Artist Spotlight: Crap Panther

This spotlight is reprinted from Unwinnable Monthly #108. If you like what you see, grab the magazine for less than ten dollars, or subscribe and get all future magazines for half price.

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How’d you get into illustration?

I drew a lot as a child. When I met my husband in my mid-twenties he encouraged me to pick up a pencil again. After I had my first child and became a stay at home mother, I poured myself into illustration and painting. Since then it’s been six years of trial and error, failure and success.

Tell me a little bit about your technique? Your watercolor work seems super precise, which seems unusual?

I like to start with a loose pencil sketch using my trusty blackwing. I line all my details with a 512 nib, making design decisions as I ink. I use Royal Talens Ink on Arches 140 pound cold press watercolor paper. This combination of supplies allows me to get a unique texture and great saturation without ink bleeding. After my ink is dry, I watercolor in general layers with Qor Watercolors. I control my water usage to tighten my detail and get varied levels of saturation. I love watercolor’s versatility. By layering you can achieve great detail.

A lot of your subjects are close-ups of decay in some form. What draws you to that?

That’s a fun question with a very deep answer. The simplest reason is life’s delicate balance. I was raised by a fearful mother and through art I have found my own way of rectifying those fears. I’m not particularly interested in horror, but more the human condition. I fancy myself a realist and with that comes an inner quest to understand my own fate as a perishable creature.

Whose work has inspired and influenced you? Am I correct when I see a bit of Bernie Wrightson in your work?

Absolutely, Wrightson and older masters like Windsor McCay have a special place in my heart. Time can’t erase their genius. Modern day illustrators like Aaron Horkey, Richie Beckett and Mike Moses are constantly producing work that pushes me. I’d also say a lot of my inspiration comes from comic illustrators such as Greg Capullo, Tony Moore, Jim Lee and Sandra Hope. One of my biggest visual heroes though is Hiroaki Samura’s Blade of the Immortal. At a young age I was hopelessly in love with his ability to express feeling through images of hands and motion. Delicate beauty paired with horrific carnage in a very desperate way. His work spoke volumes to my nature.

What do you hope people take away from your work?

Honestly whatever they need at the time. My art is a way for me to process my thoughts, ideas and beliefs. I think art speaks to us all differently and I appreciate imagery that dives deeper than surface emotions. I hope my work moves people to feel more connected to their own mortality and inspire them to conquer their fears, be it death, guts, or failure. Life is too short to be afraid of the unknown.

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See more of Crap Panther’s work at crappanther.com

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