Name: Shriya Vedula
Years of Digital Art: 1
Future School: Ringling College of Art and Design
Wingspan: What or who first inspired you to do art?
Vedula: “I’ve been inspired to do art since I was a little kid, honestly–there’s not anyone who really inspired me to do it, I found it to be really fun. But then I didn’t know it could actually be a possible profession until I saw influencers and Youtubers making a living out of it. There was this one Youtuber called Drawing Wiff Waffles who has her own distinct style, and I was like ‘yo, I could do this too!’ and she does traditional and digital art, so that’s really how I started to get into it.”
Wingspan: Would you say that your art style is unique? How did you develop that?
Vedula: “I feel like all art styles come from, you know, taking inspiration from other artists, and a lot of people say that it’s stealing but in a lot of cases it’s just taking ideas from other artists, especially ones you admire. And again, with Drawing Wiff Waffles, her style was really cutesy—it wasn’t so realistic: that’s where I got my style from. Especially if you see how I draw my eyes or mouth shapes, you can see the similarities; over the years as I’ve followed and found more artists I’ve also taken inspiration from them, so yeah, I feel like my style is pretty unique. I’ve reached a point where I’ve created a style that’s mine, someone can look at my art and tell that I made it, so I’m really proud of that.”
Wingspan: What does art mean to you (how does it impact your life?)
Vedula: “I would go crazy without art, I feel like. If I’m ever stressed, I will just draw. Like, it won’t even be good art, it’ll literally just be like a smiley face or something of that quality, but it still just calms me down and brings me ‘zen’ I guess. It’s very therapeutic. Also, you can communicate so much through what you draw, or through any art form, honestly. It tells people what stories I’m interested in reading, what I’m interested in seeing, what topics I truly believe in, what communities I want to support. Like the LGBTQ community—I’m always drawing fanart, communicating to my followers that this is what I believe and what I support, and living my truth as I draw.”
Wingspan: What are your plans after high school, both school and career-wise? Do you plan on pursuing art as a profession?
Vedula: “I would love to, that’s like the dream—I would love to get into an art and design college or university. I want to work for animation studios, not as an animator but as a storyboard artist or a background artist because I really wanna see my work on a screen, you know? That’s just so incredible. But also, if that’s too far-fetched as a dream, I would love to create an art book of my own that has all of my illustrations, like professional illustrations made personally for myself. Not for a commission or anyone else, just my art in a book as a portfolio to show people that this is my art. I’d like to sell it and show people that they could make something like that too.”
Wingspan: What’re you currently working on?
Vedula: “I am actually working on designing some original characters for my friend who is currently interviewing me right now […] we work together, we make things happen! I’m also working on my own stories for my own characters, and we’ll see how that goes.”
Wingspan: Lastly, do you have any advice for people who want to get into digital art?
Vedula: “Bro, just get in, honestly. That’s the basic—it sounds so cliche, like, ‘oh, just do it’ but honestly that’s the truth of it. When I started out I was terrible, but I just kept going, kept practicing; every day I would make something new, every day I would just sketch something. And it’s really hard honestly, it’s so different from traditional art, especially if you’re used to traditional. But once you keep doing it over and over again and find what works for you, you’ll find that the process gets so much easier as you practice more and more. And that’s honestly my best advice, just practice and look at other people’s drawing processes. A lot of people do livestreams of them[selves] drawing from start to finish: watch those, find techniques for the programs you use, and again, practice. That’s really my best advice.”