- Ffey is a Czech artist, who doesn't only paint detailed scenes from Middle-earth, where there's something going on in every part of the picture, but also beautiful landscapes and fantastical creatures. You can look at a few of her Tolkien themed pictures here, before getting to the talk itself:
Edit: Ffey has deactivated her account, so I'm giving you the pictures I managed to save here:
Hello! For the beginning, could you tell us something about yourself?
Hi! I am 28 years old, living in Prague where I came from Ostrava to study informatics. I have a boa constrictor and one day I hope to live somewhere in nature with dogs and corvids.
It is interesting to find out the stories behind people's usernames. What is yours?
F E I were my favorite letters when I was 16 and creating an account on the internet for the first time. It changed to "fey" very soon (and I had no idea that this word had a meaning in english), but such short name is often taken, so I must add more letters.
When did you read Tolkien's books for the first time, and what impression did they leave in you?
I need to say here, that my tastes in literature and music (and maybe any art) were different from those of my surroundings. And I was shy to express what I like (because I was always told that it is bad and not normal). My preferred reading at that time were encyclopedias about mythology (i loved greek mythology - which I kept secret, because it was weird) and I thought that if I want to read something that I really like, I have to write it myself (so I was writing a lot). Then I saw the fellowship in a cinema - I didn't really understand it but it left a feeling in me, so when I found at home a book with the same name I read it. And I loved it. It was source of beauty and wonder in my ordinary monotone life. I didn't find the next books, so I was rereading this one for whole year - until I saw the two towers in cinema (several times) and I was completely in love, so much that I asked my mother to buy me the other two books and I devoured them both in few days forgetting to eat and sleep, I wasn't thinking about anything else for the whole year. I remember clearly reading the silmarillion for the first time (it was in the same year) - with mixed feelings at the beginning, because it was something different than what I expected - but then I got used to it and I read it slowly, pausing to imagine all the missing things or unable to continue because it was too tragic. And I loved the stories, the characters, the tragedy, I loved the style it is written in, it was exactly what I wanted to read, a perfect book for me.
How much did the first two movies influence your imagination when reading the books?
Not so much in visual things, more in characters and actions.
When the movies came out, many of the inner pictures of characters and scenes in the mind of the readers have been replaced by actors and settings from the movie. Did it happen to you as well with the third movie? Did you try to prevent it?
It did happen and I did try to prevent it and I failed. When I watched the return of the king I disliked many scenes because I imagined them different while reading. But now I am no longer able to imagine them like I did before.
How extensive is your knowledge of Middle-earth? Do you consider yourself Tolkien expert?
I am certainly no expert, but I think that I would be pretty knowledgeable about Middle-earth if my memory wasn't so bad. I am reading the silmarillion once a year and I spent many hours in The History of Middle-earth (how awesome that it exists!) but it leaves more in my heart than in my mind.
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?
Art is my hobby, it consumes most of my free time. I started when I was a child and didn't stop, because I like to create things.
How do you choose which scenes and characters to illustrate?
Those that struck me while reading or those that represent the emotion or idea that i'd like to express (and are reasonably paintable).
Who is your favourite Tolkien character?
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 really enjoy painting traditionally and would like to experiment more, but I am afraid to make mistakes and waste materials. It is completely different with digital media - I like to search and try different software, different brushes, techniques - I don't enjoy it when there is nothing new to discover and try.
Do you have some tips and tricks you would like to share with the other artists?
I came across these tips in traditional painting tutorials, but I keep them in mind also when I paint digitally:
- use a bigger brush than you think you need
- don't correct your mistakes (immediately)
- stop before you think you are finished
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?
Thank you very much for your time and answers!