Off the Page: Ari


Ever wondered about the artist drawing those fantastic pieces of fanart you reblog on Tumblr or favorite on deviantArt? Here’s your chance to get behind the scenes your favorite fanart or find something new to share with fellow fans from your favorite young adult books.

Ari is an Australian who loves chocolate, bubble baths and brightly colored hats. She’s spent most of her life devouring books and scribbling all over her homework, and she thinks that the best thing about being an adult is that she no longer has to justify to people why she spends so much time reading and drawing. She works with children, which is awesome, because it gives her a captive audience to read to. Her fanart features various books, including Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor, Fire by Kristin Cashore, Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan, Divergent by Veronica Roth, and Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas.

  • Karou from Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone

What is it about the authors’ writing that inspired your art?
I’m not actually a very visual person, so often after finishing a book I’ll have no metal image of the characters or setting. I need to draw them to work out how I see them. I am also very inspired by books that leave me an emotional wreck, and channeling my feelings into art can be very soothing.

Is there any other influences you used (besides the book) included in your art?
I’ve been a fan of anime for ages and that’s definitely a big visual influence on me. I think Disney has also influenced me quite a bit, though it’s probably not as noticeable, and there are heaps of artists online who I love and adore. I am also inspired by Art Nouveau, Impressionist art and Medieval art. If I’m drawing fanart for a fantasy series, I’ll usually spend a lot of time Googling for historical clothes.

What was your favorite reaction you’ve received?
It’s when people seem to feel exactly the way I was feeling when I drew the picture. Art is a great way of expressing emotions, and it’s absolutely amazing to know that I’m successfully shared my feelings with people who I’ll probably never meet in real life.. It’s also really flattering when people who haven’t read the series reblog my art and sometimes I’m really lucky and authors will see my art. That always makes my day!

What’s your process? What type of medium/art programs do you use or prefer?
I work 100% digitally, mainly because I don’t have access to a scanner. I start in Manga Studio 5 which is great for sketching and lines. I then do my coloring in Paint Tool SAI because it blends colors really nicely. I usually try to work out the color scheme when the picture is still in the sketching stage.

Do you have any tools you like to work with?
My tablet! I like messing around with brush settings to find a brush that works best for the picture I’m drawing. When working out a color scheme I tend to use multiply and overlay layers which are a great way to quickly change the mood of a picture.

Is there any special place where you like to do your work?
Nope. I live in a pretty tiny flat, so usually wherever I have room.

What is your proudest piece?
Probably this set of Lady Fire at different ages. I struggle with drawing both children and old people so I think I learned a lot drawing this and I’m really happy with how it turned out.

Do you have anything fun that you’re working on or would like to do someday?
I’d love to draw a webcomic one day. I’m a little bit in love with the web comics of Ava’s Demon, Blindsprings, Gunnerkrigg Court and Everblue, and if I could learn to tell a story even half as compelling, I would be happy.

What kind of advice or insight would you give to other artists?
I have no formal art training and I know I’ve still have a lot to learn, so my advice is to find a professional artist you admire and see what they advise. I know this sounds a bit like a cop-out but the internet is an amazing resource! Proko’s videos are great and everything Chris Oatley does is absolutely amazing.

What encouraged you to share your fanart?
To be honest, I don’t think I ever considered not sharing my art. I started posting YA fanart online shortly after I started drawing it. Whenever I draw something I’m proud of I want to share it, I want to know what people think and I want to get critical feedback so I can improve. I also want to talk to other fans about the books I love and I see sharing fanart as another way of doing this.

You can visit Ari’s Tumblr page for more of her artwork.

Join our YA newsletter:

No spam guarantee.


About Author

Natasha M. Heck

Natasha believes cats and words are the shiniest things in the 'verse. She has touched Stonehenge, climbed the Glastonbury Tor, walked the Philosopher's Path, and kissed her true love on the Eiffel Tower. She's a fangirl, Jedi Knight, and Gryffindor whose love of unicorns led her to live in the land of geekdom and sunshine. She has an English degree emphasis in Creative Writing, and is using it to follow her dreams.

Comments are closed.