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Talks with Tolkien artists: Eirwen980

Journal Entry: Sat Jun 23, 2018, 2:04 PM


:iconeirwen980: - Eirwen980 is an artist from Italy whose illustrations of Tolkien remind on fairy-tales, with a wonderful use of negative space. Take a look at her gallery before reading the talk!

Feanor e Telperion by Eirwen980 Sauron by Eirwen980
Tuor and the swans by Eirwen980
Smaug-sketch by Eirwen980 Grumpy Melkor by Eirwen980
Elven march by Eirwen980
Annatar by Eirwen980


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

This is a little difficult but basically I'm a former illustrator in love with everything fantasy/magical since I was little, I have always loved to draw and luckily I had the chance to study art and to follow my passion.  

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


I had an old account on DA that I had to delete because it was full of sketches, unfinished work and sloppy pieces.  Really unprofessional.  So a year ago I decided to come back with a 2. 0 version of me, fighting the fear to show my works to other people and determined to do my best.
My username is very "old", I used it the first time when playing Neverwinter online five or six years ago maybe, it means "snow white" in welsh and because I'm really pale with dark/black hair I tought it would suit me somehow.

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

This is funny because when I was three or four years old my father would "force "me to watch lotr movies, of course in a funny way and until I was 12 I kinda hated all lotr things related. Then I decided to re-watch the films but most importantly to read the books and I fell in love with tolkien works, all of them, really. The way he writes, his imagination and endless culture, not to say elegance in every story he created.
Tolkien literally blew my mind and since then I've always read every book he wrote. . . yup-

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


Like I said before I watched the movie first when I was little and I have to say that the images from the movies did not affect my immagination while reading the books, on the contrary, it's fascinating to see how different people see the same thing differently on so many levels!

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?

To me all the books were really easy to read, maybe because Tolkien's style resonate with my standards, I don't really know but everything he wrote is a pleasure to read as it's really well written and nostalgic, in a certain way. My knowledge of middle earth is pretty extensive because I have read pretty much all of them and (I don't know how) even if I've read one of his book years ago I still remember all the details.

6.  Who is your favourite Tolkien character and why?
I love Melkor and Mairon of course, but my favourite is Eol, because we have some things in common but then he has some wonderfully human flaws and his emotions are so intense that I think it's a pity that a lot of people don't even know who he is.

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?

I'm studying to be a professional artist, it's a passion I've always had and I want it to be my work.  There are lot of artist, even really different from each other that influenced my style, some of them are: jordi bernet, gigi cavenago, alex toth, schiele, klimt, anderson, nielsen, bauer, lee, Mignola, Gipi and Dino Battaglia, but these are just a few!

8.  How do you choose which scenes and characters to illustrate?

If something catch my imagination I'll illustrate it, it's a really instinctive process and I cannot help it, sometimes it happen when I'm on the train or on the bus, something gets in my mind and my brain goes (I think it has a life of its own)

9.  Your illustrations for Tolkien's tales remind on fairytales.  Do you think there is something in common in their themes or narrative, and what is it?

I think that there's a lot in common with Tokien's work and fairytales, he loved them too and referred to them in many of his writings; They are alike in their atmospheres, magical and yet so human and relatable sometimes. I love the fact that most of his characters are not just the stereotype he shows on the surface but are far more complex creatures and even if they appear as "good" or "evil" If you change your perspective of the story, or point of view they can reveal a totally different nature, showing that the world is not black and white, and to me this is a BIG point in common with fairytales because to be understood they have to appear simple, showing you the stereotypes like the good hero, the evil wizard and so on but if you analyze them they can reveal nuances and gray tones you'd never expected and Tolkien did the same -

10.  Can you tell us a bit about the negative space that is an important part of many of your pictures?

I see negative space maybe heavier than the full one because it creates tension, voids, anxiety in some cases and it's not casual or anything. Sometimes when I draw it is good at the first try, some other time it's more calculated because there's a delicate balance that's important not to brake.  

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

Some other books that inspired me are the Harry Potter books of course, because of the amazing world they describe, not to mention the characters; Poems like Faust, Sir gawain, the Gerusalem Delivered and even some Branduardi's songs are other works that inspired me with their elegance, pathos and sometimes simplicity.

12.  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?

My favourite ones are charcoal pencils and guaches/watercolour, not only because I'm most familiar with them but because there are thousand ways to use them! I love experimenting and if it was me, I'd draw even with the craziest materials!
Charcoal example : Page1-Three shadows by Eirwen980
DIgital-Pittoric example : snape sketch-no outlines by Eirwen980

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

Some tips that helped me, expecially when I was feeling down and wasn't drawing anything because of my anxiety are to set a small everyday goal, like drawing every day, even a scribble, it really worked for me. Looking at things as a costant inspiration works as well, it doesn't matter if you're doing the dishes, walking your dog etc, there will always be something new (compositions, colours, people, objects, situations, emotions) or ready to be look with new eyes and different perspectives. Think big, "wide", let you imagination flow.  Costant Practice is also very important, study and you'll see the result, learn to embrace critiques from people who know more than you in that subject , ask for them! And experiment, always, don't be afraid of change.

14.  Could you give us a link or thumbnail from your gallery of

- a Tolkien illustration you are most proud of? 

Thingol and Eol by Eirwen980

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

Bill by Eirwen980

- a picture that fits your current mood? 

illustrazione per rivista by Eirwen980

- a picture that was hardest to paint? 

Mairon - by Eirwen980

15.  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.


I've always been inspired by all the artist I've studied, in particular the ones that are closer to me, talking of age and country, like Gigi Cavenago, Gipi or Zerocalcare (and I'm really talking about 2% of the popular ones in Italy). Because I've seen their journey and evolution.  Speaking of people I've really known, the most important is preatty recent and is one of my teachers, he's an amazing artist and frank and that made me fully trust him, he really believes in my art, encourages me, correct me on lot of things and I couldn't be more grateful to him.

16.  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?

There's this friend of mine that does pagan art like wood carved stuff and compositions, they're really butiful, check them out!

:iconvocedelbosco:

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

To the fans of Tolkien I would like to say to keep loving this amazing artist and intellectual that Tolkien was and to be inspired by his creativity! To my fans, I really appreciate the support you gave me and love I received from you in this year because it was the only one I had and was so precious and unexpected that I really don't know how to thank you!

Thank you for your time and answers!


Coding by Felizias Drawings by ebe-kastein Borders by PhoenixWildfire
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quick question, is cross over work that is more than 50% LOTR submittable? Thanks!
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Same here, I accidentaly declined your request, you can send a new one and I would be probably smart enough to click the right button this time -_-
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