Artist interviews - a new feature on Animetion where we speak to artists influenced by manga and facets of Japanese culture. 

For our fourth interview we speak to UK artist Claire Weir, a professional artist, who is one half of Team Giblets, the other half being her fiancÚ Keith Copping. 

Team Giblets are known in the anime community for a wide variety of activities, including their omake performances and as traders.  Anyone who has visited their trading stand at an event will know that Claire always as a variety of artwork on display.  She also offers commissions to visitors and sells prints of her artwork. 

Claire & Keith attend many UK anime conventions as artists and traders.  They are also finding new fans at the huge MCM London Expo, where they regularly attend as traders. 

Animetion:  How long have you been drawing/been an artist?

Claire: "Nooo, the dreaded question!  I always feel that people are going to look at the number, then at my art and think "And that's as far as you've got!?" Ah, paranoia.  I'll cheat and say - as long as I can remember.  My first drawing memory is of my mother telling me that horses didn't have trunks. She was right."
A: How long have you been a professional artist?

C: "I presume since the question has been asked, that I am one at the moment.  This

makes me very happy.  If you class "professional" as how long have I been being paid for art, then I would say just over a year."

A: What/who inspires you?

C: "At the moment, I'm drawing a lot of inspiration from the games I play.  A lot of my designs are influenced by the view of Japan and China I've been privy to as an anime fan.  I take a great interest in different cultures, and am always looking for new themes.  Also, sometimes I'll just see someone in the street and think "I HAVE to draw that top on someone when I get home", or, "that outfit, but in blue... with some goggles."  I can't switch it off!"

A: Who are your favourite artists?

C: "I admire different artists for different things.  I admire Takeshi Obata, who draws Death Note, for his technical excellence and the way that there is never a line out of place.  I admire Natasha Klus (Tashasaphi) for the effortless way she captures emotion and expression with beautiful pencil lines.  I admire Sonia Leong for having the drive to publish her own comics, something I would never be able to do.  I have a lot still to learn!"

A: Do you concentrate on one theme in your work or several?

C: "Crikey, what a question to pounce with on a Friday afternoon!  It really depends on the piece.  Having never formally been taught Art or Design, I'm working from the ground up.  I usually like to stick to one theme in a piece, such as a colour, or a time period, but I occasionally like to mix things up.  One of my favourite things to do is to depict a character in a way people don't expect, wearing something they never would, or combining two opposing elements like "industrial" and "nature".  It keeps things interesting!" 

A: you previously released the comic book 'In My Pants', are there plans for another Team Giblets comic?

C: "A while back Keith and I threw around ideas for an origin comic.  Watch this space!"

A: at events as well as commissions, you run a merchandise stall.  Is it difficult to balance these two activities?

C: "Running the merchandise stall has taught me some very valuable lessons about selling in

general that I would not want to be without.  As for balance, it usually doesn't cause a problem, as I find that customers looking to buy commissions are less interested in merchandise, and vice versa."

A: what has been your proudest moment as an artist?

C: "I'm always humbled by people who want to buy my work or commission me.  It still amazes me that people want to do that.  It does make one feel pretty chuffed.  That, and also seeing my art on people as they walk around wearing Team Giblets t-shirts!

A: what has been your worst moment as an artist?

C: "Argh, the delays! Balancing my full time job with Team Giblets is not easy. I don't have as quick a turnaround on commissions as I'd like, although I do my best. I really hate to disappoint or annoy people."

 A: What sort of materials do you prefer using?

"At the moment, traditional media.  I love using colouring pencils, and I'm trying to learn to use markers as well. " 

A: Do you have a dream project?

C: "Gosh, yes. A collaboration with Keith to bring a doujinshi we've had conceptualised for a very long time to life. That would be my new proudest moment, I think."

A: What tips would you give to a budding artist?

C: "Practice. Practice practice practice.  Draw from life.  Try everything out at least once.

DON'T give up or look to blame outside factors if it isn't going as quickly as you'd like.  It's taken me nearly fifteen years to get where I am at the moment and I am nowhere near satisfied, I'm always pushing myself to improve.  It's not a quick process, be patient with yourself."

A: Do you have your own website / are you on deviantART?

C: "I am on Deviantart and I'm very active there. My page there is http://felflowne.deviantart.com."

(click any thumbnail for a larger image)

All images are displayed here with the kind permission of Claire Weir

Animetion Interview with Team Giblets on their omake skits

Official Team Giblets website