- 2 mins
Meet the Moshi Artist: Katja
We sat down with the wonderful artist behind all of the Moshi scenes and characters, Katja Hammond. Discover why she started drawing in the first place and her Moshi favorites!
Q: When did you start drawing?
According to my parents, I started drawing the moment I could pick up a pencil, so I started very young. I only decided that I wanted to take art seriously in my early teens though; I was far more interested in writing stories and occasionally illustrating them before that. That being said, I still have way more notebooks with story ideas jotted in than I have sketchbooks!
Q: What is your favorite thing to draw outside of Moshi’s artwork?
Well, you know what I said about writing stories and occasionally illustrating them? That turned into drawing comics and manga – and that’s still something that I try to make time for. I love capturing scenes that tell stories, characters that live and breathe despite being static on paper, and being able to share worlds and concepts that invite others to imagine and join the ride. My biggest problem is that I have far more story ideas than time to draw them. There’s a whole library of ideas in my head waiting to be picked up and shared!
Q: Which Moshling takes the longest to draw?
I don’t find that they take particularly long to draw in general, but I might take longer on some to make sure proportions and details are juuuuuust right. Kazuki the Kabuki Kitikati in particular is my favorite creation, though. I designed her to have lots of little details in her outfit and parasol because she felt like a particularly enchanting character. The result of that now is that whenever I draw her I have to pay extra care towards getting her perfect!
Q: What are your top 5 favorite artworks you’ve created at the Moshi artist?
- Kazuki’s Silent Wish – I loved the idea of capturing Kazuki’s silence and meditation by silhouetting her against the contrast of neon bustling in Moshimo City.
- Ping the Paddleboarding Panda – I enjoyed applying the top-down perspective to capture Ping relaxing while the rest of the world carries on. I also used some of my favorite color combinations to capture a warm holiday feeling. Whenever I see this I feel warm and happy too!
- Seagulls on the Seashore – When I look at it I can hear the seagulls in my mind. I love being around water, be it by quiet rivers or sailing in the ocean. This is meant to be a reminder of something that brings joy and a sense of freedom!
- Yawnsy & Roxy’s Twinkly Chime Mine – With this story I wanted to capture a magical ride and invite others to feel like they were on this road to discovery too!
- Benedict’s Cracking Adventure – I love forests. I love exploring. I love springtime when the flowers are coming out. This particular Easter illustration was harkening back to stories that influenced me as a child, and I wanted to evoke the wonder that I felt back then.
Q: What would your advice be for young artists?
Your art is not limited to your pencil.
In my eyes, everybody needs to have some form of art in their life. It doesn’t have to just be drawing. Art can come in the form of writing, dancing, gardening, cooking or building a collection of seashells. It could be coming up with fun new mathematical formulas (I always loved algebra at school) or even being a mad scientist experimenting and concocting new inventions in your top-secret laboratory! The idea is that art is a way to express yourself. If something out there inspires you to explore and play around for no other reason than to just be yourself, then I think everybody deserves that.
So, in the spirit of art being unlimited: to all you artists of the illustration kind if you want to get better at drawing you need to make sure that your mind is always open and willing to learn. The world is too big for any single person to fully understand. It’s still worth trying anyway because that’s what’s so fascinating about learning! Your imagination might be crazy and unlimited, but the more you discover in the world, you realize there’s a lot more out there to imagine and be inspired by! So, always keep learning. Keep observing. Soak in everything you see and experience. Try new things and embrace every challenge. Find the positives, understand the negatives and appreciate different perspectives.
When your mind grows rich in experiences, the richness will flow into whatever art you make, with whatever tool you choose.
Q: This or That – pick one!
Digital or hand drawing?
Technically all art I make is drawn by hand, whether digital or traditional. Digital is versatile and very practical when it comes to working. There are some things that can only be achieved through traditional means, though. Personally, I like creating digital art very much, and I like to mix the two methods. However, there’s nothing quite like being able to pick up a page of a comic you’ve just drawn and hold it in your own hand. You can see the indents in the paper where you’ve been scratching into it with the pen. And as you run your fingers over the surface, you can feel the new contours caused by the dried pigment ink piling up. They form the lines that have turned what was previously a smooth blank sheet of paper into a glimpse into another world. I made this. It’s real. And it’s magic.
Markers or colored pencils?
While growing up I worked better with markers and inks and struggled to appreciate colored pencils. That was probably because I never really learned how to use them properly, though. I see artists who specialize in them, and they show that colored pencils can achieve amazing things if handled correctly. I don’t think I’d ever use colored pencils to create art from scratch as markers work better with my personality. They can achieve things that markers can’t, though, so I like the idea of combining their powers and getting the best of both worlds!
That being said, my loyalty will always truly be with mechanical pencils. They are precise, and expressive in their own subtle way. I use them more for line art than for anything else. More often than not I’m happy to leave them just as they are without any colors!
Characters or backgrounds?
Backgrounds have just as much personality and depth as characters. Characters are fun to draw, but backgrounds can become scenes that you live in. Personally, I love to draw characters directly engaging with their background for both to really flourish. For any aspiring artist, backgrounds and environments can be daunting, and characters are so much more approachable. However, the world is full of discoveries and if you spend some time drawing environments you’ll find that it can be an incredibly enriching experience. Especially if you observe environments in real life and see that there’s more to pretty much everything than meets the eye!