Today, on BTS Kim Taehyung's Birthday, LKS is presenting its first guest blogger! Celebrating Taehyung's love for Art and Cartoon Artwork, and in honour of his birthday, we are delighted to launch a NEW range of merch: BANGTANTOON!
We are so excited to partner with an amazing digital artist, Safia Miller of BlackPhoenix Art, to create a special BTS caricature design with a UK theme for us! We are launching two designs today; BTS and Taehyung, and the other members will follow in due course!
For Taehyung's birthday, we will donate profits made from sales of the Taehyung BangtanToon merch to a named charity (see Taehyung's Birthday page). Additionally, in collaboration with Safia, we have a SPECIAL GIVEAWAY for one lucky reader (read on for details!)
As you read Safia's blog, we are sure you will be intrigued to read her special story and journey to becoming the uniquely talented and creative artist she has become today, and will still flourish in the future.
Stay safe and well!
My name is Safia and I have a recent degree in Animation. Before going to university, all my art knowledge was self-taught, resulting purely from my love for sketching and doodling in all my classes! Since doing this 'Meet the Artist' drawing (above), I was able to save up to upgrade my digital drawing tablet; I now use the XP-PEN Artist Pro and all my drawings and designs are made using Adobe Photoshop.
I have so much love for so many fandoms and shows, but K-Pop is my biggest one. I've been interested in K-Pop since 2016 and find that K-Pop idols make the most beautiful art I've ever seen! My love of K-Pop started around the time I got my first digital graphics tablet so making K-Pop art is all I've ever known digitally and is the foundation of my digital art journey.
BTS was my first major inspiration, but this has since branched off into many different groups and artists. What I love most about my journey is meeting new people with the same interests and collaborating with other amazing creators. The digital art world is so friendly and supportive, and it is what pushes me to move forward and improve every day.
Other interests of mine include games, comics, films and anime. From ‘Totally Spies’, to ‘Ru Paul's Drag Race’, from ‘Gotham City Sirens’ to ‘Nicki Minaj’; I have developed a vast field of interest with my drawings, which helps me connect to different fans from all over the world.
WHERE DID IT ALL START?
My dedication to Art first developed in primary school as just a bit of fun, and as I grew older I became heavily influenced by things around me, which fuelled my desire to continue drawing. Having a strict upbringing during childhood, sadly I wasn’t allowed to fulfil my desire to draw and produce art as it was seen as a waste of time, not leading to a good career (untrue of course).
During my secondary school days, I studied Science and Maths, and in every lesson, I would gather pieces of scrap lined paper and doodle new drawings each time. A big influence for me during this time was the DC Villain Harley Quinn. These were the years when I started to really realise how great comic books were and how incredible the comic world was. It was also around this time that I started cosplaying and making costumes by hand to wear to comic conventions around London.
My creative mind was spiraling and branching out into a lot of different mediums. I learned to sew, hand paint, face paint, ‘age’ clothes, photoshop and generally create unique things from virtually nothing, and on a tiny budget. Without my parents’ support, I still managed to do what I loved on a very small budget, which has made me become very resourceful and helps me work more efficiently with money today.
My life changed when my parents divorced, and I failed my GCSE exams in the same year. This was the turning point at which my parents finally realised that they needed to support me. They helped me find a course at college that would help me make a career out of my passion.
I studied Interactive Media at college where we were taught many different ways to use our creative abilities. We learned website building and coding, how to use photoshop properly and how to edit videos professionally. We also studied a lot about film and animation. It was during this course that I first used a graphics tablet which made the creation of digital art possible, and this was a huge game changer for me.
I made the bold career decision to go to university to study Animation. During this time I learned so many things and met so many amazing people whom, to this day, I still connect with on a personal as well as professional level.
It was at university that my digital art really developed. We were instructed to draw for at least half an hour daily - a dream for me as I had spent many hours since childhood doing that! But what I didn't realise was actually how much you can improve by drawing real life around you.
We were taught to take influence around us and draw still life, people sitting drinking coffee, art pieces at museums, and buskers in the streets. This was coupled with life drawing classes that we had every two weeks. Over the space of 3 years, my drawing skills improved immensely, and I only noticed this towards the end of my course, when I looked back at where I’d started.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?
I have graduated now and am currently working on some of my own original characters, whilst also producing my own online comic webtoon about a group of outcasts from different planets that accidentally come together to form a vigilante group. The webtoon will have revenge stories, romance, royalty, magic and super cool action scenes!
I also have online stores with Etsy and my own website where I sell my prints, other products such as t-shirts, keyrings and stickers, and also offer commission work. My Etsy store is under my artist brand name Blackphoenix Art and my website brand name is Jokaprints (www.jokaprints.com).
I have only just recently started up my website so in the future, I really hope to make it a successful business where I will be able to stand on my two feet financially independent and live well in the future. I am still young and still learning my trade, but I hope to take my art to great places and progress even further in my talent and business.
Working with London Kpop Street has been a pleasure and a great step forward for me in terms of opening my eyes to the business possibilities out there. It has been a lot of fun and I am glad to have them as a connection!
For one lucky reader, we have the exclusive giveaway below.
To find out how to win this great giveaway, please visit our Taehyung Birthday Page!
CONTENTS OF GIVEAWAY:
Safia's original BTS artwork (above): Taehyung Keyring, Maknae Line Postcard, Taehyung full-body Sticker, Taehyung Bandana Face Sticker.
LKS BTS merch (below): Bulletproof Greetings Card (A5 size), Taehyung Compound postcard from our own original and exclusive artwork 'Compounds' collection!