Meet Yoann Lim aka Dismecha, a vector artist from France. In this interview he talks about his childhood passion and fondness towards drawings and comic books and how it led him to become a self- taught vector artist. He has developed his own distinctive style of drawing. He loves to create doll-like characters which are colorful, detailed and have a theme behind them. Read on to learn more about his working process, ideas and inspiration.
Q Hello Dismecha, give us a background bio on yourself and about your work.
Hello, I'm an illustrator, Asian born in France in 1985, entertainment and culture lover. I work for our Sweet Psychoid trademark with my wife Boo who is a clothes creator and webmaster. You can view our work here: www.sweetpsychoid-studio.com .
Q How did you get started in the arts? Did you study with a formal education or are you self-taught? What got you interested in vector art?
Like most I started drawing as a kid and loved doing so for my friends. Being fond of comics books, I drew lots of heroes from them, copying and drawing comic artists until I reached 14.
I then practiced on my own, because my parents would not let me sign into an art class. I was destined to be self-taught so I attended literature/cinema school playing rock music in a band and spent my days in Parisian cafes drawing storyboards and comic pages for small magazines. I've also been a tattooing apprentice, and regularly sneaked into my girlfriend's fashion school in order to attend nude drawing sessions.
Like fate would have it, my interest for vector was instantaneous. I first started using vector knowing only that I loved its cleanliness and infinite scaling; I then learned more thanks to the DeviantART community and to Inkscape without whom I wouldn't have rendered much.
Q You're a fan and user of Inkscape. How long have you been using it? Was it easy to learn, how does Inkscape's learning curve compare to other drawing programs? What is your favorite and most annoying feature in Inkscape? What other tool or programs do you use?
I'm definitely a fan and supporter of Inkscape, I was honored to participate to its 0.48 version showcase, it's been my most prominent tool since January 2009, very easy to learn and really intuitive.
I used Painter and Illustrator before Inkscape so as to compare them: I'd say that if you want to get into Illustrator or Painter, their complexity at first sight requires one to follow lots of tutorials in order to not loose one's self in these programs. As for Inkscape, the first time I launched it, I thought it seemed as if it was made for kids and wouldn't offer many possibilities. But each time I created a new shape or stroke, applied gradients to them, adjusted transparencies and so on, my drawings became more and more cool and complete!
I realized I never knew I was capable of such coloring before. The power of Inkscape blew me away to the point where I wouldn't sleep for days and went on experimenting with it. Now I even set my other programs to behave as much as possible like Inkscape. Haha! Though I've followed only one basic tutorial on creating a website button. Inkscape doesn't hold me back in creating complex pieces, which I do fluently. Inkscape's motto is, "Draw Freely" - really that's its definition. Plus the Inkscape community is very active and the developers are utmost knowledgeable, reliable and caring.
My favorite feature in Inkscape is its dynamic offset and it doesn't seem to have any annoying ones, though it should be completed with a mesh tool and the possibility to manage the gradient list. Gimp and Blender are also part of my tools. By the way, you'll see 3D pieces coming from me quite soon.
Q Describe your creative process. What is your most common approach for completing an illustration?
My process is as follows:
- I come up with an idea/concept and start with a series of sketches that set the composition and mood.
- I then gather related documentation of various media about the elements I'll draw so as to assist me in deepening the concept and its coherence.
- I open the final sketch in Inkscape for the vector stage, which is the most difficult because my sketches are messy, though I want the final result to be as clean as possible.
- I often compose textual backgrounds/foregrounds so I tend to use lyrics from songs I've written.
Q Your vector illustrations are very distinctive; I see a lot of glossy robotic or machine-like dolls. Where do you get ideas for creating these pieces? What inspires you?
Starting with why I use such a color range, as I've said above, I attended drawing sessions at my girlfriends fashion school and used to hang out with its students ...which were all girls! I helped them with their homework, thus working mostly with soft and bold girly colors for many very pleasant years (previously using only black, white and gray tones). I guess it has marked me forever developing my sense of colors in this direction.
My main inspiration being the theme I cherish. What I like most is when the main character embodies all the possible elements that forge it to its utmost degree. I use the background to enhance the character's 'message.' My favorite one being suicide; I explore all its directions.
I like to create doll-like characters, being reflections instead of human beings; they allow me freedom of manipulation. I take advantage of their state of being to do everything I want them to, like the Bondage theme which I use as a metaphor of Society.
Everything I draw is a representation of a symbol.
Q Translucent and multi-colored gradients form an indispensable part of your illustrations? What is your technique to color your art?
Those elements are indispensable parts of my work indeed. I don't necessarily have a color scheme in my mind. At first I go with the one that comes intuitively while searching for colors that pop out as much as possible and apply a black background after creating all the primary shapes. Then I try to set the most beautiful gradients to every one of them, the light and shadow shapes support those colors in realism.
Everything is done in the flow to preserve its honesty.
Q How would you define your artistic style? Do you also experiment with different styles and techniques?
I've tried to define my style several times, but I don't think it's a good idea to put it into words. I'll just say that I do my best to draw with my heart, craving to materialize what I breathe for.
My experimenting with different techniques always leads to the same result. Every technique I use pushes further to render what I yearn for, which is the one you can see in all of my work.
Q Out of all your work which is your favorite piece and why?
Q What are you working on currently, any interesting or exciting project? Do you have any specific plans for the future direction of your artwork?
I'm actually working on a very exciting project indeed! I'm creating a video mixing vector, 3D and music for our Show on October 2011 which will take place in a magnificent place in Paris called the Salons Vianey, gathering about 1500 people from all around the world.
Q Apart from art and illustration what other things do you enjoy? How do you recharge your creative batteries?
I enjoy the simplest things life can offer; no matter what how good or bad it is, I'll live it..
Q Thanks for the interview Dismecha. Would you like to give any tips or advise to aspiring illustrators ?
Live as if you were to die tomorrow and learn as if you were to live forever ! Thank you !