Kenneth: I'm here now with The Voices, no doubt one of the, if not THE, most heralded of Futurama fan artists. Thanks for agreeing to this.
TheVoices: No, Thank you
Kenneth: Your art is fantastic. Beyond fantastic in fact. How long ago did you decide to get into drawing?
TheVoices: I've been drawing all my life, but it was only about 6 years ago that I thought about it as a career, I now study Illustration at college
Kenneth: So I assume it was a natural talent of yours that you honed, and then you also studied art as well on top of that?
TheVoices: Well.. I used to sit and draw in my English/maths/everything else classes, so when I got my 'choices' I immediately chose art, and that's where it really kicked off I suppose
TheVoices: Studying art and illustration does help alot with your drawing skills though
Kenneth: I'll bet. Do you have any particular rules you follow, or guidelines when drawing?
TheVoices: No, not really.. rules and guidelines are for people who take business studies, Art is about self-expression.
Kenneth: You were obviously an artist before you were a Futurama fan. How did the latter come about?
TheVoices: Well, I enjoyed watching the show and I just saw fan art as something for me to draw when I wasn't doing anything. It was drawing futurama fan art that really got me turned on to the idea of doing illustration professionally, maybe even being a story board artist... that would be awesome..
Kenneth: Besides the Groening style, are there any other major ones that have inspired your work?
TheVoices: I couldn't possibly list them all.. but some of my favourites include: (The GOD of illustration) Ashley Wood , Joe Chiodo, Jon Foster, Chris Appelhans, Craig Mullins and Khang Le
Kenneth: Wow, lots of different influences there!
Kenneth: And speaking of other artists, are there any other fan artists out there you're a fan of or see promise in?
TheVoices: Jesse of course.. although she's mostly given it up. I quite like Asa B, hopefully she'll do some more in her style, not the show style. Cap,n Skusting has some original ideas.. and pirates are cool. And Otis because he has a cool style going on aswell
Kenneth: Got any thoughts on the other major fandom: fan fiction?
TheVoices: Well, I never read it.. I once started to read 'Against All Odds' but that was only to annoy and embarrass Jesse.. *Laughs*
Kenneth: Be it art, writing or a combo of both, do you think the fanbase can continue without a show?
TheVoices: For a while.. but I think it will die out eventually, we just keep loosing fan artists and writers and don't have anyone to replace them.. it's a slow death if you ask me
Kenneth: A good slow death or a bad one in this case you think?
TheVoices: A good one.. I'll not be giving it up any time soon anyway
Kenneth: That's good to hear.
TheVoices: ..Or maybe I will..
TheVoices: Who knows..
Kenneth: Well if you don't, I don't suppose anybody else would.
Kenneth: Do you have a favourite character and episode?
TheVoices: No, not really... I do like Farnsworth quite a bit though. I can't really pick a favourite episode because I like a lot of them.
Kenneth: You think there's a chance for a revival via Cartoon Network?
TheVoices: Call me a pessimist but no, I think the show is over. And unless they were able to get back the same people, I'm not sure I'd want it to come back.
Kenneth: Fair enough comment, I can agree with that.
Kenneth: Any feelings towards The Simpsons, which is still going, despite having left it's prime long ago?
TheVoices: I've never watched it, well I did for a brief period when I was about 10. But It's never really appealed to me.
Kenneth: What about Futurama appealed to you that The Simpsons didn't have?
TheVoices: Spaceships, various other cool futuristic thingies and the absence of a 'family' as the main characters
TheVoices: ..And robots of course
Kenneth: Cool. Incidentally, do you have any idea where Optimus Prime's trailer goes when he turns into a robot?
TheVoices: I suppose you'd have to ask the crazy character designers
Kenneth: Hehehe, speaking of designers, let's back back to your art. What are the tools of the trade for The Voices?
TheVoices: When I'm doing fan art.. Pencils, Ink (I use a G-pen for inking.. which involves dipping it in ink, not of those sissy pens that have ink in them already) A scanner, a mac (of course!), Painter 9, Photoshop CS and a Wacom Intuos 2
Kenneth: Wow! Sounds like you've got everything you need.
Kenneth: Do you find it hard to continuously top yourself after each picture?
Kenneth: And I don't mean in the decapitation way...
TheVoices: Heh, well sometimes I don't try to better my last picture because I'm just trying out different techniques and styles.. and I don't always have the time to do full blown paintings, although I'm in the middle of planning another painting, unfortunately its not futurama related. I'm planning on creating my best futurama piece next though, it just takes a while...
Kenneth: What is this upcoming masterpiece of yours then? Care to share, or is it a secret surprise?
TheVoices: Very secret.. I've said to much already
Kenneth: Ooooh! I'll bet the readers are salivating already!
TheVoices: Well... they'll be waiting a while for it
Kenneth: Hehehe. What about "no-no's" with regards to art? I'm sure you've got a few?
TheVoices: I'll have to say, scan art.. or tracing over frame grabs,
TheVoices: what's the point in that?
TheVoices: I don't really have any others though
Kenneth: It certainly isn't being original, that's for sure.
TheVoices: Most certainly not.
Kenneth: How do you get your perspectives, shading, lighting, etc so perfect? Any trade secrets, or is it just practice and skill?
Kenneth: I'm particuarly reminded of that piece with Leela holding the camera to take a photo of herself... fantastic!
TheVoices: Practice and skill.. and then some.. I do a lot of life drawing at college so I get tons of practice from that
TheVoices: Well, the Leela one was called 'Polaroid' so..
Kenneth: Would you like to be a head in a jar, since that would mean a life without drawing?
TheVoices: I'd learn to draw with the pencil in my mouth. But I don't think anyone would want to be a head in a jar..
Kenneth: True. Hypothetically though, if you *were* a jar head in the future, and you could sit on a shelf with two other jars heads, one on either side of you, who would those heads belong to?
TheVoices: Well.. they'd have to be people I could have interesting conversations with.. so.. either Thom Yorke, Stephen Hawking or someone I know personally.
Kenneth: Aside from jar heads, another strange thing in Futurama was the useless robots. Do you have a favourite robot that seems to have been built for stupid reasons, i.e. built just to be homeless, built to be a criminal, etc?
TheVoices: Gotta be the Donbot... and why someone would create a robot Mafia anyway..
Kenneth: Is there a type of robot along those lines you would have liked to see on the show but didn't?
TheVoices: I think we pretty much saw every type of robot in the show.. although I would've liked to have seen more of Destructor.
Kenneth: What people and websites would you say have helped keep the online community so alive even over a year since the final episode?
TheVoices: Peel and TLZ (I prefer that name..). As for people, FemJesse <3, Otis, Zed, a few others.. I think a lot of the newer artists have to stand the 'test of time' before they get that title.
Kenneth: How do you think Futurama Madhouse: The Leela Zone can continue to keep the show alive for years to come?
TheVoices: Carry on staying alive..
Kenneth: If you could kill a character from the show with an eating utensil, who would it be and with what utensil?
TheVoices: Kif, cheese grater. Nuff said.
Kenneth: Before we wrap up, is there any final comments or advice you can give to artists out there?
TheVoices: Draw.. a lot. All the time. Draw anything. I have a sketchbook that I take with me and I draw people while I'm waiting for the bus (If it's not raining). Being able to draw is the basis of everything to do with art. It teaches you how to use light, shadows, perspectives.. everything.
Kenneth: Thanks for doing this. Keep up the good work.
TheVoices: No problem.
"You've read it, you can't unread it!" comes to mind..