Thursday, October 23, 2008

Q&A with Karin Rindevall, part 1

Karin Rindevall lives in Sweden, speaks more than one language, and colors Teddy and the Yeti. We met online some months ago and since then I haven't stopped being amazed at some of the work she does - and that's not just lip service. I would put her work on Teddy and the Yeti up against anyone in the industry today, and I'd feel confident in my choice...which is why I'm so very lucky to have her working on the book.

I sent Karin a few questions about her work and her life, and what I received was unabashedly detailed and thorough. Because of this I'll split up this q&a into two sections, which just gives us all more to look forward to.

I very well might publish some of this correspondence in an issue of T&Y, but for now, it'd be criminal of me to keep these to myself any longer. And so I give you the first part of a question and answer session with artist Karin Rindevall.

JM: Tell me about your art...what are you working on now? You've done some colors for Teddy and the Yeti, but you have more on your plate, I'm sure.

KR: Right now I am working on my own comic project called "Forsupen" - a plot based on a story I wrote when I was 13. It's a hobby project and since I am a full-time student, the progress is pretty slow.

Forsupen means "drunken" in Swedish, in a somewhat "abandoned/fallen" kind of way. The comic's story is really wide and follows a lot of characters from casual everyday problems to really critical issues like surviving in war. It begins with a man with alcohol problems, which is why I used the word "Forsumen", because the word is old fashioned and fascinates me.

Aside from coloring Teddy and the Yeti, I am taking on other freelance commissions once in a while. Sadly, I don't have much time to draw on other projects than [those] these days because right now I try to focus a lot on my studies, so I am trying to stick to coloring Teddy and the Yeti and working on one or two other commissions. Usually I am the multitasking type - I like getting involved with as many projects as possible!

JM: So you study art in school?

KR: I am not entirely an art student. I study a game graphics program, specializing [in] animation. I love to animate! I went to a 2-D animation college where I developed a lot of my artistic skills before entering the University of Skovde. Within the university's courses, I take part in projects that develop games in real development settings (six-eight hours a day). Thus far I have been part of four different game projects during my time at the university, one of them being "official", and my current fifth project soon to be official/commercial (in a year). I will graduate in May and hope to be able to use my artistic talents within a game development team really soon!

JM: What's the process that you go through while creating your art? How much of what do you depends on technology and how much, if any, is by hand?

KR: When it comes to coloring Teddy and the Yeti, I am working entirely digitally. I work in Photoshop, which is standard for me when it comes to work in high resolution (like comics). Even though I have been working digitally since 1998, I haven't learned until recently that it is very important to use references for coloring to make it look more "real". This is important even if you don't necessarily want [the artwork] to look photo realistic because you can learn a lot from studying colors, shading, highlights, different mood settings, etc. - even if you intend to color or draw in a cartoony way.

As an artist, I actually started digitally and learned to respect and handle natural mediums after that. Computer graphics and art fascinated me as soon as I got the Internet, and I started experimenting with it way before I practiced to use real pencils and brushes. Things I learned in digital drawing were really useful for me when I started to paint on real canvas - like how to blend colors by hand by remembering the RBG values and how to mix layers in Photoshop and such. Traditional mediums were not really appealing to me before I learned to paint on the computer.

JM: So which do you prefer? Computer-mediated or traditional?

KR: If someone would ask me to pick computer tools or traditional tools when it came entirely to drawing, I think I would have to pick traditional tools because there is just something about them that you can never achieve on a computer (the feeling of it?). However, this choice all depends on what period I am in, because sometimes it's easier to sketch and color on the computer and sometimes it's easier on paper.

I am also very dependent on the computer because it's so easy to find references for colors or objects/creatures I need to paint. And these days, since I work a lot in 3-D, I could never live without a computer.

JM: What do you like best about the creation process?

KR: The freedom in storytelling. Don't get me wrong, I love to write as much as I love to draw, but when I find a really, really amazing piece of art, I could really agree to the phrase "a picture could tell more than a thousand words." One of the moments I like the best about creating art and comics is the moment I can achieve something [in relation to] that phrase; to show something other than simple colors and a motive in a piece - to show a story - to show something that means something to someone else, even if it means something different than it meant to me creating it.

JM: What's your level of involvement with Teddy and the Yeti?

KR: Right now I do all my best to color the pages of Teddy and the Yeti. I have a pretty tight schedule, but I always enjoy coloring and I think working on Teddy and the Yeti is a good way for me to develop my coloring techniques. I get to work with other professional comic artists and that is a great experience for any artist, I think.


I'll stop there for now...the remainder of the interview will be posted in the next few days. Be sure to check out Karin's website at!

No comments: