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Interview with interviewer?

Journal Entry: Tue Feb 20, 2018, 5:16 AM

The 100th in the  "Talks with Tolkien artists" series is nearing, and I would like to do something special for it. I'm wondering if you would be interested to learn more about the "behind the scenes" of these talks. We may reverse the roles, and I will answer your questions. I do consider myself a Tolkien artist as well, so if you want, I can answer the questions I usually ask the artists, but if there is something particular you would like to know, you can ask in the comments here and I will reply the questions in this special issue. (Whether it's about the talks, about myself, my art - you can find my Middle-eath gallery here - or something else) Or let me know if you are not interested in a talk with me, and would like to see something else in the 100th issue! (I won't be offended :))

Coding by Felizias Drawings by ebe-kastein Borders by PhoenixWildfire

Talks with Tolkien artists: Skullbastard

Journal Entry: Sat Feb 17, 2018, 12:58 PM

If you enjoy the visuals of the dark side of Tolkien's Middle-earth, :iconskullbastard: - Skullbastard's gallery is something you shouldn't miss. There are no shades of gray in his works (metaphorically, I mean, since there are some greyscale pictures...) - evil is evil, and it is fascinating like only something dangerous can be:

Ar Pharazon And Tar Miriel by Skullbastard
Sauron, high priest of Melkor by Skullbastard
Meeting at Carrock by Skullbastard
Morgoth the Thief by Skullbastard The Pale King by Skullbastard
Then Morgoth came by Skullbastard

1. Hello! For the beginning, could you tell us something about yourself?

Hello, Thank you for inviting me for this interview, it is a real pleasure. My name is Nemanja. I'm 28 years old, I live in Serbia with my girlfriend and our dog. Working as a concept artist and illustrator. In my free time I like to play guitar, do karate, train my dog and of course draw some more :D (Big Grin)

2. What brought you to deviatArt and how did you pick your username?

I learned about dA almost ten years ago when I finished highschool. A friend had a  profile there where she posted her photos. I had some drawings and I wanted to share them with the world. As far as my username goes, I don't know. I guess I was a stupid kid listening to heavy metal and wanted to use something in that manner :) (Smile)

3. How did you enter Tolkien's world for the first time, and what impression did it leave in you?

My father read the books, and he was always saying to me how they were great and that I should read them. At first I didn't want to because I thought it was just too long for my taste back then (around 1998). But then I remember seeing Bakshi's animated version a year later on some old VHS cassette that was half broken and only one fourth of the movie was watchable. But it was enough for my imagination to be ignited. So, I said to my father: - Give me that book! I was 10 at the time I finished it.

4. How much did the movies influence your imagination when reading the books?

Bakshi's version influenced my vision a lot. But at the same time the Peter Jackson's films were announced and I remember collecting all the newspaper articles about it. So yes, my vision was greatly influenced with films from both filmmakers. But I was a kid then and didn't mind it as I do these days, so now, I try to distance my art from the movies and make my own versions of Tolkien's world.

5. Some of Tolkien's books can be hard to read, being more of history annals than beletry. Do you let that discourage you or not? How extensive is your knowledge of Middle-earth?

After I read The Rings, Hobbit followed pretty soon and the Silmarillion not long after. It was like food to me. I didn't mind the longevity. I wished the books would never end. I also read Unfinished Tales and Children of Hurin. Can't wait to get my hands on Beren and Luthien :) (Smile) I knew a lot more about the lore, the names and locations when I was younger, after I read the Silmarillion.Then it was more fresh in my mind. Now, I need to remind myself and readthrough some stuff again.

6. Who is your favourite Tolkien character and why?

I guess Gandalf is. He is just a tireless fighter for good. Also he is an archetypal wise old man sort of fellow which I like. Fun to draw and paint.

7. 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?

Art was always a part of my life. I am that guy at a party that always starts drawing at some point :) (Smile), and I spent all my school years drawing at the edges of my notebooks rather than listening to professors, which they didn't appreciate at all. I come from a very creative family; musically, literally and visually. I stared to draw as soon as I could hold a pencil. Drawing was a hobby for the most of my life, and my first love. First drawings I made were of dinosaurs and then after I read LOTR, fantasy took over. I still like to paint dinosaurs from time to time :D (Big Grin)
I started doing this professionally some 5 years ago when I bought Intuos4 tablet. In 2014 I got a job at a local gaming company as a concept and 2D artist. From then on I have been doing this job both freelance and in studios. It feels good to do something that you love and earn a living from it.
As far as influences go, I don't know, I guess I let myself be influenced by anything that I think is good. You can learn so much just by watching other people's art and deconstructing it ( compositions, values, color palettes and so on).

8. What about your Silmarillion character designs? They are clearly inluenced by ancient civilizations, like Egypt and Mesopotamia. What do you think these cultures have in common with Middle-earth?

Well, Silmarillion is ancient. Many thousands of years in span. I find it a bit silly to portray it's characters in medieval setting. Maybe by the end of the second age but for all the stuff that's gone on before that, I think that ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia fit better visually and stylistically.

9. I have been following your gallery for some time already, and it's clear that you prefer to depict the dark side of Tolkien's world. What do you find alluring in these themes and characters?

First of all thank you for doing so :) (Smile) I don't really know the answer to this question. I know I am not evil :) (Smile) but I always liked that imagery. Like for example, I find predatory animals more beautiful than plant eating animals. Maybe it has something to do with people always liking the forbidden.

10. Unlike many artists recently, who depict Arda's evil in a beautiful form, and often more misunderstood than evil, you don't make any such excuses. What do you think about hese depictions?

I think Tolkien wrote more black and white than nuances of gray that is so popular in today's culture. His characters were good or bad with some examples of redeemed evil characters like Gollum and Grima.
As far as the beautiful form of evil, it is OK I guess. Tolkien did wrote about Annatar, the fair form of Sauron, and also Mairon his form before he went into Melkor's service. But, mainly I don't find other such images that interesting, certainly not all the girly Saurons out there smooching with Morgoth. Not my cup of tea, but hey, to each his own.

11. Your recent series of pictures focuses on the last years of Númenor. Can you tell us more about these illustration? Is it a personal project?

Yes, it is a personal project. I like that theme very much and feel it could be turned into a nice standalone film ( but please, no Peter Jackson :) (Smile) ). There doesn't seem to be a lot painted about this era so I felt it was up to me.
I plan on doing more paintings on this theme, as soon as I find some free time and more inspiration. I have in mind particulary to make one 360 panorama, but I wont tell more about it so that I don't spoil it.

12. What other book or movies (or anything else) inspire you to create fanart, and why?

I usually don't do that much of fanart, but I do let everything that I see, hear or read inspire me. I prefer to come up with something of my own whenever I can. I did a couple of Witcher images though. It is my second favorite fantasy universe. There is something about the slavness of it that I like ;) (Wink) I also like apocalyptic themes in movies but find it harder to draw/paint sci-fi than fantasy. Something that I really need to remedy in the near future.

13. 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 like pencils a lot. They were with me since childhood. I also like to draw with ball point pens, I find them quite interesting as a tool/ technique. As far as digital art goes, there is so much cool things you can do and I like to try new things, different approaches to find if I can learn from it and incorporate it in my style and workflow.

14. Do you have some tips and tricks you would like to share with the other artists?

Always have the bigger picture in mind, leave the details for the end like a cherry on a cake. And never quit learning new things.

15. Could you give us a link or thumbnail from your gallery of
- a Tolkien illustration you are most proud of?

Sauron the Deceiver by Skullbastard
this one, not because I think it is that good a drawing but because people really loved this one, my most viewed, commented and downloaded image :) (Smile)

- a picture from other fandom or original picture you are most proud of?

Dragonslayer by Skullbastard
something just clicked after this one, it has it's flaws but I really like it

- a picture that fits your current mood?

Ganjalf The Green by Skullbastard

- a picture that was hardest to paint?

St. Ostiarius by Skullbastard

this one I did for some contest a year ago and I really wanted to make it super detailed, it certainly took the longest to finish

- any other picture you would like to share with us and why?

Grile vs Monstersnake by Skullbastard

this is a neat one, just to let people know I can sculpt too :) (Smile)

16. What key people in your life, (on or off of dA) have been inspirations to you, or has supported you, as an artist? You can also tell us why, if you want.

Well my parents were always supportive, my friends always gave me new challenges and interesting new ideas to draw. I am inspired by all the people who can live comfortably by doing the things they love, no matter what they are.

17. 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?

I'm afraid I am not that active on dA these last few years so I couldn't say really.

18. Is there something else you would like to te to the fans of Tolkien and your art?

Keep watching cause there will be more! :) (Smile)

Coding by Felizias Drawings by ebe-kastein Borders by PhoenixWildfire
This December and January we have a Joker theme.

Like in a game of cards, you can use the Joker card to replace any other, now you can pick any of the past challenges that stir your imagination and write a story for it. You can finally write that story you wanted to write for that challenge once, but didn't have time for it, or write a story for some of the challenges that Teitho had before you even knew about its existence! Please include the title of the challenge you used with your story.

Here are the stories for this month:

A Shadow Behind
Leaving Never to Return
Life and Death and Valinor
On a Dark and Stormy Night
One Moment Changes Everything
Running to Find the Sun
Sam's Last Journey
The Marshal and His Lady
The Memory of Men
The Night and the Forest River
The Refugees

And the authors:

Cassie Hughes
Soul Narrative

The voting will take place until March 1st.

Please, vote HERE, and if you would like your vote to be as objective as possible, refer to our voting guide.

Happy reading!

Your Teitho-moderators,
Mirach, Carawyn, Karri, Sian22 and Lotrfn
Banner 01 by MirachRavaia

February and March
are full of transitions. This month there are new rules here at Teitho that will take full effect, and new moderators will join the team. The long hushed nights of dim are slowly giving way to longer days, and Winter, that night of seasons, is slowly winding down. It is fitting, then, to have Night as our next theme, before Spring's morning comes.

In our world, a certain night in February is traditionally set aside for celebrating love and romance. Do you think there a similar custom in Middle-Earth? If there is, how might it be celebrated? With poetry and fine dining? Perhaps with a gift of jewelry. Or is it a night for lovers who are apart to pine? (If you chose to write about more adult celebrations, please remember to include a warning for our younger readers!).

Or perhaps Night could refer to a dark period of time, such as the long night after the fall of the Lamps and the death of the Trees in Valinor, or the day without dawn when Sauron's army attacked in Pelennor.

There are also more practical matters to deal with during the long nights as well. How do would the Citadel guards in Minas Tirith stay warm while on duty? Do the March Wardens of Lorien find Varda's works more beautiful? Would the howling of the north winds bring nightmares to a child of the Riddermark? Night could also be a time for a ranger of the north to welcome the rest and peace that only sleep can provide. Or perhaps a long night might make a midnight snack too tempting for a hobbit to resist!

Don't forget that your story can now include any character created by Tolkien. Let your mind explore all the possibilities, but don't stay up too late writing!

Thank you to Thor's Hammer for suggesting the theme.

The deadline for this challenge is March 31.

Send your entries to The contest is anonymous and the entry can't be posted publicaly until the results of the challenge are announced. Please mind our rules when submitting your art for the contest.

Happy writing and drawing!

Your Teitho-moderators,
Mirach, Carawyn, Karri, Sian22 and Lotrfn

Banner 02 by MirachRavaia

Talks with Tolkien artists: EPH-SAN1634

Journal Entry: Tue Jan 30, 2018, 4:16 AM

In this issue of "Talks with Tolkien artists", I talked with :iconeph-san1634: - EPH-SAN1634.
Her gallery is full of interesting pictures that mix Tolkien characters with greek mythology, manga and anime, children's books or even popular movies and songs:

Varda Queen of the Valar (greek mythology style) by EPH-SAN1634 Aule-Curumo-Mairon (greek mythology style) by EPH-SAN1634
Maedhros and Fingon_Wake me up when September ends by EPH-SAN1634 Sauron and Morgoth-Fight Club Ending Crossover gif by EPH-SAN1634
Istarvision_AngBAND by EPH-SAN1634 How's Mairon? (Angband-Twin Peaks crossover) by EPH-SAN1634
Modern Angbang by EPH-SAN1634 Young Haldar and Haleth by EPH-SAN1634 Young Caranthir The Dark by EPH-SAN1634

Hello! For the beginning, could you tell us something about yourself?

Γεια, I am Ευφροσύνη and I am a Greek dramatist, otaku and Tolkien fan, to start with. :) (Smile)

Ah, then I see where your "greek mythology style" comes from :) (Smile) How did you enter Tolkien's world for the first time, and what impression did it leave in you?

As I mention in some of the pictures' description, the "Greek Mythology Style" is based on an actual Greek mythology book series of my childhood, my mother was reading us since infants and my father, as publisher, used to know the writer and his brother that drew the pictures. I am a huge crossover fan and I love trying different styles in my drawing, as you might have noticed, so, I couldn't help it but trying this one too. After all, it feels so right. Because I am Greek and because of the similarities of the Valar with ancient Greek gods.

The first time I entered the Tolkien's world was through the cartoon movie of The Lord of the Rings, when I was little. We only had the 1st part, though, so I was dying to see what happened next. When I was 7 my mom bought the 1st Lord of the Rings live action movie and we watched it secretly with my brother. And then a great "love story" began. After the second movie was also released we all had become huge fans as a family. My father got us the best selections of books about the movie productions and our "santa presents" were miniatures of LOTR as well. Not to mention that this period I started dressing up as an elf and stick my ears with a tape to look more elvish (fan fact: it works). 
(these 2 are from a couple of years ago, so much later...still works!)
How did the cartoon and movies influence your reading experience then? What does Middle-earth consist of in your imagination?

Speaking of Tolkien always, when I got the books I had already watched the movies, so the pictures were already formed in my mind. So imagination didn't have a lot of things to do. But that is always a problem when you watch something instead of reading, isn't it? You lack of the chance to let your imagination fly. Even so, I believe PJ's films portrayed this world very beautifully.

Do you regret not reading the books before the movies? But then you delved into the Silmarillion as well (as is visible from the pictures in your gallery), where your imagination could run freely already, although the style is much more scholarly. How did that feel?

I don't regret it, really. You see, as I told you, I was very young. Besides, no matter how much I admire Tolkien, as the fact I write theatre shows, this kind of literature with long descriptions and story telling, is not my cup of tea. Personally I focus to the character development through dialogue. Thus, I am not sure I would have appreciated these books, no matter the respect I have for Tolkien's work.

About the Silmarillion...again my imagination didn't have a long way to go. You see, I was first introduced to it by fanart, so once again, image came to me before the story. I may be more artistically creative with Silmarillion characters, but I also try to not to ruin Tolkien's story, so where imagination works is mostly in AU rp and Crossovers. When you touch such a legend as Tolkien, there is a limit in freedom and the danger of being accused for disrespect larks in every corner. Even so, the fact The Silmarillion hasn't been on screen, gives more freedom to the imagination than the other books that have. And that feels great, far as you go with your fantasy, the more scared you get of "what if they make it a movie and it's nothing like I imagined?" 
The expectations go higher and the fear of disappointment grows bigger day by day, drawing by drawing.

So does that mean that to you, what is on screen becomes a canon representation of the visuals, and you are afraid that you could be accused of not being true to it? Or do you fear disappointment if the visuals of the possible (?) Silmarillion movie don't fulfill your expectations?

Mostly the second.

I see... Now let's return to you. What brought you to deviantart and how did you pick your username?

Some years ago, my back then best friend made this account for me so I can share my drawings and that was it. The name is a bit more complicated though. It's a kind of pun of my nick name "Έφη" which can be spelled as "Ephy", in combination to APH (Axis Powers Hetalia) which is my favourite anime, so it could also mean Ephy's Powers Hetalia. The "San" is a Japanese honorific and the number 1634 was a reference to one of my favourite movies, "The untouchables".

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?

Art...that word includes everything. But when it comes to drawing, which I believe is what you care about, it's just my hobby since I remember myself and that is all really. My style has more influences than I can count. Even so, if I try to name them in general, I guess I would say Manga-Anime and DC-Marvel comics.

I was indeed asking about drawing, because your Tolkien fanart belongs to that cathegory. But what about other types of art? You said you are a dramatist - does Tolkien influence you in that area as well?

As I mentioned, I am a dramatist and Art house cinema specialist and I have published 3 theatrical plays in 3 years, but I also work in theatre as a director, co-director, technician, music controller and my personal favourite, Illuminator, which is rare to see a girl in this work. I also act but until recently I haven't got any job as an actress, except some reading drama parts with another play of mine (not published) that I performed in Francophone Festival. I love my job but let's be honest, it does not pay, sometimes at all, no matter the hard work, but it does give you a lot of experience and you get to meet amazing people...and also awful ones. But you can choose which are you going to keep and this is how the work flows. In addition to regular works, you don't just go with a resume and fill an application. People see your work and they remember. And when they need someone for this job, they will call you out of nowhere when it's the least expected. Somehow like this I have worked 2 years in a theatre and I have become close friends with the ones that run it, so I had the opportunity to perform one of my plays in a big theatre and we actually got a fair amount of money from the "tickets". And I also brought the 2nd Spanish Theatre Festival in this bigger theatre which was a great experience and from there I met amazing dramatists and also 2 great actors I am going to work with. So even if I worked from day to late at night nonstop for 3 whole days and still do from my computer, without getting any money for it, it pays in other ways. And I help my dad at work for free to aid the family.

The characters of Tolkien and their stories can be really inspiring in that sector as well. But I do not own them, so I know the limits that part inspiration from base. At least on what I publish. Though one of my publishing nicknames was Istari.

So you are following your dreams like a true artist :) Now let's get back to Tolkien: who is your favourite Tolkien character and why?

I don't have dreams but I like where this is going.
Favourite one? This is a really tough question to answer...especially with all these characters from all the books. I wonder how one can answer that question...I actually think I don't have one favourite character at all. I have many that I like very much and a few I hate utterly.

Which ones do you hate utterly?

Maeglin makes me sick and angry, his father is also a psychopath if you ask me, Denethor because of the way he treated Faramir, Feanor for too many reasons and, I know that will be a surprise, but Luthien as well. And as a matter of fact she is the one that seeing a picture of is enough to upset me out of nowhere.

Really? The others are understandable, but may I ask why Lúthien?

Many reasons. First off, her story is tasteless to me. It's like a tougher Romeo and Juliet where Romeo is completely useless and gets great characters killed and Juliet tricks people to take what she wants. I don't like people like that. And if you are deep in theatre you know that only the surface people like Romeo and Juliet. Also, I don't like how people idolize Luthien as a strong female while everything she does is for a man's sake. Tolkien has much stronger women characters with less cheesy purposes. Appart her character I dislike the effect she had on the other characters' actions, as Celegorm, which I also dislike but seeing the whole picture I can't help counting the dead and I will not leave her out of responsibilities because she is a woman. If you want to be fair, be fair with both genders. In this case everyone messed up. And she had no right on the Silmarils either but she did take it so she will be allowed to marry Beren and then passed all this burden to the next generations and we have so many fights, abandoned children and dead. Feanor started this but her interference made things worse. Even if from her line came some great characters, let's be fair.  
And of course....have you seen my gallery? 80% is Mairon. Do I wouldn't even need all these reasons I mentioned to hate her.

The only thing I find lovely about her story is that Tolkien based her on his wife and even had the pair's names on his and his wife's grave and , alright, that was sweet of him.

Speaking about your gallery, there are also numerous crossovers of Tolkien's characters with different movies. How do you get the ideas for those?

I am a huge cinephile. As I mentioned I have a specialty in Arthouse Cinema. Even my own plays are cinema crossovers. How the ideas come to me? I don't know, they just hit me. I always had the ability to connect things, so, since both Cinema-Theatre and Tolkien are deep into my head and heart, I find similarities and the little details that match.  Either these are fitting quotes
Caranthir Offret by EPH-SAN1634   Annatar Offret by EPH-SAN1634   Ambarussa_Andrei Rublev by EPH-SAN1634   
or poses-concept
(yes, Tarkovsky is always the one I make the most crossovers with)
And that goes for songs as well
Feanorians-Mama we all go to hell by EPH-SAN1634 

And what about the pictures of Tolkien characters as cute kids?

This could also be called crossover of Tolkien and Martine children books. But it was mostly me trying this style with them and showing another side of the characters.

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?

Each for a category I think.
UtaPri for anime
Modern AU Caranthir and Haleth by EPH-SAN1634  
K.Ozaki for manga
Young Feanoreans by EPH-SAN1634  
Himaruya for chibi
Chibi Ecthelion and Glorfindel(Birthday Present2) by EPH-SAN1634  
Martine for children
Young Finrod and Turgon by EPH-SAN1634  
 but I think the one I brought around as something new was the Greek Mythology one.
Aule and Yavanna_Greek Mythology Style by EPH-SAN1634  
That was something different. I like trying different things and I am always open for new styles. And once in a while my own.

Do you have some tips and tricks you would like to share with the other artists?

Manga Studio and the newer Sai are better for use than Photoshop. Also a little bit of Orton Style effect smooths nicely the picture. For traditional art, the recycled paper is THE BEST. And I don't mean for the environment, it takes pencils, colourpencils, markers, pens, even watercolours (if you don't dawn it) better than any other paper. Illustration on the other hand is the worst. It smudges everything, don't even try it.
And lastly, start drawing your idea when it's still fresh and catch the passion of the moment when the idea is first born, before you lose interest. Even if ou make just a sketch for it and fix it later, do it right away. For me, this is the main reason I am so fast at drawing. As Theophan the Greek said in "Andrei Rublev", I have to be quick and finish it right away. Or else I am bored and give it up.

 Could you give us a link or thumbnail from your gallery of
- a Tolkien illustration you are most proud of?

I am not really proud about any...most of them have something I do not like. I'll try though.
Finrod portrait by EPH-SAN1634 

- a picture from other fandom or original picture you are most proud of?

Poliet by EPH-SAN1634 
(markers only)

- a picture that fits your current mood?

Maglor (Bloody Angel) by EPH-SAN1634

- a picture that was hardest to paint?

Young Finrod and Turgon by EPH-SAN1634

- any other picture you would like to share with us and why?

The two Kings by EPH-SAN1634
This is probably the oldest picture of my gallery. I made it when I was 14 in a train on the knee.

What key people in your life, (on or off of dA) have been inspirations to you, or has supported you, as an artist? You can also tell us why, if you want.

There are many people in DA at time periods but they mostly come and go. When I draw their favourite characters they support me but then they mostly forget me. There are a few though that are loyal to me and in more personal level. First off, my partners :iconhaywierp: and :iconmis--kitty: . Also my friend :iconmad-tile-4432: and my newer friend and also fantastic artist :iconannamare:, but I think the oldest fan of my works that always leaves a comment is :iconfuckfegegelein:. And I also have 2 Greek loyal girls, :iconthe-fatal-sun: and :iconandronikihetalia:.

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?

Unfortunately there always are. People give more credit to simpler artists that are more catchy. There are so many actually that I can't even point them out. It's chaotic. I know I am not very helpful this moment but it's hard to give examples....I mostly find out when I see a great picture that has no comment which is sad, so I always leave some. But many of them give up on their accounts, maybe for that reason.

Is there something else you would like to tell to the fans of Tolkien and your art?

I just want to thank you for honouring me this way, the people that support me and also the artists that keep the Tolkien fandom alive with their beautiful art. But also I wish fans didn't fight over things that mostly concern nowdays projecting them to Tolkien's Universe. Just respect and appreciate its beauty without bitterness.

Thank you very much for your time and answers!

Coding by Felizias Drawings by ebe-kastein Borders by PhoenixWildfire

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