Interview to Kelly Bastow

Kelly Bastow is an eclectic illustrator from Canada. Here is her DeviantArt profile. Are you ready for her?

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Hi Kelly, looking at your website I noticed there is no biographical info. Maybe you prefer to introduce yourself through your illustrations. But I have to ask you: tell us about you, who you are, where you live, what you do, what you like.

That’s very true! I prefer to let people get to know me through my comics.
I’m Kelly Bastow, a traditional illustrator and comic artist from Newfoundland, Canada. I love to work with ink and watercolors. I also love fast food, walking outside, crappy reality shows, horror novels, and wasting money on cute nicknacks.

How did you learn to draw? Studying art or practicing?

I’m self-taught, and have been drawing since I was a kid (like most artists). However, I spent a year at OCADU and learned some valuable lessons and techniques about painting and commercial illustration. I still have a lot to learn!

Is drawing now a job for you? Are most of your illustrations personal projects or commissioned ones?

Most of my work is super personal, but I do occasionally get commissions, and sometimes I’m lucky enough to be involved in a group show, or comic project.

How do you create a piece? Tell us how the idea starts and how you realize it. You probably love using traditional tools, but what do you think about digital art?

I draw pictures about my memories and experiences. Something funny that happened, or maybe an insecurity I have. It feels good to get everything out on paper. I also like to tell stories in my art, about romance or adventure, or something creepy. In the future I’d like to use Photoshop to enhance my ink drawings. I really admire digital artists, they can make some amazing looking pieces. But I’ll always be a traditional artist at heart.

What inspires your illustrations and what influences you drawing style? Maybe some books you read or some artists you love?

I’ve always liked autobiographical comic artists. Joe Matt, Chester Brown, Liz Prince, Craig Thompson, Jeffrey Brown and Jess Fink are some of my favorites.

What do you want to express with your illustrations? Do you want to communicate something to your viewer or drawing is simply a personal need?

Most of my work is pretty selfish, I draw it to get something off my chest, but it makes me feel closer to my tumblr followers, especially when they relate to my work. I also like to spread motivational messages sometimes. We could all use more of that!

Where do your characters come from? There is a reason you often draw little girls?

I usually draw stuff aimed towards women and girls. Stuff they can relate to. Also I just prefer to draw them over men. (Cute outfits!)

Some of your illustrations have a poetic and almost fairy atmosphere at first sight, but when you look closely you find a dramatic power and sometimes even a horror twist. So unexpectedly you feel the sadness, the pain and the fears of the character. This is my impression, am I wrong?

I like to draw playful or romantic things, but show something dark underneath. Some kind of turmoil or danger. I like to draw someone in peril, or having some internal struggle. I’m just a mope.

Your black and white illustrations seem to have a perfect balance between dark and light areas. In some images it seems you don’t want one colour to overcome the other one.

Thank you! I try to make my images appealing to look at, I’m a stickler for balance and harmony, I hate when things look out of place or unfinished, it drives me nuts. I love the stark contrast of black and white images, but I like to make them flow nicely, or have a bit of a pattern.

What do you think about web and social networks? Are they a good opportunity for artists to share their works?

Of course! Tumblr and Deviantart have really helped me show my work to others, and keep up with my favorite artists as well.

The last question is one that no-one has asked you but that you would like to be asked. What is it? And thank you for your time.

Thanks for the questions!
Um… What’s your favorite Youtube video? The answer is this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RSCSw_VwIs.

December 2013

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