Recently I had the joy and privilege to interview Maria Granger, the winner of the youth division of Chalk Fest, held this Independence Day. Maria is going to be a sophomore at Buckeye Valley. We talked a lot about her art, her hobbies, and a few other fun random things along the way. Her Chalk Fest entry was a picture of Elsa, from Disney’s Frozen. She told me it took her about eight hours, stopping just to eat.
Maria has been working on her art seriously since she was in middle school and decided to go into animation. She realized that she was artistic while having a scientific and mathematical mind, and wanted to do something where she could use both. Watching anime and playing videogames influenced her to move toward this field, where she hopes to do animation for videogames. For kicks, I asked her what her favorite game was, to which she responded the Legend of Zelda series.
Maria works mostly digitally, which means she does most of her drawings and sketches on the computer using drawing software and a pen tablet. However, she does like to play around with Copic markers every now and again. She describes her style as “semi-realistic.” When she started drawing, she had a heavy anime/manga influence, which has become more realistic as her style has developed. She finds the hardest thing as an artist is finding ways to promote yourself. There are plenty of fantastic artists on the internet, and it’s hard to find your niche that you can claim as your own. She also said it’s hard to find the motivation sometimes. Yet she manages to draw thirty minutes a day in the summer. School really slows down her ability to draw, but she definitely doodles in her notes.
“Draw all the time,” Maria recommends to artists just starting out. Have a sketch book, and draw in it every day. Maria said she tries to do gesture drawings every day, which capture motion and are important for animation. She also recommends drawing things you don’t draw much. She told me a funny story where she went to an art camp, and was the oldest kid there. So while all the other kids were just learning how to use the pen tablets and software, the camp leader asked her what she was good at drawing. She said she was pretty good at drawing people. So the camp leader responded, “Okay, now sit here and draw motorcycles.”
When she’s not drawing, Maria plays hockey very competitively. She says she is also going to play soccer for fun this year, and she plays ukulele. Additionally, she enjoys cosplay, which is dressing up and usually acting like a character, generally at a comic convention or an anime convention. She said her favorite cosplay she has done is Robin, because Batman and Robin are just too cool.
I really enjoyed talking with Maria, she was super sweet. It’s so awesome to see youth in the county pursuing goals. I feel like kids are often discouraged from going into art. So Maria: you go, girl! Keep following chasing your dream, and don’t give up!
If you’re interested in learning more about Maria and you’re into the tumblr thing, you can check out her tumblr blog here.