Arlene-The Netherlands

Artist Interview: Arlene from The Netherlands

Interview of Arlene (@pencilpanda) by Vanessa (@VanessDam) for Stana Talk Radio (@StanaTalkRadio)

I recently had the pleasure to interview Arlene to have a little insight on her art. Arlene is 26, she lives in the Netherlands and she is a regular listener of STR. She is a fan of Castle and Stana Katic, but most of all, Arlene is an artist. Here is the interview..


1) Do you have an artist name ? No, not really. I just go with the name Arlene. Of course I have my twitter name and my DeviantART account name, but I still sign my drawings with ‘Arlene’.

2) How long have you been drawing / painting ? When did you first realize you are an artist ? I have been drawing pretty much all my life. I have some amazing artists in my family. My mom and my uncle paint. My grandfather was an amazing pencil-artist. So I was always drawing and painting with them when I was little. Mostly cartoon characters and animals. I didn’t start to invest in drawing seriously until I was 17 years old, bored and all I had was this VHS-tape of Moonlighting with Bruce Willis’ picture staring back at me, a pencil and some paper. I still have that drawing.

I actually don’t really think of myself as an artist. I don’t know why. Perhaps because I don’t see drawing as work. It’s just something I like doing and I like to share it with others, but I look up to so many people who I believe are so much better than me. They are the real artists. I’m just starting out. Still testing all kinds of media, still trying to find my limits.

3) Are you a self-taught artist or do you have an art education background ? I am a self-taught “artist” but I’m thinking about taking an art-class someday. Just to get the hang of the techniques a bit more.

4) Could you tell us more about your work ? My work mainly consists of celebrity portraits at the moment and right now a lot featuring Stana Katic. I am not even drawing these pictures because it has her on them, to be honest. I am mostly fascinated by composition, colour and facial expressions. I happen to be following a lot of Castle fans on Twitter and Tumblr so I come across a lot of pictures with her on it (and Nathan, but I can’t draw men that well). And well, you can’t deny the fact that she has amazing facial expressions. With the last coloured picture I drew it was the focus in her eyes that made me want to draw it (here). I wanted to see if I could capture it on paper. Of course, it being Stana is a great plus. I love her work and I think I have a sense of her personality, which is an underlying factor you need to be able to reach that extra bit of realism. So yes, my work consists mostly of experiments at the moment. I’m still trying to find my own style.

5) What is your favourite medium and why ? Pencils. I have recently fallen in love with coloured pencils. They don’t smudge like graphite pencils do, which I like. I’m not always that neat when it comes to graphite pencils. However, coloured pencils are harder to erase which makes it more difficult to correct mistakes. This adds a certain challenge to the drawing, but challenging yourself is a good thing.

6) You have done a digital portrait of Stana Katic. What do you think of Digital Art ? Which software do you use (Photoshop, Illustrator..) ? I have, I have used Photoshop (here), but I have placed my tablet back on the shelve. To be honest, I drew that portrait to prove a point. That anyone with a little bit of skill and knowledge of Photoshop would be able to do this. Drawing a picture of a celebrity with a digital medium isn’t that hard. You can tweak a drawing endlessly without leaving any marks. You can even go back if you make mistakes. I like to be challenged and this kind of medium for celebrity portraits is way too easy. Also, nowadays even normal pictures look so Photoshopped that I’m afraid that digital art can become manipulative. I’m not ditching digital art, I believe some amazing art can be made with the digital medium, but the artist has to be creative.

7) Will you do more digital fanarts in the future ? After my previous answer you’d think I wouldn’t, but I might. I am fascinated by one artist in particular on DeviantArt who gives her art an impressionistic style. I am not good at painting myself, but in Photoshop I can erase mistakes so I am willing to try that. I just need to figure out how, and I need time for it.

8) Why do you draw Stana Katic ? Do you only draw portraits of celebrities or do you draw animals, plants, landscapes etc. too ? I have already answered the first part of this question at question n°4. I don’t just draw celebrities. Well, at the moment I do because that’s all I have time for. In the past I’ve drawn my niece, who actually recognized herself so that was great. I have drawn people I know, kids. I mostly doodle plants and animals and an occasional Kate Beckett. The last time I drew a landscape was when I was 6. Next to that I sometimes have to draw artifacts for my studies (archaeology).

9) Do you use the tutorials on Internet or in books to improve yourself ? I read tutorials a lot. Just to figure out what techniques to use for the medium I want to try out. But right now I mostly just look up specifics. I have books on anatomy, but I mostly use references when I draw so I got the anatomy right there on the reference. I don’t need a book for that unless I start drawing without references. Besides tutorials I also look at the work of other artists. I learn from their techniques and I sometimes end up asking questions about it. What kind of material do they use, etc.

10) Do you have a blog or a web gallery where people can see your artwork ? Do you have a favorite drawing / painting ? I am StephsDA on DeviantART but my best work will now be posted on Tumblr as well. I’m PencilPanda on there. My favourite drawing is the last coloured pencil portrait I did of Stana (here). My favourite graphite drawing is the one where Stana bites Nathan’s ear.

11) Why do you draw / paint ? What other interests do you have outside of drawing / painting ? To me, drawing is merely a hobby. I still feel challenged by it, I have set a goal for myself to reach and I haven’t reached it yet. Besides drawing, I love to read and travel. I really want to learn as much as I can about the culture of the country that I’m visiting so there is a slim chance you’ll see me laying on a beach somewhere, soaking up the sun. I love film and television, I love the stories they tell, and I still want to be a part of that someday (I am studying archaeology but I did a pre-education in film).

12) Where do you find your inspiration to draw / paint, and how do you keep motivated ? Other peoples work inspires me. That’s what keeps me motivated. I was once inspired by an artist, who in my eyes made amazing portraits of celebrities, and I wanted to be able to do what she did. I recently went to her website again and realized I’m actually way past her skills. And that’s okay, because I have other people I look up to now, and there’s still a long way to go before I reach their skill level.

13) You are very active on Tumblr and Twitter, you don’t hesitate to show your works in progress, what do these exchanges with your friends and fans bring to you ? I love the feedback. I’m still getting used to getting compliments, but I love to hear what people think. Positive feedback means I’m doing something right. I’m also not shy to receive critic. I crave critic on my work because I can learn from it. My number 1 critic is my mom. She knows exactly where I rushed a drawing. It’s sometimes annoying, but I know she’s right because it’s usually the part of the drawing that I don’t like either, she knows to pinpoint it exactly.

14) Are there any artists (painter etc.) that you admire, why ? Do they influence you, and how? One of my favourite painters is Fabian Perez ( He captures movement, the passion bursts off the canvas and each character he paints shows amazing personality. His art mainly consists of dancers. He painted this amazing scene of a man and a woman dancing the tango. I love that dance because it’s such a beautiful play of power between the sexes. He also paints a lot of women. He makes them look beautiful and passionate, yet strong, independent and elegant. I could stare at his paintings forever.

15) What advice would you give to artists just starting out ? You’ve got to take risks and challenge yourself out of your comfort zone. Most importantly, you’ve got to have patience. So what if you mess up? You just start again. If you really want to, you’ll get there.

Thank you Arlene!


Arlene on Internet:

Please, if you want to show Arlene’s artwork, ask Arlene first, mention the source and don’t forget to credit her correctly.


Link to the corresponding STR show:

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