Lou Pineda-Arada works as a senior game artist and a freelance illustrator. She illustrated several children’s books, including I am an Apple (Ako ay isang Apol), written by Grace D. Chong; My First 100 Words: My Body Mini-stories written by Joshene Bersales, translated by Louise Silvestre; Kelly Drake and the Tears of the Dragons written by Ricardo T. Pamintuan, and her latest illustrated book this 2018: Ang Pag-abot kay Pangarap written by Elino T. Reyes III. Lou also created some illustrations for the CCP Encyclopedia, a project she’s personally proud of.
During her free time, Lou enjoys cooking, playing video games, watching documentaries and YouTube videos on things being built, or cooking channels, and also spending some time outside, watching and observing people in the neighborhood.
Q: Everyone has an origin story. Could you share with us the exact moment (or moments) wherein you realized that you wanted to become an artist?
Ever since I was young, I chose to draw as a form of communication, since I wasn’t really good with words. I would simply draw to make friends or break the ice since I was really timid. My teachers would also allow me to write my essays short, but I would field them illustrations. It was by then I realized that I could communicate with drawings.
Q: From that moment, and throughout your journey as an artist, what has been your biggest struggle?
My biggest struggle as an artist is having time for personal growth for personal art, since I work in the creative industry professionally. I rarely have time for personal works, which may cause me to feel stagnant. Time is gold.
Q: How have you been able to cope with (or overcome) this struggle?
A mantra by Jake parker: “Finished Not Perfect”
That video by Jake Parker rekindles what I need to do whenever I feel down.
Drawing became my own form of “meditation”.
Q: What would you consider is the ONE thing that REALLY helped you level up your skills?
Surround yourself with people who inspire you, criticizes you, and whom you consider mentors. They will show you how lazy and noob you are, but in a good way, LOL. It helped me to be more open and to grow my skills. You can see things more clearly.
Q: What is one thing you’d wish you’d known before you started your artistic career? Why?
I wish I had invested more physically and emotionally. Doing projects is not an easy joke. You need to be stable on both aspects.
Q: What drives or inspires you to continue making your art?
I guess finishing an artwork is rewarding personally, and I guess the different reactions from friends and followers helps me to keep on making art.
Q: What does your average day look like? (And when do you fit in the time to create art?)
My days are mostly composed of work, especially Mondays to Fridays. During break-time, I would have random discussions with my friends. From there I would document some of the interesting stories in a personal sketchbook as a journal.
Q: How do you deal with distractions or challenges that you encounter while you’re working on your art?
Accept the fact that you are distracted, and eliminate it LOL. Just kidding! Work in a silent room and detach yourself, especially from the wi-fi connection.
Q: What do you do when you feel just completely uninspired or burnt out? How do you motivate yourself to start working again?
Moral support. I appreciate that I have my close friends to talk to. It’s important to take breaks. Take a walk. Look up and do your hobbies, hobbies that are handmade like cooking or building a Gunpla really helps.
Q: What would you say has been your most EPIC win so far?
I guess being a senior artist, LOL. Getting published in Art Magazines and being interviewed is one thing too. I feel validated haha.
Q: What would you say has been your biggest failure?
Not getting that one project, due to poor health.
Q: What, for you, has been the best way to promote yourself and your work to potential fans, clients, or publishers?
Being a member of an org like Ang INK, or just being consistent posting your works on social media really help. Right now, I want to launch new artworks next year. To improve my workflow and portfolio.
Q: What has been your game plan throughout your journey? What’s the BIG picture here? The ultimate dream? The end game?
Ultimate dream, I guess, is like having a brand create an original IP and to be like Kim Jung Gi!
Q: What, for you personally, has been the source of your ideas, creativity and talent?
Personal experiences, stories and creative friends.
Q: What is your big “WHY”? Why do you feel the need to make art? Who are you doing it for? What’s the hidden reason behind your big dream?
I believe each of one of us wants to share a story. It may be little, or mundane, but it’s still a story.
Q: What 3 stories (comics, movies, documentaries, novels, etc.) would you say influenced and inspired your work the most?
I love reading shonen manga in general, and grew up liking Naruto and Akira, or animated movies like Summer Wars, or the works of Studio 4°C, Studio Ghibli, and of Satoshi Kon.
Q: What are the top books, art books, blogs, podcasts, or workshops you’d recommend that helped you level up your skills? (Feel free to plug in as many as you’d like)
Here are my top recommendations!:
James Gurney’s Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter.
Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud
Level UP! http://www.fusroda.com/resources/
Jake Parker: https://www.youtube.com/user/jakeparker44
The Art Assignments: https://www.youtube.com/user/theartassignment
Aaron Blaise: https://www.youtube.com/user/AaronBlaiseArt
Q: If you could work remotely, from anywhere in the world, where would your office be? Why?
I’m torn with Japan or New zealand. I like to be located somewhere close to mother nature but still accessible to the cities.
Q: Name ONE artist/writer that, if you could, you would pick their brain and find out all the hidden secrets behind their amazing work?
Q: Who do you consider your biggest mentor that helped you improve your skills? (Doesn’t have to be someone you’ve met personally. Can be someone you look up to, or someone whose art has inspired you to get better, over the years.)
I really don’t have a mentor, but there are some local artists and groups I admire and look up to: Robert Alejandro and the members of Ang Ink!