Interview with Artist ThanatosRising
ThanatosRising is a deviantART member who draws amazing anime art and has published a few webcomics. We interviewed Thana to learn more about the art, the artist, and passion for anime.
Saturday AM: What is your art background? Are you self taught?
Thana: Do grade/high school art classes count? Other than that, I’m entirely self taught. I just have fun drawing, so I drew a lot, read a lot of books on how to draw, read a lot of forum posts on advice for learning how to draw, and somehow ended up where I am now.
Saturday AM: You have only just started your webcomic, "Welcome to Paradise". Can you tell us a little about it?
Thana: It's weird for me to hear I only just started it, since I've been planning it out offline for quite some time, and have even drawn pages of previous versions only to scrap them. Anyway, I don't want to get into too many details because of spoilers, but the basic gist is it's a fantasy story in modern times, revolving around preternatural creatures such as vampires, demons, angels, and the like. The main character is a vampire who has fled from and is being pursued by his master, but the story eventually escalates into a quest to save the world..! Or something. I'm bad at plot descriptions.
Saturday AM: Very cool! So, when and/or how did you come up with the idea for Welcome to Paradise?
Thana: Hmm, that's a hard question. I have so many stories that I've had floating in my head for so long, it's hard to place a when and how. 'Paradise', itself, has been in my head for over ten years. Some of the characters started as role play characters. The main character was actually originally a side character in an entirely different story idea, but I sort of hijacked him for this story instead. Even the story has evolved so much over time that the setting is totally different from when I first started (it was originally even a high-school setting). One thing I do remember was sitting in my bedroom thinking that I wanted to write a tragedy, and with that thought it evolved into Paradise.
Thana: Mingling Through Time is a joint project, along with a commissioned one. The writing, story, direction, character design—pretty much everything—is written by a friend of mine who occasionally throws money at me to draw the pages for her. She only gives me a few paragraphs at a time to work with, so even I'm not 100% sure where it's going! It's a very weird way to create a comic. I do know it takes place in Sengoku era Japan and involves demons and mortals alike. That's pretty much why I'm doing two at once, because I wanted to work on a comic that was 100% mine, where I had complete control over the direction.
Saturday AM: Your pages are so unique and beautiful. What other creators influence you?
Thana: Aww, thank you! Well, if we're talking about my art style in general, I have a wide variety of influences: from Naoko Takeuchi, Clamp, Slugbox, Hyung-Tae Kim and more. For the comic itself, the art direction was more about practicality than any specific artistic influence. The prologue I wanted reminiscent of a fairy tale story book, though there is some Utena influence in there, especially with the silhouettes. The main story pages was more about me finding a way to balance the need for color due to certain plot points (for instance, showing eyes changing color is a lot more limiting in black and white) and not wanting to do another full-color series.
Saturday AM: What tools do you use to create your art?
Thana: I'm entirely digital at this point. I use my PC, a Wacom tablet, and Manga Studio to do almost all of my art. Occasionally, if I'm bored, I'll do something traditionally (usually ink and markers or colored pencils), but even then I usually do the sketch digitally, print it out, and use that as a guideline.
Saturday AM: Do you have a favorite manga? Do you read any current webcomics?
Thana: My favorite manga has and always will be Sailor Moon until the day I die. As for webcomics, I used to read a lot more of them back when I was younger, but I have a hard time remembering to keep up with things that are ongoing. I usually avoid watching TV series until they're over too. I do still keep up with Megatokyo though, it was the first webcomic I read and I'm determined to stick around until the end.
Saturday AM: What is it about Sailor Moon that you love and that has made you a die hard fan?
Thana: It's pretty much a classic, isn't it? It was my first anime/manga series. I love the characters, the story, and the art. Especially the art! The style was entirely different from almost any 90s cartoon on the air at the time. And it was just so beautiful to look at, especially the transformation sequences. It was magical, and I was hooked from the first episode. These days, there's plenty of series that are objectively better, but if it wasn't for Sailor Moon I probably wouldn't even be drawing, so it'll always be my favorite.
Saturday AM: Do you have a dream of self publishing your work in print?
Thana: I think it would be fun to see my work in print, just to see it and hold it in my hands. But it also seems really complicated to do, and it hurts my head a little thinking about how to go about doing it. So I'll take a "cross that bridge when I get to it" sort of outlook on that particular idea.
Saturday AM: What is the biggest thing you have learned since starting your webcomic as both an artist and creator?
Thana: Just draw a lot, don't look back, don't over think, and just keep working. Especially if you're doing a webcomic, if you constantly go back to rework the story or redraw the pages then you'll never make any progress. You'll naturally get better as you improve, and it can be super hard to resist the temptation to go back over your old pages and make them better, but don't or you'll just end up redoing the same thing over and over again.