Ever wondered about the artists drawing those fantastic pieces of fanart you reblog on Tumblr or favorite on deviantArt? Here’s your chance to get behind the scenes with these artists who bring your favorite characters alive.
Artist Laura Hollingsworth is a 21-year-old native Floridian who grew up all over the East and Gulf coast of America. With her father a captain in the Navy, moving around became the norm – but she did settle down long enough to recently graduate from college. Laura’s fanart features character portraits from Marissa Meyer’s The Lunar Chronicles. The first two books, Cinder and Scarlet, are available now and the third will be released on February 4th.
What inspired you to use Marissa Meyer’s writing for your art?
I wanted to illustrate The Lunar Chronicles characters because they are so strong and vivid. Marissa Meyer’s cast is widely diverse in both looks and personalities, and that makes it particularly fun to draw them.
Are there any other influences, besides the book, that you included in your art?
I like that Marissa Mayer doesn’t go in depth about her characters’ physical descriptions, which leaves their looks to the imagination of the reader. However, in addition to book descriptions, I took into account how most of the Lunar fandom pictures the characters. I also looked at Marissa’s Pinterest board for the series to see what images that reminded her of her characters.
What was your favorite reaction you’ve received?
A lot of ladies liked the Carswell Thorne portrait. One person even asked if they could marry it!
Do you have any tools you like to work with?
I use a Wacom Intuos 4 tablet to paint digitally on my desktop. I have a Surface Pro that I use when I want to draw digitally on the go.
What’s your process? What type of medium or software do you use?
I generally create my art in Gimp, which is like a free but less refined Photoshop. I learned to draw digitally several years ago. Since then I’ve started exploring traditional mediums like watercolors, oil paints, and clay. Looking back, I’m glad that I made most of my amateur art on the computer (with only the start-up cost of the tablet) and didn’t waste a lot of money on traditional supplies.
How do you know when you’ve completed your piece or decide when to share it online?
As I draw I constantly keep an eye on what still needs work. I’ll go over the drawing again and again, fixing up parts until it all looks evenly finished. Cinder was my first portrait in the series and Thorne was the last. Cinder’s is evenly sketchy and Thorne is evenly detailed, but they both look like finished drawings on their own.
What piece is the one you’re most proud of doing?
I think the portrait of Wolf. I really love the way the lighting and coloring turned out with that one. Plus he has green eyes, which are my favorite kind to draw!
Do you have anything fun that you’re working on or would like to do someday?
I have a webcomic called The Silver Eye! It’s an action/adventure fantasy story about a very serious vagrant king and his silly orphan frenemy who have to team up and stop an out-of-control conqueror. The webcomic forces me to draw 20-40 hours a week, which I’ve been doing since it started in 2009, and this is really the only reason my art is any good! If you draw constantly enough, improvement is always going to come!
What kind of advice or insight would you give to other artists?
Drawing is part mental and part physical. You can improve your physical skill by drawing a lot. Your hands will start making more confident strokes and more interesting shapes just from muscle memory. You can improve your mental skill by practice as well through research.
There is always something you are afraid of drawing. Always something you avoid, and you have a million excuses to avoid drawing those things. Perspective. Backgrounds. Hands. If you find you’re not improving, chances are that is exactly the subject you need to be focusing on. This shouldn’t be discouraging because of lack of knowledge, it should be encouraging because it gives you a clear direction for where you can go next to improve.