In this interview, I had the pleasure to talk with - IngvildSchageArt. She is an artist and writer with film education, which makes for a very interesting combination. In this talk, you can read about her art, fanfiction and original writing, and also her professional opinion on the movies: But let's take a look at her gallery first:
Daughter of Stars and Stones - Part 1
Chapter 1 - The hairpin
He was here.
She ran through the corridors, over the bridge and past the grand halls of the underground city. Many of its inhabitants looked after her with surprise as she passed them hastily on the pathways. Her heart was beating quickly in her chest as she breathed harder of the effort, but her eagerness was high and the adrenaline pumped through her veins. Her uncontrollable and tangled hair flew behind her, as did her dress, and she felt like she was flying through the halls surrounded by stone.
He had actually come, like she had dreamed of for so many years.
Her grin was wide as she came to an abrupt stop at the last corner to the Throne Hall, right behind the archway. Her chest heaved as she fought for her breath to come calmly. It was not easy. Suddenly she heard voices echoed, and her breathing came to a sharp stop. She needed to know if it truly was him. She held her breath as she leaned against the cold stone and listened to whomever was in the throne
An Unexpected Visit - Part 1A rider was slowly making his way up the narrow, winding road, leading to one of the lesser known entrances of the mountain. The rider was draped in dark cloth, hugging the neck of his horse as if he was having trouble holding on. He was almost invisible in the night, as the mountain was black and huge to the star- and moonless night sky. The watch post on Ravenhill had all but overlooked him, had not the horse neighed tiredly in the quiet night.
A raven was sent to Thorin immediately, who gathered around him some of his bodyguards, as well as his nephews, and went to greet this unexpected visitor.
When the horse passed the last tree before the mountain, the company of Thorin stood expecting, a hundred feet away, holding axes and swords in case they needed to defend themselves, however unlikely it would seem. Thorin liked to maintain the sense of control in any situation, if not only to show off.
«Halt!» Said he in his strong voice. The words bellowed in the empty air.
1. Hello! For the beginning, could you tell us something about yourself?
Hello! My name is Ingvild Schage, but you can call me Iggy.
I’m from Norway, a native Oslo-girl where I’ve lived all 23 years of my life, except for the one year I had between 2015 to 2016 as an exchange/top-up student in Southampton, England where I finished my Bachelor degree in Film and Tv production.
6 months after having finished my studies, I am a bit afloat in the world. I have started my own small business in Norway, and am trying out this whole freelance thing, which I am still very uncertain about tbh. I'm doing commissions and freelance film work, but it's not paying much yet. So life right now is VERY hectic.
I’m a traditional artist, mainly focused on pencil drawings, but I also do a bit of aquarelle work and digital art, and when I have the spare time between work and art I try to squeeze in a bit of fanfiction writing, which is also being greatly neglected these days. Over the winter I have started working on my original novel as well, so lots of balls in the air at the moment.
2. How did you enter Tolkien's world for the first time, and what impression did it leave in you?
I saw the films first, when I was 10, and they truly made me fall in love with elves and anything fantasy, which has been the basis for all my interests since. My film career came from my deep need of creating and making films like LotR and it is still a huge dream of mine to make anything even remotely as great as LotR.
My interests in fantasy has lead my interests in books and stories of wonder which again has been the motivation for my art and creativity. I also wrote my first stories after watching LotR and I have a dream of publishing my own fantasy novels one day. (I have been working on one for 6 years, more off than on)
First time I read any Tolkien book was actually The Silmarillion back in 2012, though I won’t lie and say that I read more than a few chapters, because I didn’t. I found it very hard as I read it in English and I was not used to Tolkien’s heavy language.
When I then saw the second of The Hobbit-films I read the book that Christmas (so 2013) and then begun reading LotR shortly after that in 2014. I finished it early 2015 (yeah I usually don’t read much outside holidays so it took a while) and moved quickly on to The Silmarillion.
After a year of getting used to Tolkien’s style, and a year of fanfiction writing my English had improved greatly and when I then read Silm I could follow the story with much more ease and enjoy it thoroughly. I only finished the book in 2015, and in the year and a half that followed I have listened to the audiobook countless times, read Children of Hurin and am halfway through Unfinished Tales. So I would still reckon myself young in the Tolkien fandom.
3. How much did the movies influence your imagination when reading the books?
Well, as I found when I read the books I kind of see the characters differently than when I watch the films, because to me the stories are so different, and while the films are marvelous and they have such a deep place in my heart I can hardly explain it, I can’t compare the books and the movies.
Though the one character that I distinctly saw different upon reading the books versus seeing the films was Eowyn. I do not know why, but I loved her so much more in the books than in the films. I think she was portrayed a bit too insecure and attention seeking, rather than the way she is in the books where she seems much harder, colder and confident. I do not know why this appealed to me, but I have a strange love for female characters that doesn’t fit the form of helpless maiden.
Honestly, I could go on and on about the film versus the books, but I don't think anyone would find that interesting except for me being a film student and slightly too analytical. But if any of you ever feel like discussing anything I am always open for fresh point of views and a frisky discussion.
4. As you have studied Film and TV, may I ask what is your professional opinion on the movies (LotR and Hobbit)? Would you like to see a Silmarillion movie(s) being filmed?
Anyone who has ever talked to me on this site about The Hobbit knows that I have WAY too many issues with the films. Before you call me a hypocrite, let me say that the LotR films are the standard to which I grade all films, especially those of fantasy origin, and the simple fact that The Hobbit was also representing the Professor's universe, makes it even worse. Firstly, what I love about LotR is the orcs, how incredibly scary they are and real looking. Then lets look at the orcs in The Hobbit. They don’t even look real. They’re not scary, they’re made to look hot, and that is only the first example of how the films creators sold out to make another "blockbuster". This brings me to the overuse of visual effects in The Hobbit. (Visual effects are the digital enhancements, 3D effects etc, while special effects are the effects made in real life, makeup and costumes etc) The orcs in LotR was scary because they were REAL. I had the same experience watching Jurassic world the other day; it wasn’t even scary because the dinosaurs didn’t look half as real as in Jurassic park, even as that film is 23 years old. Filmmakers in hollywood needs to realize that Visual effects do NOT impress anyone.
The LotR films are to this day the most awarded film trilogy, and it is so obvious that Jackson tried to recreate this in The Hobbit, and thus pushing ALL the block-buster cliches onto the trilogy. In my opinion the films who are made to be blockbusters are not worthy of the title, and the films who become blockbusters by accident (though of course LotR had a huge budget and stuff too) are worthy of it. The quality is just a HUGE difference between the trilogies. The beautifying of the film, too bright colors and awkward humor to make it appeal to younger audiences are the most noticable problems in my opinion. Like LotR was SOO real, so dark and realistic, and that too appealed to younger audiences, but I feel Hollywood is underrestimating the younger watchers and making it juvenile. YES I know the Hobbit was written in a lighter tone than LotR by the Professor, but I think he would’ve turned in his grave if he saw these films. There’s a reason the Tolkien-estate don’t want any more films made from their legacy, and I TOTALLY understand them.
Finally, if the silmarillion is ever allowed to be adapted, I do NOT think that Jackson should make it. His direction in The Hobbit was just the worst. I dunno what happened between making LotR and the Hobbit, but he lost his passion somewhere on the road and it shows.
If anyone were to adapt the silmarillion, I SERIOUSLY hope they’ll make it into a Tv-series, maybe something like sherlock, with each episode the lenght of a feature film. I have actually been playing with the thought of making Silmarillion into a tv series, the first season about Feanor and the curse of the Noldor, and the second season about Luthien and Beren, and so forth. I think it could be very amazing, if done right. I actually had a conversation with Turner Mohan about Tolkien artists from around the world getting together and make a homage-project to the professor, film or artbased. It was only a thought of course, but it would’ve been amazing, and I think if us artists who knows most about Silmarillion and respects the professor the most gets together for a project, no matter what kind, it would be amazing. And yes I know there was an artbook put together, but I mean more of collaboration. I’m getting off topic…
And I’m sorry, and I respect anyone who loves The Hobbit, I even enjoyed it the first few times watching them, and I did fell in love with Kíli and Tauriel, even as I still find the dialogue terrible and the relationship too rushed. As a film-educated I really can’t stand the films anymore; Botfa really was the straw. They are too juvenile to even be compared to its big brother, the LotR films. If you are looking for a decent discussion, no hate please, note me or comment me, and I’d love to talk more about it!
5. How extensive is your knowledge of Middle-earth? Do you consider yourself Tolkien expert?
It really depend on the crowd you pair me with. When I’m myself at home with family and friends I am certainly a Tolkien expert, because no people in my real life knows anything about Tolkien and I might be chewing their ears off a bit when I get in the mood. My dad is the only person I know who has actually read the LotR books, when he was a teen himself, and he is also the only person who finds my ramblings interesting. We share the love of fantasy and movies and I do not think I would have survived if it wasn’t for his patient enthusiasm when I feel my inner nerd surfacing.
If you compare me to the actual Tolkien fandom, or more correctly The Silmarillion fandom, I still feel very new to it all, still amazed by the wonders and depth of each and every character I read about. Whenever I discover a new fantastic Silm-artist I get lost in their descriptions and meaning behind their art because it shows how much Tolkien engage everyone who falls victim for his wondrous writing, and I only want to get further and further lost in his Legendarium.
6. Who is your favourite Tolkien character and why?
It shouldn’t be allowed to ask such a question… but I think I’d say from my frequent fanart of him that it most certainly must be Mairon, or Sauron as he is most commonly known. There is something about his character that just keeps me engaged. Firstly I love characters who are not completely good or evil, and that is how I see Mairon. He is evil of course, and sometimes I wanna punch him so hard, but the motivation and origin of his character is just so fascinating. I see him more as an opportunist than truly evil, his potential obviously awoken by Melkor, but with so many different hues to it.
In a VERY close second come Fëanor, with the obvious reason that he too is such an intriguing character with many aspects rather than good or evil. Ah, Tolkien’s characters just keep grabbing my heart at every turn.
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?
My art is simply a hobby, a part of my life that I could not have quit more than I can quit breathing. I have been drawing since I could walk basically (my parents’ walls made for good canvases in their time) and I never stopped. I think I had a renaissance at 14-15 when I read Twilight (judge me not) and began exploring digital art and drew my first serious fanart, which lasted a few years, and I really must give Twilight credit for my rapid improvement. Nothing increases your talent more than being a fan of a book. But I can honestly say that nothing has of yet grabbed my heart to the extent that Tolkien's legendarium has. There are just endless possibilities, endless motives to draw and I don't think I'll ever be content.
8. How do you choose which scenes and characters to illustrate?
Truthfully I have to feel an image before I attempt drawing it. I can’t simply sit down and draw as many might think, I have to have a very clear idea of what I want to draw, which characters, scene, etc, and then I can start sketching. If it is for major scenes I like to find a few references which makes it easier for me to visualize, but if it is for quicker character sketches I usually just go with the flow of what feels natural and right to me.
To me feeling is as important as the visual in art, and I need a very strong connection to a character or a scene to draw it, which can be hard sometimes. (There's a reason I can use mere hours on some drawings and weeks or months on others. It's all about the connection!)
I love Silmarillion for the simple reason that there are so many untapped sources of inspiration, even with the many great Silm artists out there, many scenes are yet to be pictured. I like the freedom to do it exactly how I imagined, not tainted by someone else’s vision. It gives great opportunity to be creative and have fun with images only kept in ones head.
9. What other book or movies (or anything else) inspire you to create fanart, and why?
As I said already, Twilight was a very important phase of my artistic growth, but my other great fanart inspiration is the book Graceling by Kristin Cashore, and the books that follows in that series. With strong female protagonists with very different stories and minds they have unpaired me so artistically and emotionally. Gone by Michael Grant has been another great inspiration of art and writing for me the last couple years, especially through 2009-2012. The brutal story of teens having to fend for themselves in such a hostile environment really intrigued me on a deep level. And in 2016-2017 Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson has been my biggest inspiration. It is perhaps the BEST fantasy book of it's kind I've ever read, and recommend it to all.
10. 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?
Truthfully I am very experimental. Whenever drawing a new drawing it is like I forget all I've known and I have to try new things to get the result I wish for. This proves to be a problem at times, and I often question my style and my techniques, but after finding out that traditional is definitely the medium I should focus on, I feel I've gotten a lot more confident and improved.
Traditional and pencil art is my absolute favorite, as I think it really has that charm that digital art just doesn't, and I know it is a bit hypocritical of me, but I really do think that traditional art is a lot more impressive. Digital art is always beautiful when rendered, but there is something about the heart and soul of traditional art that just pulls me in and inspires me on a different level. And as an artist who was majorly based on digital art a few years back, I have learned that doing traditional art really forces you to improve on a different level than digital art does.
11. Do you have some tips and tricks you would like to share with the other artists?
Well, yeah, and I know people say this all the time, but it's really all about the practice. Just draw. Use reference, learn how the body works, study people on the train. Drawing is all about seeing and understanding, and when you get it you just get it. And if you have an idea for a drawing, draw it again and again until you're happy. I sometimes sketch something three or four times before I'm happy with a pose. But it is also very important to know that some days you just can't draw. I experience that all the time, and it's excruciating, but you simply have to put your pencil down and try again tomorrow. And do whatever the heck you want. Don't let people fool you into thinking there is ONE way to do art, to draw or whatever. Do what you want, that is what art is all about; having fun and creating what your heart tells you to create. Only you set the limits!
12. Could you also tell us about your fanfiction and your character Kiliel in particular?
My writing a major Hobbit fanfiction is slightly ironic, as I've never been much a fan of the films. I actually just wrote a quick one-shot of Tauriel and Kili, as I found their relationship an intriguing one, and it had been years since I wrote my last fanfic, so I just went for it. Safe to say that the fanfiction got a life of its own after that. Three fanfictions, three years and more than 200 pages later this fanfiction is as big a part of my life now as my art, and Kiliel is a major centre of attention to me. My every stray thought either go to her or the evolution of her as a character.
So yeah, she is my imaginary daughter of Kili and Tauriel, in my alternative universe where everyone survived BotFa, and they had a love affair a night in Rivendell. Her name is Kíliel because "iel" on the end of a name means "daughter of" in elvish, and please believe me when I say that I did not intend on stealing the ship-name. (Yes I’ve been accused of that many times.)
After a lot of drama and family conflicts Thorin accepts their love and their daughter is allowed to grow up to be the future Queen of Erebor. However her life is a constant struggle as the dwarves of Erebor resists her as the heir. She is stubborn as Thorin, kind and playful as Kili, and fierce and headstrong as Tauriel, and I never get bored of writing her.
13. As a writer, how do you feel about the position of fanfiction in current literature?
I think fanfictions are a wonderful way to connect through a fandom, to share ideas and get in touch with people with similar dreams and thoughts. I also think it is a wonderful way of getting experience with writing and getting some recognition and confidence as well. It has always been a dream for me to be a published writer, so for me writing fanfictions is a great way of getting some real feedback and evolve through my writing. Submitting your writing to a publisher may be very daunting and scary, so writing a bit of fanfictions gives you an idea of the actual level of writing you are on. I would recommend anyone who are trying to be a writer to do a bit of fanficcing as its both very fun and creative work, but also very interactive.
14. Could you give us a link or thumbnail from your gallery of
- a Tolkien illustration you are most proud of?
That must be my Maedhros-painting. I really poured my heart and soul into that one!
- a picture from other fandom or original picture you are most proud of?
I was very proud of this illustration for Mistborn I did last summer. Background aside, I really felt like I got in touch with some old techniques that I had forgotten and really managed to portay the characters as I wanted!
- a fanfiction story you are most proud of?
There is no other answer than one; my fic "A Daughter of Stars and stones" the story of Kíliel, the daughter of Kíli and Tauriel and how she became the queen of Erebor. This chapter is one of my favorite!^^
- a picture that fits your current mood?
That would have to be Maedhros again (yes Maedhros may be a close third to his father as my favorite character, and he certainly is the easiest one of them for me to draw.) Here as dishoveled and messy haired, he represents my tired and ached mind of a stressful couple of days.
- a picture that was hardest to paint?
No question about it; it's this painting of Cropse Bride that I did for my best friend's birthday. It was soo hard because I was pressed for time, and I was very nervous as all I wanted was for her to love it, which she did!
Any other picture or story you would like to share with us and why?
This drawing is of my original character Saga from my original fantasy novel, working title "Saga of the Crows". As I said I've been writing a lot on it over the holidays and gettiing and entire new spin on the story that I originally wrote when I was 16, so it's very exciting to see where this path leads. This is the first drawing I have made of her in 7 years, and it felt wonderful!
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.
Over the years I've had a number of artists to look up to. When I was 15 I could gawk at Adele Loriene's (@saimain) art for hours. She was my first artist-crush (I guess you can call it that) and I never thought I'd be as good as her. But I pushed on, and really started to draw for real.
Then a few years ago, at the dawn of my Tolkien-reawakening, I found Turner Mohan's art (TurnerMohan), and even before I knew all the characters I fell in love. I fell in love with his beautiful designs, his delicate style, and intricate descriptions, exploring all the characters and his thoughts behind them, and it made me realize how much bigger this was than I first thought. And I really owe him for introducing me to Silmarillion and its many wonderful characters. At this point I was obviously just silently stalking him and his art, gathering inspiration and craving to be like him.
However, it wasn't before this summer than I really got in contact with him, and that first Facebook message exchange really sent me into a fit of star struck fan-girling. It was a very important moment for me, and even if it may seem ridiculous I was just awed that he even had the time to talk to me, a hobbyist who have never made anything remotely as great as his work. This was all about self-confidence, of which I had rather little up until this point, especially for my art.
6 months later I have really started to grasp that my art may actually start to be something more than just a hobby, something I can really be proud of. Each person I am in contact with online through DA, tumblr or IG these days only proves this, and I am mind blown each time people compliment my art, and immensely thankful for this world that we live in that makes this kind of connection over internet possible.
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?
- Brunild - she's so nice, and absolutely talented. Her renditions of the silm characters are all so original and beautiful, she needs to get more attention from this fandom!
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- NOLANOS - She's also soo talented and her style is very unique and romantic I think! Check her out for even more fantastically original character interpretations!
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17. Is there something else you would like to tell to the fans of Tolkien and your art?
Just that I am so thankful for everything. I am thankful to be in contact with such beautiful people on this page. I am thankful to the professor for creating this mesmerizing world that we can all connect and love through. I am thankful for each comment, each favourite, each person touching my life everyday and making my life worth living, even through the hard times. I am thankful (heart-warmingly so) for being asked to be interviewed as a Tolkien-artist, because being reckoned as one has been my dream for the last 5 years. I can barely believe that I am in company with the other amazingly talented Tolkien-artists on this site. It's humbling, and I hope to continue to create amazing pieces that honors the professor and all his hard work.
And I thank you for your time and very thoughtful answers, it's been a pleasure to talk to you!