An Interview with Artist Straya Obscura

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Image provided by: Straya Obscura

Firstly, I’d like to thank Straya Obscura for taking time out of their busy schedule to do this little interview. It really means a lot, especially since I am a HUGE fan of their work and them as a person.

If you would be so kind, tell us a little bit about you as a person:
Well… uh, hi! I’m Straya, 27 years old, fulltime illustrator! Living happily with my significant other and drawing all day er’day!
Outside of drawing I do mostly video games, currently Overwatch, some single player RPGs, and TitanFall 2. Model building is another,
far more expensive hobby, and I stick to Zoids and Gundams on that field.

For those that do not know you, tell us what you do for a living:
I started out in just illustration, and moved into paper crafting many years ago, that is what I have stuck to!
I like to call them “semi-3D paper crafts”. It’s a style I invented myself way back in college. I illustrate
each one to look as if it is a sculpture.

When did you start drawing/painting/sketching? (how old were you?):
I’ve been drawing since I was knee-high to my grandmother (5 or 6) and it all started with BlowPens!
If you remember those, you’re awesome!

Did you always know you wanted to make a career out of making art?
Far from, I actually was going to go into some sort of field regarding computers,
either in coding or IT. I lost interest in that in high school, and at the very last second
said “art… sure”. I wasn’t given much time to decide on a college, so I settled on something
I thought was “easy”. I was wrong, ha ha!

Please tell us, what inspires you when you’re making art?:
Mostly the music I listen to. But I lurk through tons of art sites and such, and sometimes
I get inspired but other peoples work!

Are you professionally trained? If so, how?
Yep! I have a bachelor’s degree in illustration from The Art Institutes (but like any art degree,
it requires YOU to do the studying, the school doesn’t do -that- much).

Who are some of your favorite artists?
Top three? JoeMad, Ruth Thompson, and Todd Lockwood.

Who are some of your artistic role models? Artists you emulate in some way?
Probably those top three? xD I’ve always aspired to get the “badass-ness” that Joe
has in his work!

What inspires you to keep making art?
Honestly, the shares, comments and such I get from all of my wonderful followers! They keep me going!

Do you ever experience artist’s block? If so, how do you work past it?
It happens! I use to get it more often than I do now, but I’ve learned that if I just keep drawing and don’t
get stuck on stupid little sketches, I can get through them!

What medium do you prefer for your artwork?
All of them actually, but most of my premade paper crafts are digital because that is easier to reproduce.
I like to say my work is still, even when painted digitally, very traditional because I do hand make all of the
crafts.

If you could give any piece of advice to a beginner artist, what would it be?
Study, study, study! Study from real life! Develop your OWN style, don’t follow in the exact footsteps of another.
I see so many people who have this wonderful potential and they waste it away copying their favorite anime or another well-known artist and it is quite sad.

How does creating art make you feel?
Wonderful! I love coming up with new beasties and even taking the fan art route and drawing some of my favorites!
Sometimes it is an escape from my depression, which is also very nice.

Did you ever want to do anything else for a living, if so what was it?
Started out with the intent of doing something related to computers, but
I wouldn’t change what I’m doing now given the choice.

What’s the most time you’ve ever invested into one piece of artwork?
I spent nearly 3 months created and completed the WoW Class Crest project, it was a brand new thing
and it went over SO well! I am excited to do something similar again!

What do you hope people take away from your art?
I’m hoping that they get a “That’s AWESOME!” reaction, but as long as its positive I
won’t complain. I’ve had people tell me, after I post something, that I had made their
day brighter/better and that is the greatest feeling ever.

What genre of artist would you say you are?
Crafter, probably. Fantasy I suppose fits my subject matter.

Do you have any big projects on the horizon? If so, do we get any hints?
Of course! I plan to finish the Overwatch crests, I have just begun the WoW Race Crests, and will be bringing back
my “Elemental Kitsune” series.

Art theft is a big problem now-a-days, so give us your thoughts on how it hurts hard working artists and what artists can do to help protect themselves (e.g. DMCA “Digital Millennium Copyright Act”):
I’m on a different playing field than most artists who deal with theft. As my final work is all photographs of paper crafts, which does not translate well to being stolen for digital prints.
But I will say not to be afraid to slap a big ugly watermark on your work if you feel it will be a problem. But also do your research on selling unlicensed fan art, as its a huge grey area to begin with,
and a C&D letter can backfire on you in those regards.

Could you please give us the links where we can find/contact you and/or buy some of your amazing art?
I’m all over the place!
Website: http://www.artofso.com
Twitter: @StrayaObscura
Tumblr: StrayaObscura
deviantART: Straya Obscura
FurAffinity: WindGoddess

You can find my work in other places, but those are where I am most active.

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