Interview: We speak to @shari_colors about manips, fan art and and turning Niall Horan into an elf…

There’s nothing we love more here at MP! than the weird and wonderful world of fan art, especially when it’s our favourite pop stars getting the artistic treatment. @shari_colors has been delighting 1D fans all over the world with genius manips, hand drawings and digital pictures of the lads so we thought we’d get the lowdown on how it’s all done.

In an exclusive MP! interview we speak to Šárka Sochorová – the brains behind all these amazing pictures – about art, inspiration AND some very useful tips for drawing your very own fan art!

Hi  Šárka! Tell us a little bit about yourself… 

Hi, my name is Šárka Sochorová, 23 and I’m from Moravia in the Czech Republic. I study computer science and it has nothing to do with my artistic hobby, really! I do a lot of maths and programming at school so it’s nice to be able to relax and make some fan art when I get home. I’ve always been a bit of a dabbler, I love doing so many different things, I’m a fan of superheroes and figure skaters and people think I’m crazy but I take that as a compliment.

When did you start drawing? Would you like this passion of yours to be a career or is it just a hobby? 

I don’t know. I started drawing seriously quite late. I was 17, I guess. But I had the best teacher, he was a painter and he really got me into this. I think that teachers can make you love something or hate it. That’s their power and my art teacher made me absolutely ADORE it. That was important because as my music teacher used to say: “If you love it, it’s easy.” Since I loved it I kept practicing all the time and I learnt certain things very quickly. But I always found the digital world more exciting and I wanted to combine it with art, that’s why I started doing digital art. All the paintings that you can see on my twitter or Instagram are digital. Sometimes I make a hand drawing picture but hardly ever anymore. Well, I want to be a matte painter. That’s a person who creates digital film backgrounds. See I love photoshop, I do manipulations and all kinds of editing too. I also do digital painting.  But since I study computer science and I get to do quite interesting things I’d like to continue with this too. So I don’t know what my career will be, really. All I know is that I want to work in the film industry and do visual effects.

How would you describe your style and what techniques do you use? 

My style is absolutely boring when it comes to realistic digital portraits. Yes, they might look nice, I like them, I wouldn’t be making them if I didn’t, but from the artistic point of view there’s nothing special about them. In fact everyone could learn to paint or draw realistic portraits, digital or hand made, it’s just about practice. It’s like maths. The real art comes when you create something new, something that no one ever did before. Now the fun begins because this is not that easy anymore.

I think my style is more interesting when I draw or paint by hand in fact. But mostly I love to do the manipulations in photoshop and I think those are the most interesting things about my style. Making manips gives me the power to change reality, even if it’s only on a photo. I have been doing these for years now and I’ve made hundreds of manips. It’s like entering those worlds I create in my mind. And I like to experiment in the digital art fields as well. I especially like my smoke portraits of Niall and Harry. Those are not paintings, those are edits. The technique is always the same, I take my Wacom tablet, launch Adobe Photoshop and the rest is magic. Photoshop is a very powerful tool, you can create paintings or drawings there but also edits and manips, even animations. If you want to learn it just go on Youtube, there are tons of tutorials, great tutorials actually, I’ve learnt everything I know about digital art by myself from the internet. When I draw or paint by hand I use soft graphite pencils (8B) and textured paper. Sometimes I draw on a wrapping paper with natural charcoal, that’s a very messy process. For painting I use Remakol paints in those little jars, I think they are used for wall paintings. They’re not really artistic paints but I love them and they’re quite solid and very easy to work with.

What inspires you and why? or When and why did you start doing fan art?

I started doing fan art when I was 13. I’m that kind of person who gets excited very easily. I just keep falling in love all my life and those things, people, music, films, books, languages, countries that I fall in love with inspire me. I fell for One Direction a year or so ago (It’s a sane love, I think I’m too old to be a crazy fan anymore!) and suddenly there were tons of girls who wanted manips with the boys and I could make them those pictures. It felt great to make others smile or maybe even happy too. By now I have created over 300 manips or twitter designs with the fans and their favourite One Direction members. Unfortunately I don’t have much time for this anymore since I’m graduating from my uni this summer but I enjoy doing these things because those people, the fans, they inspire me too. A lot. Their feedback is amazing, I’d like to thank them for it. It really means a lot, so thank you, girls… and boys :)

How many fan art drawings have you made? Which one is your favourite and why?

I think that I have only something around 35 of fan art drawings / paintingsI made a lot more drawings of non-celebrity people though. I started doing fan art many years ago but those fan art portraits are quite new for me.  I still try to create some style in those digital paintings and make them more interesting, not just regular realistic paintings that are all over the internet. So that’s why my favourite portraits would be those smoke portraits of Niall and Harry that I mentioned earlier. Because they are different. I’m not saying that there are not any smoke portraits on the internet. There are. But they’re still rather rare and that’s why I like them. I also like my newest painting of Niall as an elf from the Hobbit…

What was the hardest to draw and why?

Painting or drawing a portrait from a photo is not that challenging, I mean you see everything, you just reproduce it. But with that elf Niall I had to think about it a little more, imagine things, fiddle with it. It’s not that realistic anymore. I love that picture though.

Do you have any tips for drawing One Direction? 

Well, maybe you should start with Harry! I mean his face is so symmetrical and smooththere are no catches, maybe the hair, but since he’s been wearing those headbands, it shouldn’t be so hard to draw or paint. The hardest one for me  was Zayn. Yes, his face is perfect and everything, it’s also quite hard to reproduce, I don’t know why. I say be patient. But rather than tips for drawing One Direction I’d give general tips for drawing or painting a face. I’ve seen many people start with the eyes. If you’re not a really good artist I suggest you start with the shape of the head first. I mean I don’t have balls for starting with eyes and I’ve drawn a few faces. Just draw the shape of the head, the height of the face should be the size of your palm. Then make little marks for the eyes in the middle of the shape, the bottom of the nose meets a line halfway between the chin and the eyes, the bottom of the lips meets a line halfway between the nose and the chin. Now you have some sort of a template or a frame and you can start drawing and shading!

Thanks  Šárka! Right, we’re off to get some 8B pencils and photoshop and give this a bit of a go ourselves… 

If you want to check out more work by @shari_colors you can find her on Instagram and Twitter!

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Written by Sally O

The latest member of the MP! team, Sally's busy writing pop gossip and working on her bio right now.

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