Artist Spotlight: Chang Dai

chang dai hannibal

Artist Chang Dai works as a art director at a studio during the day, but on her spare time, she is creating art based on the television shows we all love. Her fanart ranges from X-Files to Sherlock to Doctor Who to NBC’s Hannibal. Not only does she create still art, she also creates animations. You can see all her fanart and animations on her tumblr.

NR got to ask Chang some questions about her artwork and what inspires her to create all these amazing fanart and the upcoming projects she has planned.

Art by Chang Dai

NR: I found your artwork on fanpages and thought it was so awesome. When and how did you start getting an interest in drawing?

Chang: Drawing has been a pre-occupation of mine since toddler-hood, and it’s now become my official occupation. I found that the easiest way to understand something inside-out is to draw it.

NR: Did you go through any training? Especially for the animations.

Chang: Definitely, I borrowed “The Animator’s Survival Kit” from our public library when I was 16 and started making little animations in Flash, then went to Sheridan College’s animation program for 4 years. It’s been the most rewarding challenge any draftsman can ask for.

NR: What are your favorite fandoms to draw? What is your current fandom to draw?

Art by Chang Dai

Chang: Depending on the broadcasting schedule, it tends to rotate between Doctor Who, any incarnation of Sherlock Holmes (CBS’s Elementary is airing right now), NBC Hannibal, and the X-Files (this being the choice for when everything else is on hiatus). Currently I’m fully immersed in the rich, morose mélange that is Hannibal.

NR: Have you ever received a response from the actors or production team behind the show about your artwork?

Chang: One of the Doctor Who writers, Rob Shearman, has seen and expressed a liking to the Doctor Who Anniversary Project. He penned my favourite episode “Dalek”, and also my favourite Big Finish audios, so it meant a lot.

NR: What art piece did you get the most attention for?

Chang: The most viewed animation in video format that I’ve put out is the Doctor Who Anniversary Project, with over 100,000 plays on vimeo. There is also a Hannibal gif that exploded out of control, it was made to challenge the pre-existing conventions of 3D gifs on tumblr, breaking the 2 vertical white lines and the text-field underneath.doctorwho

NR: What kind of animations/artwork are you planning to do in the future?

Chang: Hopefully these shows will continue to inspire so I can keep pushing the envelope of what’s expected of fan creations as well as my own boundaries. As the end approaches for NBC’s Hannibal season 2, we are also hoping to organize a second volume of our tribute art book, you can look for updates on the project on our tumblr http://hannibook.tumblr.com.

NR: Have you gone to an anime/comic book conventions and had a booth there?

Chang: Nope, currently my work during the day is very demanding and takes priority, but I wouldn’t rule it out as a future possibility.

NR:  What has been your favorite art piece?

Chang: There is a pair of sister pieces done in the style of Book of Kells. I’m particularly fond of, one with the first eleven Doctors, and one for the Reichenbach episode of BBC Sherlock.

NR: Where do you get these ideas for your artwork? How long does it take for each piece typically?xfileschangdai

Chang: When a show speaks to me, I take it quite literally and would really like to speak back. Art is a way of talking back, sometimes combined with whatever else I’m studying (mythology, philosophy, history etc). Depends on the nature of the work; if it’s a single page then usually in a few hours; for something like the Doctor Who anniversary project, each doctor took a few nights to complete from thumbnail to finish.

NR: Do you plan on doing any art exhibits with some original artwork? A possible comic book/fan art book?

Chang: Not physical exhibits, I pour all my original creative juices into my day job for now 🙂 A couple of friends and I organized a Hannibal artbook as mentioned prior. You can find out more about it here at http://hannibook.tumblr.com.

NR: What advice would you give to aspiring artists?

changdai elementaryChang: Study the basics first by raiding your local library, learn anatomy from the Bridgeman books; learn drapery from the Andrew Loomis books; study animation from the Richard Williams book; learn painting by copying masters.Draw everything from life if possible. Go out and sketch people, animals, trees, buildings, food, clouds, to really understand how each thing is constructed from the inside-out.

When you see an artist you like, find out what it is you like about their art (painting technique? anatomy? gesture?) and study it. You won’t be a thief if you make it your own, there’s no need to re-invent the wheel.

Check out more of Chang Dai’s work here and her Hannibal artbook here.

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