The Artist Corner comes and offers you, the readers, another interesting experience in the world of art. As you will notice the high quality of the art featured here speaks as plentiful as the artist does for herself. This week we have an enigma, who would like to remain simply known by the art pseudonym Sandara. In the same spirit of remaining mysterious this person says little, but enough. With no further ado here is what I managed out of Sandara: Harry Markov: Hello and thank you for accepting my invitation. It is a real pleasure having you here in my virtual chair. Let’s start with the simple and basic questions. What was your first encounter with art and how did you decide you would become an artist? Sandara: Hi there! I was drawing ever since I could hold a pencil, I guess. I’ve always loved drawing since I was a kid. But I didn’t take up drawing professionally until very much later. In fact, only when I was in my early twenties. It was a profession my parents frowned on, since it was relatively unheard of, in my country, back in those days (the 90s, lol). They thought I wouldn’t be able to make a living from it. HM: Another tradition with the “Artist Corner” is to say something about yourself. Who is Sandara and why did you chose this interesting sounding username for your DA profile? S: Well, my username… I’ve been using it almost since I first got on the internet. It’s actually from the Final Fantasy games, which I love. There’s a spell in that game, the bolt1, 2, 3 spells, in romaji, it’s written as sandaa, sandara and sandaga. I just picked the middle one because it sounded nice. In fact, everyone calls me by Sandara in real life now. Hardly anyone uses my real name. HM: Who are the artists that inspired and influenced you the most? S: I wouldn’t say there was any one particular artist, or rather, too many to name! But I particularly like Thierry Doizon and Jeff Simpson, their kind of style. Actually, DA is very inspiring as a whole. I spend a lot of time surfing around it and looking at all the great art there. HM: Your work is diverse and stretches through the different fantasy nuances from dragons to characters to macabre and even some anthropomorphic. How do you feed such an active imagination and where does your inspiration come from? S: I get asked this a lot… but I can’t really pinpoint my inspiration…sometimes it’s from books, music, or from something I saw online, sometimes when I’m taking a shower and zoning out. All sorts of things. HM: What attracts you to fantasy? Different people find something entirely unique for themselves and I always like hearing a new answer on the subject. S: It’s attractive because I can always create something new. Since it’s fantasy, you can draw whatever you like, your own world, your own creatures. Also, fantasy is more organic… I’m bad at doing sci-fi, robots and such HM: It would seem that you are a fan of dragons and are quite adept at portraying them. You must have had a lot of practice. Where does the love for dragons come from? S: I’m not sure, really. I’ve loved dragons ever since young. There’s just something very appealing about these huge, majestic, magical creatures. HM: What’s the hardest part in drawing a dragon? Perhaps you can give out a small advice to anyone new to drawing this magical beast. S: Well, for aspiring dragon artists… it’s most important to get the anatomy of your dragon right. It’s an imaginary creature, but for it to look believable, it’s got to look right. The other decorative stuff like the horns, patterns etc, can be added on later. HM: Just to keep on the same trail of thought is there anything that you and other people haven’t experimented with dragons? S: I doubt it. I’ve seen all sorts of dragons on the net. If you can think of it, there’s probably an image of it online somewhere. And that applies to anything, not just dragons, lol HM: The most remarkable aspect of your work style is that despite seeming digital all your work seems to imitate traditional brush techniques. What’s the secret? Is it both or do you just get this effect from Photoshop? S: It’s the custom brushes you can make in Photoshop, or if you use Painter. I used to work traditionally in watercolors, so I like my digital works to look a bit traditional as well. HM: Another completely customary question would be about your work process. How much does it usually take to complete a piece from start to finish and what’s your way of doing things? S: The average is about 8 hours. I start with a sketch, either in pencil and scanned, or drawn directly in Photoshop. I paint the flat colors on it, plus the rough lightings and shadows and the rest of the time is spent cleaning it up and detailing. I like to concentrate on one art at a time. It’s terrible when I have to divide my attention between several artworks at once. I completely lose the flow of the artwork when that happens. HM: Not a small number of pieces in your gallery are tied with Blizzard’s World of Warcraft games series. Are you an avid gamer and what character you play? S: I used to be addicted to WoW, and played it every day. But due to work and other commitments, I’ve had to cut down, and recently I have stopped playing completely. Maybe when I have more time in the future, I’ll get back to it. My main is a warlock, and I have a deathknight alt. Both are male blood elves. They’re the only race (other than tauren) that I will play. HM: At the same time what’s your opinion on fan art. A lot of people bash it the same way they bash fan fiction and anything else that uses an established brand and has been done by other people than the company. What does fan art give you apart from a great practice? S: I love fan art and fan fiction and whatever fan tributes there are. It’s a way of showing our love of a particular game or book or manga, etc. I just do fanart because I like that particular character so much… it makes me very happy to draw them. HM: With such a high level of skill you ought to have found some kind of professional outlet that pays the bills. Of course I may be wrong and in that case blame all the companies searching for an artist blind for not seeing your work. But you are the one who can say something on the subject. Are you one of the lucky ones living off their work? S: Yes, well, luckily for me, I managed to find a job that pays me for drawing all day long. HM: I also have to wonder what your current projects are. What can we expect? S: I’m working in a Taiwanese game company, and our first MMO is going to launch soon… but I can’t really say much about it right now.