Friday, 10 April 2015

Illustrators Arise: Kadi Fedoruk

Hiya there, creative people! How you've been this fine morning? Well, get ready to get cheered up by yet another wonderful Illustrators Arise! This month, as you might have guessed, we're going for the literary route. So I'm inviting an avid webcomic artist, Kadi Fedoruk, the brain behind Blindsprings. If you've been on tumblr or the webcomic world long enough, you might have known about it. That's where I found her and I haven't stopped obsessing over her series since. Kadi lives in Vancouver, Canada, where she spends countless hours in a day drawing and maybe drinking tea while she's at it. So let's give it up for Kadi!

Hi there, Kadi! First, I’d like to ask when did you start drawing and why?
Hello! I've been drawing since I was a little kid, and art was always one of my favourite activities.  My dad is a home designer, and had a myriad of art supplies lying around the house that I was welcome to use. I didn't start being serious until around eighteen or so, when I realized that what my goals were (to work in feature films) didn't match what sort of art I was doing (a lot of anime fanart). Art always came easy to me and I didn't really push myself to get better in a broader sense until that point.

There seems to be a lot of background practices and speed paintings on your tumblr blog, aside from the webcomic update. Did you go to art school? If yes, what have you learnt there apart from art?
I graduated from Capilano University in 2008, finishing my Commercial Animation Diploma. It covered animation, layout design, storyboards, lifedrawing and a bit of scriptwriting but ultimately Capilano is a school built to help students get work in the local TV animation community. Most of the time it works! My class unfortunately graduated the year of the recession which hit the animation community hard. Usually every student can find a job within a year-- It took me four years and I’m one of the lucky ones.
The reason there are a bunch of speedpaints and studies is because I wanted to focus my learning to areas that I felt I lacked in, namely backgrounds and painting. Both skills are now what I’d consider a strength of mine, so now I’m expanding my self paced studies to other areas, like storyboarding and character design.

Mostly what I learnt from Capilano, besides the necessary skills to actually animate, is that animation is a lot of hard work and those of us who worked on projects outside of work are often the ones who people later hear of. The program was only two years and highly focused on getting us jobs, not to nurture us as “Artists”. Animation, at least TV animation, is more hard work than artistry.

What kind of materials do you usually work with?
I have a 22HD Cintiq that I use Photoshop on. That’s pretty much it!  I’m trying to learn Manga Studio because it’s a way better program for comics than photoshop but it’s a hard learning curve when I’ve been drawing with a tablet in Photoshop for 12 years.

Let’s talk about Blindsprings! How did it all start and where did the ideas come from?
Blindsprings was started in October 2007 when I drew a witch girl with a brush pen and just kept adding more and more curls… a day later I drew Tammy almost exactly how she looks now. The characters in Blindsprings came first, with Tammy and Rajani, who has yet to be revealed. The original story was called Wyrding U and was a lot different! It was similar to Harry Potter (perhaps too similar) but the two types of magic began at that time. I even started Wyrding U as a comic in 2009, but only finished three pages before I realized that comics need a lot more planning for the storyline if you’re doing something longterm.
As for the ideas themselves, it’s mostly just tropes and ideas I loved as a kid, or ideas that came about after bouncing ideas off friends.

Aside from the story and characters, I feel like the clothes in Blind Springs are iconic. How did you come up with all these outfits? Do you draw inspiration from fashion trends?
One of my favourite comics ever is Cardcaptor Sakura, and one of my favourite things about that comic is how often everyone’s clothing changes. Even Sailor Moon haad multiple outfit changes. I always loved drawing clothes and I could never settle on anything iconic enough to be the only outfit a character would wear, so I ended up just changing everyones clothes like normal people.
The designs themselves come from a loose timeframe of turn of the century to the 1950s, with the Academics wearing more old fashioned clothing, while the revolutionary Orphics wear clothing a bit more daring.  The old court dresses from the Orphic ruling class are partially historical Russian Costume, and partially by fashion designers, like John Galliano and Alexander McQueen.

I see you’re raising money to turn Blindsprings into a book. Can you tell us how it’s been going so far and how to support it?
I will be running a Kickstarter over the summer for the first book, so watch out for that! I’m also running a Patreon that helps me be able to work on Blindsprings full time but it’s not for producing a book as much as it is for producing my online content.

Oh sorry! Would you be interested in creating a new comic one day, online or otherwise?
Yes! I have too many ideas not to do more in the future! I’ve done two one-shots so far, one for The Black Torch and the other for the Valor Anthology and I hope that I can do some more.

Are there any webcomics or graphic novels that you like?

I read a lot of manga, and my favourite of that is Horimiya, a slice of life shonen romance that was actually based on a webcomic and is delightfully different than most manga romances. I read Paranatural, Stand Still, Stay Silent, Namesake and The Black Brick Road of Oz, and looking forward to Tessa Stone’s new comic!

What does the future look like for Kadi Fedoruk?
Hard to say!!! I was pursuing my future in animation before this point but as a full time comic artist, my goals are up in the air. I just want to keep learning and producing new content, and hopefully one day I can pay it forward with some other artists.

Do you have any advice or wisdom to share with amateur illustrators out there, such as myself?
Work hard, but take care of yourself too! I did not heed this advice so now I am working hard to get myself to be healthy. Don’t put yourself last!

A little note from me

Though, aside from Blindsprings, Kadi's name is relatively unheard of, her work in said series is remarkable. Keeping in mind that she managed her webcomic since before she worked on it full time and still delivers wonderfully is something that doesn't happen often in this industry. Her determination is clearly put to the test and she prevailed! Blindsprings is also not one of those webcomics where the illustration and the story had to compete to get first place. It serves on both account and that's why it has so many loyal readers: it has an original story, amazing character designing and top-notch pixel quality. As she said, Kadi was taught hard work at her school and everyone can see that it pays off. If you haven't checked out her webcomic, you should! It's so carefully constructed, you would get sucked into their world.

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