Off the Page: Andrea Porretta


Here’s your chance to get behind the scenes with fanartists who bring your favorite young adult books to life.

Andrea Porretta – commonly referred to as Andi by friends and Andiree by the Internet – is “a loud and proud Philadelphian” student of art. Particularly fond of illustration, some of her favorite books to draw are Eleanor and Park, the Percy Jackson series, The Selection and Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.

  • Aristotle and Dante from Benjamin Alire Sáenz's Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.

What is it about the authors’ writing that inspired your art?
The aspect of literature that I connect most with is characters. I love to imagine the different personalities and how they are shown through actions and body language. It’s fun to try and portray how I imagine them.

Are there any other influences you included in your art?
Oh, definitely. Depending on the series, the fashion and style described in the books really inspires my drawings. I also can be influenced by the grandeur or scenery of the setting. Sometimes, it is just the words on the page that stick out to me. There is a lot of inspiration and ideas that can be drawn from just a few lines of a novel.

What was the best reaction you’ve received?
There are always a few times when I see a comment or a tag on my artwork that makes me smile and go, “Wow, I’m glad I drew this. I really made someone happy.” My favorite reactions, though, are the ones that are blown away by the ridiculousness of what I just posted. The best reaction, though, happened with a friend of mine in real life. We had been rowing together, and she vaguely knew that I made some internet art. She had just read Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell and, having found out I read it too, had turned to show me some cute fan art she found online. When I told her it was mine, she FLIPPED OUT.

What’s your process?
Most of the time, I spend the entire time on photoshop. Sketching, lining, coloring…the whole thing. Others times I sketch it out on paper, scan it, and line [and]color it from there. I’m very fond of using line art and thick, messy scribbles. I make that layer first, and I create another underneath and begin the coloring process using Dry Media brushes. Once that’s done, I’m usually too tired and lazy to work on a nice background.

Do you have any tools you like to work with?
I use the lasso tools on Photoshop more than anyone probably should. I also LOVE to play around with brush settings and textures. Hue and saturation are always being tinkered with, too.

What piece are you most proud of?
I am really proud of everything I do, but right now my favorite piece of work is my illustration of Mariam from Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns. I’m just very proud of the colors and the scene that I was able to create.

Do you have anything fun that you’re working on or would like to do someday?
I have so many things that I want to do. There are tons of cute stories I have lined up for my collaborative comic “Teenage Terrors”. There are some new monsters and relationships to introduce! I also have some cute ideas I want to tinker with for some animated stories (including some cowboys and lots and lots of magazines)! I’m very lazy though, and animation completely drains my energy source.

What kind of advice or insight would you give to other artists?
1) Don’t be lazy like I am. Procrastination will only hurt you and your efforts in the long run. If you want to do something, don’t put it off. JUST DO IT.
2) PLEASE DON’T LET OTHER ARTISTS GET YOU DOWN! It’s so hard to look at amazing art and turn back to your own without losing motivation. Rather than comparing yourself and your art to others, find what it is you love about their work and try to incorporate it into your own! Use the things you find beautiful and make it something new.
3) Never give up. Just keep practicing and working at your craft and eventually you will be proud of what you have accomplished, are making, and will create!

What encouraged you to share your fanart?
It was always about connecting with other people. I love books, but none of my friends ever really felt as passionate as I did. When I read books, it almost felt like I was watching a movie by myself. I wanted to turn t a friend next to me and squeal when the cute boy did the cute thing, but no one was ever really there or cared enough to squeal back. When I started posting fan art, I discovered a whole community of people who shared the same interest and enthusiasm for literature that I did! Thanks to fan art, I have found a community of wonderful and exciting people who are just as geeky and sappy as I am.

For more, follow Andrea Porretta on Tumblr.

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About Author

Nicole Brinkley

Nicole is the editor of YA Interrobang. She has short hair and loves dragons. The rest changes without notice. Follow her on Twitter at @nebrinkley or Tumblr at nebrinkley. Like her work? Leave her a tip.

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