CSP Featured Artist: Kevin Merriman aka @thegreyninja
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How did you become an artist?
I always drew as a little kid and just never stopped, so maybe I've always been one haha.. When I was around 13 years old, I saw Dragon Ball Z for the first time ever and suddenly got REALLY serious about getting better at drawing. It was like a switch just flipped in my brain! I studied art in college and luckily got an internship at a local videogame studio for a year. After that, I bounced around remote freelance work for the next 10 years, just trying to survive and taking whatever jobs came my way, which for whatever reason, almost all of them ended up being mobile games despite the wide net I tried to cast. I found myself doing quite bit of character designs and concept art in that space.
I've always pursued investing in my own art/interests since contracts always seem to come and go. Currently, I'm slowly chipping away on my own comic book project, dungeon master every week for some friends in D&D (first-time DM!,) and diving head-first into music production and having a lot of fun making amateur beats. I love art, but I try not to let it define who I am or what else I might be capable of doing/enjoying.
Where do you get inspiration?
The earliest and most memorable inspirations for me have been Nintendo, JRPGs, Jackie Chan, and Akira Toriyama. I still have binders full of old Dragon Ball and Chrono Trigger pictures I copied over and over again. After that, there are hundreds if not thousands of incredible artists and friends I've met online from various disciplines who have been major influences. There's a lot to be said for personal experiences where the inspiration is your life, and honestly just trying to live it. There's just so much out there!!
What’s your hardware setup?
Cintiq companion 2 or iPad pro/apple pencil combo.
What do you like best about Clip Studio Paint?
I love how sketching feels! It's just the best, for me. The symmetry tool is great, I'm so happy liquify is a thing here now as well... I could go on about how intuitive and thoughtful a bunch of other features are but these are the top that instantly come to my mind.
How long does it take you to make a single illustration?
The answer is it's like a bag of groceries - depends on what's in it. It can vary between 2 to 20 hours, sometimes even more if there's a lot going on.
Would you consider Clip Studio Paint an industry tool?
Of course! Are there people out there who don't think it is? That would be surprising to me.
Would you like to promote some recent project?
My most recent project was a sticker drop of some characters from Sol City Ink (personal comic project that I've still got a ways to go on.)
Where can we follow your work?
*** Kevin is doing a #Giveaway with us! Reach his post on Instagram, follow him, @graphixly and leave a comment. Winners of Clip Studio Paint Pro will be announced on May 24, good luck! ***