Interview with Ethan Mckenna - Visual Artist

Being apart of a facebook group that connects hundreds of local artists, I was introduced to Ethan Mckenna's work some time ago and immediately struck by the fantasy themes. With his style reminiscent of Anime and Video Games I was drawn into the many worlds he creates and decided to find out more about what he does, why does it and his process of creation.
Click on any of his pictures below to be taken to Ethan's Art Station page.

On what medium do you spend most of your creative time?

I spend most my time working in Digital, Photoshop is an amazing program for those who have no patience to deal with all the little inconveniences that come with traditional painting. But
with the entertainment industry using visual effects for the majority of movies they create and Photoshop being the industry standard for concept artists (mainly because it speeds up the artist's workflow), Digital artists are becoming more in demand so there has never been a better time to be skilled in the digital medium. But while that is all practical, I honestly just love the aesthetic of digital paintings. 

When did you start working with this medium?

I first started using Photoshop in 2011 when I borrowed (permanently) my mums Wacom tablet. From then on most of my time was spent on figuring out how to effectively use Photoshop. It was a lot to wrap my head around at first but as time went on I found myself pretty knowledgeable and even taught my digital media teacher some stuff while I was studying Art and Design. Once over the hurdle of learning the software, I could then focus my effort on learning the fundamentals of painting and drawing and as anything, practice makes progress.

Do you work with other art mediums?

I occasionally draw in sketchbooks when mapping out compositions for pieces or doing graphite photo studies but mostly I stick to digital painting. In the future, I would love to get into animation, so being adept in the digital medium will cross over nicely. 

Are you working on any projects at the moment you could let us in on?

Nothing huge at the moment, I'm currently devoting most of my time to developing my skills in painting and the fundamentals, maybe a little creative writing here and there.

Who's your favourite artist at the moment?

Oh boy, I have many favourites at the moment like Jesper Ejsing, Laurel Austin and Mike Azevedo but I would have to say Even Mehl Amundsen, he is a Norwegian Concept artist who mostly draws Fantasy and medieval art.
His work has inspired me to be the best artist I can not only just painting but world building and storytelling. His pieces have a strong sense of atmosphere and understanding of form, it is obvious when looking at his work that this person is oozing with passion and he often shares his art with a short story about the character or the scene taking place which opens up the idea of a whole world existing outside of one piece of art. 
I strongly recommend taking a look at his work it's truly amazing.
As a big fan of Tolkien and George R. R. Martin that stuff feeds my creative soul. 

What are some ways you can think of for fully utilising the internet and related technologies for the expression and development of Art?

In terms of Development, the internet is one of the best ways to get ideas, not only are there millions of artists sharing their work every day but there are so many artists willing to share their secrets for a small price or even for free. Check out Gumroad or simply browse Art Station. I find the best art comes when the artist is bursting with inspiration, that feeling of wanting to bring the idea to life by any means. As we all know the internet connects the world and there is no better place to express and share your art so Share share share everywhere you can, even if you don't think you're good enough there will always be people who care.

Do you have any habits or practices that you have learned or developed that help you maintain creative output?

Looking at a lot of art and I mean a LOT, trying to figure out how they achieved a certain effect, how they have drawn a piece of clothing or how they have executed an idea. This inspires me to get better and create.
I know a lot of people who just create for the fun of it which is what I do too, however, striving to become a professional artist is what drives me to create more.
So I have a rule I try to follow and you may have heard this before. Draw every day even if it's a shitty little drawing because in my experience creativity is like a muscle the more you work it out the bigger it becomes.

Another thing I find helps me maintain creative output is to think up stories for characters, what world they live in, what kind of crazy job they have. If I manage to think up something cool then the desire to flesh out the story or character brews.

What does Community mean to you?

A common love for something whatever it may be, a group of fellow humans helping each other be successful through collaboration and conversation.

I want to thank Ethan Mckenna for his time and for the insight into his life and creative processes.

Ethan's instagram.