Off the Page: Tara Spruit

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Tara Spruit is a 20-year-old student at Leiden University in the Netherlands, where she currently studies Korean studies with plans to study in South Korea. She loves reading, watching animated films and playing video games.

“My favorite YA books are the Mortal Instruments,the Infernal Devices, Percy Jackson, the Heroes of Olympus, the Lunar Chronicles, the Darkest Minds and many many more,” said Spruit.

  • Clary from Cassandra Clare's The Mortal Instruments.

What is it about the authors’ writing that inspired your art?
After reading a good book I feel like I’m still so deeply into the world the author created and I can’t say goodbye to the characters yet, so I draw them. It is a great way to stay connected them.

Are there any other influences you included in your art?
I think my art style is influenced a lot by how other artists work. You can learn a lot from studying what other artists leave out or how they deal with something you find hard to draw yourself. When I see something I absolutely love by another artist, it inspires me to try harder and improve or to try out new techniques.

What was the best reaction you’ve received?
One of the things that really gets me motivated to draw more is when somebody says that the way I draw the characters is exactly how they imagine it. Drawing book fanart is different from movie or game fanart, because everyone sees the characters differently no matter how detailed they are explained. So it’s kind of a relieve to hear when people connect to my versions of the characters they love. And it also feels absolutely fantastic when the authors themselves see my art. When that happened the first time, I just sat there absolutely stunned.

What’s your process?
I work mostly with my Wacom tablet and Paint Tool Sai, though I also use Photoshop sometimes for finishing touches. I usually make a rough sketch/set-up first and then go straight into line-art. Then I give everything color and play around with what colors work best. And after that I start working on shadows, highlights and texture depending on how realistic I want the drawing to look.

Do you have any tools you like to work with?
Digitally I like to work with my Wacom tablet, and Paint Tool Sai. For traditional work, any sketchbook and some hb to 6b pencils are great.

What encouraged you to share your fanart?
Seeing other artists draw the characters in their styles and interpretations really was a motivator to share my art too. And the reactions from the fandom help me to keep uploading. When something gets a lot of love I’m more motivated to draw more of that book or character.

What piece are you most proud of?
That really changes from time to time, but it’s usually one of my most recent ones. Right now I like my drawing of Celaena from Throne of Glass a lot.

Do you have anything fun that you’re working on or would like to do someday?
I did an illustrated song for the Mortal Instruments last year, and that is definitely something I would like to do again. I started thumbnailing already but I haven’t been able to get any further with it.

What kind of advice or insight would you give to other artists?
I thought myself everything I know by studying other artists and searching everything I needed to know online. Try to practice with advice from as many different artists as possible and find your style that way. You will probably discover along the way what method or process you prefer. Keep practicing and if it doesn’t work out, just draw for yourself. You don’t have to show it to anyone if you don’t like it. But keep drawing and don’t give up. Draw what you love and what makes you happy!

For more on Tara Spruit, follow her on Tumblr and deviantArt.

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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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