Meet Camille Sanchez, an amazing artist from Washington D.C.!
What inspired you to start creating art?
Cartoons! I remember being inspired by superhero/action shows like Powerpuff Girls, Totally Spies, and Pokemon to make my own superhero characters. As I got into more fandoms, I started drawing fan art for my favorite anime, books, movies, and shows. I also wrote a lot of my own stories in elementary/middle school and would illustrate those stories. As a preteen, I discovered deviantArt and found fan art of my favorite cartoons. Some of that fan art was definitely...mature for someone my age...but it catalyzed my interest in digital art. I drew with a mouse/trackpad for a while until my dad bought me my first tablet (which I still have and it still works!). I improved by drawing fan art and art for my own stories. What’s your process like when planning out a piece? Whether it's digital or traditional, I roughly have the same planning process. First, I'll need my main anchor of the piece -- am I centering it around a theme, a story, or just paying homage to a character? I'll gather all the references I need and start with a rough sketch to get the composition right. On my canvas, I'll put a grid and sketch again, adjusting the composition as needed. Then I'll probably sketch and erase a couple more times until I have something I'm satisfied with. After this, I'll determine my colors either by looking at other artwork, generating a random color palette, finding a pretty picture I can pull colors from, or picking a random color and seeing what works. For traditional pieces, I tend to work big, so I'm much less inclined to wing it. I'll lie down on my bed and stress out, force myself to do 10 thumbnail sketches, and finally make my first mark on the canvas after hours of contemplation.
Firelord of K-Pop
What or who do you pull inspiration from for your artwork? I pull inspiration from many different sources -- my favorite artists and their content, my own life experiences, the experiences of people close to me, or what I don't like about life/other media I consume that I think needs to be improved.
My favorite artists and their content -- I make an unhealthy amount of fan art for shows/manga/webtoons that I love because of their art style and writing. My own style is an amalgamation of what I love about the things I consume.
My own/my loved ones' life experiences -- often this centers around body image and identity. It was hard to accept and love myself growing up (still hard!), but art helps me process my emotions and visibilize underrepresented bodies and stories. Sometimes I'll translate my story or the stories of others into comic form. The comic itself might be serious or funny, but ultimately I hope to help others feel less alone in their journey by producing such artwork.
Stuff in the world I don't like -- I am bombarded with media that perpetuates a lot of harmful messages. Artists often only draw conventionally attractive women that fits within a specific mold of beauty standards. Manga often portrays unhealthy and toxic relationships as desirable and acceptable. Certain experiences are never talked about, and because that's the status quo, that silence is maintained. My drive to dismantle a harmful status quo informs a lot of my creativity. How do you overcome any challenges you face?
Step away from whatever is challenging me. Allow myself to feel my emotions and cry if needed. Distract myself by showering, cleaning, eating, or watching YouTube videos. Reach out to my support networks and process with them. Distance myself from the challenge for as long as it takes until I'm ready to face it. There are still some challenges I need to face that I am ignoring for now...but it's a process.