Talks with Tolkien artists: fluffypallas

16 min read

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By MirachRavaia

In this talk we are again going to Hungary, to meet and talk with :iconfluffypallas: - fluffypallas:


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

Hello! My name is Szilvia, I’m 32 and I live in Budapest, Hungary. I work as a technical writer and part-time translator.

2. What brought you to deviantArt and how did you pick your username?

I had my very first account at DevArt in 2002, maybe? Back in those golden internet gallery days alongside with Elfwood. Then I abandoned all forms of art between 2007 and 2013, I didn’t really update my galleries in that period.

My usernames usually possess sad fates because I’m not very good at choosing them. My current, fluffypallas, refers to my favourite animal, the manul or Pallas-cat, I just love their fluffiness and facial expressions. But I don’t know if I will keep it forever. I’m not a professional artist anyways, I don’t think I get googled too much so I can play freely with my usernames.

3. How did you enter Tolkien's world for the first time, and what impression did it leave in you?

Well, this is a funny story. In late 2002, the media hype for the Fellowship of the Ring already started, the books were being rereleased and the 1978 cartoon directed by Ralph Bakshi also hit the stores. My parents bought it – and it was my first actual meeting with Middle Earth. No sooner did I start reading Lord of the Rings then I watched that movie.

Of course, I knew about the book, but although I have been a bookworm in all my life, somehow I skipped it in my teens. The cartoon quickly made me sew up this hole: first I read LOTR (it took me a mere two days, I skipped sleeping that night as far as I remember), then the Silmarillion, which bewitched me even more than the Lord of the Rings. Then the movies started to roll in and I was (and still am) in complete awe of this world.

4. How much did the movies influence your imagination when reading the books?

One of the best thing in Tolkien’s depictions that they are very resilient and give a great freedom in interpreting them. (God have mercy on you if you don’t get the hair colours right, though.) I always try to find unique concepts for the characters I draw (that said, Orlando Bloom as Legolas was one of the biggest fictional crushes of my life, yet I always appreciate reimagined artworks of him, the same promo photo is a bit boring for the 1000th time), but in my head, they always change faces, sometimes I see Bakshi’s Frodo, sometimes Elijah Wood and sometimes my own images.

I’m quite merciful toward the LOTR movies, even though there are many elements I absolutely don’t agree with, or even detest with all my purest intentions. I try to think of the movies as they are: adaptations, imaginations of another person, someone who did the same like we do when producing illustrations or fanfictions, only at much higher stakes. My images are not threatened by these. (Even so, I don’t think I can ever forgive what the movies did to Éowyn.)

As for the Hobbit movies, I don’t share the most common concerns, I’m just so sad about them – I think the first one was fantastic, but the second and the third (aside from a few moments) were unbelievably bad. I don’t have problems with their length, I think the story, combined with the information from the LOTR Appendices, is well worth three movies – if only it had been developed better.
In many aspects, I like these movies better than the LOTR films, especially the character concepts. The dwarves are marvelous, Richard Armitage’s Thorin is a wonderful character. Martin Freeman is the best hobbit ever, Lee Pace gives us the most authentic Elven character of the movieverse. Radagast is my personal favourite, I think he is the perfect embodiment of the sweet, kind humour that Tolkien displayed in his writings. (I know that a lot of people disagree with me on this, but I can’t help but love him, sorry :) (Smile) ) Even Tauriel could also have ended up as a satisfying character, I have nothing against purposeful OCs. Too bad her storyline was so mediocre (and indirectly made the storylines of Thranduil and Legolas disappointing as well). So many great ideas, and so many wasted opportunities.

Still, the first Hobbit-movie was the one which brought me back my creative energies – for that, I will always be grateful.

5. Some of Tolkien's books can be hard to read, being more of history annals than beletry. Do you let that discourage you or not? How extensive is your knowledge of Middle-earth?

I’ve read the Hobbit, LOTR, the Silmarillion, some HoME volumes, some secondary literature, even translated an essay written by Louisa Paglieri, but I wish I could apply the knowledge more. It is a common mistake of mine that I illustrate my first impressions and do not look closely at the details, or do not follow them – the Kinslayer <da:thumb id="661073627"/> and Elwing’s transformation <da:thumb id="639294821"/> are good examples.

6. Who is your favourite Tolkien character and why?

Éowyn is my all-time favourite, she is awesome. A true badass who follows her heart, things would have got much more chaotic without her.

I also like Feanor. The jerkish mass-murderer he is, he is also a complicated and very interesting figure.

The love story between Aegnor and Andreth has always touched me deeply, they are such a tragic couple, with a heartbreaking storyline.

From the movieverse (aside from the aforementioned Radagast), my fav is absolutely Thranduil – not because of the story imposed on him, but because of his concept. Beautiful, ruthless protector of his people, cruel and dangerous if needed. This is how I always depicted Elves.

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?

I am a mere hobbyist. I restarted doing art at the beginning of 2013. I try to watch as much tutorials as I can, but sometimes I feel that the lack of a proper art education is painfully showing its effects.

My biggest favourites are the pre-Raphaelite painters (John Everett Millais, John William Waterhouse, Gustave Moreau), the Dutch Golden Age (Jan Van Eyck, Vermeer, Rembrandt, Velázquez), landscape- and historical painters of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the 19th century (Mihály Munkácsy, Károly Lotz, Mihály Zichy, János Vaszary, László Mednyánszky, Jan Matejko, Josef Maria Auchentaller), the Golden Age of Illustration (Arthur Rackham, Edmund Dulac, Anne Grahame Johnstone). From the more contemporary line, I love the pencil and watercolour works of Alan Lee, PJ Lynch, Duane Bryers. From fellow deviants, the beautiful watercolors of Jenny Dolfen - Gold-Seven seven (I can’t express it enough how much I learned from her), and the ethereal illustrations of Elena Kukanova - EKukanova .

8. How do you choose which scenes and characters to illustrate?

I can’t really describe this process. I get an inkling from a description or a from a catching movie scene/drawing/music, and boom, illustration. (Boom usually means several weeks as I have very little time to draw, unfortunately.)

9. What other book or movies (or anything else) inspire you to create fanart, and why?

A big influence is Bioware’s Dragon Age series, I have a serious crush on those games. Great storytelling, great characters and cheesy enough for me to love it.
I also made illustrations to several movies, Shakespeare-plays, other video games, television series.

10. You are also working on a historical novel. What inspired your interest in writing, and the novel itself?

The novel takes place in one of the most exciting periods of Hungarian history, in the 11th century, the main conflict is sometimes referred to as the Feud of the King and the Princes. It is about King Solomon and his cousins, Prince Géza (pronounced as gay-za) and Prince László (prononunced as laz-low, the name’s more international form is Ladislaus or Vladislav), their relationship and final battle which ends with the defeat of Solomon, and lets Géza take the throne. László succeeds his brother and becomes one of the greatest figures of Hungarian history. The novel is a historical fiction, with intrigues and some romance, woven together with fantasy elements provided by ancient Hungarian shamanism.

I started to write it committedly last year, I really want to finish the first volume by the end of this year and a big dream of mine to translate it and publish it worldwide as well, if it proves to be good enough. After all, we’ve seen some great works based on certain nations’ folk stories and history (The Witcher series by Andrzej Sapkowski, Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente, the Night Watch series by Sergei Lukyanenko).

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?

I like to work with pencil, ink and watercolour, I also recently started to work digitally. I like to experiment with new techniques, I’d really like to try acrylics or vector art, for example.

12. We can also see some nice jewelry in your gallery. Do you use to wear it?

My jewelry-making phase was very short, although I find wire-wrapped things fantastic, it proved to be irritating for me and not really comforting. I have some pieces left from that period though, sometimes I wear them too.

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

Learn the basics, practice a lot, read a lot, talk to people a lot. And do not let fear overcome you.

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

- a Tolkien illustration you are most proud of?

I really like how the expressions turned out in this one. (especially the horse, eager for the apple, lol)

- 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?

- This was a bloody nightmare.

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

A peaceful Radagast, to lighten your day.

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?

I would say Ferronniere.

He is not a Tolkien artist, but he has many amazing pieces and he has but 24 followers.

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

Value food and cheer! :D (Big Grin)

A good advice indeed! :) Thank you for your time and answers!

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