@Hanjosi/Simon the Artist Interview: Building Communities Through Social Media And Fan Art

Simon (Hanjosi on Twitter) is one of my favourite artists on the internet. Their work never fails to amaze me with its unique style and character. Simon also happen to be a very genuine person with a great personality. Due to their growing success and popularity within the fan art community, I thought it would be great to interview Simon to hear about the process behind their work and learn what it’s like to build a community as a modern artist.

JC: A simple yet important question I would like to ask is; What got you into art?

S: Most likely like every other artist— I was inspired by what I saw on television. I wanted to draw the characters. I watched a lot of Sailor Moon and Detective Conan when I was younger, and thought the designs looked cool so I started practicing making fanart of them. My mother is also a really good artist so she helped me develop my skills, which my parents encouraged a lot. 

JC: What artist inspires you? 

S: Since I’m a big comic book fan apart from the video games, I was heavily inspired by Bryan Lee O’Malley, Babs Tarr, and other comic book artists. Their styles are expressive, and I really like that.

JC: You’re popular in the Overwatch and Rainbow Six siege communities for your art. What got you into those communities? And why do you like drawing the characters in these games?

S: I got into the communities because I started making fan art of my favorite characters in the game! I think the first fanart I did was a crossover of Big Hero 6 and Overwatch, which lead me to make more Overwatch fan art, I believe D.Va was the first character I drew. For Rainbow Six, my friends enjoyed the game and told me to play with them so I did, and I grew to love the game a lot, and the community, as well as the devs, are really nice which made me enjoy being part of the community. The first Siege fan art I drew was of Habana, Echo, Vigil, and Dokkaebi. I like drawing the characters because they have an interesting design and when you play like them, it feels like you connect to them because you have control over them. So I grew to love the characters I draw!

JC: What’s your advice for artists who are just starting out?

S: You’ll have to do a ton of things, I’ve made a list:

Practice practice practice

– Draw everything and anything that comes to mind

– Draw what u want, draw what makes you happy!

– Follow a bunch of artists to get inspiration, and try not to compare yourselves to them because everyone progresses differently, instead, work hard and don’t give up, then see how much YOU’VE improved individually. I promise it will make you feel much better.

– Remember that you can use references when starting out you may think that you should be able to draw things without references and from your head, but even professionals use references!

– When you start out it’s okay to draw a drawing you see just to practice and get the hang of proportions, however, DO NOT post or claim it as your own and also respect that artist if they specifically tell you not to draw or trace their art! It’s only meant for practice purposes. Please keep in mind!

– Also if you ever open up commissions, please never underprice your work. If you don’t have an idea of what to price your work, just look around for other artists commission sheets and see how you’re gonna price your work/or base it off minimum wage and the time taken to work on a piece of art. 

JC: What other fandoms do you like drawing for?

S: I enjoy drawing a lot for DC comics, Marvel and also Anime fan art mostly! 

JC: Who’s your favorite Overwatch and Rainbow six character?

S: My favorite characters are currently Hanzo from Overwatch and Echo from Rainbow Six Siege.

JC: Who’s your least favorite Overwatch and Rainbow six character?

S: I don’t think I have any  least favorite characters from both games! (However, some Castle players are really  annoying as I play a lot of roamers and it’s hard to rotate when the Castle blocks off everything in the Objective T_T)

JC: What do you think of the Overwatch and the Rainbow Six fandom?

S: think the Overwatch fandom is very large and diverse. There are so many good artists its a bit hard to get noticed, but everyone is quite nice and supportive and lots of good art is always made. Rainbow Six community, however, is one of the most supportive twitter communities I’ve ever seen, even the devs listen a lot to the players which I find very interesting since usually big companies don’t interact so much with the fanbase. They have something called Star Players which celebrates 50 members every year of them being a big fan and contributing to the community, which invites them to special Ubisoft events which I think is really, really awesome. I’d like to be one someday! 

JC: What has been your biggest accomplishment in art so far?

S: I think my biggest accomplishment is making some of the people who work in Blizzard and Ubisoft notice my art, and they think it’s cool. And I find it pretty awesome. I love the people that work at the companies, they are so supportive of the fans and I think that’s amazing. 

JC: Many people love your art style and praise it. What do you think of the reception of your art?

S: Oh, I don’t think my art style is that great since it’s super inconsistent but I’m always super surprised with the amount of support I get for drawing fan art, even people who followed me originally for overwatch is staying for the siege art and I’m really happy about that! I think that drawing things that makes people happy is the best, and I want to continue to do that.

JC: What is your goal with your art? 

S: I just want to make people happy with my art and maybe inspire some people, that is my main and only goal at the current moment. 🙂

JC: You’re a big nerd and proud of it. Is there any series have inspired you? If so what series have inspired you in your art and in what way?

S: I think the series that inspired me the most was Scott Pilgrim vs the World because it was drawn in an easy style that made me believe that I can, too, make comics. I started making comics when I was younger which helped me practice drawing and then I continued to get better and better even now! We never really stop improving. Now, the series that inspires me is most likely the DC Rebirth Green Arrow series, as well as the Batgirl of Burnside (illustrated by Babs Tarr) series, I love the art style for both so much. 

JC: You’re incredibly popular in big video game communities. Why do you love video games so much?

S: Oh, I wouldn’t say I am incredibly popular, but thank you haha (it is very flattering to me)! I love Video games because it gives you a chance to do things you can’t do in real life. Having anemia, a physical workout is difficult for me (even though I am trying to work out more!) so being able to run in the game and shoot people digitally, when I don’t have enough energy to physically do real airsoft, is really, really cool. Also, the idea of being in another world and playing as someone that isn’t yourself is pretty damn awesome. People can’t judge you for your real life appearance in games either, so it’s a great way to escape from reality which makes me really happy.

JC: What goals do you have in your art career?

S: Hmm, I think if I can find a way to do commissions consistently that would be nice, but I’d like to open a patreon someday since a lot of people have asked me to do that, I’m not sure what I would offer though. That thinking has to come later, I’m currently happy with my art being a hobby for now. It would be nice to work for Ubisoft though, I’d love to make R6S comics like how Blizzard has Overwatch comics. I gotta get better at art first though!

JC: Something I find incredible about you is how you have built a community out of the fans of your art. It’s something I don’t see a lot with artists (not a diss to any other artists) but the people that like your art seem to have a connection to you and seem to be there for you. What do you think of this community you have built? And why did you build this type of community?

S: I built this type of community because a lot of the artists I look up to are really cool but it’s really hard to talk to them and come in contact with some of them, which is quite disappointing since I’d like to be friends with some people but its hard when they have many many followers and your mentions are basically drowned in their notifications. So I created a discord to talk and interact to the people who follow me more because I think that would be cool to know the people who enjoy supporting my work and me! It’s like making a ton of new friends, and everyone is really really nice so It turned out amazing. I think building a connection with the people who support you is good because of its kind of a way that we can give back to the people who choose to click that ‘follow’ button, to support you for your content and such. Inside jokes are always fun too, and I’ve made plenty of close friends this way! 

JC: What advice would you give to artists trying to build a community?

S: I think it would be good to start off by interacting a lot with your followers. I don’t do this much either but that’s because I’m more active on discord, however, if you’re starting out it’s always good to talk to the people who go out of their way to willingly reply to your tweet/post, and maybe you can try starting a conversation with them! It will seriously make their day. Trust me. One tweet can go a long way 😀

JC: What do you love about your art?

S: I’m a pessimist, so I don’t really like a lot of things about my art but the one thing I like, I suppose, is that I’m willing to experiment, hence why I have so many styles. I can draw with many brushes, and many coloring styles, which I think is cool. I can also copy/take on a style of a video game and make a parody sprite/concept art style too, which I think is cool! However, it’s not good to be a pessimist, so I’m trying to learn more to love my art since lots of people do, and I’m trying to improve every day as well. I know a lot of artists don’t like their own art as well, however, I hope everyone can come to love their own art too.

JC: What is your dream project if you could work on anything you wanted?
S: Similarly to how Overwatch has comics made for the lore of the game, I think my dream project (as of right now) is that I’d like to possibly get my art to the point where maybe I could get Ubisoft to let me work on comics for their lore :smile: I think a lot of people would enjoy lore-based comics. If I get to choose co-workers too, I’d like to work with cptsunstark, and many of my other artist friends on twitter, it would be a blast to just work with them to create content for things we love.
JC: You like many artists on the internet do a lot of commission work. What advice would you give to an artist just starting out doing commission work?
S: Never underprice your work, and try to set a cap for how many commissions you want to do because if you have unlimited sometimes it might overwork you. Take care and be nice to your commissioners, and if the commissioners are rude to you, don’t be afraid to tell them you don’t want to do their commissions if it doesn’t follow your terms.
JC: What video games are you looking forward to? And would you like to do fanart for them in the future?
S: Some video games I’m looking forward to is CYBERPUNK 2077, and also Ghost of Tsushima. The games are both really visually appealing, I just hope I’m good enough at video games to be able to complete both of them haha :sweat_smile: I’ll definitely do fanart of Cyberpunk, heck, I’ve already made some cyberpunk fanart! Looking forward to those games quite a bit. 21. Your community means a lot to you is there anything you would like to say to them? I love you guys so much. Thank you for the support you’ve given me on my work for so long, some of you might not know me, some of you might’ve been around for years, and I appreciate you all so much, I’m sorry if I don’t reply to many tweets on Twitter since sometimes it can get overwhelming, but I appreciate every message sent to me, as it makes my day knowing you guys are there with me. Thank you for everything.
JC: Your community means a lot to you is there anything you would like to say to them?
S: I love you guys so much. Thank you for the support you’ve given me on my work for so long, some of you might not know me, some of you might’ve been around for years, and I appreciate you all so much, I’m sorry if I don’t reply to many tweets on Twitter since sometimes it can get overwhelming, but I appreciate every message sent to me, as it makes my day knowing you guys are there with me. Thank you for everything.
All art in this article is by Simon and the featured image is edited together by Ozzymossy. Hopefully, this interview gave you insight into Simon and how to build a community as an artist.
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