Talks with Tolkien artists: s-u-w-i

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By MirachRavaia

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Today I talked with a Czech artists :icons-u-w-i: - s-u-w-i about her lovely fairy-tale-ish art. I hope you enjoy it as well!

strider by s-u-w-i Eorlingas by s-u-w-i
kral sluji pod horami by s-u-w-i the march of Fingolfin by s-u-w-i
cestou by s-u-w-i the hobbit by s-u-w-i

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

Hi :3
well, I'm afraid I'm not very interesting. Most of the time I just sit at home next to the radiator, dressed in too many sweaters, sip cocoa and read or draw (but when I have more free time I greatly enjoy cooking/baking and sewing) I'm nineteen and currently study animation on university so I totally don't have as much time to draw my own things as I would like. I live in tiny, unknow village under Beskydy mountains with my mum, dad, sister and our dog Asta. I love it here very much.

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

Oh, hmmmm... I think I was 9 or 10 when I tried to read Lotr for the first time, I don't think I understood it too much but I guess I did not really care. I was so in love with the Lotr movies that I was just overjoyed from anything associated with it.

3. How extensive is your knowledge of Middle-earth? Do you consider yourself Tolkien expert?
Haha, if only. I'm not expert at all. Though I hope my Middle-earth knowledge isn't too bad. I really love to read the books and draw pictures for it but I'm not too good in rememembering details. I think I'm always too captured in the story to notice all the conections and so. Sweating a little... Only sometimes when I decide to draw someone I do more detail observation of the character or surroundings.

4. What was first for you - book or movie? When the movies came out, many of the inner pictures of characters and scenes in the mind of the readers have been replaced by actors and settings from the movie.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?

Actually I think it was exactly the other way around with me. I saw the movies first (when we should go on Lotr-themed camp and our crazy camp leaders though it was good idea for us to watch all the Lotr movies at once (in English with Czech subtitles) I was 7 that time :D (Big Grin) ). So I think I always imagined the characters the way they look in the movies but then when I got older I read the book and my view of them began to be much more bookish. My imagination of the characters now is probably mixure of the movies, books and various original illustrations.

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?

Me and my art, well I certainly don't feel like a professional, no way. I started to draw as a small kid (as probably everyone). My older sister always drew a lot and I tried to keep up with her as much as possible. But I started to draw somehow for real when I went to high shool (I studied graphics and animation so avoiding drawing wasn't really an opinion) and when I joined DA, that's like 3 years ago.
My influence.... it's lot of things. I love comics very much (mangas, superheros or the Europian ones (like Blacksad♥)), so that is one. Then there are all the classic artists (I love Art History and galleries) so from all the eras something I guess, there is too much of them to name. And of course probably the biggest one right now are animators and illustrators. I love watching animated movies and going through old fairy-tale books very much. My favorite forgein movies are Fantastic Mr. Fox, Brother bear, Monsters Inc., The prince of Egypt, all the Ghibli movies and much much more. From the Czech I adore works of Karel Zeman, Břetislav Pojar, Zdeněk Smetana and of course Jiří Trnka, he is one of my most favorite illustrators as well, together with Tove Jansson or Zdeněk Müller.

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

Hmmmm... I do not have a clue... I just read the book and then there is always someone/some scene that I just have to draw? :D (Big Grin)

7. 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 watercolors and colored pencils very much (though colored pencils only for lines or sketch I can not color with them at all ><) I would love to experiment more but I am usually too scared that it will go wrong so I just stick to the familiar techniques ^^

8. Fairy tales are an important topic in your illustrations. What is your relationship with childrens' stories?

Oh I adore fairy tales, my sister collects old fairy-tale books so there is lot of them in our room. I love to observe the old illustrations, it is usually done with some incredible techniques I just can not define, I could stare at it for hours ♥

9. Do you think that looking at Tolkien's stories through childrens' eyes can bring new perspectives for their illustrators?

Well sure it can I guess, but I have to say I do not fancy realism in illustrations too much at least for Tolkiens fairy tales or The Hobbit I find the more stylizated/childlike works more fitting (but realism fits very well for more serious books like Lotr or Silmarillion) but that is just my own opinion and it is not always true of course, it is just that my favorite Hobbit illustrations are quite childish. I like the original Latvian (… ,… ,… ), Romanian (… ,… ) or Swedish (… ,… ,… ,…) illustrations very very much ♥♥♥

10. You are from the Czech republic just like faQy, and your style is visually quite similar. Do you know and influence each other?

hahaha :D (Big Grin) oh yes, I am not sure if I infuence her but she infuences me for sure ^^ She is my older sister (the very one I mentioned here few times already :) (Smile) ) I am the terrible younger sister who can not do anything by herself and so always relies on her :D (Big Grin)

(P.S. An interview with faQy is here: Talks with tolkien artists: faQy )

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

mmmm... I do not know.. Only that drawing is all about endurance and not giving up (talent is just nice word for it) if you really try long enough everyone can do it, is the same as learning any other craft :) (Smile)

12. Could you give us a link or thumbnail from your gallery of
- a Tolkien illustration you are most proud of?
Bag End by s-u-w-i
- can be this? It's not an illustration but It's my favorite Tolkien themed work :) (Smile)

- a picture from other fandom or original picture you are most proud of?
v zahrade by s-u-w-i

- a picture that fits your current mood?
eagles by s-u-w-i

- a picture that was hardest to paint?
gold sickness by s-u-w-i

- Digital coloring is always so problematic for me, there is tooooo many colors, I can never choose the right one ><

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

maybe this -
Samwise by s-u-w-i
It's totally terrible but it's my first Tolkien picture I submitted here :D (Big Grin)

13. 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.

Oh there is lot of these as well... My mum, dad, sister, grandmas, grandpas, great-grandma, uncles, aunties, cousins :D (Big Grin). Then my childhood friends and friends from camp (we go every summer on a camp, there are people with the most interesting personalities) and my high school classmates Janička, Naďa, Lenka, Terka, Martinka (my dear current roomate :3 ) and my best friend Kamilka. And of course there is very big amount of people on DA or tumblr who are great inspiration to me.

14. 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?

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

I just want to thank everyone who likes my works, it means a lot to me and I'm really glad there is such a big amount of Tolkien fans, that's just so great :) (Smile)

Rohirrim journal skin.

Horse head © 2009 - Grinmir-stock
Texture by kizistock
Knotwork by gbrgraphix
© 2015 - 2021 MirachRavaia
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Diabolo-menthe's avatar
Awesome interview, I love Suwi's work so much ! *______*
Also thanks a million for the feature, Im taken aback!
MirachRavaia's avatar
The thanks for feature belongs to her :)
Moi-Keiniku-Sang's avatar
Love this girl! Her work is so charming :3
KageusRageus's avatar
This is amazing! Great interview!
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