Talks with Tolkien artists: MatsumotoSensei

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By MirachRavaia

In this issue of "Talks with Tolkien artists", I had the pleasure to talk with :iconmatsumotosensei: - MatsumotoSensei, who is not only a creator of wonderful vector illustrations of the Silmarillion, but also a skilled cosplayer. You can see her costumes of Elven lords in the gallery of her cosplay group :iconcinq-pathetique:

Long live the King! by MatsumotoSensei Ingwe and Indis by MatsumotoSensei
riding in the forest by cinq-pathetique
Luthien by MatsumotoSensei under the stars by MatsumotoSensei
Curufin by cinq-pathetique

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

- Hello! I live in Moscow, Russia. I'm graphic designer, and almost all my freetime is spent on drawing or making costumes.
I like to sew and to make hats, I'm fan of japanese street fashion, I often make photoshoots and sometimes I ride a horse wearing fancy dresses :) (Smile)
And of course I draw a lot, mostly The Silmarillion illustrations and almost always these are Elves.

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

- That was funny story, The Hobbit book came into my hands almost by accident. I was in the 1st grade then. I was absolutely in awe and it's hard to express how happy I was when I learned about the continuation of my favourite story few years later.
Reading of LOTR turned me into devoted fan, it was my favourite book for years. LOTR inspired my interest in mythology and medieval literature, motivated me to seek out and read other Tolkien's works and other books about them.
And finally thanks to The Silmarillion I started to draw after a long time break - so many characters I would like to portray, so many subjects for art.

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

- Fairly extensive, I think, but I'm not a nerd at all. I still have many books to read and very much to learn about Tolkien's world.

4. When the movies came out, many of the inner pictures of characters and scenes in the mind of the readers have been replaced by actors and settings from the movie.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? Did you try to prevent it?

- No, absolutely not. I've read books long before movies came out, so I had my own clear idea how the characters should look (in most cases it doesn't match their movie representation).
I admit though my view on The Hobbit characters is slightly influenced by illustrations from The Hobbit book edition I've read in my childhood :) (Smile)

5. 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?

- Some years ago I graduated from an art institute and I'm currently working as a freelance designer. I always wanted to work as book illustrator but had no opportunity, so i don't dare to call myself professional artist.
Honestly I didn't even draw that much as now before I reread The Silmarillion year ago.
My biggest inspirations for art always were medieval religious art, art nouveau style, antique book illustrations from end of the 19th - beginning of the 20th centuries and such artists as Aubrey Beardsley, Harry Clarke, Kay Nielsen, Erte.

6. Besides creating art, you are also a cosplayer. How did you get to this "career", and where do you find inspiration for the costumes of Silmarillion characters?

- Oh, I've been cosplayer for almost 10 years and I mostly cosplayed visual kei, because visual kei bands always had the most difficult to make and impressive looking costumes.
Now i feel the need to express my own vision and to realize my own ideas, so I start to sew original costumes.
The Silmarillion became great inspiration for that, because what even can be as beautiful, complex and interesting to create as elven clothes.
We have not much information about elven costumes so there is great room for imagination. I am personally very inspired by motives and details of historical fashion and modern haute couture.
Just now I`m working on several elven dresses and also High King of Noldor outfit so hopefully I'll be able to show them soon.

7. Most of your pictures are vector graphics. Do you rather keep to the art techniques and styles you are familiar with, or do you experiment with new ones as well?

- I'm pretty conservative :) (Smile) I prefer to do what I do best. Also vector graphics is perfect for playing with lines, and for me line is the most important and interesting part of art.
I like traditional techniques as well, especially ink and oil, but unfortunately I have no time to improve my skills.

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

- a Tolkien illustration you are most proud of?

I like idea of this picture -
CCC by MatsumotoSensei

- a cosplay you are most proud of?

Arika of Ali Project -
Ali Project Troubadour PV - princess 1 by cinq-pathetique

- a picture that fits your current mood?

Hunters by MatsumotoSensei

- a picture that was hardest to paint?

Nightmares by MatsumotoSensei

- a cosplay that was hardest to make?

Curufin`s costume because of too much hand embroidery -
Atarinke by cinq-pathetique

9. 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 always sincerely thankful to my very best friend for supporting any my ideas.

10. 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 don`t come to dA often, so It`s hard to choose someone, but I always watch updates of Tolkien-themed groups with interest. There are many works I have a pleasure to look at.

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

- I hope for a long time Tolkien`s books will be such inspiration for many artists as they are for me, and we will have the opportunity to see many and many more creative, beautiful and completely different works of art.

Thank you very much for interview and thanks to everyone who stopped by and took their time to read it!

Previous talks: Bullet; Blue with Gold-Seven
                            Bullet; Blue with steamey
                            Bullet; Blue with ekukanova
                            Bullet; Blue with Tulikoura
                            Bullet; Blue with AbePapakhian
                            Bullet; Blue with kimberly80
                            Bullet; Blue with jankolas
                            Bullet; Blue with jgilronan
                            Bullet; Blue with ebe-kastein

Rohirrim journal skin.

Horse head © 2009 - Grinmir-stock
Texture by kizistock
Knotwork by gbrgraphix
© 2014 - 2021 MirachRavaia
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Zeonista's avatar
Another good interview, this time with a cosplayer as well as a painter. It was nice to see some different things this time. :)
MirachRavaia's avatar
Thank you! I try to interview various artists.
Zeonista's avatar
The only thing we can say for certain about a given fandom is that it has a lot of variety! :D