For our final edition of Imag[in]e this year, Verse designer Sascha Tan spoke with third year visual communications student and illustrator Sash Corowa, about the struggles with hunger when drawing food, his dreams of creating a webcomic series and how speed painting led him to pursue illustration.
You’ve contributed to Verse a number of times before, it’s great to finally find out about the person behind these illustrations! How would you describe yourself and your work?
Oh god, starting with the hardest question. I think I’m both incredibly lazy, but also super productive. I’ll procrastinate working on something for days, and then turn around and work on it for 8 hours straight. I think this is reflected in everything in my life as well. I’ll become obsessed with something for days, spending all my time and energy on it, and then suddenly lose all interest and never touch it again.
To go with this, my current work is pretty whimsical and cartoony. I like to keep my drawings simple and clean, so that I can complete them before I grow bored of them. Seriously the amount of half completed projects that I have just sitting on my computer is criminal.
What drove you to start drawing?
During high school, a group of friends and I visited a career expo. One of the booths had a drawing tablet set up, and this lady was giving a demo of some speed painting. Inspired, a couple of us purchased tablets for ourselves, and the proceeded to produce the worst work you can imagine, because we had never drawn seriously before. I thought it was fun, so I just kept doing it, and never really stopped.
Tell us about your creative process and how your ideas transform into these illustrations.
It’s a really standard approach honestly. I either have a cool idea in my mind, or project brief to work from, and then I just doodle and sketch, trying out variations and developing aspects that I think work well. I’ll do this until I end up with a design that I both like and think fits the brief well. Then I just follow that idea and render it into a final illustration. Like I was saying, I’m all about finishing things quickly, so I’ve really streamlined my process over the years.
Do you feel like you have a personal connection to your character designs? Which of them would you like to come to life?
I don’t and I wish I did. I think developing characters to such a level takes a lot of time and that’s not something that I’ve been able to do yet. However, other people really connect with my characters. I love hearing about the personalities and backstories that people imagine them having. I’m always surprised as well, It’s never anything I would expect.
I stalked your socials for a bit (not sorry, they’re great) and I noticed you’ve also been drawing food for a while. Food always looks so good illustrated, so tell me, do you draw these when you’re hungry?
Isn’t food just the greatest? While I’m not normally hungry when I start drawing food, I’m always hungry by the end of it. Seriously my bank account has taken a hit since I got into drawing food, but I have no plans to stop. It’s both fun and delicious.
Which other creatives out there do you look up to?
This is a tricky one. I draw my inspirations from all over the place. Sure I’ll have artists that I really admire for a time – currently Zedig, his work is so characterful and charming – but looking through my inspiration folder on my computer, it’s a lot of random images that I’ve stumbled upon over the years. Same goes for people, I admire certain aspects about a lot of different people. Some professionally, but mostly peers, mentors, family and so on.
If I had to name one person who’s had the most influence though, I’d have to say CGP Grey. Just listening to that guy talk about his work methods has really helped me improve my own over the years.
Tell us about a dream project you’d love to work on.
I’d really love to develop a webcomic series one day. Some crazy fantasy adventure series with overblown fights and quirky characters. Here’s the catch though. I can’t stand writing, and I don’t enjoy drawing comics. So I don’t know how exactly this would happen, but maybe one day.
Either that or a video game. For real, if anyone is interested in making a game with me, drop me an email.
What’s next for you?
After (hopefully) surviving this semester… who knows, certainly not me, that’s for sure. I’m really playing this whole thing by ear to be frank. Maybe it’s freelance work, maybe it’s working in a studio, maybe it’s not even related to drawing. I don’t know what the coming years hold for me, but I’m excited nonetheless.
Interview by Sascha Tan