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Interview with Krishna M. Sadasivam of PCWeenies.net
Life and Leisure by
Posted on Sat, Mar 1, 2008 at 19:30 IST (last updated: Sat, Mar 1, 2008 @ 20:03 IST)
Krishna is an extremely talented professional artist I got the pleasure to discover through his webcomic PCWeenies. For a long time, I had been reading his comic through BBSpot.com but only recently did I establish personal contact with him.
Though Krishna is a qualified engineer, he also graduated in art to pursue his primary passion and has made a career out of it. Currently a full-time art instructor in the Art Institute of Tampa, he lives in the USA with his family. You can find out more about him in his profile and his semi-autobiographical journal comic Uncubed.
I requested an online interview with him and he was kind enough to agree. I thank Krishna for his time and his thoughtful answers and I hope my readers benefit from his insights.
Hari: I'm sure that all my readers would be quite interested in knowing how you got into comic drawing. Were you a born artist?
KMS: lol - I wouldn't say 'born' - but rather something I gravitated towards at an early age
I started drawing at the age of 3 - being somewhat mesmerized by Warner Bros cartoons that would air every weekend
Hari: Very interesting. We know that you were publishing online for around 10 years now. What is the extent of your artistic activity pre-internet era?
KMS: I've been drawing throughout my childhood days - usually scribbles on the side of my books and papers. When I was on the verge of graduating high school I decided that I needed to have more than simple doodles to represent my body of work - and so I started delving into pen and ink pieces.
My earliest original characters were created when I was in the 6th grade. They've followed me over the years (Max, Hubert, etc.) right up until I turned the corner and developed new characters - The PC Weenies
Hari: Having qualified technically (as we know from your blog) how was the transition from there to an art degree? Did you, at any time, feel any pressure to stay with your career (before becoming an art graduate)?
KMS: I felt pressure from several areas - mostly my mother. She warmed up to the idea of me taking control of my own life (and happiness), and with her and my father's blessings I embarked on going back to school for formal training in animation
Engineering was something I was thrust into - it wasn't my real passion
I had a strong aptitude for math so I was encouraged to forgo art in favor of something more "lucrative"
Hari: And at present, which do you derive most satisfaction out of? Teaching art to students, or being an artist?
KMS: Both - I enjoy the process of visual communication - and the students, through their work, spur me to push myself even further.
Hari: If it's not revealing your trade secret, could you let us know the tools of your trade? How do you draw and digitize your pictures? Software/hardware etc.
KMS: Sure - no trade secrets here... I pencil sketch before doing anything digitally. I use Painter X to digitally ink, and Photoshop to color and add text. My pencil sketches are scanned into my computer.
I use a Wacom Intuos3 to digitally ink and color
Hari: Would you advise all artists to use pencil sketches initially? For instance, I draw my cartoons entirely using a pen and tablet. Do you think it's a handicap or an advantage?
KMS: When I started the PC Weenies, I was 100% digital - but then after a few years I rediscovered the magic of the pencil and found out how flexible it was in clearly shaping the form of the characters - to make them look less flat. I know some artists that work purely in a digital format from start to finish - with spectacular results - but for me, there's something a lot more visceral with taking pencil to paper.
Hari: Tell us a little bit more about how you create PC Weenies. Do you work from a script or do ideas crop up suddenly? Is there any schedule you maintain with respect to your online comics?
KMS: Ideas usually crop up on the fly - from there, I prepare the text (aka script) for the comic. Once I feel confident that the words flow well, I proceed to drawing the sketches for the comic
To create the output of comics for the week, I generally work throughout the weekend
Hari: Taking the subject further, what makes a comic artist different from a regular artist? What is the difference in the visualization and conceptualization of a scene, for instance? How do you translate words into visual humour?
KMS: I think a comic artist shares a lot of similarities with the traditional artist. First and foremost, observation is very important. My mind is always thinking about making new comics, even when I'm thinking about other things. For me, visualize the characters first, then add the backgrounds as needed (usually in a spontaneous fashion).
For ideas, I'll usually create a list of words associated with the theme I'm interested in conveying. From there, it's a matter of solving the puzzle -each comic is something akin to a mathematical equation - it's a puzzle that has many solutions - some of which will be more successfully delivered than others
Hari: And if you could point out a single weakness in your bag of tricks, what would it be?
KMS: probably my writing and art
i'm not happy with where I'm at and constantly want to push myself further
I don't know of many artists who feel entirely satisfied with what they have created. When I look at my work, especially after time has passed, all I see are the mistakes...
Hari: What would be your best advise to people looking for a career in art and animation?
KMS: To understand that it's a very competitive environment - and that if you aren't passionate about what you are doing - to find something that you ARE passionate about. You should love to draw, absolutely - in every way. And of course, practice each and every day.
Hari: Finally, we all know you're a happy dad now. Is there any long-term objective you have in mind regarding your career or are you happy to take life as it comes?
KMS: I'm taking life as it comes at the moment. I'm still on my quest to make a book collection of my comics. But for the most part, I'm making everything up entirely as I go along...
Hari: Who is your biggest hero? In life (generally) and in the art world?
KMS: I have a lot of artistic heroes - not one in particular - there are just too many fantastic people out there. As for heroes - I'd have to say my parents - they've been living outside of India for 40 years - they are true pioneers and took a lot of risk and struggle and sacrifice for myself and my sister.
Hari: Many thanks for the interview, Krishna and I wish you all the best in your future endeavors. Your artwork online has been a source of inspiration to many budding artists and I'm sure I'm just one among your many fans. Once again, your time is much valued and appreciated.
KMS: Thank you, Hari. It was my pleasure! Keep on 'tooning!