Five Questions is a short series where we interview interesting personalities and shine the spotlight on some of Sri Lanka’s more intriguing professions.
Weaving creative new twists into Sri Lankan folklore, Lionborn is the reimagined, illustrated version of Sinhabahu. It first debuted as part of a mini-series at the Lanka Comic Con in 2016, before its creator and illustrator Sachi Ediriweera decided to release it whole last August.
Ediriweera is not just a digital illustrator—he’s also a short filmmaker with three productions under his label Filmbox. Currently based in the UAE, he took some time off work for a short interview.
As a creative, what or who has had a large part in influencing your work?
Movies. Long before I got into design or comics, I was a huge fan of movies and the entire process of how they were made. I was curious enough that “The Matrix” inspired me to get into Design and 3D animation, which eventually led me to make my own short films.
Name an artist you disagree with, but still follow. Why?
Probably Roman Polanski. The disagreement comes from the sexual allegations against him. But, I still enjoy his past work as a filmmaker. This might be a bitter answer for many. Artists are complicated people after all—let the justice system prosecute the man, let the audience admire the work (unless that man is Harvey Weinstein or Brett Ratner. You are better off without them).
Do you consider yourself more of a filmmaker, or a comic book illustrator? What were the most difficult skills to master in both?
Ultimately both are visual storytelling mediums. And as a storyteller, my goal is to tell an interesting story in the most effective way possible. It’s quite interesting because things I picked up as a filmmaker are definitely in use when I write and draw comics. A few things that come to mind are scriptwriting and camera language, as in both cases I have to place characters inside a frame. One with actors, the other with illustrations.
What is the worst habit you think a writer or an artist could have?
Procrastination. It’s easy to get distracted in the age of smartphones and when there’s a plethora of content out there to enjoy—movies, TV shows, games, you name it. So, staying motivated to create takes an extra step of discipline. One of my favorite things to say to beginner artists is practice every day, draw every day. Even if it’s just a line, or a simple sketch. As long as you get something done. The same goes for any medium actually—writers, composers, filmmakers, etc. Write something every day, at least one word so you know that the day didn’t go to waste.
Most people pursue art as a hobby. What do you do to wind down?
Well, I started this as a hobby too. Little did I know the tables would turn on me. If I am not in a mood to draw, I’d probably read a comic book. Recently, I realized I was reading a tad too many comics. So I branched out a bit and started reading books that provided insights on other subjects. I just finished reading Malcolm Gladwell’s David & Goliath. Gosh, that was a fantastic read.
Photos and cover image courtesy of facebook.com/sachithra