After a longer pause again, I bring you the next talk with a Tolkien (and some more fandoms) artist - naomimakesart, or "Naomi makes art" - and she does make some very nice art indeed:
1. Hello! For the beginning, could you tell us something about yourself?
Hi! My name is Naomi; I am 22 and I love to do fanart illustrations!
2. What brought you to deviantArt and how did you pick your username?
I believe I got a deviantART account in 2011, and at the time it was because my friend had one and she told me I should share my traditional artwork with everyone. I used to do a lot of anime fanart, which kind of dictated my username, which is embarrassing and I won’t reveal it, haha. My new username was a way to make myself look more professional I guess and to kind of brand myself.
3. How did you enter Tolkien's world for the first time, and what impression did it leave in you?
I was very young when The Lord of the Rings movies were released, I remember sitting on my Uncle’s living room floor and watching the Fellowship of the Ring for the first time when I was 6 years old. I became OBSESSED, and I went to see The Two Towers in a Drive-In theater, which was such a cool experience, the following year. Ever since then, I have loved his work, and I have held it in such a high degree of perfection that I compare all other fictional works to it.
4. How much did the movies influence your imagination when reading the books?
Interestingly I watched both Peter Jackson’s version of the Lord of the Rings and Ralph Bakshi’s version around the same time. I remember thinking how Aragorn in the live action film was much more handsome than Ralph Bakshi’s animated version. Then once I read the books, I found myself agreeing with Bakshi’s vision for Aragorn as a man who was somewhat weathered and not entirely fair. Though I still believe that Viggo Mortensen was an amazing Aragorn. I tried to imagine a mixture of the two versions whilst reading the books.
As for other characters like Boromir and Faramir I have to say that I was somewhat disappointed that Sean Bean and David Wenham, though both are amazing actors, didn’t have dark hair and grey eyes.
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?
Well I wouldn’t say that my knowledge of Middle-earth is perfect but I would say I know a great deal more now than I did growing up. Just reading the Silmarillion itself answered a lot of questions I had as a child, and I am glad that I waited until I was older to read the Silmarillion because I don’t think I would have had the patience for it. It might read like history annals sometimes but I found it to be very poetic and beautiful.
6. Who is your favourite Tolkien character and why?
This is such a hard question to answer! I love so many of his characters, but I think I have to say that a character that I did not expect to impress me so much is Fingolfin. When I first read about him challenging Morgoth to single combat I was speechless! What an amazing tale, and an impossible feat, because there’s no way he could beat him but his courage was so admirable and it is my favorite scene in the entirety of the Silmarillion.
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 not a professional artist unfortunately. I have been a student for the past 5 years but I haven’t graduated so I have no degree. I have however been drawing my entire life and although I do have some background with art school I believe my style has developed just from my own determination and discipline.
My style was kind of all over the place when I was younger but when I turned 12 I started watching Anime and I was very influenced by it, and attempted to have an anime style. Then when I started networking with other artists, I saw that many of them had their own individual styles and I tried to be inspired by them and create a style of my own.
8. How do you choose which scenes and characters to illustrate?
Usually I choose a scene that really made an impression on me, that won’t be too difficult to draw. I also sometimes prefer not to choose a scene that is too dynamic or dramatic (like a large battle scene or something) just because it can be very challenging and discouraging to me if I am unable to draw it exactly how I imagined it.
When it comes to drawing characters, it’s very much the same, it will be a character that made an impression on me or a character that I’d be interested in designing.
9. What other book or movies (or anything else) inspire you to create fanart, and why?
Usually if it is something that’s fictional (especially fantasy based) I will be inspired enough to draw fanart for it. So I have done a lot of fanart for things like Game of Thrones, and Critical role, and video games like Dragon Age. Usually if there’s dragons, and elves, and dwarves and stuff, I’m in.
10. 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?
Well for a long time I really loved to do very detailed lines, that varied in thickness, and once I got good at that I felt like it didn’t challenge me much anymore, and I wanted to try something new. A lot of artists are doing more painterly styles now that are more blocked in colors rather than coloring in the lines, so I’ve tried to incorporate that in my own style. I also have always been very intimidated by rendering and painting things realistically, but once I learned how to do it, I decided it would be better to try to do that more often now to challenge myself more.
11. You recently held a poll about which fandom you should draw more art for, with Game of Thrones winning. Does that mean that we won't see that much of Tolkien art from you anymore?
Absolutely not! I already have several Tolkien fanarts in mind that I am very eager to draw! I wish I could draw for everything all the time, but I have to give myself time to rest a lot (I get tendonitis easily, so if my wrist starts hurting I stop drawing for a few days) and then on top of that, I have had a lot of people commissioning me lately. But if I get inspired to draw something I will draw it, regardless of what my watchers would like to see from me. That doesn’t mean I won’t draw more for Game of Thrones, but it also doesn’t mean that is all I’m going to draw for a while. I like to make people happy with my art, but ultimately I draw to make myself happy.
12. Do you have some tips and tricks you would like to share with the other artists?
I think a lot of artists feel like their self worth boils down to how many followers they have online. When you’re young and you want people to see your content, you take it very personally if you don’t have like 1,000 favorites on every drawing. It can be discouraging but being consistent with your work will get you more recognition, and it will pay off for you in the end. I have posted art consistently for the past 7 years and I don’t have the largest fan following but I have a generous amount that I am so grateful for, especially the people that have followed me since the beginning and have seen me go through several different art styles. I think it’s important to realize that it is nice to have fans but continuing to draw will help sharpen your skills more and it’s always good to have a large portfolio!
13. Could you give us a link or thumbnail from your gallery of
- a Tolkien illustration you are most proud of?
This drawing of Eöl and Aredhel that I drew, just because I put so much work into it and it turned out very nice!
- a picture from other fandom or original picture you are most proud of?
This drawing I did of Shaun Gilmore from the webseries Critical Role! It’s over a year old but I still really love it.
- a picture that was hardest to paint?
This picture took me several days to draw and I still don’t know how I feel about it now? At least the Dragons look cool though!
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.
My family has always been supportive of me as an artist but I have a group of friends that I’ve know since I was like 12 years old and we’ve all just been art buddies ever since and they really inspire me. We’ve all send each other Work In Progress sketches to see how we’re doing and give each other advice and it’s really encouraging.
I also have had many good art instructors over the years and the one I had in college was so influential to me and has made a very long lasting impression on me and taught me so much, so I was very grateful to him.
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?
Lynniica is my bestie, and she has a really cute style guys! These are some of her pieces that I absolutely love (one of them was a birthday gift to me!)
16. Is there something else you would like to tell to the fans of Tolkien and your art?
Thanks so much for the support and feedback everyone! You definitely haven’t seen the last of my love for Tolkien!
Thank you very much for your time and answers!