Interview with vanmall, talented artist and Pixel Art tutorials author
Dear Opinionshare members,
Let me introduce you to Mikk Samal, better known as vanmall. He has been kind enough to let me interview him, I hope you can all enjoy it and learn from all the valuable wisdom he's sharing with us today!
Hello Mikk, please tell us about yourself a little
My name is Mikk or vanmall as people know me here. Here I am mostly known for running tutorial groups and making pixel art tutorials. If I'm not doing that then I like to write some articles or play around with pixels and web design. I was given a chance to be a pixel art CV few years back and now I am enjoying my life as a senior.
What are your tools of the trade?
I don't really have many tools I'm using. Recently I have been running around with my camera a lot, trying to take pictures for just watching or for future projects. But from software side I have two programs that I have been using for the last 7-8 years. Microsoft Paint for pixel art and Photoshop for all the other things.
What is your favorite work and why?
That's a hard one because I don't think about my work much. Usually I'm so excited when I make one but as soon as it is finished, it is also forgotten, because I like to move on to other things.
There are some very close to my heart from photography and web design section and every time I look at them I remember how much work I put into them but I have to say that my pixel art tutorials are my favorites because people seem to like them and it makes me happy every day. If I'd have to chose one from them then it would most probably be "how to make a victorian house?" because I remember how hard I worked on it and how pleased I was when it was finished fav.me/d1ghcns
How has your work transitioned over time, I mean what do you do differently now that you didn’t do at the beginning?
Talking about all the changes over the years can take ages because there is so much to talk about. But generally if you look at my gallery then the style is pretty much as it was before. However I have changed many things in my working progress, making it easier and faster for me to work with certain stuff.
When talking about using programs then I am way more organized now as I was before. I like to group and name things so that it would make sense later on. I am also using right tools now, not like before.
But when talking about the art itself then I have changed some things there as well. With pixel art I used to use black borders a lot. Now my pixel art is a bit more true to the life and has smoother transitions from one color to another. Also what I have tried to change on all of my work is the image quality. I work a lot harder now to find the right colors and use them, as it has always been my weakest side.
What type of pixel art you like to do most and why?
So far I have really been into making buildings in pixel art. It might be because I have always loved architecture and studied it as much as possible. There is something about the details and overall feel that makes you just want to do the same. Unfortunately I can't build houses in real life, so pixel art is a way for me to do this. If not that then I usually make some furniture.
You’ve written many Pixel art tutorials. How do you feel that people respond to your tutorials? How is it on your end, once the tutorial is published?
I have been in deviantART for 7 years and for the last 6 years I have written pixel art tutorials. In that time period I have only received 1 bad comment and it was when I got my DD for one of my tutorials. Other than that people have always been very supportive. People write to me almost every day about how useful one of my tutorials was to them or that they really like my tutorials. And this is why I keep making them.
I usually make tutorials that people have asked me to make, so I always try to see what people want. Once I publish my tutorial I keep an eye on it for the first few days to see how people respond to it and if they like it. It is easier to make changes like this. And it is always exciting to see how well something does. I also respond to all of the comments which sometimes can take a lot of time.
What do you plan to do with your pixel art skills in the near future?
I don't really have any specific plans because I feel like I have a lot to learn. But I definitely try to keep on making pixel art tutorials because this is something that has always made me happy. Other than that I do have some plans that I am working on right now but it is too early to talk about them.
I'm actually also planning a collaboration between all pixel art artists in deviantART. I would like to make it as big as possible but first I have to put in some work to prepare for it.
You have a lot of experience in this field, is there anything in relation to pixel art that you would like to know more about, or that you feel you haven’t explored that much?
Color theory is definitely one of the biggest things I have to work on because I'm not happy with it right now. But it is hard to learn new stuff and you often have to push yourself to do it.
Also humans! I hate drawing humans in pixel art.
If you could give a useful piece of advice to someone who is considering creating pixel art, what would it be?
My advice would be to look at some good pixel art artwork and zoom in if needed. It is hard to get started if you don't know how things work. Learn from people who are good at it and see how they did it. I started like this, zooming in into people's work to see how they placed their pixels, and it helped a lot.
Any last words of wisdom you would like to share with us today?
Never give up and keep on doing what you love. If you don't know what you are doing then don't worry, you will know soon enough. Don't learn art only from tutorials but try things by yourself because it is easier to create art when you don't know what you are doing. At that time you have a huge amount of motivation and hunger behind you to keep you going. Once this is achieved, don't stop there. Think about what you have learned and give something back to people who are where you were before.
Thank you so much Mikk, it's been a real pleasure doing this interview with you