Here’s your chance to get behind the scenes with fanartists who bring your favorite young adult books to life.
Fruzsina Pittner – better known online as Ryn – loves “art, hugging trees and books and all sorts of other stuff.” Born in Hungary, she moved to Scotland about two years ago to study computer arts and game developing. She draws on anything and everything – including post-it notes and walls.
“I have been into reading ever since I was very little – the first serious book I can remember getting through was The Lord of the Rings,” said Pittner. “Magic and swordfights and adventures get me really, really excited. If I had to choose favourite books – I’m not very good with favourites – I’d say the Graceling series by Kristin Cashore and The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, also Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor – I just love the characters and the world building and that all three are very graphic and visual in writing. The description of spaces and characters are very rich and so easy to get into.“
What is it about the authors’ writing that inspired your art?
Good stories and well written characters are of course as important for me as for any other person. The difference between enjoying a book and desperately wanting to make art for it is, for me, in the details. I suppose it’s different for every artist – what gets me excited are all those quirky phrases and very visual bits of text that are just a bit different from usual, the details that catch bits and pieces of a character or a universe that are just a bit strange, just a bit out of place. I just love writing that is – I can’t find a better word for it, really – delicious.
Are there any other influences you included in your art?
Other artists, certain styles or techniques – anything. It depends on the piece I’m working on at the moment. Every time I look at another person’s art, I learn something – work out an anatomy problem, get ideas for colours or lighting or texturing. Everything I see, influences what I do.
What was the best reaction you’ve received?
The first time a person who wasn’t a family member or somebody I knew in real life commented on my work. That was the moment I felt like I could do this, I could get better and show people all the things I see and they would understand and appreciate it. The first time I actually felt that me becoming an artist is entirely possible.
What’s your process?
I doodle a lot – faces, mostly. Poses and people. More often than not, they end up in my ‘unfinished’ folder, sometimes they become something more. It usually starts with a sketch, then comes some flat colour, working out what looks good together, what to emphasise, how to contrast, what to hide. After that, it’s a game. Adjusting settings, adding details, correcting stuff all the time. It’s a bit like sculpting – layering paint and carving shapes until something cool happens. Half the time, the end product is not even usable. Still, every single time I sit down to draw I learn something and I get a little bit better.
I also keep notes about ideas for later in a sketchbook I try to have on me all the time, in case I come across something I want to scribble down or keep. (Like leaves, old bus tickets, etc. My sketchbooks are full of weird stuff.)
Do you have any tools you like to work with?
I almost always work digitally. I use Adobe Photoshop and a Wacom Intuos Pro drawing tablet I’ve had for over a year now, and I’m really happy with it. For sketching, I prefer pencils or ballpoint pens on any kind of flat surface.
What encouraged you to share your fanart?
I’ve always thought fanart is something to share. You don’t really do it for yourself, but for the whole community to enjoy and share and talk about it. To express your thoughts and feelings for people with similar tastes and interests. I thought, if there is only one other person who looks at my work and says ‘Yes, this is exactly how I’ve imagined it’, it’s worth it.
What piece are you most proud of?
At the moment, probably the art trade piece I did for one of my favourite artists on tumblr. It changes all the time though.
Do you have anything fun that you’re working on or would like to do someday?
I recently started doing short comic strip illustrations from things I read, I really enjoy doing those. Making a comic from my own big story one day would be so, so great. And of course, there are the games I do with a small team called Glyph Games, those are a ton of fun to do. I’m really enthusiastic about doing 2D game environment art, that’s what I want to do for a living, after I finish university.
What kind of advice or insight would you give to other artists?
Somebody once said to me, becoming a good artist is only 10% talent and 90% hard work. This might sound pretty scary at first – a lot of beginners give up because they think they are not talented enough, and they never will be, they often think, all that hard work is not worth it. It’s a lie. Get a sketchbook, get a pencil and draw something every single day. Work hard. Work very, very hard and it will pay off.
Looking at other artists’ work and picking up methods or visual aspects from them is also not a sin. References are important and they are not cheating. Nothing is cheating as long as it gets the work done as effectively as possible, as long as it doesn’t copy or reuse others’ work. Use every tool to your disposal. Every single one.
Also, listen to constructive criticism, don’t dismiss it as abuse, or rudeness. Other people’s feedback is really, really important. They pick up aspects of your art you don’t even notice, help you correct errors and bad habits, even if they themselves don’t even realise. Honest, thoughtful opinions are the best kinds of feedback you could get.
Don’t be afraid to get messy. Go, pour some paint on paper. Draw a cat. Get charcoal on your face. Being an artist is one of the coolest things ever, don’t miss out on it!