Indieview #1: Emily Botta, Artist
Welcome to the first week of Indieview! Indieview is an interview series with a special guest who works on personal or business projects related to games, whether they’re an artist, a composer, a writer, or otherwise. Emily Botta, also known as Emzbotta, is my very first guest, and she’s an incredible artist with a focus on both traditional and digital art.
Emily is currently studying art at college, but she’s been drawing for most of her life. She often opens up commission slots, which don’t take long at all to be filled!
Mitch: Does that sound about right?
Emily: Yes! I study a university course at my local college and hoping to get a degree when they add the third year. Similar to a lot of artists, I’ve been drawing since I was little but started to take it more seriously around age 12ish.
Mitch: When did you discover that you wanted to be an artist?
Emily: I think it was quite early on. I watched a lot of cartoons growing up and life-action stuff didn’t interest me nearly as much. Sonic the Hedgehog played a major part in me wanting to be an artist — I was obsessed. I wanted to know how to draw him myself and practiced all the time. From there I naturally progressed onto anime and really enjoyed it, and that was when I discovered art was for me.
Mitch: You can’t go wrong with the blue blur! Are there any artists who inspire you and your art style? I notice that you also highlight many other artists on your Twitter and Instagram, which I think is super cool and supportive of you.
Emily: There’s a ton of artists that inspire me. I love Kinu Nishimura, Daisuke Ishiwatari and Tite Kubo’s work in particular and I think a lot of my art is influenced by them. Social media is amazing for discovering new artists. BlurSquidArt, Z.elus, JasminJaegerArt, Poch4n are some names off the top of my head but the list is endless. And thank you, I love sharing other people’s work that I think is really impressive.
Mitch: What projects are you currently working on?
Emily: Regarding my college projects I have to create several illustrations revolving around well-being. I chose to focus in on social media, transgender issues and body shaming so my final pieces will be something to do with these. Mine, along with my peer’s work, will be displayed online for people to check out soon (hopefully). Apart from that and commissions I don’t have too much going on, but hoping to some more interactive projects in the near future.
Mitch: Oh wow, that’s awesome! I’ve seen what you’ve shown on social, but I’ll definitely be checking out your and your peer’s work once they’re available online. What are you planning to do once your studies are finished? Are there any internships or places you’d love to work at?
Emily: Cry with relief. I’ve had a look at some internships around the London area and I’m considering applying for some when I get my qualifications. I’d love to work in the video-game or animation industry so places like Disney, Sony or Sega are up there and something to aim for. There’s also a company called BlueZoo who I would consider applying to in order to gain more experience for my animation.
Mitch: I’m sure you’ll do great, wherever you go. I absorb everything Disney, so I’ll look forward to it! How long does it usually take to complete a piece? I’m really curious, especially as there’s always an intense level of detail.
Emily: My pencil pieces take around 3 hours depending on complexity. Digital pieces are probably a little longer as I’m not as confident in that area just yet. The main thing that prevents me from finishing pieces earlier is my horrible concentration as I get distracted by literally everything and anything. Coming up with a pose can halt my progress as well, sometimes I have a very clear picture of what I want the character to be doing and other times I scroll through Pinterest and various references for what seems like forever until something sticks.
Mitch: Do you have a favourite piece of art you’ve created? I’m sure it’s like picking your favourite child… or, uh, game?
Emily: That’s a tricky question as it changes a lot of the time. There’s an old sketch I did a couple of years ago of Widowmaker from Overwatch from a side profile that I was really proud of. To this day I’m still not sure how I managed to draw it.
Mitch: Let’s say I’ve just commissioned you, and you’ve sat down to begin drawing a traditional artwork. What equipment do you have?
Emily: Nothing too much, I have my trusty Muji mechanical pencil, an eraser and the paper. I also have a black outliner handy for finishing touches.
Mitch: Following on from the previous question… what software and/or hardware do you use for digital art?
Emily: I use a Wacom Cintiq 22HD and Clip Studio Paint PRO for my digital work. I use a Mac at the moment but would like to build a PC at one point.
Mitch: Do you have any drawing advice that you’d like to share to budding artists, or those who are looking to pick up the craft?
Emily: I’d say don’t be embarrassed of your work, everyone starts at the same place and it’s good to get your work out there and feedback. Find something that inspires you and try to push yourself out of your comfort zone, but also it can be important to draw for you and do something self-indulgent.
Mitch: I think that’s great advice for pretty much anything you want to tackle in life. Where can readers follow you, and commission you for work? Note: I’ve commissioned Emily twice, including this Final Fantasy VII Remake Aerith piece which you can see below!
Mitch: Can I commission you again sometime?
Emily: Of course! I’d love to!
I hope you enjoyed Indieview #1, with Emily Botta. I’ll be posting an Indieview with another guest next week, so I hope to see you all then!