Jonathon Winters: Interview

Today I say down to talk to my god buddy, BearBoyJW, animator and content creator, influenced by Final Fantasy, to get deeper into his mindset of creation. Jon is an American-based artist from Boston, looking to create and develop his own games and artwork. let's see how he goes on about his creation.

Question 1

What sparked your love of drawing and passion to keep striving to improve over time, what was the main source of inspiration for you growing up?

JW: Video Games and Anime are my prime love for drawing. Dragon Ball was my biggest push and from there on it was a bunch of different things that inspired me to say I want to draw, I wanna make video games, I wanna make videos, yadda yadda. If I wanted to do it then I would try it. Sometimes I failed, and the things that clicked are why I’m doing what I love today!

Question 2

What process do you use when drawing out your artwork, as in what music do you listen to, or do you prefer quiet?

JW: Music or some type of background noise — like a movie I’ve already seen before (so don’t have to pay complete attention) helps keep me moving. I can jump between a bunch of different genres, but typically I find myself listening to a lot of video game music. Particularly Square Enix music, such as Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts, The World Ends With You, and more. Truly because it helps keep me grounded in the world I’m crafting.

Question 3

If you ever thought of doing a comic or video game, what genre would you go for and what would be your personal class of warrior?

JW: If I would do a game it would be either an RPG, Action-RPG, Beat’em Up. Mostly because these are usually my favorite types of games. As for my personal class of warriors? Anything that involves me looking cool with a big sword!

Question 4

How do you handle art block and suffice yourself when not in the mood to draw?

JW: To be honest I don’t really face art block too often. My mind is always fixated for here’s what we’re going to do for Bear Boy today, but most importantly, here are the various 13 things we’re going to do down the line. So, I always have a set mindset on things that need to be done so I just do that and go with that flow.

But I feel like if I ever were to come across that feeling then watching or playing something new that I haven’t before would spark that creativity factor and get me rolling from there.

Question 5

What would be your least favorite part of joining a fanbase, have you ever dealt with scammers or harassment? If so, what advice would you give to others dealing with it?

JW: Every fanbase is going to have its toxic members. It’s unavoidable, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a solution. You can [block] these people so you don’t have to deal with them, but if they’re harassing you then I would suggest assessing the situation and seeing if you may need to report these individuals. The internet can be a tricky city to maneuver around. Knowing how to avoid and move past the wrong crowd is important.

Question 7

Of all the final fantasy games, which one is your die-hard favorite, and which character would you team up with if given the chance?

JW: That’s tough. I hate choosing favorites, so I’ll give you the top 3 to make it easier for me. Final Fantasy X is because it’s the first big one that caught my attention as a child and I just really love the story.

FF Versus XIII is my favorite as a single concept because it was like nothing else I ever saw from the series and from 2006 to 2013 it was the Final Fantasy that I couldn’t wait to play and 100% when it was released. (If you’re wondering, the game would later become what we know now as Final Fantasy XV)

Final Fantasy 7 Remake Part 1 is a game that loads of fun to play and to just immerse yourself in the action. The story was something I really enjoyed and it’s locked me into seeing what craziness Part 2 has in store for us down the road.

Question 8

When editing your videos, do you find it more fun than drawing, or do you have a preference for one over the other?

JW: I definitely love the drawing part more. The editing part is like a puzzle and getting it right can be tricky, but solving certain problems is pretty neat and gives me a good feeling because I get to not only learn something new at times when working on each video, but I get to really see my art come to life in ways I could only imagine. But even with how cool that is, I definitely love the drawing side.

Question 9

Have you ever thought of getting into game design or animation, working on a complete series to showcase more of your work?

JW: Growing up I always wanted to work in the game industry. I remember saying I wanted to work for either Nintendo and make the next Zelda game, then at some point, it became I wanted to work at Square Enix and make the next big Final Fantasy game (at the time it would have been Final Fantasy XIII). Obviously, that didn’t happen, but that passion led me to grow up to tinker around further with game design on my own. Attend college for it. And ultimately come to the conclusion that what I want most from game development is to tell my own stories, and that’s something I can do from YouTube itself.

I wish I had learned that sooner before I went to college for it, but I can’t say that what I learned from college about animation, game design, and Adobe After Effects aren’t a major key factor in why I’m able to even do what I can do for my videos.

But I will say that I have the itch to return back to game development every so often. So it’s not out of the question that perhaps you won't see a Bear Boy game from me in the future. [winks]

Question 10

What do you find the biggest issue drawing your OC or ideas, or what is your least favorite part of getting an idea started?

JW: One of the issues I’ve had with drawing OCs, or at least Bear Boy for this matter is his hair and beard. It took me 2 years to really settle on a design that I wanted to use and even then consistency is one of the things I still find to be annoying at times. Mostly with his beard. I’ve debated on cutting it entirely or trimming it down where the front spikes are, but I honestly think it adds to the character and at this point, I’m against changing too many recognizable traits of his design. So I’ll just have to suffer at times [laughs].

Question 11

If you could meet with any artist in history present or past, whom would you prefer to see and talk on design and style?

JW: Tetsuya Nomura, hands down. The guy has been a major influence for me growing up when it comes to art and storytelling. So long as there is a translator there to help with the language barrier I think there’s a lot that I would like to talk with him about for a day. I’d also like to draw a picture with him. If nothing else, that would be a dream come true!

Question 12

Have you always had a love for the zipper and belt aesthetic in designing characters, is it for uniqueness or giving into more of the warrior look?

JW: I say it’s for the uniqueness. I don’t why, but there’s something about a character wearing a bunch of belts that has always come across to me as over the top, yet stylish as heck in its own right.

Question 13

What system do you use when drawing and what application works best for you?

JW: About 98% of my art comes from me doing it digitally on my PC, using Photoshop and my Wacom Cintiq to help me get the job done. The other 2% is if I do anything from my Galaxy Note or just traditional. At this point, those two are rare since most of my best work comes when using my PC.

Question 14

Which artists are your favorite to see online, and which type of style do you prefer seeing?

JW: There are various artists that I love seeing. Some people in the gaming or animation industry, or even on sites like Twitter. There are so many different art styles with various things to love about them and things to study from. So I don’t really have a preference. If it looks nice then I like to bookmark the artist.

Question 15

What is your main goal in being an artist as an end result of learning and nurturing your skill?

JW: My main goal is that I would like to be able to leave this world knowing that I left behind a piece of myself that could really resonate with people and give them something to love for years and years. We live in such a chaotic world and it’s been that way before today and it’s going to be the same toward and onward. I hate to go all Disney on ya in this conclusion, but I believe if you find that light through the chaos then you can find ways to make the best of what you can and go further. I want to help be that light for people, just as others have been for me.

It’s a journey getting there, but knowing that has never stopped me from moving forward to achieve my dreams. And if there’s one thing I want anyone to take away from this interview about me it would be that I believe you can do the same.

Link to social media:

https://twitter.com/bearboyjw?lang=en

Link to his YouTube channel:

Link to his Patreon:
https://www.patreon.com/BearBoyJW

A history major with a love of fantasy and writing, posting my reviews of comics and literature and some articles on people of the past that made a difference.