One of the most important facets of growing up and learning who you are as an individual is being able to express yourself. It can be as diverse as the clothes you wear to the music you listen to down to the words you choose to use. For Shai, watercolor is her weapon and art is her game.
Shai San Jose is a 17-year-old animation and game development student. Creating art is more than just a hobby for her. When she’s not drawing, she’s drowning herself in books, movies or TV series–any of those three, or she’s probably sleeping.
Here are snippets of Bookbed’s interview with San Jose:
Hi, Shai! We met through Book Club Philippines, and I was drawn to your art because most of them are based on books. I want to ask: Was it books that encouraged you to make art? Can you share your favorites growing up and how they inspired you?
Well, frankly, there are a lot of things that encourage me to create art, and books have one of the major roles. It all started with my all-time favorite, Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan. It wasn’t just the series that inspired me to create art, but the fandom. There were a lot of fan arts created by awesome Tumblr artists, and I was encouraged to create some myself because it really looked fun. And it is!
Oh, Tumblr! You’re right—a lot of stuff there are really inspiring! My next question is that, how did you get from being inspired to creating? Were you always an artist?
It all started when I was younger, with scribbles and doodles. I remember drawing Powerpuff Girls and Wonder Woman—all my childhood favorites. Then, my parents bought me these magazines about Disney Princesses, and I used them as my references which helped develop my skill.
Was that why you made Tale As Old As Time? (I mean, apart from from the fact that a new film version was just screened!) Speaking of this Beauty and the Beast-inspired bookmark, I notice you lean more towards portraits, and almost always in watercolors. Can you talk more about this, and maybe also share with us your favorite pieces?
I prefer doing imaginary portraits because I want to capture the emotion I want people to see. Watercolor is one of my favorite art media—digital painting is another one—and I enjoy blending colors and textures that watercolor can provide.