A TIRED WITCH AND AN APOTHECARY - Interview with Faith Capalia

My name is Faith, I'm twenty-four years old. I work mostly in oil and digitally, but I sometimes will work in 3D. I spent five years in school studying general fine arts at a local community college, and I'll be going back to school this fall to get my bachelors in illustration at the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, OR. Most of my time working was spent in drawing, painting, and sculpture classes. In school, I spent a lot of time looking at the works of Francisco Goya and Mark Ryden, and those continue to be my two biggest inspirations for art.

I was raised in Colorado Springs, CO. by my grandma, who is by far my biggest supporter. Until recently, I was taking time off from school and working full time as a retail manager at Ulta, but I left there a few months ago and now I'm pretty much only working on art. My end goal is to eventually become an animator and to make animated horror films.

Describe your style in three words.

Goofy, whimsical, experimental.

How has your style progressed, or changed, over the years?

While I was in school, what I found I was working towards the most was getting as close to photo realism as possible. I worked mostly in oils, so I feel like I was able to spend a lot more time nitpicking details. Only in the past year have I started working digitally. Because it's a new medium for me, I'm really having to force myself to simplify — which is a good thing! I used to get really frustrated, because I always wanted to produce really stylized work, but I would always accidentally get too caught up in realism. Now I feel like I can comfortably convey an image, or the way someone looks, without being worried about it not looking "real" enough. Which has really helped me develop my own graphic style.

What do you love most about illustrating?

I really love character design! I love working on characters and changing the way they look until it's just right. I love giving them background stories and personalities. I've always loved storytelling and illustrating gives me the opportunity to convey stories just as vividly as I see them in my head to the rest of the world.

You are currently working on a story that involves a tired witch and an apothecary... can you give us a little insight as to what the story will be about?

Absolutely! The story centers around Basil, a young witch whose specialty is growing plants and mixing potions, and her familiar, a three eyed Boston Terrier named Brady (who is definitely just an insert of my dog). Brady sneezes on plants to make them magic and Basil uses them to mix potions and sell herbs. She runs this apothecary, Mister Brady's Friendly Apothecary, but a witch superstore comes into town and is putting all of the family owned shops out of business. It's all about Basil trying to run her shop and fight back against this superstore to try to stop its growth before she has to close her own doors.

What influenced the idea for the story?

Well, for one, my dog. I try to shoehorn him into everything and this was the perfect excuse to just draw pictures of him all the time. More seriously though, I am a huge fan of mixing the whimsical with the mundane. I love the idea of magic and familiars and things like that being totally commonplace. Like, "hey I'm gonna run to the store and pick up a spell book, do you need anything from the freezer section?" Initially, I had conceptualized Basil and Brady, and I new I wanted to do something with them. They needed a villain to fight and what's scarier than mega corporations? Nothing that I can think of.

Do you have an estimated date of when the story will be completed and released to the public?

Not quite yet, but I'm working on it! Right now, I'm in the storyboarding phase. I have so many ideas I want to crank out for this, that I'm really having to force myself to narrow it down, so I can actually — you know, tell the story. I actually just finalized a lot of my character sheets, so hopefully soon I'll start the process of really drawing everything out. I'll constantly be posting updates on my Instagram, though!

What is art to you?

I try not to take myself, or my own art, too seriously. So, art when I do it, is storytelling, and honestly just trying to make something cool. But objectively, I feel like art is just another way to communicate something. I'm a huge fan of abstraction and I love being overwhelmed trying to decipher the feelings I get from it.

What triggers your creativity?

I'm super interested in the occult. I was raised in Christian schools, but all my friends' parents growing up were Wiccan and Pagan, so I had this introduction to this stuff at a young age. But, I wasn't allowed to go near any of it, and I think that curiosity has followed me into adulthood. Right now, I'm working on a series of Tarot cards and I am having so much fun really dissecting the imagery and meanings behind all of the cards. Tarot, the Zodiac, ghosts, and things like that tend to be a constant in what inspires me. Now that I'm a grown up and nobody can tell me what to do, all I want to do is learn about this stuff.

What do you like to do when you’re not illustrating?

I watch a lot of movies, and lately I've been reading a lot of horror novels. I hang out with my dog, my friends and I go hiking, normal boring Colorado stuff. I also really love to make music. I had given up on it for a while, but recently I've produced a couple of tracks — and it's been really, really fun.

What is your favorite song, band, or artist to listen to while you're illustrating and animating?

I love hip hop, so a lot of hip hop usually. Lately I've had Joji's "In Tongues" EP on repeat. It's super ambient and really easy to have looping while I work. All of his music is great for that, I'm a big fan. I also am really into the kpop group BTS, and a lot of the time I'll have RM's solo mixtape going. That's a good one for late night work because it's pretty high energy.