Sunday, November 21, 2010

Artist Danielle Soloud

As I've mentioned before, about a year and a half ago I was introduced to the hobby of collecting sketch cards. That introduction and subsequent increase in interest on my part in the hobby led me to coming across a wide array of artists I otherwise would never have learned about. One of the first artists I came across was Danielle Soloud.

Upon visiting her website (, I was hooked. Danielle has this adorable style but is not shy about drawing the pinup. As a matter of fact, I believe the pinups she does are actually some of the better examples of her work.

Once I noticed on her website that she had a Twitter account, I began following her. She doesn't post a lot, but often she will update her followers on what she is working on. Lately, she's been talking about old video games she found in a closet after not seeing them for quite some time. And she posts most often in late night or early morning. Seems she is a nightowl.

But I love her art. And I once I told her so. We communicated some via Twitter. She was very nice and I decided instead of just admiring her work, I should own some. On her website she had a few larger pieces (much larger than sketch cards), one of which was a nice color sketch of Catwoman. I am a huge fan of Batman and his rogue's gallery, and Catwoman is at the top of that list. She was offering the piece at what I considered a considerably inexpensive rate, so I snatched it up.

Catwoman - by Danielle Soloud
Catwoman by Danielle Soloud

When I received the package in the mail, I was pleasantly surprised to see this on the back of the mailing envelope:

Catwoman envelope sketch - by Danielle Soloud
Catwoman envelope sketch by Danielle Soloud

Over the course of 2010, I've collected a few more Danielle Soloud pieces.

5finity Mixtape Hula Girl sketch card - by Danielle Soloud
5finity Mixtape Hula Girl by Danielle Soloud

This piece was pulled from a pack of 5finity's Mixtape sketch card series. I had ordered one pack and was very fortunate to pull this. Even better was that I had seen Danielle ink and color the sketch on her ustream artcast. I was fortunate enough to snag another Mixtape sketch Danielle did. This time it was a female vampire that she had received back as an Artist Exclusive sketch, so I made the purchase from Danielle directly.

5finity Mixtape Vampire Artist Exclusive sketch card - by Danielle Soloud
5finity Mixtape Artist Exclusive Vampire by Danielle Soloud

And again, there was a nice surprise on the mailing envelope.

Vampire envelope sketch - by Danielle Soloud
Vampire envelope sketch by Danielle Soloud

I had purchased this card during the summer around the time that Danielle was set to release her first sketchbook called Va Va Boom volume one. Included in this package was copy #2 of 200 that included another catwoman sketch on the inside front cover:

Catwoman sketchbook - by Danielle Soloud
Catwoman sketchbook sketch by Danielle Soloud

Having purchased a few sketches that had already been done, I decided that I wanted to commission Danielle to draw something of my choosing. I debated some of the Batman characters I loved so much, including Harley Quinn, Huntress, Batgirl, etc. But I decided to go a different route. One night during one of Danielle's artcasts, she was listening to 80s music and a Joan Jett tune had come on. We briefly talked about Joan, and it was from this conversation that I decided to ask Danielle to sketch her. And I have to say, when I received the final sketch, I was blown away. She had exceeded any expectation I had held. Look for yourself:

Joan Jett - by Danielle Soloud
Joan Jett by Danielle Soloud

And, as I had become accustomed to, I received another sketch on the envelope:

Joan Jett envelope sketch - by Danielle Soloud
Joan Jett envelope sketch by Danielle Soloud

Lastly, but not leastly, Danielle also is the writer/artist on her own webcomic, Life with Death. It's the story of a the daughter of the Grim Reaper who has reached the age where she must begin to learn the family trade. It's a definite must read.

In preparation for this post, I decided to ask Danielle some questions to get a better idea who she is and what she's like. Here is what I learned:

1.) What got you into drawing?
I've been drawing as long as I can remember. I'm very lucky to have parents who are supportive of the arts.

2.) You mentioned that at one point in your life you moved from drawing to become a DJ. Why did you do that, and what brought you back to art?
Drawing just fell by the wayside as I spent all my time focusing on music. Although I did learn Photoshop in that time and a bit of graphic design for flyers and such. I decided to pursue art as a career only a couple years ago when I was unhappy with my life and decided to change it.

3.) How were you trained - school, self-taught, mentor, some divine gift? :-)
Ha! Although artists do have to have some degree of talent, it definitely needs to be nurtured. I'm mostly self-taught. When I was in elementary school I would try to draw like the cartoons I watched and video games I played. In middle school I got into anime and comic books and began to study them. About two years ago I did enroll into community college with the intent of transferring to an art school. I took all of my foundation courses and one day while sitting in math class thought to myself, "I should be drawing right now." Ultimately I decided against art school because I didn't think it was for me.

4.) Who do you look to for inspiration - in art? In life?
I try to be open to let anything and everything inspire me. A big inspiration for me though are movies.

5.) What was the first piece you were paid for?
I believe the first professional project I worked on was for Breygent. I wish I could say it was when I was in middle school and a kid asked me to draw a naked woman for him and he would pay me. I think I missed out on a huge financial opportunity there.

6.) Besides art, what are your interests? What do you like to do for fun? Favorite movie? Favorite TV show? Favorite musician/music? Favorite book? Favorite food?
My interests are movies, art, animation, comics, and video games pretty much. I adore movies so much that giving a favorite is a horribly tough question to answer! But I'd probably say Beetlejuice is if I had to absolutely pin down one. My current top favorite TV shows are It's Always Sunny in PhiladelphiaTrue Blood. Favorite band is AC/DC and my favorite music I listen to most would be surf rock, rockabilly, classic rock, electro and 80's, which is also what I listen to when I'm drawing. Music is definitely a huge inspiration. My favorite books are American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. And finally, the one thing I don't have to think twice about when it comes to favorites is my favorite food... BUFFALO WINGS!

7.) I think I also remember you saying that you are able to make a living solely on your art - at what point in your life were you able to do that and how did it feel to know that you could?
It's still a struggle and that's the risk you take when you decide to pursue art. I don't have a lot of overhead so it's not that hard for me right now. I'm also lucky to be blessed with a supportive and helpful family.

8.) I know you've done some work for Breygent and 5finity. How did you get involved with them? Have you been part of any other sketch card sets? Are there any you'd really like to be a part of or other companies you'd like to work with?
I found out about Breygent and 5finity from the Scoundrel forums, both of which I sent samples to and they liked them enough to give me work. I've also recently started work with Versicolor on their Bettie Page set, which I'm really looking forward to!

9.) Like many other artists, you've started a ustream video channel for live artcasts - do you think this affects your process at all? Does it help? It's great for fans and fellow artists to be able to talk to you during the process, is the benefit mutual?
It does affect my process in a few ways that is both positive and negative. It's positive because you can get instant feed back and you're bringing people into your process which can be interesting. It forces me to sit there and finish a piece from start to finish since I'm broadcasting I can't just get up and start watching TV or something. Also, it's fun to have people to hang out with and chat while working. Although the downside is I take longer to do what I'm doing with the looking up at the screen and chatting (I work slower when I'm talking). Also with the camera set up I have it's sometimes awkward. Overall I think it's a great thing to do!

10.) What were you like as a child? Are you originally from orlando?
I think I was a lot like I am now. I was very chatty and always drawing and coming up with stories. I got in trouble often for disturbing other students as I would finish my work fast so I could chat with them. Yes, I am from Orlando - born and raised.

11.) What is your favorite thing in the whole world?
This was probably the most difficult question you've asked... I guess I would say my computer for now!

12.) What was the worst job you ever had?
Telemarketer for time-shares by far.

13.) What advice would you give a person wanting to become an artist?
Draw constantly and then draw some more. Be determined, don't give up, have thick-skin and accept criticism - don't take it personally. Be willing to show your art to others and post it on the internet for others to see and provide feedback. Also, I can't recommend the book Art & Fear by David Bayles & Ted Orlando enough. I'd say it's just about absolutely necessary to read.

14.) What is your favorite thing to draw? You previously told me "girls!", but do you have something more specific? :-)
It IS girls! I love drawing curves. (note: if you view her portfolio on her website, you'll see that she does, indeed, love drawing girls. And she is very, VERY good at it.)

15.) What's the story behind your last name? I mean, it's not your given name, right?
No, "Soloud" is not actually my last name. It comes from when I was a DJ. Originally I spun under the name 'DJ Sunny D" but came to find out there were about three other people who also used that name. So I changed it to 'Danielle Soloud', which makes a lot more sense when you're a DJ! Many people got used to that and already knew me as that name so when I started drawing again I just kept using it!

So, check out Danielle's website and commission her for some work. You won't be disappointed.