I decided to post a series of interviews with the most inspirational Tolkien artists at devianArt in the three Tolkien-related groups:
, and .
If you have a suggestion about whom I should interview next, leave a comment here. You can also suggest questions you would like me to ask them.
As the first one in this series, I talked to one of the most popular Tolkien artists on this site, - Gold-Seven. At the beginning, a little sample from her gallery:
1. You are an outstanding artist and illustrator of Tolkien's stories. When did you read Tolkien's books for the first time, and what impression did they leave in you?
Thank you! My first encounter with Tolkien was in first grade, when my mother read the Hobbit to me. I’d always been a great book lover as a kid, and when we were through, I said, disappointed: “That’s it? Is there more?”
Yes, there was more. And my mother read it to me too. Always stopping at the most exciting points, so I’d “secretly” read on by myself.
2. How extensive is your knowledge of Middle-earth? Do you consider yourself Tolkien nerd?
There are definitely people who have read more about Tolkien, and more recently, than I have, but I’ve read most things Tolkien has ever written, and a fair bit of secondary sources too. 3. When the movies came out, many of the inner pictures of characters and scenes in the mind of the readers have been replaced by actors and settings from the movie.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?
I was never in much danger of that, as I had been drawing – and thus, visualizing – the characters for myself for years and years before the movies came out. I’ve been very careful ever since to keep the movie looks out of my pictures. 4. What about you and art? When did you start doing it seriously, and who or what influenced your style?
Seriously, as in professionally – exactly ten years ago, on 2003. I started taking on private commissions and jobs for RPGs. My style was influenced – and still is – by artists I admire, from classic illustrators and painters like Larsson, Mucha, Bilibin and Burne-Jones to comic book and modern Fantasy artists like Wikland, Biukovic, Marini, Edelfeldt, Lee, and Howe. I accumulate more idols and influences as I get older.
5. Where do you look for inspiration for your paintings?
Written stories. Sometimes my own, but mostly myths, legends, and of course Tolkien.6. You are most famous for your watercolours. Did/do you experiment with other art forms as well?
There are few media I haven’t tried, though I keep comic back to watercolour, and to pencils. I live the control and exactness I get with pencil, and the flow, vibrancy and lightness I get with watercolour. 7. Besides a great illustrator, you are also a writer. Could you tell us about your original story, the Rhyddion Chronicles? Will you try to get it published?
The Rhyddion Chronicles have been on hold for a while now. If they’re ever resurrected, it will probably be in a completely new form. It’s a nice little story with nice characters, but I have read too many nice little generic Fantasy novels in the last twenty-five years to go on writing another one. 8. You share your knowledge in tutorials and workshops. Is it fulfilling to see people improve in their art because of you?
Very much! The workshops I hold are often a stark contrast to my other life as a school teacher – I love teaching, but at school, most people learn because they have to. In workshops, they learn because they want to. That’s a huge difference.9. Could you give us a link or thumbnail from your gallery of
- a Tolkien illustration you are most proud of?
The Oath has been awakened
- a picture from other fandom and original picture you are most proud of?
- a picture of your favourite original character?
The Sword and the Harp
- a picture that was hardest to paint?
The Drawing of the Sword
10. What key people in your life, (on or off of dA) have been inspirations to you, or has supported you, as an artist?
Always my mother.11. 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?
12. There are many Tolkien-themed groups at dA. Do you have some favourites which you would recommend watching/joining? What about other art and fantasy groups?
I really enjoy
. I’ve temporarily unwatched all the Tolkien groups that I’ve been in. I can’t stand all the Hobbit movie fanart, and Sauron in submissive poses and black leather thongs.13. Is there something else you would like to tell to the fans of Tolkien and your art?
Regarding the last question: It makes me slightly wistful to see Tolkien being placed squarely in the middle of mainstream pop culture, with all the weirdness that entails. I fully realize that I have Peter Jackson to thank for the enormous surge of Fantasy love that’s been going round since 2001, and I fully realize that I would probably still be a private dabbler at my desk if it hadn’t been for that. But I still cherish the old little book versions of the characters and the world of Middle-earth, and it always makes me glad to find that so many others are still eager to share this world with me, too.
Thank you for the interview!