Talks with Tolkien artists: ElbenherzArt

16 min read

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MirachRavaia's avatar
By MirachRavaia

:iconelbenherzart: - ElbenherzArt is not only a talented artist and cosplayer, but soon we can expect a Silmarillion themed animated movie from her as well! But so far, there are only static pictures in her gallery :) Take a look!

Maglor and Maedhros by ElbenherzArt Lord of the Galadhrim by ElbenherzArt
Let them burn by ElbenherzArt Caranthir the dark by ElbenherzArt
Celebrian by ElbenherzArt Varda and Manwe by ElbenherzArt

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

Hello! :) (Smile)
My name is Christina and I'm currently living in a small town in the south-west of Germany. I'm an Illustrator and Concept Artist for Video – and Tabletop games, and very much in love with elves. When I don't draw or paint, I love to sew my own costumes or go out with friends.

2. It is interesting to find out the stories behind people's usernames. What is yours?

Elbenherz is german and translates into Elvenheart (or Elfheart) and a declaration of my love for Tolkien's elves.

3. When did you read Tolkien's books for the first time, and what impression did they leave in you?

I read them around 11 years ago. The first I read was Lord of the Rings and I'm not overstating when I say that they changed my live forever.

4. Did you read the books, or see the movies first?

I've seen the movies first.

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

Very much. I always had the images of Jackson's visualisations in mind. But for me, he did a pretty good job in translating Tolkien's drawings into pictures on the screen. (At least in Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit though was not good but that's not Jackson's fault). Of course there are some changes, people tend to criticize, but it's impossible to translate a book into a movie without changing narratives. They are two completely different mediums. What works in a book doesn't work on the screen and the other way around.

6. How extensive is your knowledge of Middle-earth? Do you consider yourself Tolkien expert?

I know a lot but I would not consider myself an expert since there is simply SO MUCH to know. I read Lotr, the Hobbit, the Silmarillion, the unfinished tales and certain volumes of the history of middle-earth, but there is still much stuff I don't know about or don't remember. I'm especially terrible in remembering all the family trees with the names and dates of events.

7. Who is your favourite Tolkien character and why?

Elrond. <3
I tend to like characters who have lost a lot and suffer in silence. Also Elrond plays a significance role in the history of the elves and pulls the strings behind nearly every important event since he was born.

8. 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 an professional Artist and make money with my art. I don't like the word professional though, since I still have so much to learn and compared to other professionals I'm looking like a beginner.
I started drawing Manga 10 years ago and did it for a while but noticed on some point that this is not the style I like. I discovered four years ago and was blown away by the massive skill-level of the artists there. I wanted to be able to draw and paint like this, but I was very bad around that time. I hadn't a clue about anatomy, composition, lightning etc....nothing.
I bought myself a graphic tablet and started to paint digital. It took a year for me to make the transition from traditional to digital and it was the most frustrating year of my life. That was three years ago and since then I'm mostly still learning how to paint, when I'm not doing client work. I don't produce a lot of 'pretty' artwork in my opinion, since everything I do serves the purpose of learning the fundamentals. Anatomy, Values, Lightning, Compostion and Perspective.

I'm planning on starting doing real illustrations in an half year from now. Until then, everything is about learning and getting better for me. (It still will be after that but it's not the main focus then) I'm very much at the beginning of my career as an Artist and I have no idea where I am in a year from now.

I love to analyse the artworks of Artists like Karla Ortiz and Cynthia Sheppard and I'm hoping that someday I'm also able to paint such a mind-blowing art.

9. Your characters design seem to be inspired by different cultures. Where do you look for such inspiration?

History. Especially asian cultures influence my art a lot. At the moment I have a particular weak spot for Mongolia and it's traditional clothing. That's why my Silmarillion designs are all based on the traditional fashion of this country.

10. Under one of your pictures you mentioned working on an Silmarillion themed animation movie. Could you tell us more about it?

It's my final thesis for university. Beside all the client work I'm also studying since I need a degree to move to another country. Since my university is pretty open for our final projects I decided to illustrate 'The curse of Feanor'. It's about his tragic oath and how he wants to get the Silmarils back. The movie consists of 32 illustrated and animated frames and shows his story from beginning to end. The designs I uploaded already are some of the character designs I did for it to show the attitude and key elements of the characters. Some more will follow over the next weeks. :) (Smile)

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

I have to admit...there is none but Tolkien. (My only and true love ;) (Wink))
A few years back I drew a lot of Zelda Fanarts but since then it's basically just Tolkien.

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?

I experiment a lot with different styles and approaches. Like mentioned, I'm still at the beginning of my career and try to learn as much as possible. That includes experimentation with different styles. Both digital and traditional.

13. You are also a cosplayer. Is sewing the real costume a next step in character design for you? Which characters have you cosplayed, and which do you plan to do in the future?

Mhm not really. For me this are two different things. I cosplay to relax and to get my mind of drawing and painting. I need some distance every few weeks or my brain would explode with all the stuff I try to learn. Of course, if I want to sew something, I have to do a sketch or design the costume first, since everything needs to be taken apart and I have to built the patterns for the fabric.

I have cosplayed a lot of characters already, mostly The legend of Zelda or Tolkien related. From the Tolkien fandom I already did an own design for Arwen, three own designs for Celebrian and Celeborn from the movies. My next Tolkien cosplay will be either Manwe or Thingol. I haven't decided yet. And Eowyn and Melian are also on the list for the future. But first I'll do princess Hilda from A link between the worlds. :) (Smile)

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

It's ok to fail. We all do and it will never stop. No matter how good you get.
Don't built an ego, there is always a bunch of people who are better than you. Never be satisfied with your own work. It is the downfall of every Artist and will cause stagnation. Be kind and humble. Always.

Learn the fundamentals. Anatomy, Dynamic, Lightning, Color, Composition, Values, Materials and Perspective.

15. Could you give us a link or thumbnail from your gallery of
- a Tolkien illustration you are most proud of?

Manwe Sulimo by ElbenherzArt

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

Charizard Y by ElbenherzArt

This artwork is from a time where I still worked with lines but somehow I still like the lightning in there a lot.

- a cosplay you are most proud of?

Celeborn by ElbenherzArt

- a picture that was hardest to paint?

Thranduil by ElbenherzArt

I had no sketch for this and directly drew the lines with ink. The anatomy is messed up because of this but it's a great way of training your brain. Your lines will get faster and better the more you do this, because you really have to think before you draw.

- any other picture you would like to share with us and why?

Lady of Imladris by ElbenherzArt

I just like how Rebecca captured the costume in this and how it drapes over the ground. Also I'm in love with the lightning and the forest we had this shooting in. <3

16. 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.

Julia Metzger (Valyavande here) played and still plays a significant role in this process. Without her I would never have made the step from Hobbyist to Professional. She is my best friend and also my biggest critic. She works as a Junior Concept Artist for a german video game studio and knows what is needed to be a professional. She supports and motivates me a lot.

17. 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?

My best friend. Julia. She also has some Tolkien related artwork in her gallery. Check her out. :) (Smile)

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

If you really want to be up to date with my artwork consider following my Tumblr blog. I'm not giving the link here but you can find it in my profile. Compared to Tumblr I'm very inactive on Deviantart and maybe just 50% of my Tolkien stuff is online on DA. I'm a lazy shit here, sorry. :( (Sad)

Thank you very much for all the support so far. It really means a lot and motivates me to keep going. <3

Thank you for your time and answers!

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© 2016 - 2021 MirachRavaia
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Wasserwaldnymphe's avatar
I remember your black and white art, Caranthir in particular, and Manwe Sulimo. I think you have great potential, your clothing designs are just wonderful ^^
ElbenherzArt's avatar
Thank you for having me! :)
Wasserwaldnymphe's avatar
you said, we should visit your tumblr, but your tumblr is frozen. Are you going to post more art on DA?
ElbenherzArt's avatar
I'm sorry. :( The incident with tumblr happened a few days after the interview. I made a new account but hadn't had the time to set everything up. In the meantime you can follow my work on instagram in case you have it. :)  Here on DA I only post finished works. All my sketches and stuff belongs to Tumblr and Instagram. You can follow the old blog and as soon as I'm finished with the new one, I will announce it there. I can still go online with the app as long as my phone doesn't die.