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Interview with Simon Rollins

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Could you tell us something about yourself?

My full name is Simon Sterling Rollins. Most people call me Simon. I was born in July 2005 in the state of Georgia. I'm autistic. I'm still in high school, but during my free time I draw artworks to share with the world.

Do you paint professionally, as a hobby artist, or both?

Right now, I am trying to improve my work. In 2019 I was gifted a Wacom tablet for Christmas, and I've gotten better with every sketch. So, I'm not exactly a pro, yet, but it never hurts to try every time.

What genre(s) do you work in?

I draw family-friendly animal-like pictures, with lore behind every picture. I like to tell stories about my characters, and that's what makes "Duncan: The Culture" so interesting. The story is so rich.

Whose work inspires you most -- who are your role models as an artist?

As a kid, I was inspired by two very popular artists named Lincoln Peirce and Dav Pilkey.

Lincoln Peirce created the Big Nate series, a comic book I loved to read because of the story. It taught me about being friends to one another and learning through the harsh parts of being a student in school.

Dav Pilkey created the Dog Man series. It told the story of a police dog who was given a gift of human characteristics after losing his partner in an accident. It taught me how to be brave and to support people even if I didn't know them.

I wanted to merge those two stories into one, so that's what I did. It may not be the same, but it can teach us more than just being brave or a friend to strangers.

How and when did you get to try digital painting for the first time?

I started my life as an artist on paper. Though it was hard doing that since I would get sweaty palms, scratch marks, and some unknown mechanical pencil lead stuck in the skin of my fingers.

So, when I got my computer a few years ago, the first thing I did was draw using Microsoft Paint. I didn't know about Krita at this time since I was very young and not good at complicated programming.

What makes you choose digital over traditional painting?

I don't have to face the consequences of drawing. I don't have to buy a lot of paper packs and pencils, I don't have to leave special drawings lying around for them to be stepped on and crumpled up by accident, and I don't have to move everything around in a full space to store my drawings.

But with digital painting, you can save the drawing for later and store it with just a click. It was that easy!

How did you find out about Krita?

When I got bored with Microsoft Paint and other third-party programs that ran through Adobe Flash (RIP) or HTML 5, I wanted to do something different. So, I went to my search provider and typed up the best drawing programs that you can find.

The list showed mostly pay-to-use programs such as Photoshop and Procreate. But then I found this one free program on the list called Krita. It was reviewed as easy to use, easy to navigate, and had a wonderful community. So, I chose Krita after reading the review, and I never said the choice was a mistake. It was a gift.

What was your first impression?

At first, it wasn't easy. But since it let me customize everything to my will, I got used to it very quickly.

What do you love about Krita?

It has vibrant colors to choose from and has a wonderful compatibility with third-party brushes and tools. The program even recognized my new Wacom tablet that I plugged in!

What do you think needs improvement in Krita? Is there anything that really annoys you?

At the moment, the program runs perfectly. But there are a few crashes and bugs here and there. That's what bothers me. But with every release, the developers fix it in a jam. So delightful!

What sets Krita apart from the other tools that you use?

I'm not sure. I guess I would just say it's better than Microsoft Paint.

If you had to pick one favourite of all your work done in Krita so far, what would it be, and why?

I think my best bet would be "Duncan Loves Laina".

Duncan loves Laina!
It shows how much Duncan loves his best friend Laina, even if she's an adult and much taller than him.

What techniques and brushes did you use in it?

I sketched the picture first, then outlined it with ink brushes. Then I drew a layer underneath the outline and colored it in. Once that was done, I enabled "Preserve Opacity" and colored the outline to fit the layer beneath and shaded the layer beneath with a soft brush.

Where can people see more of your work?

I'm glad you asked. You can check my portfolio at Krita Artists, or go to my website at https://

Anything else you'd like to share?

I would just want to thank everyone in the Krita community for making my dream a reality. You are all so gracious!