Talks with Tolkien artists: FlorideCuts

26 min read

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MirachRavaia's avatar
By MirachRavaia

:iconfloridecuts: FlorideCuts' gallery has some very interesting concepts of Tolkien's Dwarves. You can take a look at them before reading the interview with her!

Fili, Master of Blades by FlorideCuts
The Dragon Archer by FlorideCuts
The Dragon Prince by FlorideCuts
Hear the Whispering of Gold by FlorideCuts
Fear vs Courage by FlorideCuts Bad Memories by FlorideCuts

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

Hi! I’m a 23 year old girl from Germany. I’m still in university, studying history of art and Japanese studies but hope to graduate successfully this year.

In my free time I try to draw as much as I can to improve and found that drawing fanarts is a good way to practise. My goal is to become a professional artist and make a living of my art someday.

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

It’s actually an anagram of a name. Not my name but of my favorite character's in the Final Fantasy games. (If you can solve it you know who my favorite character was XD)

But to tell the full tale: At some time that feels like ages ago I decided that as a (wannabe) artist I should have an artist name (because my friends all seemed to have one). I was a big Final Fantasy fan at that time and so this character's name was one of the first thoughts coming to mind. There was also that scene in the book "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" that I remembered, where Tom Riddle reveals himself as Lord Voldemord with that anagram trick. It was actually one of my favorite scenes in the book and brought me to that idea. So I searched online for a generator to create my own anagram and 'Floride Cuts' was what came out!

And later, after a few years when I created my dA account for which I needed a username, this name sprang to mind again and although I’m not really into the games anymore I still kind of liked the name so I used it here. And that’s my story how I came to this silly username!~

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

I have to admit that I've actually never read one of Tokien's books so far, I've only seen Peter Jackson's movie adaptions which I quickly fell in love with and watched countless times. I do plan to catch up on that and read them when I get the time tough!

Ah, I see! What do you like most about the movies?

Oh, that question is difficult, I really like everything about them! The atmosphere in those movies just feels so right, almost real. I've never seen any other fantasy before that got the atmosphere so good as in Peter Jackson's middleearth adaptions. I've watched those movies coutless of times and it seems I'll never grow tired of them. And it is so amazing how much work they put in even the tiniest details, like the set, the costumes or things like weapons, etc. Also the actors did an amazing job, I think every character is loveable in their own way, even the evil ones have a charisma that makes it hard to hate them completely.

And let's not forget that music that is absolutely breathtaking and has high potential to get stuck in your brain (probably for eternity)! I always find myself humming along when certain soundtracks appear in the movies. And it is often that I listen to them while drawing, it really gets me into the mood to create art!~

While most of Tolkien fans agree that P. Jackson did a great job on the LotR movies, the opinions abou the Hobbit movies differ. As someone who didn't have any prejudices about how they should look like according to the book, what is your opinion on them? Are they a worthy successor (or rather a prequel) to the LotR trilogy?

I already heard about some people criticizing that Peter Jackson made The Hobbit also a triology when they could have put the contents of the book in just one movie. But I must say I'm rather glad they did three movies, the whole journey would not be so believable if the'd put everything squeezed in one 3 hour movie. I mean, their journey is not a one day trip, they probably traveled for months to get to Erebor and lived through so many situations, good and bad ones, you just cannot do it justice with only one movie where not even half of it all would be shown.

Though there are a few things in the Hobbit movies I think maybe they could or should have done differently (especially concerning the 3rd movie) I'd generally say Peter Jackson and his crew did an amazing job with them! Especially considering they did not have that much time for the preparations as they had with the LotR movies.

I'm not sure if this answers your question satisfyingly or if I did deviate from the topic too much.. But I'd say - as a person unprejudiced by the book - yes, I see the Hobbit movies as a worthy successor of the LotR trology!

So who is your favourite character (characters) from the movies, and why?

My favorite characters from The Hobbit are the dwarves, especially the heirs of Durin: Thorin, Fili and Kili. ~ In the beginning, when I watched the movies for the first time actually Thorin was my favorite character, closely followed by Bilbo. But it somehow shifted to the two Durin Brothers Fili and Kili as I developed a deeper interest for the movies. Maybe it's because they somehow remind me of Merry and Pippin from the LotR movies, those two rascals have been some of my favorite characters in that triology. Also I really like the idea of Fili and Kili being so close as brothers, I imagine in reality such close bonds must be very rare to find and therefore very valuable.

I really like all of the dwarves, every character has their own individual and loveable personality traits. But if I had to decide just one favorite character it would be Fili.

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 started drawing when I was still in school, in 5th or 6th grade. What got me inspired was a classmate who drew as well. She had been one of my best friends in my early childhood and I admired her, I wanted to be able to draw as good as she did. With time I became more and more engaged with drawing and it turned from just a hobby to my absolute passion. I cannot imagine how my life would be without creating art almost on a daily basis anymore.

I wanted to become a professional artist so I applied to a school of arts a few years ago, but they rejected my application. So I went to study history of arts at an other university instead.

My first art style was heavily influenced by Animes and Mangas. I remember drawing a lot of Inuyasha pictures for practise when I was a kid, as it was my favorite show that time. I stuck to traditional art for many, many years until I used a graphic tabled for the first time about three years ago. I immeadiately felt comfortable with it and that was when I just knew I'd stick with digital art from now on. Since then my art style has been in a state of constant change. I've tried out many different drawing styles and ways to color. Sometimes it was a bit frustrating because every time I thought I'd finally found a style that I liked I eventually ended up being unsatisfied with it at some point and tried a new one not much later.

Probably the most important turn for me happened when my interest focused on the Hobbit. It led to a drastic change in my art style as I suddenly turned away from the more anime/manga- way to draw in a more realistic way. Instead of working with line arts I now started to paint directly over my sketches. And I am so glad that change happened, it took me such a huge step forward!

And I still hope to become a professional artist someday, it is my goal that I'm working very hard for.

How do you choose which scenes and characters to illustrate? Do you have a list of pictuer you want to draw, or is it a decision of the moment?

I don't really have a plan or list what I want to draw, the ideas for my drawings are mostly pretty random. Sometimes I just start drawing without a concrete idea in mind and in the process a picture slowly comes to life. Other times suddenly a picture springs to mind and I try to draw it.

There are also times when I want to draw but can't think of a motive. In this case I try to get myself inspired by browsing through the internet, mostly dA or tumblr. Looking at other artist's works can sometimes motivate me and bring new ideas. Another helpful way to find ideas can be searching for art prompts.

As for the characters, I mostly draw the ones I like best. Therefore there are many pictures of the Durins in my gallery.~

You've already mentioned Inuyasha. What other book or movies (or anything else) inspire you to create fanart, and why?

Until about a year ago I did a lot of fanarts to the manga and anime series Fullmetal Alchemist. That series actually pulled me twice into fascination with it's two slightly different anime versions, I've been a fan for a long time. I always loved fantasy, especially the idea of magic! And the concept of alchemy with it's transmutation circles in Fullmetal Alchemist reminded me greatly of magic and I very much liked that concept in the series.

There is a lot of other movies and series (mostly fantasy) that I liked and would love to draw some fanarts sometime, and I did a few here and there in between, but generally I'm more motivated to draw fanarts of my current obsession, at the moment from The Hobbit.

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?

At the moment I pretty much enjoy painting more than drawing, and I really like to draw in a more realistic way. As I mentioned before since I started with digital art my style has been in constant change and so I experimented a lot with different techniques. I always try to learn new ways and styles to improve my own skills and if I see artworks from other artists that I like I try to learn from them.

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

I don’t think my art is good enough yet that I can give valuable advice, I still have a lot to learn myself. But I can share a few things that I've learned on my way as an artist.

I think the most important thing (which you've probably heard a lot of times already) is to keep in practice. Try to draw as much as you can and don't give up when something does not work out how you want it. But don't force yourself either, the process of creating art should always be a pleasant task!

My second tip is try to learn from other artists, ones that are on a more advanced level. Study their works or look for tutorials they have made (though tutorials are not really supposed to give step to step instructions, they are merely showing ONE possible way how to draw things. But they are certainly useful to pick up a few tips and tricks and a good way to experiment with different techniques).

And my last advice is to use references, they'll help you! I did the mistake in the past to think that using references would be kind of cheating, so I refused to use any. Don't ever think like that! Using references is extremely helpful, whether you want to draw humans/animals, still life, background scenes or just specific details, they'll generally look much better and more realistic if you use references instead of trying to draw things from your memory. Even great painters like Leonardo da Vinci or Michelangelo had models as references for their paintings!

You created a very interesting concept of dragon sickness for the dwarves from Durin's line. Can you tell us more about it?

I guess the whole thing started when I found some fanarts about the dragon sickness on dA and tumblr, there were a few showing Thorin with dragon horns and scales. So that concept of dragon sickness actually was not exactly my own idea, I just took that concept and developed it a little further.    

I found that idea fascinating (I always loved fantasy characters that are a mixture of different species) and I wanted to draw my own version too. It began with a simple portrait of Thorin, having dragon horns, eyes and a few scales in his face. I enjoyed it so much to put a pair of horns on Thorin's majestic head that I though 'why not draw Fili and Kili with dragon horns as well, they're also Durins after all!' and nothing could stop me from that point. At first I was actually joking around with the versions of Fili and Kili because I did not really think it would fit to their characters to fall for the sickness as well. As it came to Kili's dragon sickness portrait I also remembered a post on tumblr that got me even more into it. It told about this brilliant idea where Kili falls for the dragon sickness but instead of turning to the gold in the mountain he gets obsessed with Fili's 'golden' hair - and I thought this would be just perfect!

Though after I had drawn all three of them I started to think differently about it. That dragon sickness concept became more serious for me. I really enjoyed that idea and it kept me going, even trying to design complete new outfits for them and turning them even more into a dragon. At that point I wasn't even sure anymore if this still was the dragon sickness - just a new version of it - or if it actually was some kind of alternate universe concept where all dwarves (from the line of Durin) would have dragon wings, horns and tails or something like that.

I still like that concept and I am very glad that there's other people who enjoy that idea as much as I do! I hope that I'll be able to draw them some more in the future.

You are rather active in tumblr in other ways as well: you were involved in organizing the HobbitCon 4 Fanbook project, and also attended the con itself. Can you tell us a bit about this project, and about your experiences from HobbitCon?

Yeah, I contributed to the HobbitCon4 Fanbook project; I am in contact with one of the organizers and she asked me if I'd like to join the project and draw some art for it. Though I was not actually involved in organizing the group, I just tried to help her a little to advertise for the project because there were still many slots open that needed to be filled.

Principally, the idea of the Fanbook project was to create art for every dwarven character from the Hobbit plus a few others, and then give two copies of the finished fanbook to two of the dwarven actors on the HobbitCon4. I thought this was an amazing idea, there were quite a few artists involved whose art I knew and love and the outcome was really amazing! I am really happy that I got the chance to be a part of it! The two actors who received the fanbooks were John Callen and Jed Brophy and if you'd like to take a look at the many arts that were made for the book you can find (most of them) here:…

The HobbitCon itself was great! It was also my first HobbitCon and it was awesome to see the actors life on the stage! I was only one day there but I saw Ryan Gage, William Kircher, Mark Hadlow, Jed Brophy, Stephen Hunter, Adam Brown and Billy Boyd, who even sang the song 'Edge of Night' from LotR Return of the King for us. There were many cosplayer with awesome costumes, I actually saw one very well made dragon sickness cosplay of Thorin as well!

The panels with the actors were very funny and interesting as fans got the chance to ask them questions. But the funniest thing that happened was when William Kircher showed his special surprise that he had brought with him, presenting the audience actually one pair of (unwashed) underpants from Aidan Turner (the actor of Kili) and telling us the story how he got them (the guys having dinner together then getting into a spa…)! I'll never forget that moment in my life! X'D Also there was this hilarious abduction story about Mark Hadlow keeping Graham Mc Tavish and Dean O'Gorman prisoners - as the 'real' reason why they could not attend the HobbitCon. They showed that story in three video parts during the panels.

Oh, I hope I did not blabber too much about it all, I was just getting so excited to answer this question! And just as a secret tip for anyone who could not attend the HobbitCon: there's actually DVD's with good quality footage from all of the Cons being sold on!! (HC2016 available soon)

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

- a Tolkien illustration you are most proud of?

Dragon Sickness 'Re-'draw by FlorideCuts

I don't know if this is the picture I'm most proud of, that's really hard to decide. But I still very much like the concept of this one and it's definitely one of the pictures I'm most proud of!  

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

Hanyou by FlorideCuts

My first and (so far) only ever made digital fanart from Inuyasha.  

- a picture that fits your current mood?

Boring Lessons by FlorideCuts

Current motivation level: 0,000... (Have to read through so many literature for my BA thesis/dissertation... :/ My attitude is the same as young Kili's here. XD)

- a picture that was hardest to paint?

Recklessness VS. Loyalty by FlorideCuts

This was my second entry for the aforementioned Fanbook Project for the HobbitCon4. I remember this was especially hard to draw for me because of the character's postures and the many details. I am very glad that I could finish this one, it kept me over a week to work on it and there was one point where I almost gave up on it.

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

Sword vs Fire by FlorideCuts

This was actually the first picture where I really started to draw (or rather paint?) more realistically. I really was proud of the result at that time and it is still somehow special to me. Sometime I want to make a redraw of this when my art style has improved.

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.

My familiy always has been a great supporter for me, and my friends of course, especially my best friend Fujo! Though since I joined dA and later tumblr you guys all have become a huge motivational booster for me as well! The feedback you give me on my works show me that there's people who like my art and that keeps me going and striving to improve.  

I feel inspired by many artists on tumblr or dA, e.g. I really love the works of sakimichan, GUWEIZ and wlop and many others!

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?


I just recently discovered their art and I really like their style!

Also :iconeph-san1634: have quite some cute Hobbit fanarts in their gallery!~

Thanduil and King Bard_Garden_Foule sentimentale by EPH-SAN1634 Vili and Fili by EPH-SAN1634

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

Thank you to everyone who has supported my art so far, as I mentioned before all your kind words, feedback and everything else means so much to me! Thank you for taking the time to take notice of my art!

I am glad that this Tolkien fandom exists where there's so many people who spend their time to create things and other people who can appreciate them! I hope that will never change. Thank you for letting me be a part of this!

So that's the end of the interview  Thank you for your time and answers!

Coding by Felizias Drawings by ebe-kastein Borders by PhoenixWildfire
© 2016 - 2021 MirachRavaia
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Naturgeist93's avatar
Very great interview.
She is an amazing artist, awesome you interviewed her :clap:
EPH-SAN1634's avatar
I am in this?! I am honored!