Today is a two for one show! On air, I interview the amazing Erotibot. And below in text is my interview with Calm!
My Interview with Calm:
When did you realize you wanted to draw erotic content? What caused you to finally take the plunge?
Prior to starting doing erotic illustrations for a living, I had been doing erotic illustrations just for fun once in a while over several years, really just for my own entertainment. It's hard to say exactly when I started doing them for fun, but it was in 2008 I figured I'd start posting drawings on Hentai-Foundry and not just keep them to myself. And the drawings got more positive feedback than I thought they would. More than the normal non-erotic work I usually made back then. So it left a positive impression on me.
I kept making erotic illustrations for fun over a couple of years following that, until I finally got too busy with college. I was also steering towards becoming a professional illustrator, so I figured I'd leave the erotic stuff behind, and I disappeared from the erotic art community. I finished college, and kept working as a freelance illustrator for a year after. It was alright. I enjoyed it. But then I became aware of Patreon, where artists could draw whatever they wanted and people paid them to do it, which seemed pretty great! This was back in 2014, when there weren't all that many artists on Patreon yet and the platform was still new, about a year old, and exciting to people, so the artists who were there tended to see success and get supporters relatively easily. I recognized it was an opportunity I shouldn't pass up, but I hadn't decided yet exactly what kind of work I wanted to do there. I did know, however, that it had to be something I would get a lot of enjoyment out of making if I was going to be doing it for the foreseeable future. And I knew I had to find a niche, a position where I wouldn't just struggle to keep my head above water in an ocean full of similar, but arguably much superior, artists. I was worried doing regular fantasy illustrations wouldn't quite cut it, with all the extremely good artists all over the internet. There wouldn't be anything special about what I made.
Then I got to think about the erotic art community. The number of high level professionals in this community was relatively low compared to the normal fantasy art community, simply because when artists become professionals they typically gravitate towards jobs where they can make a decent and reliable living, which traditionally means doing work for companies who make movies, games, books, etc. You could get a couple thousand dollars for drawing a book cover, while it's next to impossible to find someone willing to pay that much to see their fantasy of Peach giving Luigi a rimjob in a back alley or whatever. The high level entertainment industry jobs also haven't mixed well with erotica, so artists aren't likely to do both in fear of alienating good clients. And many illustrators won't do erotica for a variety of other reasons as well. Yet erotic illustrations seem to be in equally high demand among people who consume art, and people who consume art would be my target audience on Patreon. So I thought if I went down the erotic illustration route, there would be fewer artists to compete with and it would give me the best chance at eventually standing out from the crowd.
In my head this reasoning was pretty solid, and I honestly figured I'd enjoy both the erotic and non-erotic illustration work equally, so I decided I'd try going down the path of least resistance. And it turned out pretty well I think!
Do you remember your first sexy artwork? What was it like?
I do remember the first drawing I made that I, at the time, would think of as sexy. I was probably 14 years old or something. I sat in my bedroom and drew a naked woman with short spiky hair. She had kind of a punk-like style to her. That was the first time I thought to myself "Hey, I can draw stuff that turns me on. Sweet!" I folded that drawing up and slid it into a crack behind a closet. It would be interesting and funny to see the drawing again today. Unfortunately, I recall I later got paranoid and burned all the evidence of its existence. You'll never have any proof, mom.
It wasn't until several years later that I actually started drawing stuff like that somewhat regularly.
Who or what were some of your early artistic influences? What about currently?
There are probably many early influences I've forgotten about, but the earliest memories I have of really enjoying drawing in general was when I was a kid and copied panels from Donald Duck comics. I guess those were my earliest influences. Later on, in my teens, I was heavily inspired by the stuff Blizzard was making, which has remained true ever since. Their artists have always been amazing in my mind. Luke Mancini and Laurel Austin are particular favorites.
Other influences today are, for example, Adam Hughes. His women are great, with very enjoyable facial expressions. I like that.
Beyond those it gets more difficult to point to very specific artistic influences. There have been a lot of them over the years.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I honestly don't have a very clear source of inspiration for my work that I can easily point to, but I think a lot of my inspiration comes from video games and movies, as well as just looking at other artists' work online, where I see characters and environments that trigger new ideas, either consciously or sub-consciously.
The strongest inspirations I have are more about art style rather than the subject. Use of colors, lighting and mood, how strokes are applied, composition, etc. Seeing well executed examples of those things is what really gives me an urge to create stuff.
What does a typical day look like for you?
A typical day for me probably seems very dull to a lot of people. I wake up at whatever time my current sleep schedule find appropriate, which varies wildly. Then I take a shower, followed by eating something while watching some Youtube videos. Yogscast Minecraft videos are a reliable go-to for me. Then I might play a game for a bit. The Binding of Isaac has been my game of choice for a while, and recently I've picked up Dead Cells, which is a great game. I enjoy the rogue-lite genre!
After that I start working. I answer a few messages, and then fire up my live stream where I stream the painting process of my illustrations. I typically keep painting for about 5-6 hours, until I feel like my creative energy for the day has been spent. I wish I had the energy to work much longer every day and make more stuff for people to enjoy, like some artists do, but hey, we can't all be super-humans like them, you know?
After I'm done working for the day, I usually grab another meal, and then watch people play games on Twitch until I'm tired enough to go to bed.
I certainly don't lead a wild and exciting life, and that suits me perfectly.
What does erotica bring to your life? What does it mean to you?
I think my favorite thing erotica has brought to my life is open minded friends. Throughout my life I've been surrounded by a lot of people who have been quick to judge others, and who worry a lot about what others think of them, and those are groups of people I've wished to get away from. To become the type of person you wish to be, surround yourself with people who are like that, you know? And I think becoming an erotic illustrator took me in a good direction in that regard.
What do you like to see most in erotic art? Least?
My favorite thing to see in erotic art is happy people enjoying each other. That's usually what I try to convey in my own illustrations and hope to inspire others to do as well. Also, elven ladies and demon girls are particularly nice! I doubt that opinion comes as a shock to people who have seen my paintings.
My least favorite things to see, without giving a too vivid description, is stuff that's commonly considered gruesome and gross. It's none of my business if others enjoy it, but I'd love to stay away from it. Unhappy people are also a boner-killer for me.
What do you want to see out of the erotic art community?
I'd love to see even more high quality original 3D models and animations. I feel like that's a very underrepresented area in erotic art. I have on many occasions been very tempted to try to learn how to make those things myself, but it's unfortunately not a trivial thing to do!
How does your work relate to your own sexuality, personally?
I don't have anyone telling me what to draw, like an artists who does commissions would have, which means I get to draw whatever I personally enjoy, and my work reflects my sexuality pretty well as a result. I'm a guy who enjoys women, so my illustrations usually feature straight couples or just women. However, even if guys don't really do it for me, I do try to make an effort to make sure, to the best of my ability, that the guys I draw are attractive to people who want to see hot guys.
Balancing life and art can be difficult. Do you have a formula for balancing your time?
Back when I first started doing erotic art full time, I used to spend about 7 hours drawing every day, and I did that for over half a year without taking any days off. Eventually it got to be a bit much for me, and I decided I'd start taking a couple of days off every week, and I think that's a good idea. I'm a bit poorer as a result, but it helps maintain my sanity! The last thing I'd want would be to burn out completely, so the time off is to prevent that as much as possible.
If you were stranded on a desert island and could only take one piece of erotic content with you, what would it be?
The advantage for us erotic illustrators is obviously that we'd be able to make our own stuff, so we wouldn't be stuck with just one piece of erotic content for very long. But that aside, and assuming the technology needed to watch it wouldn't be an issue, I think I'd enjoy having a really high quality 3D animation in VR there. VR is pretty cool!
Do you have any final words of advice or tips for aspiring erotic artists out there?
Use a ton of reference images while you work! Do a lot of studies! Don't just draw stuff from your imagination and expect that to improve your skills. You need input from outside your head in order to learn things you don't already know. I say that as someone who did draw just from imagination a lot, and it slowed down my improvement a lot over several years.
Apart from that, just draw the things you yourself care most about. It's what will keep you happy.
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