Talks with Tolkien artists: ekukanova

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By MirachRavaia

Previous talks: :bulletblue: with Gold-Seven
                            :bulletblue: with steamey

In this issue of "Talks with Tolkien artists" I talked to a very talented artist :iconekukanova: - EKukanova
Enjoy a sample from her gallery:

Doriath.  Beleg and young Turin by EKukanova
A Song of Yavanna by EKukanova Nienor and Glaurung by EKukanova
Nargothrond. Turin and Finduilas by EKukanova
The Light of Valinor by EKukanova Nan Elmoth. Elwe and Melian by EKukanova
1. Hello! For the beginning, could you tell us something about yourself?

Ok then, my name is Elena, I’m a professional artist, graduated from Ilya Glazunov Academy. At the moment, I’m an in-house official portraitist at Russian Army Academic Theatre, and there is a whole actual gallery of the theater’s actors, all painted by me. Sorry for an extra-bold start =) (Smile)

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

I’ve started reading Tolkien (in Russian) when I was 16. As for an impression, I must say, his literature has made a truly notable impact on my personality. At that moment, I didn’t want to read anything else, and that classical Russian Literature school program went down the drains. Please get me right, I was 16 =) (Smile)

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

At the moment, quite lousy, I must confess, I was 16 like 16 years ago =) (Smile). At the moment, I’m re-reading the texts, but this time in English. And it’s a challenge, as I’m primarily Franco-phonic.

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 When the movies came out, many of the inner pictures of characters and scenes in the mind of the readers have been replaced by actors and settings from the movie.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?

I truly like the movie, and Peter Jackson is the Man, no doubts here. The actors – they have my admiration towards their splendid work, but it does not overcome my own vision. The settings were spot on, once again, Peter is great. And the costumes! The costumes were right in my opinion.

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?

I’m a pro, and I don’t separate work from hobby. Jokes aside, I’ve started at around 3 year old, ruining my parent’s wall papers, thanks to them, I wasn’t punished for that =) (Smile)
My inspirations originally came from the Nordic Renaissance, like Dürer, Holbein, etc.

6. From a look at your gallery, it seems that the Children of Húrin is your favourite part of Tolkien's work. What influences the choice of what part of the books will you illustrate?

Memories, maybe? Basically, this book touched me the most. The dramatic story, what puts Romeo and Juliette way less of a story, in my humble opinion.

7. Where do you look for inspiration for your painings, not only from contentual, but also artistic side? Do you use references?

I must say yes, but actually I don’t. All my artworks are coming from my head. For all my female characters I’ve been posing myself, and my husband has played the male characters. I use photos intensively, but 90% of those are done in house. Except lizards =) (Smile) Of course, I have plenty of inspirations from multiple sources, but it is a way too long story to describe.

8. Your traditional paintings look really amazing. Is there some secret in the way how you use the mix of gouashe, watercolour and colored pencils for them?

To work in this technique, I’ve been inspired by Somov and Benois works. No pride here, but it’s a long thorough work and a VERY long practice.

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

- a Tolkien illustration you are most proud of?

Anglachel by EKukanova

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

Sorry, too hard to say, but usually it’s the last work complete =) (Smile)

- a picture that fits your current mood?

The Spring of Arda by EKukanova

- a picture that was hardest to paint?

First Snow by EKukanova

 - the water was a tremendous issue to execute =) (Smile)

10. 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 parents, for sure, my Dad, who’d copied and kept a piece of that first drawing of mine (some funky rabbits that was). Tolkien illustrations were driven by some works I’ve seen at DA.

11. 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?

:iconmarisoly: - Very professional, very self conscious, purely original, plain super!

I have to agree with that! Sadly, she is very hard to catch on dA, and does not approve any group requests although I would love to have her works in our gallery! So go browse her gallery instead!

Luthien dances for Morgoth by marisoly
White council by marisoly Luthien by marisoly
12. There are many Tolkien-themed groups at dA. Do you have some favourites which you would recommend watching/joining? What about other art and fantasy groups?

Hard to favor, hard to separate, all of them are about the favorite theme =) (Smile) But I can surely recommend: :iconeldritchshores: and :icongoldenillustration:

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

Here I’ve found a circle of like-minded fellows, and I score lots of energy from you, my friends, …not vampire, as I do my best to pay back =) (Smile) All the warm words of feedback – these are priceless to me, they truly are! Thank you indeed =) (Smile)

I hope I've managed to answer your questions =) (Smile)

Kindest regards,

Thank you very much for the interview, it was a real pleasure to talk with you!

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© 2013 - 2021 MirachRavaia
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JabberBabyWocky645's avatar
I had to read her interview! Her work always leaves me in awe!
MirachRavaia's avatar
I'm glad I could bring it to you! :)
JabberBabyWocky645's avatar
Yes, and it's really neat that you brought these great artists together for some interviews!
Hemhet's avatar
Great artist and great interviews. :lol:
TurnerMohan's avatar
Great tolkien artis, and an incredible talent. good interview.

You should interview Tulikoura, he does great stuff
MirachRavaia's avatar
Thank you for the suggestion, I've added him to my list :)
zdrava's avatar
I's a nice for me to see that some of the best Tolkien artists are Russian:)
MirachRavaia's avatar
Russia is quite a great power in Tolkien fandom :)
Toradh's avatar
Awesome to have another interview! I'm sure these will make a nice collection and resource for Tolkien readers when you have done all the interviews you want.
MirachRavaia's avatar
The list of people I want to interview is rather long :)
Toradh's avatar
I hope you'll get through them, though!
MariaB9's avatar
I think she is the first artist I watched here, I loved her works from the first sight.
MirachRavaia's avatar
I joined the site earlier than she did so she's not the first artist I watched, but I agree with the second part of the sentence completely :)
MariaB9's avatar
I joined this site about 2 months ago, this is why I said that.
MirachRavaia's avatar
Side note: does somebody know how do I edit the color of links in this journal skin, so they are actually visible on the background?
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