Learn from a professional artist – an interview with the skilled artist and blogger based in Sweden, Andrea Femerstrand.
Introducing Andrea Femerstrand
Andrea Femerstrand specializes in animal and character design illustration. Her work is beautiful, demonstrating an awareness for and mastery for color, anatomy, expression, and emotion. Her technical skills enhance her imaginative characters, and really brings them to life.
She writes at her blog, Noukah, where she discusses digital art and illustration and shares her knowledge in useful articles and tutorials. Additionally, you can find posts about her life. I really love it! The content is wonderful, and the layout is beautiful!
If are looking to see some gorgeous art today, be sure to stop by Andrea’s porfolio.
Hi! Thanks so much for taking the time to complete this interview. You rock! Please introduce yourself!
Why thanks for inviting me, and for your kind words! My name is Andrea Femerstrand, and I like entertaining other by drawing cute animals.
I spend most of my days holding a pencil in my left hand, by fighting off a very clingy cat with my right hand. Either creating content for my blog, freelancing on some illustration project, or working part time with games. I probably work too much(Been struggling to find the right balance for almost 10 years now), so I try to mix things up from time to time by hitting the gym. Oh, and I live in Sweden -the land of Ikea and Smörgåsbord.
My long term memory is extremely good and photographic, so I have memorized lots of animated films. It’s very handy when my animator friends are in search for references for a specific animation; I also annoy my boyfriend by quoting old commercials, because I can remember useless things like that as well.
My unusual super power is finding four leaf clovers. I can spot them from a far distance, and one summer I managed to pick over 200 four leaves. I was born in Hungary a few weeks after the nuclear accident in Tjernobyl, so maybe that’s why I’m a bit strange in that sense ;)
When did you start making art? What does art offer you?
Art has defined me my entire life. Lacking enough toys as a toddler, I played drawing games with my parents, which has set the ground for my love for art. Since then it has been both a blessing and a curse.
I was pretty shy when I was growing up, so art became a natural way for me to approach new people. Me drawing in front of others always worked well as an ice breaker, and all the compliments I received encouraged me to keep going.
However, it has been a tricky balance sometimes. Being praised that often has a price, it made me think that I was nothing without art. And at the same time, I didn’t want to buy my friends by drawing pictures to them.
I still work a lot on keeping my self worth and art separated, and to take control of my art instead of letting it control me. If that makes any sense.
I try to draw and paint what matter for me most of the time, and I also consider myself lucky that I can draw for a living.
Art has definitely offered me plenty of self growth, it’s a life long journey that I really enjoy, despite the struggles from time to time.
Which piece or series are you most proud of and why? Is there a story behind it?
Wow. This is a hard one. I’m very proud of The Mooster. Had lots of fun painting it, and it’s pretty cool that it went viral.It was a really spontanious idea that came to me one day, while scribbling during a trip. I drew a grinning moose with a mouth full of sharp teeth. I saved it for later, and after a few months, I managed to paint this. I’m also very fond of another older piece called “A Tribute to the Mighty”. You can read my back story about it HERE. It’s fan art based on my all time favorite story. If you haven’t read the novel or seen the movie “The Mighty”, I can highly recommend them both. Don’t forget the tissues ;)
What would you say is your main source of inspiration?
Animals. Especially our own pets. Having two cats and a free range bunny running around at home is awesome. They’re always up to something fun, and their little adventures always spark some ideas and inspiration. I also feel inspired when listening to music. Movies or people I meet can also be nice sources of inspiration.
What are your favorite artist tools? What does your workflow look like?
I work mainly in Photoshop nowadays; it’s my all time favorite software when making digital art. I almost always use a Cintiq 13HD as a drawing tablet. I still prefer sketching traditionally in my sketchbook though. Especially with inks. Both regular ink pens, fountain pens and brush pens. Working with inks is so satisfying!
What are some pieces of advice you can give your fellow artists?
Remember to have fun, and don’t obsess too much about technique. It won’t matter if your art piece has the most perfect brush strokes, if it doesn’t have a soul. Try to draw things from your surroundings or memories. Not focusing on that was my biggest mistake in my career. I focused so much on the technical aspect, that I slowly started to lose my ideas. Be careful so you don’t lose them.
Also, keep practicing the fundamentals. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but knowing anatomy, light and volume, for instance, will give you the tools to create more freely. One must first learn the rules before one can break them.
Anything else you would like to add?
Thanks again for inviting me! I’m going to get myself a nice cup of coffee and browse through your blog :)
Aww, thank you! That’s awesome to hear! I appreciate you for coming, you are inspirational!
Be sure to go support Andrea’s amazing work! I definitely agree with Andrea’s sentiment to have fun with your art, work on the fundamentals, and to create work that has soul!
Andrea has a lot of great art tips that are for sure worth reading!
Also, if you are an artist interested in an interview, feel free to get in touch! (See my contact info!)