Aewen's Corner - Interview with Kpop Fan Art Artist Anja!

Hey Listeners

What's Up!  This month we are starting a new series called 'Aewen's Corner'!  In this series we will be interviewing various people from the Kpop community and showing off their work.  This month we were lucky enjoy to get an interview with the very talented kpop fan art artist, Anja!  Check out the article below to see her amazing art work and read about her journey to Kpop!


Tell us a little bit about yourself, how you got into kpop, & how long you have been a fan.

Hi, my name is Anja. I'm from Germany and I'm 22 years old. I just started studying Korean studies this semester.
Aside from Kpop and drawing, I also love reading books and I would consider myself as Anime/Manga lover as well.
How did I get into Kpop?
Well it was actually by chance. I was on Youtube and a video showed up in the recommendation section. I watched it, liked it and started to inform myself more.
The video was 'Bad Girl' from B2ST and it turned out that it was the release day of it as well. So I basically consider myself a Kpop fan since then. Since that was 2009, I'm a Kpop fan for 6 years now.

What are your favorite groups or solo artists?

My favorite groups are B2ST, Infinite, B.A.P, BTOB, VIXX, 4Minute, SPICA and MAMAMOO. My favorite solo artists are Ailee, IU and Rain. Actually, I listen to everything at least once, when someone asks me to check it out or when I see it by chance. Actually I like a lot more groups and artists. But these are the groups/artists where I can say that I am part of their fandom.

How long have you been drawing? Are you self-taught or did you take professional classes and how did you get into drawing fan art?
I stated drawing back in 2010. I'd say that I am a self-taught artist, I never attended any professional classes for drawing portraits. I did have art classes in High School, but we never did anything like drawing human portraits, or animal. We focused on architecture, still life, we also analyzed advertisements and such things like this. In addition we painted most of the time, the only time when we really used pencils was for architectural drawings. Back then I wasn't really good though, I was never that fond of painting to be honest.
The reason for me to start drawing is actually a quite sad one. Back then I was bullied quite badly in school, because I was chubby (I still am) and because I was into Kpop and other Asian stuff. It was getting quite bad and someday I thought about suicide. I just couldn't take all that pain anymore at that time. And I didn't want to talk about it at home. I once tried to talk to it with my father, but he told me that it was my own fault for being bullied. (I still loved him though)
I just couldn't talk about it anymore. I guess I could have talked to my mom, but I didn't want to bother her with any of my problems, I didn't want to hurt her. I have a little sister and she was just 5 years back then, so my mom had enough of other things in her head. I also have a big brother, but he didn't live at home anymore and he wasn't really interested in these things.
Well and actually these two people, my mother and my little sister, are the reason why I looked for another way of dealing with that pain. I couldn't hurt them so much by just thinking about myself and taking my life.
One day I saw a portrait of a Kpop idol (I don't know of whom), that was when I wanted to try drawing something like that too. And I did try and I noticed that I don't think that much when I draw, I didn't think about the things in school that much anymore and it helped.
So if I ever had to express what drawings means to me, I would say it is like my lifesaver. It helped me to build up the self-confidence and strength that I
didn't have back then but which I have now.

Do you have any particular artists that you are inspired by?

Usually it is quite hard to find a nice reference picture for my drawings, since it has to inspire me. (Especially if I have to look for that one person to draw him/her)
But for artists like IU and Lee Jong Suk, it is very easy for me to find references. I don't know what it is, but both artists inspire me a lot and I always find new pictures of them, which I want to draw.

After looking through your Instagram and FB accounts it looks like you’ve drawn a lot of different artists.  What inspires you to draw a particular person and on average how long does it take you to finish a piece?

Yes I actually did draw quite a few artists over the years.
Hmmm, I think one thing that inspires me a lot are the eyes (most of the time). The favorite part for me to draw are the eyes. And I guess the feel, that the reference delivers, is an important inspirational factor for me as well.
It literally has to scream "draw me" into my face, when I see the picture for the first time.
I guess it takes me about 9 hours to finish a drawing. But that also depends on the amount of details, on the size of the drawing and such things.

Are fans able to buy your artwork and are you a part of any fanart communities?

I haven't sold any fanart yet. But a lot of my friends and my family tell me to try selling some of my artworks.
So I'm still thinking about selling my drawings and/or doing commissions.
But up to now I only did a few giveaways, where my fans were able to win a drawing of mine.
And I am kinda part of a fanart community. I am part of a group with about 40 members in it. All of them are kpop artists as well. We all share our artworks on one tumblr blog. This network is quite new, it was created in August of this year. From time to time there will be challenges as well (we only had 2 so far) and it's really fun.
The network is called 'K-arts net', there are a bunch of amazing artists there. So if you like seeing different kinds of fanarts, check out the tumblr blog:

If you had the chance to have one group or artist sit down with you for a live drawing session who would you pick and why?

That's a really difficult question. But I think I would choose Ailee.
I love drawing her as much as I love her music, but I haven't drawn her that much yet. One of the reasons would be the time factor, but the other one would be that I only have a few reference pictures of her in my 'to draw' folder. So I would take this chance, of a live drawing session, to draw her in a lot of different ways and may even styles. 

Do you have one piece or a few in particular that you are most proud of and why?

I think one of the drawings that I' m most proud of is my drawing of Kim Soohyun. I just think that it looks the most realistic out of my drawing and that's why I'm so proud of it.
But I'm also really proud of my Lee Jong Suk drawing, which I drew for an Animal-Mix-Challenge. I'm really proud of that one, because I'm not a fan of drawing hair, I would say it's my least favorite thing to draw. But in the drawing I chose the wolf as animal and I had three of them in the background. it was a lot of fur, it lot of work, but all the work was worth it. And since I didn't stop in the middle, finished the drawing and because it turned out so nice, I'm really proud of it.
Do you have any advice for people who want to learn how to draw?
One advice to people, who just started drawing or think of starting is, that you have to keep trying. It took me such a long way and a lot of time to draw like I do now. Some may get better faster than other people. I do experience that a lot. There are artists around me, who just draw like a few month and they're already at a level that I reached after like 2 years. So don't give up! Keep practicing, you'll get better.
Another advice is something that I experienced as well. Try out a lot of different things and create your own style of drawing. For example I tried out a lot of different ways of drawing hair too. And after 4 years I found MY way of drawing hair. The way that I am most comfortable with. I think it'll be a lot easier when you have your own style to draw. And another benefit is, that your drawings can be connected to you, since it's your own style.
And my last advice is don't listen to people, who say that your not an artist and should stop drawing. As long as you put your heart into drawing your artwork, it is art!
As a little finish, I would like to give you one of my favorite quotes along on the way. It is a quote from Charles Horton Cooley, he said: 'An artist cannot fail; it is a success to be one."

Where can listeners check out more of your artwork?

I do have quite a few places where I share my drawings. Here's a little list for you all, if you feel like it, feel free to take a look!
We want to say a big thank you to Anja for givingus this interview!  She is such a great artist so definitely go check out more of her work on her different social media sites.  Also, check out her speed drawing video of Suga from BTS and after that take a listen to her customized playlist!

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