Did you know that the lovely Sophie E Tallis is an artist as well as a writer? She’s been posting some gorgeous illustrations from one of her ongoing projects, and she kindly agreed to answer some questions – and show off her artwork!
What are you currently working on? A range of illustrations for other authors and publishers and my first picture book – ‘The Little Girl Who Lost Her Smile’, which I wrote during my illness two years ago. Wow – I had NO idea just how much work goes into a standard industry 32-page format picture book! I have drawn all 24 full page illustrations now and am slowly inking them up and starting to watercolour them…a LOT of work!
What’s your favourite style? In truth, any. I admit I am very lucky in that I have a natural talent for drawing and can adapt to any style the client wants. The one thing I cannot do is digital art, I’m useless on computers, so I stick to traditional art techniques.
What was your first piece or your favourite piece that you’ve done? A huge and unfinished 9ft by 6ft epic oil canvas I did during my fine art degree…I was offered £500 for it when it was still only half finished…it’s possibly the best thing I’ve ever done.
What mediums do you work in? Oil, acrylic, gouache, watercolour, pen & ink, pencil/graphite, charcoal, oil & chalk pastels, clay, plaster, printmaking media (acid etching, lithograph & screen printing), photography.
Where do you work? What’s your set-up? I used to have a studio years ago in Stroud which was great for large canvases and getting suitably messy, but nowadays just try to set a side a studio room wherever I live – I use a lot of white spirit and linseed oil mixes in my large paintings and they’re all highly flammable, so you need to ensure you have the floor covered first. If that shit seeps into the floorboards then you’ve living in a time bomb!
Do you work to music? If so, what? Yes, Radiohead, Muse, anything angst-ish!
Favourite artists-block device; when you’re stuck in a hole, what gets you out? Move onto another piece and come back to it later.
What gives you inspiration? Nature and my favourite artists, Caravaggio, Leonardo Da Vinci, Artemisia Gentileschi, Turner, Picasso during his ‘blue period’, Manet, Francis Bacon and Christian Hook.
Who’s the person whose drawing style you’d most like to steal? I’d LOVE to be able to paint as well as my favourite artist Caravaggio (Michaelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio).
And finally, some questions that aren’t about art! What’s your current day job? I work in a library as a lowly library assistant, a wonderful job that I absolutely love and a world away from the high responsibility, high stress job I used to do as a full time teacher.
What did you want to be when you were little? A writer and artist…oh, and an astronaut, 2 out of 3 isn’t bad!
What do you want to be when you grow up? Lol, well I never want to grow up and at my age, I think I would’ve done it by now. I just always wanted to be a writer and artist and that’s what I’m doing now, so I’m as happy as an ice-cream fanatic swimming in a vat of Häagen-Dazs!
The wonderful Evelinn Enoksen is an artist who lives in Norway and works internationally. I know her through Grimbold Books – she has done some amazing covers, including the beautiful one for Spark & Carousel, and she kindly agreed to answer some questions for me. So, over to Evelinn…
Hello. Thank you for having me on your blog. Yay, I get to talk about artsy stuff.
At the moment, I’m working on several book covers as well as illustrations for my own books. I think I like acrylic paint more than anything else, mostly because I can fix mistakes 😉 Pencil drawings are fun too, and water colours, but I stay away from oils, don’t have the patience for it. However, I can happily draw every single scale on a huge dragon, totally not a problem…Fantasy and sci-fi are my favourite genres, but anything space related can be tricky to paint, so I tend to use Photoshop for those.
I knew from an early age that I wanted to create stuff, be it through writing, painting or music, (unfortunately, music was not a talent I harboured, not as a child, and definitely not now.) Painting and writing have been large parts of my life, and I also had writers and artists in my family to nurture and scrutinize my talents. I remember my grandmother (also an artist) asking; “Why dragons and monsters?” I don’t know what I answered, but if she were alive today, I would say “Because I’ve never seen dragons and monsters.”
My idea of what good art is changes almost daily, maybe it has something to do with my mood. I think the same applies to my creative process. Some days, words bend to my will and fill the pages in a blur, or the brush strokes flow neatly across the canvas. Other days, everything is like climbing a mountain. Listening to music helps. Right now, I’m listening to Muse, but perhaps I’ll find an obscure Danish opera tomorrow, you never know…When I get a chance to be creative, the living room is where the magic happens, preferably after everyone is asleep. I’m an owl, if I could stay up all night and live in a tree, I would 😉
There are many artists I admire for their awesome skills, and I don’t think I like them for their styles, because they’re all so very different. Most are not famous, and you’d probably not have heard of them, unless you were browsing Deviant-art’s fantasy and sci.fi archives on a regular basis. Looking at art helps inspire me to challenge myself. As long as I practice, I’ll always be better tomorrow than I was yesterday. Now, inspirational quotes are not really my thing, but I have a motto, and that’s: “If you’re gonna do a thing, do it well.”
Thank you, Evelinn! You can find more of Evelinn’s work at her blog on Siamone at DeviantArt, or keep an eye out for more of her covers on new Grimbold Books releases…