- Breogan is a concept artist who took part in creating the Born of Hope fan movie, and is currently working on another one, The Fall of Fingolfin. We talked about what it takes to create concept art, and about her own views of art and Middle-earth.
1. When did you read Tolkien's books for the first time, and what impression did they leave in you?
I first read Lord of the Rings when I was 11 and although I was already an avid reader, I couldn’t get past the first chapter - I found it so boring I put it down. Some months later, my mother, who had got me the book as a present, encouraged me to try again so I did, and when I got to chapter 2 – “The Shadow of the Past” something clicked and from that moment on I couldn’t stop reading! When I finished the book for the first time I wiped away my tears and I started it again. I had discovered a world full of wonders I couldn’t part with. To this day, I still read it once a year.
2. How extensive is your knowledge of Middle-earth? Do you consider yourself Tolkien expert?
No, I don’t consider myself an expert but my knowledge of the myth is quite extensive, especially since my interest in Tolkien’s work also includes the linguistic aspect.
3. Did you read the books, or see the movies first? When the movies came out, many of the inner pictures of characters and scenes in the mind of the readers have been replaced by actors and settings from the movie. Did it happen to you as well? Did you try to prevent it?
Books first. I think the film trilogy has mainly affected my mental image of the landscapes of Middle-earth. In my opinion, the settings are one of the very few things that Peter Jackson got 100% right, so for me the landscapes of New Zealand are those of Middle-earth. Apart from that, I basically stay true to how I’ve always imagined what the characters would look like.
4. Now, could you tell us something about you and art? Are you a professional artist, or is art just your hobby? When did you start doing it, and who or what influenced your style?
I have always loved art. I started doodling as soon as I could hold a pencil and art was always one of my favourite subjects in school. I guess I could say I’m a professional artist since I’m a graphic designer and I sometimes do illustration work for some of my clients.
I am interested in many different styles and I’m also an avid comic fan so I’ve received many influences, although my skills fail to reflect them: Mucha, Bilibin, Rackham, Robinson, Jim Lee, Adam Hughes... just to name a few.
5. Much of your latest art are concepts for a stop-motion short film "The Fall of Fingolfin". Could you tell us more about this project?
“The Fall of Fingolfin” is fan-based project, along the lines of “Born of Hope” or “The Hunt of Gollum”, aimed to recreate one of the most epic and moving stories from The Silmarillion. We aim to stay as true to the original material as possible, keeping other influences to a minimum. The screenplay is finished, and the project is in its initial production stages. Given the small number of people involved, things are moving slowly but surely.
6. Is there any other film you did concept art for, and what are the specifics of such art, compared to regular illustration?
I did some concept art for “Born of Hope”, another fan-based film released a few years ago. Although I joined the team to help with translating the dialogue into Sindarin, I also did some concept art and costume design.
Concept art is more precise, more specific. There are no “distractions” such as background or composition, just the design itself of the character, weapon, costume, etc. It’s great fun to do, and being simpler than a full illustration, I sometimes find it more challenging.
7. What other book or movies (or anything else) inspire you to create fanart, and why?
For me, creating fanart comes from the need to recreate or develop an idea from a fantasy world where I can get lost in. If this “world” does not have the necessary depth or detail, then it fails to inspire me. Middle-earth, Song of Ice and Fire and Harry Potter... those are my favourite fandoms.
8. What art technique is your favourite? Do you rather keep to the art techniques and styles you are familiar with, or do you experiment with new ones as well?
I love digital painting, how versatile it is. I use a few basic techniques, but I am always willing to learn new things. I like trying and experimenting and see where that takes me, although I seldom bother submitting those painting exercises to dA.
9. Could you give us a link or thumbnail from your gallery of
- a Tolkien illustration you are most proud of?
I couldn’t say which Tolkien-inspired illustration I’m most proud of; I’m always finding flaws and mistakes in every single one of my works, but having said that, I’m very fond of this one
- a picture that fits your current mood?
Adventurous and epic.
- a picture that was hardest to paint?
- any other picture you would like to share with us and why?
I like the comic cover look of this one:
10. Is there some artist(s) at dA you know, who doesn't have as much attention as they would deserve? If yes, could you give us some thumbnails from their gallery?
This guy has great illustrating skills, a sleek and dynamic style and a fantastic sense of humor: