Artist Feature: Vicky Yen
The Tokusatsu Network first came across Vicky Yen’s tokusatsu-inspired work at the 2015 Anime Expo Artist Alley in Los Angeles, CA.
She can be found on Twitter, where she posts most of her works-in-progress, at @vykeexp and she is also on Tumblr @vykee which also houses her finished art pieces and other fandom passions.
Fans can buy her prints on her Etsy store, which she also shares with her dad.
Where did you grow up and how did you discover a passion for art?
I grew up in SoCal (Southern California). I have always drawn since I was little, but I didn’t get serious about it until high school. I liked hanging out with my friends and a lot of them took art classes, so I joined to spend time with all of them.
They were just private art classes from a local art studio, and even when I wasn’t signed up for classes at the time, I would always drop by for the workshops.
[Now,] I mostly just browse through blogs and if I happen across tutorials, I’ll give them a try as a warm-up but not everything sticks and I like to stay within my comfort zone for the most part. For references, I always turn to Google and pray that something I can use pops up. I used to have so many Kamen Rider photobooks saved up so I could use them for reference, but I can no longer find them, unfortunately.
I am currently in school and a career in art is not my primary focus at the moment. Five years from now, I hope I can still go table at conventions; but ideally, I would like to go to conventions out of the country so I can go out and explore when I have free time after [the convention].
How did you get into tokusatsu?
I went to a dinner party where I met my friend Tay, who decided to start the conversation with, “So… do you guys know about Kamen Rider?”
Eventually, I ended up watching Kamen Rider W and watched about 4 series in a row after, haha.
Do you have a favorite tokusatsu series?
I want to say that Kamen Rider W is my favorite but it is closely followed by Den-O and OOO.
Can you walk us through the process of creating a piece?
I don’t have a particular process that I stick to, but a lot of the time my prints start out as random doodles that end up looking pretty good. I like to change up the way I draw sometimes to test things out so, sad to say, I’m not the best person to ask when it comes to my process.
Do you have a favorite medium?
I prefer drawing digitally; it’s more comfortable for me, but I know I should experiment more.
What are some of the positive things about showcasing your work at local conventions?
I love when people come up to our table and start talking with me about how much they love Kamen Rider! I only really have small Kamen Rider prints so far, but it’s always a fun time meeting toku fans.
I wish I went to the meetups but unfortunately, I am also more comfortable chaining myself to my table when I’m at con. Sometimes, I’ll send a friend over to pass out small prints or stickers though.
How has being active on social media supported your work?
It’s been great! I feel like I’ve met a lot of friends through fanart and bonding with each other and talking about what we all love really gets me motivated to draw more.
What would be the best advice you can give to aspiring artists?
It’s okay to be your own personal critic but be proud of what you make! Be proud of the progress you’ve made and try not to put yourself down.
Do you have any projects you’re currently working on that you’d like to share?
I haven’t had the chance to because of school but I am planning on redrawing some of my earlier Kamen Rider prints and also making a new one for this year! The next convention I’m able to be at is probably Anime Expo 2016, so I hope to meet some new Kamen Rider fans.
Once again, Vicky Yen’s work can be found on her Tumblr and on Twitter. Her prints are available to purchase on Etsy. For more information concerning Anime Expo and its Artist Alley, visit their information page.