Abby B. is the sort of artist who has come from a world of color and inspiration. Her talent deserves the spotlight, as does her charming personality. As a writer, it’s quite refreshing to meet someone who will not only point out a mistake of yours, but also make fun of it in the process! The result for me: Instant fandom.
Time to get to know the mastermind behind the ColorWIRED creations.
Tell me more about Abby.
I’m an all-around artist. I play instruments, I dance, I sing, I’m getting started on cosplay costuming, drawing, painting and working a full-time job. My dad is a singer/songwriter who has released a handful of albums and does gigs in ours and the surrounding cities. My mother was a singer and an actress.
Wow! Talent runs through your bloodline, I see. So, I know blue is one of your favorite colors and psychologists say it’s an “emotionally soothing” tone. Would you agree with that? What emotion does it give you as an artist?
Yes, I do agree that blue is an emotionally soothing color, and I often use art as an outlet and anxiety relief. That is probably a big reason as to why blue has been used so much in my art over the past few years. It definitely adds a calming element to my work.
I notice that most of the women in your art have very detailed and noticeable hair. Is there a significance to their styles and do you like to showcase your love of dark lines this way?
I love lines! I took a 2d design class in college and learned that many lines and details are incredibly aesthetically pleasing to me. Hair is just one thing that I use to express the movement that you can achieve with lines.
Of your favorite artists, what is something you would say they all have in common that you admire?
Originality and ‘imperfection’. Hector Sevilla Lujan, Yuko Rabbit, and Alphonse Mucha. I suppose on first glance, these artists aren’t very similar in any way. Honestly, my art doesn’t really represent their styles much. But, when I look at their artwork, I see the lack of attention to modern beauty. Characteristics like unreasonably large hips paired with a small chest from Hector, imperfect facial structures or scratchy unfinished pieces from Yuko Rabbit, or even the normal-sized women from Alphonse Mucha inspires me to not shoot for the most perfect paintings or drawings – which has been a major struggle of mine for years.
I’ve just recently learned that it is okay to leave a drawing unfinished and move on to come back to it later, and that odd shapes in body structure make a painting more striking and noticeable. Their lack of mainstream hooks is what draws me to use them for reference.
That’s very insightful. Now, let’s imagine you were going to do a series without using color. What would the theme of it be and why?
Lines. As you pointed out earlier, I spend a lot of time putting definition into hair. That obsession with detail also extends to the rest of the paintings as well. I would love to do a no color series that just focuses on details that lines can create.
What are some things about everyday life that inspire you?
Flowers, video games, and music!
Nice! From looking at “No Legs Bear” and “Wildflower,” I got a really cool anime vibe from it. Are you an anime fan? If so, what do you enjoy most about it?
Yes I am! Though my art doesn’t draw from anime any more than a bit of large eye syndrome, I can’t really name very many people who aren’t influenced in some way by anime.
I think what I enjoy most about anime is the storytelling. I am always a sucker for a great story.
“Post Card from My Mind” makes me want to talk fashion with you. Are inspired by the clothing of the Victorian era?
Steampunk! Yes, I love Victorian era style. It was so dirty and lacy and good, don’t you think?
I agree! Tell me more about “The Mob?” Also, what makes you favor Indesign?
(Laughs) That is, to this day, still one of my favorite digital paintings! I may even revisit it someday – digitally or otherwise. The painting started out just as you see it with the bright colors and cheeky characters. I had been trying really hard to start capturing a bit more personality with my paintings as well as use color a bit better. Eventually, it expanded to a full book cover painting that includes a squid and some other fun stuff for my InDesign final in college.
I went into my InDesign class determined to hate it. I had already taught myself how to paint in Photoshop and I still dislike Adobe Illustrator. I figured any program where you couldn’t paint directly on it was not useful to my life, but I learned my lesson. Adobe InDesign is an incredible tool, as you may know. It is brilliant for designing pretty much any paper product that you can imagine. Books, Resumes, business cards, you name it! I’m sure Illustrator is great, too. I just never learned it.
What tools did you use to learn your craft?
That depends on which craft you are talking about. 🙂
For digital painting, I started out with Photoshop, then moved to Paint Tool Sai, which is much better for painting at a fraction of the price. Some of my digital art was partly done in Artrage as well. Artrage has a heavy focus on making you feel like you are using traditional media while sitting at a computer. It was what eventually turned me to traditional art.
For drawing, I use mostly mechanical pencil and I draw heavily on watercolor paper. I prefer the tooth of watercolor paper to the smoothness of sketch paper. I believe it is because the sounds that the lead makes on smooth paper irritates me.
For my paintings I use a very limited palette but splurge on the extras for the kick.
Generally, my watercolor paintings include: India ink of any color, acrylic paint, glitter, diamond dust, gold leaf, multicolored pens, and string for needlework within my paintings.
What’s your favorite piece thus far?
Universal Geometry. The painting was a gift for my sister’s birthday. I’ve only posted the painting on my website. but the entire original work included a shadow box and string. The painting also opened my eyes on incorporating more elements into my artwork such as paper shapes and 3d parts.
Are you as taken with Abby as I am yet? Of course, you are. See more of her work below and visit her website at ColorWIRED.com.