Artist Interview: Tony Khounmano

Tell Us A Little Bit About Yourself.

My name is Tony Khounmano.

I’m just your average college-student artist. I spend most of my time outside of my studio classes creating my own worlds to live inside of my head. When I’m not arting, I spend a lot of time hanging out with my friends. I find that the constant company really helps me recharge my brain after a hard time of utilizing the creative part of my brain. When I’m with my friends, I generally enjoy chilling out and doing whatever: video games, watching movies, Redbox/Netflix roulette-ing, shopping for secondhand books, and Taco Bell-ing it up!

How Did Your Art Journey Begin?

I recall when I was really little that my sister used to watch “The Little Mermaid” a ton and then we used to draw stuff, and I distinctly remember her teaching me to draw mermaids that looked vaguely like Ariel. Then my brother and I used to draw Earthworm Jim. After that… well I dabbled all the way up through high school: I kept trying to express the fantastically cool stuff in my head on paper, but I didn’t really start opening my head to the technical side of art until after High School.

One of my biggest inspirations comes from John Howe who illustrated for the Lord of the Rings series (books and movies). His masterful watercolor technique continually leaves me in awe and inadequate feeling… in that envious, good way. Another source I constantly look to for inspiration is the gaming company Blizzard Entertainment. Their dedication and passion for their field is amazing, and every time I have a chance to snag one of their production art books, I do!


Tell Us a Little Bit About Your Artwork.

Most of my art is very directly-representational; i.e.: I draw swords, warriors, wizards, and other shiny stuff that looks cool. A lot of it has to do with bringing characters that live inside my head into some facet of the real world, and by doing so, helping to fully-realize my ideas. Oftentimes, my art is very narrative-based as well, owing to my appreciate for fantasy, sci-fi, and the like – whether it be in novel form or in other media like movies, television, or games.

My eventual goal in life is to be either a concept artist for movies/television/video games – being a part of the pre-production process of bringing worlds to life; or, to be an illustrator of book covers for fantasy/science fiction novels. I always enjoy browsing down the Fantasy/Sci-Fi aisles at bookstores and seeing what sorts of great art is on the cover.

At one point I trained heavily to be a Graphic Designer as well, but since it wasn’t my absolute passion I went back to traditional Fine Arts. I loved my Design classes and I still freelance on the side a bit, but my real passion is Dragons and stuff! 🙂

Has Your Art Taught You Anything?

Tons! Patience. Practice. Attitude. Nobody is ever a master immediately when they start out doing something, no matter what they might think of themselves. How far you choose to develop your technical skills leads to how far you are actually successful at putting ideas into reality. A long time ago, I thought I was THE DEAL as an artist, and now I look back on how prideful I was in my ineptitude and just shake my head at how silly it seems. There will always be much more to learn, and much more to experiment with once focus is placed on the work and effort of learning and doing, instead of looking at your art with great confidence and thinking you’re already a master.

I am constantly surprised at the “artist plateaus” as one of my former instructors called it: the point where you think you can’t progress further and suddenly you have an epiphany, such as an insight into color-theory or how to get the proper perspective angle of a person’s shoulder in a portrait. She reminded me very much of Mrs. Frizzle from “The Magic Schoolbus” with her creed: “Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!” It’s very refreshing sometimes to simply dive in with a good attitude and determination and then end up with a very pleasing piece of art.

Do You Have a Favorite Medium?

Graphite and charcoal I would have to say is my number one mediums: there’s nothing like the precision of a crisp, bold line contrasted by a soft blend to achieve so many cool effects. A close second for me is Oil Paints, especially in the style of the Old Masters.

Tell Us a Little About Your Work Space.

Really, I work wherever there is an empty spot on the floor or table. A lot of times I will work from my lap with a 9×12 or larger sketchbook, and sometimes I bust out the Masonite drawing board for the really fun stuff! Space is a luxury I unfortunately don’t always have as the studios at school aren’t always easily accessible during the weeee hours of the morning when I love to really get down and art, so I make do with whatever I space I have at the moment.

How Often Do You Create Art?

I find myself always having my hands in motion, whether it’s folding origami or doodling. It helps me concentrate much better if I am taking notes in a non-art class or some such to simply keep my hands in motion. It helps me be more attentive, because I am such a busy-body much of the time these days.

Are You Currently Working on a Project?

I’m working on quite a few actually: I’m designing a website, doing several concurrent portraits, helping a friend design an album/band theme, along with fleshing out details of a few of my own series.

Anything Else You’d Like to Share About Your Art?

My art is my art, and I love it! I may not be quite as deep and intellectually philosophical as most contemporary artists these days, but I like what I like! I find the sense of bringing something fantasy-oriented, but grounded in reality quite cool. And I hope people try to enjoy art sometimes without the pretense of being philosophical, and simply have fun!




Thank you Tony! Comment below to give Tony your feedback. If you’d like to be featured on the site, you can contact me at


founder and admin of Artist Rage. Illustrator, painter, and sometimes crafter.

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