Talks with Tolkien artists: kaijukid

12 min read

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By MirachRavaia

The wedding is over, dissertation is written, and Talks with Tolkien artists are back! :) Today I would like to introduce you an artist who illustarted the WHOLE Tale of Beren and Lúthien - not in 10, not in 20 pictures, but full 61 of them! At first he wanted to decline the interview because there are many more talented Tolkien artists, but I think you'll agree with me that a dedication and effort like this should be recognized regardless of the talent level. And so I present you :iconkaijukid: - KaijuKid and his Lay of Luthien:

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

---What amazed the young mind I had when I first read them was the sheer bigness of it all....the world was huge, the characters were grand, the drama was immense. It was clear from a young age these weren't just fairy tales but a deep, well made world, and it drew me in for keeps.

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

---If categories were divided in neat threes of Noob, Average and Expert I would definitely consider myself average. I'm not one who relies only on the movies and media adaptations to inform me on the universe, I remember a lot of the names, significance to things and a lot of the history, but I still couldn't tell you off the top of my head what the name of the earliest elf king was, or the name of every castle. Just enough to enjoy it a bit deeper than face value.

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 When the movies came out, many of the inner pictures of characters and scenes in the mind of the readers have been replaced by actors and settings from the movie.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

---Ironically my mental pictures of most of the characters defaults not to the movies when I read the books but rather to the looks and styles I saw in my head listening to the BBC radio dramatizations, which I listened to quite often. The movies typically tend to stay apart in my head as their own separate thing.

4. Now, could you tell us something about you and art? When and how did you start doing it, and who or what influenced your style?

---I've dabbled in art as long as I can remember, initially trying to just draw cartoon heroes and eventually fan comics of same. Comic artists, manga artists and animation styles were always my favorites, rather than striving for a realism style. Bob Eggleton was one of my biggest heroes, a fantasy and sci fi painter with a gorgeous style. Rumiko Takahashi and Masakazu Katsura influenced the more cartoony/animated style along with studio Ghibli movies. I just cherry-picked whatever I liked best out of each.

5. You illustrated the ENTIRE tale of Beren and Lúthien, in 61 pictures. What motivated you to do it? Was there a moment when you almost gave up, but didn't?

---The motivation for the adaptation was mainly twofold; first was just that I absolutely adored the story, I consider it not only a beautiful story within the Tolkien universe but one of the most perfect "fairytales" ever written. It's a shame to me that more people aren't familiar with the story or that it also hasn't benefited from greater exposure with adaptations outside of the histories, because I feel people would adore it. The second motivator was that I wanted to make it in a storybook style for younger readers, especially for my nieces, nephews and maybe someday my own children, and use it as a tool to introduce them to the lesser known stories in the Silmarillion and other non LOTR/Hobbit books. Honestly it never occurred to me to not finish it, because when I get to a point that I know I'm going to start a project I've pretty much settled in that it's going to get done. Once page one of Luthien was finished, it was an inevitability as far as I was concerned.

6. 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 definitely dabble, but I'm certainly comfortable with the pen and tablet, doing characters in a sort of animated/cartoon style. The better the technology I can eventually get a hold of the more I want to see what new styles I can play with.

7. Do you have some tips and tricks you would like to share with the other artists, especially when it comes to persistance and determination?

---Mainly just don't let pride get in the way. Everyone carries a style, and a skill level, and it's always better to produce than be intimidated not to do so out of fear of looking bad by comparison. Don't worry about a little tutoring if you can finding someone you respect who knows their stuff, or just playing with your programs or tools until something feels comfortable, even if it will eventually make way for something better.

8. 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?
Let Them Fight by KaijuKid
- a picture that fits your current mood?

We'll just say "romantic" :P (Lick)
So Easy to Love by KaijuKid
- a picture that was hardest to paint?
Mothra Leo vs.  Final Gigan by KaijuKid
- any other picture you would like to share with us and why?
The Strawman and the Blackbird, front cover by KaijuKid
This is my current project which means a great deal to me, a graphic novel about a brave girl on a farm. Projects like these typically take several years to finish, but every day and page is worth it. I always hope that will inspire anyone frustrated with their own work to keep going, because the long haul is worthwhile.

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.

---My dad was always a solid rock of support, and my older brother's pencil shaded superhero pictures were awe inspiring to a kid wanting to enjoy art. I am also blessed to have a wife not only supportive of my art, but as a fantastic artist herself has helped me to grow.

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?

A stylish monster movie artist :iconearthbaragon:
Ultraman Complete 58 Kaijus by earthbaragon MST3K: Giant Crab: Attack of the Crab Monsters by earthbaragon Godzilla and Eleking - The Thunder From Down Under by earthbaragon

Thank you for your time and answers!

Previous talks:Bullet; Blue with Gold-Seven
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© 2014 - 2021 MirachRavaia
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earthbaragon's avatar
Oh wow...thanks for the links from the interview you did with Kaijukid ^_^