lot like stumbling around in the dark, uncertain if I’m on the right track.

You are known for your work with Supernatural and the Marvel Universe is there anything I’m overlooking?  Is there a fandom (or series) that you feel drawn to that would be a new arena for you?  Do you accept commissions?

A few things spring to mind, Penny Dreadful and Game of Thrones are both exciting series that I love to follow. I’ve done a crossover between Penny Dreadful and SPN already that was a lot of fun! I’m not sure if I’d branch out too much more beyond Marvel and SPN, to be honest, I feel like I have my hands full with both of those. Currently, I don’t accept commissions, but it’s a possibility for the end of the year, when in Australia we have summer holidays, so I won’t be working at the school.

Did you participate in the Supernatural On Line Art Show this past fall?  Are you planning to exhibit in the one that is coming up?  Was the show a good experience?  Did you find you gained followers because of the show? 

Yes, I posted two pieces for the show of Sam and Dean at different moments, one called, The Last Days of Summer and a little something based on the last scene from Croatoan. It was a great experience and I loved being a part of the show and I did gain followers too, which was a wonderful bonus! Also, I was able to find some new artists and their work that I wasn’t aware of before. I’m looking forward the upcoming show on June 3rd.

What advice would you offer to someone who is interested in pursuing his/her talent in art?  Another way to look at the question is what would you like to go back and tell yourself?

I think some good general advice is to just try things out, and if you’re not sure where to start, pick a project to work on. Last year I did a short Captain America comic, and I learnt a lot from it – invaluable. Collaborations and challenges are great as well; they keep you motivated and often give you a deadline. As part of the spn_J2_xmas exchange, I got to fill an awesome prompt requesting a bit of hurt Sam and Dean. If I could go back and give myself some advice I’d tell myself not to worry so much, to be patient, and just keep drawing.

We call ourselves Talk Nerdy With Us and we take pride in our collective nerdiness!  What are you willing to share with us that you feel qualifies you to Talk Nerdy?

Probably my love for art books, I love collecting anything from the annual Spectrum volumes to concept art books for films – the concept art books are some of my favourites. I have a beautiful LOTR art book that’s filled with works by Alan Lee; I think I could gush about that all day. I’m also looking forward to getting the art book for Captain America: Civil War, I have a spot on my bookshelf waiting, right beside Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

 

Links are included in the interview and below for anyone interested in following Becc and her art.

 

You can follow Becc on social media at:

Twitter

DeviantArt

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