Interests and fandoms come and go, just like the desire to create art for them. This time I'm bringing you an interview with - Murrauddin, an arists who is no longer active in the Tolkien fandom, but many interesting pictures depicting rarely seen scenes or characters remain in her gallery:
1. Hello! For the beginning, could you tell us something about yourself?
Hello, I am from Moscow, Russia! At present I am working as a certified translator of French and English languages in a translation agency, and have to deal with legal and business documents for the most part (but we also get some very interesting translation orders from our customers from time to time, such as historical source documents or even poems, so my work is never boring).
2. It is interesting to find out the stories behind people's usernames. What is yours?
It’s a very simple, a little funny story, just a childhood memory that came into my mind when I decided to register on DA. I’m a huge cat lover and the word is a shortening of Muslim (or, rather, Arabized) nickname, “Murrauddin Mollah”, given by my Tatar grandma to the big black tomcat we had then. This cat always sat in the kitchen and purred loudly when Granny was cooking, so she used to say to him: “Well, Murrauddin Mollah, are you reciting your prayers?” Also, the Wise Cat who tells fairy tales and sings songs is a character of a poem by the great Russian writer A. Pushkin, and my amateurish illustrations are a bit like ones from a storybook, aren’t they?.
3. When did you read Tolkien's books for the first time, and what impression did they leave in you?
I discovered J.R.R. Tolkien’s books and began to take an interest in them in 1990-1992, when I was a student at Moscow Linguistic University. I stumbled upon a very worn-out copy of “The Hobbit” in English at Moscow Foreign Languages Library (its cover was red, just like The Red Book of Westmarch, isn’t it funny?). At first, it seemed just an ordinary fairy-tale, but when I turned a few pages, I saw inside it a hint on the whole world full of peoples, languages and legends, based on Norse, Celtic and Finnish mythology, that were my special interest at the time. I could call myself an “advanced reader”, because I had already familiarized with the sources that inspired Tolkien, having studied Medieval Literature and History of Languages at the University. After “The Hobbit” came (by order of availability at the library) “The Unfinished Tales”, “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Silmarillion”, followed by the volumes of “The History of Middle-Earth” , all of it in English, of course (only “The Hobbit” and the first two volumes of “The Lord of the Rings” were published in Russian at this time) . As to the impression these books left in me… They were the first “fantasy” books that I have read, but I still don’t consider them as general fantasy literature, because they are unlike any books of this kind that I know. Tolkien’s books are rather a vision or reconstruction of a legendary world’s history, bearing a powerful message and linked to the real world in a special way…
4. Did you read the books, or see the movies first? 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?
The books came first, of course. I’ve been waiting for the movies to come out from the moment I learned that there’ll be a film version of “The Lord of the Rings”. For me, these movies are a visual interpretation of the story, one out of many and rather successful, to my mind. The actors and settings in them did not have any considerable influence on the images that I had from the time when I had first read the books. I just enjoyed the feeling that Alan Lee’s and John Howe’s illustrations had come alive in this film version, and I continued to draw in the same style as I always did.
5. How extensive is your knowledge of Middle-earth? Do, or did you consider yourself Tolkien expert?
I believe that I’m rather knowledgeable in Middle-earth matters, such as its mythology, history and geography, and in the sources all of these are based on, but not a real expert. I never even tried to master any of the languages created by Tolkien…
6. There are many Tolkien illustrations in your gallery, but the last one was drawn several years ago. Did your interests move elsewhere over time? We never know where we will be in a few years, so could you tell us a bit about how it happened?
Tolkien pictures in my gallery cover the period from 1993 – the very beginning of my passion for Middle-earth – to the middle of 2000-s, when I got a regular access to the Internet, and posted there all my old Tolkien-inspired drawings together with several new ones. I liked the reactions and comments on my art, it continued to inspire me for some time, but then I grew somewhat … tired, and lost the urge to draw. And later my interests turned (or rather, returned) to watching Japanese animes, I got interested in Japanese history and culture through them, and discovered many other interesting subjects these animated series deal with .
7. Who is your favourite Tolkien character and why, if you remember?
Most of my illustrations are showing the scenes from “The Silmarillion” and “Unfinished Tales”. So, I’d like to choose as my favourites Voronwё and Nellas, the characters from these books. They are minor characters, both of them having his own distinctive personality, and they have influenced the great history of Middle-earth in their own way. Also, the first Tolkien-inspired picture that came into my mind and that I attempted to draw was the shipwrecked seafarer Elf from Gondolin sitting on the shore...
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?
Drawing has been my hobby since childhood, but I’ve never learned to draw, only did it as I could at my leisure hours, when I felt inspired by something, like books, movies or animation films. I think that my style has been somewhat influenced by anime (just a little bit) and Western and Middle-Eastern miniature painting.
9. Many of your Tolkien illustrations focus on the lesser known scenes and rarely illustrated parts of the books. How do you choose which scenes and characters to illustrate?
When I first read Tolkien books, none of them had illustrations, so I decided to draw the scenes that came to my mind while reading them. I got my inspiration mostly from “legendary” texts, like “The Silmarillion”. Sometimes I saw the whole scene in my mind, sometimes I got interested in some details mentioned in the text, then tried to “expand” them, and the illustration “grew” from these details.
10. What other book or movies (or anything else) inspire you to create fanart, and why?
I’ve created some fanarts inspired by anime series, such as “Trinity Blood”, “Hakuouki” and, lately, “The Heroic Legend of Arslan”, because I got interested in fantasy plot and historical references combination in them. Unfortunately, now I’m not as eager to draw as in the time when I was a huge Tolkien fan…
11. 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?
Initially, I’ve always drawn my pictures with a lead pencil, then colored them with watercolour and metallic gouache. In my latest fanarts, I’ve also used colour pencils and scanned images as backgrounds.
12. Do you have some tips and tricks you would like to share with the other artists?
Sorry, but I have none. I don’t consider myself as a real artist…
13. Could you give us a link or thumbnail from your gallery of
- a Tolkien illustration you are most proud of?
- a picture from other fandom or original picture you are most proud of?
- a picture that fits your current mood?
- a picture that was hardest to paint?
- any other picture you would like to share with us and why?
14. 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.
In childhood, my parents ( both of them had some talent for drawing) have been the main inspiration to me and I am very grateful for it. Also, I would like to thank my relatives and friends who supported me as a hobby artist, as well as all those on dA who commented on my fanarts and discussed them with me.
15. 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?
These arts are very expressive and stylish in their own way.
16. Is there something else you would like to tell to the fans of Tolkien and your art?
I wish them to continue their discovery of Tolkien’s universe through original books and their various interpretations by professional and hobby artists, and to find new inspiration for their creative work. I hope that my amateurish illustrations would be of some help in this.
Thank you very much again!
Thank you as well for your time and answers!