Lois van Baarle, widely known online as Loish, is fast becoming a phenomenon in the digital art world. Her unique approach to digital art, and stand-out style have earned her industry recognition, and with her continued zeal to create, she certainly has a bright future ahead. We took some time out to chat with this Netherlands born artist about her art and her inspirations, as well as her plans for the future.
Hi there Loish, welcome to ArtSketch.org! We love your art very much, what have you been up to lately? How is your animation coming along?
Thanks so much! Lately I’ve been doing a number of paid jobs, including some character design for a 3D model as well as a two smaller tutorials which will be published soon. I also have some new art in the works. My animation is coming along well, I have concepts for the two movies as well as some concept art, but I need to free up some time before I can try to arrange some funding and take the animations into production. For now, I’m hoping I can do this in the spring. In the meantime, finishing the jobs I took on have the priority!
You’ve managed to carve out a very unique, let’s call it a “trademark” style that is definitively Loish. Was this intentional, or did it kind of just happen?
That’s very flattering, thank you! I think it was a bit of both. I just drew inspiration from artwork which I liked and drew really frequently, which caused my ‘style’ to evolve very quickly and become second nature. On the other hand I’ve always aspired to have my own style and valued artwork with a unique flair, so this mindset probably had an influence on the decisions I made and the style I gradually developed. In general, though, my artwork is really just the result of different artworks, fashion styles, and ‘looks’ that I really like. I didn’t set out to develop a unique style from the beginning, I just always enjoyed drawing and paying tribute to the things I liked.
Take us back to the start of it all, how old were you when you started to fall in love with art, and started to draw and paint? In those early days, what were your main inspirations and goals?
Well, I’ve been drawing since I was basically capable of it. It’s always been ‘my talent’ – ever since kindergarten, teachers and fellow students always said I was a great artist. This positive feedback of course kept me motivated to draw a lot. It was only when I was around 16 or so that I started making digital art and drawing stylized illustrations from my imagination; before that, I drew less frequently and usually just life drawings in a sketchbook. Discovering manga/anime and digital art as a medium in 2002 really pushed my productivity into higher gear. When I started making digital art, I not only began working with a new medium but also participated in online communities to share my artwork, such as oekaki boards and Deviantart. Around this time, I started drawing a lot more and making the kind of work that I am currently known for. My main inspirations at the time were the comic illustrator Aurore BlackCat, art nouveau by Alfonse Mucha, and other digital artists like Bara-Chan and Yi Lee. To me, these artists all had such a colorful and consistent sense of style. Everything they drew was so full of life and personality. I wanted to be able to make illustrations that were equally captivating, and that was pretty much my only goal at the time. I didn’t have any higher aspirations until I decided to study art in my senior year of high school.
Let’s talk about Korean online clothing stores! We’re very sorry to hear that a lot of your art is being used illegally. How is the battle against fashion companies pirating your art going? What have you learned from this experience, and also, do you have any advice for upcoming artists on how best to protect their intellectual property?
Yes, this is a very unfortunate event! Right now the battle has come to a standstill. With the help of my wonderful fans who called and e-mailed at my request, the clothing pieces featuring my work were removed from the korean web shop and I discovered that the overall problem is a very complex one indeed, since it is very tough to identify who made the clothing items (the web shop was not necessarily the manufacturer). Until I have information about this, it will be difficult and expensive to take legal action. Honestly, this experience has taught me how easily people can steal your work when you publish it on the internet. Ways you can try to protect yourself from this is to only post smaller/low quality images of your work or just not post your artwork at all, but honestly, I believe that if people want to steal your work, they will. It’s an enormous downside of being succesful and creating artwork which has market value. Up until now, posting my artwork on the internet has done infinitely more good things for me than bad, and with the help and support of my fans, I can get past sticky situations like this!
Having pretty much defined yourself in the art world as a unique and talented artist, what would you say your main inspirations are these days? Are there any artists that you look up to, and are there any artists that you would love to collaborate with?
Today, my main inspirations are various digital artists whose work I discover through DeviantArt or Tumblr. A few of my favorites are Bao Pham – http://bao22.blogspot.com/ – and Sachin Teng – http://sachinteng.com/ . Their work is not only beautifully drawn, but their use of color and choice of subject matter is very inspiring. They motivate me to take my art to the next level athough I don’t feel I’ve quite gotten there yet. Another artist who inspires me enormously is a good friend of mine, Menah – http://cargocollective.com/menah. Her work is unique and beautiful as well as sincere and heartfelt. We do have a collaboration planned which we should start on soon!
In terms of your methods, how you work and so on, your website has a fairly comprehensive FAQ section so readers can check that out there (http://loish.net/faq/). However, what do you think is the single most important thing one needs to get their ideas down accurately on the canvas?
I think the most important thing one needs to do is stay flexible and versatile during the creative process. Sometimes people have such a strong mental image of what they want to create that they do not step back and objectively assess whether what they make is actually working. This prevents people from creating what they actually had in mind and leads to people getting stuck during the creative process.
Your somewhat limited gamut colour usage is fantastic, how do you use this to maximise the appeal of your pieces?
I have a pretty intuitive approach to color usage which involves generally the same process each time. I start painting on a neutral/brownish canvas and combine these neutrals with brighter colors that ‘pop,’ so to speak. I then use a lot of color editing tools and textures to adjust the colors until I like what I see. I really get a huge amount of enjoyment from combining different colors and creating combinations that are colorful and bright but also in harmony with each other.
You’ve recently had an artbook published with co-authors/artists Alessia Zambonin, Annie Stegg and Anne Pogoda, called “d’artiste: Fashion Design”. How was your experience working on that book, and what were the highlights? Also, are there any future books in the works?
Working on d’artiste was a lot of fun because I had a lot of freedom to do my own thing and interpret ‘fashion design’ in my own way. I enjoyed giving my artwork a touch of glamour as well as trying out different things with clothing and style. It’s always interesting to write an in-depth tutorial since my approach is usually very intuitive and while writing tutorials, I discover things about my own drawing process by being more self-aware as I draw. The highlight was of course finding out that my artwork was chosen for the cover and receiving my own copies! I think they turned out beautifully. I want to create my own artbook in the near future but need to figure out how I am going to print and publish it before I can say when it will be done!
You’ve generated a massive number of artworks in the last few years, what are your plans for future, and will there be a stronger focus on animation?
I’m just taking things as they come – I still feel like I’m just discovering life as a freelancer and have so much to learn still. I’m open to whatever opportunities come my way as far as illustration and animation goes. I do want to finish my trichrome series, so I do want to focus more on animation, particularly my own style of animation, in the coming year.
Digital art is becoming increasingly more wide-spread as many new artists start learning to paint digitally and use digitizers to create artwork – what advice do you have for those new to digital art, where should they start, and what elements of the fundamentals do you feel are most important for them to learn first?
I think that it’s important for people starting out in the digital art world to start simple and try not to get lost in all of the different techniques and approaches that exist. There are so many tutorials and resources for digital techniques out there that it’s easy to get overwhelmed and feel inept. However, these are all just approaches – not rules, and definitely not the basics. You can only learn the basics by drawing a lot, be it with expensive software or with a crayon and paper. I found it useful to consult tutorials and resources only when I felt a need to achieve a specific effect, and for the rest to simply focus on my progress as an artist by learning things the hard way – i.e lots of practice.
Thank you for taking the time to speak with us, we’re looking forward to seeing new works from you!
Thanks so much for interviewing me and for the interest in my work! I really appreciate it!
Connect with Lois
Personal website: www.loish.net
Tags: Art, Creative, D'artiste, deviantart, Digital, Digital Artist Lois, Digital Painting, Fashion Design, Female Artist, Korean Web Shops, Loish, loish.deviantart.com, loish.net, Louis, Louis Van Barrle, Netherlands, Painting, Stylised Digital Art, Van Baarle