I just got the chance to interview the lovely and talented Enrica ‘Eren’ Angiolini (my illustrator) about being an artist–this is my first interview guys, I’m so excited! She did some amazing artwork for my second novel, The Prince of Prophecy Vol. II: Cursed, and I’m super excited that she’ll be illustrating the other four books for this series (the third one will be coming out this October). Now, without further ado, here’s my interview with Eren!
Me: What first inspired you to become an artist?
Eren: I wouldn’t say I was inspired by something in particular. I’ve always like drawing, ever since I was a little kid: both my parents have artistic hobbies and I grew up in a house full of art and creativity. Probably one of my biggest inspirations to pursue my passion was the work of two Italian comic artists: Barbara Canepa and Alessandro Barbucci (W.I.T.C.H., Sky-Doll), whom I discovered when I was in middle school. I got so much in love with their works that I drew every hour of every day. I don’t even know if I can call my-self an “artist”, or if I somehow “became an artist”. I do this because I like it and I hope that one day I’ll be able to do it professionally as a full-time job.
Me: I’m sure all of us artists would like to make a full-time career out of our passions–I know I would! What are your favorite things to draw (people, places, animals, etc.)?
Eren: Surely I prefer drawing people. I feel more comfortable drawing male figures, since I like the shapes of the male anatomy. Perspective always comes a bit tricky to me, but I’m working on it! Lately I’ve discovered that I like painting landscapes as well, which seemed like an impossible target to me until last year, but I’m growing fond of that too.
Me: I’ve seen some of your landscapes and they’re beautiful! I really love the forest landscape you did for Cursed (so much so that it’s my background for this blog and my Facebook Fan Page)! Who inspires you and do they influence your artworks?
Eren: As I said before, surely Barbara Canepa and Alessandro Barbucci are one of my main inspirations, and they did influence my style during the years. I love the way Barbara colors and Alessandro’s lines are just amazing. I’ve had the pleasure to meet Barbara last year, attending one of her coloring workshops and she taught me so much. I’m sure they’re one of my biggest references and influences. But they’re not the only ones, obviously. My favorite artists come from really different worlds and styles, from Marvel comics, to Japanese anime and manga: Joe Madureira, Michael Turner, Brom, Frank Frazetta, Massimiliano Frezzato, Metteo de Longis, Staney “Artgerm” Lau, Takeshi Obata, Oh!Great, Norihiro Yagi and many more.
Me: I can definitely see the anime/manga inspiration in your works–that’s part of the reason I was so drawn to your art. In your recent shirt designs for me, I can also see the comic influence (I’m a huge marvel comic fan myself–GO DEADPOOL!!!).Do you have a favorite genre that you enjoy creating for (fantasy, science fiction, horror, etc.)?
Eren: I’ve got a really strong and deep bonding with fantasy themes. I grew up reading Tolkien’s books, playing D&D and live role-playing games with my friends, listening to epic metal bands… Fantasy is my veins! But I surely enjoy trying new stuff. I’ve been doing a lot of sci-fi lately for commissioned works, and I do appreciate that. Cyberpunk and Steampunk are fun too, since they give me the chance to try out some crazy stuff. And from time to time, I don’t dislike drawing more “kawaii” and cartoonish themes.
Me: Yeah, fantasy is my niche as well, though I do tend to mix it in with a bit of everything in my works (sci-fi, steampunk, horror, and other genres). I can’t wait to see more of your sci-fi artwork! How did you learn to draw? Did you go to school for it, or did you teach yourself?
Eren: I’ve learned by myself. I’ve been drawing since I was a kid and I started with Digital Art when I was quite young, so I’ve had a lot of time to experiment and learn to use Photoshop as well. When I was a little kid there was no internet or online tutorials, so I asked my parents for some help on the basics of PS, but the rest I discovered by myself. I’ve never attended any art school, just a 3-day workshop on digital coloring and a 4-day one on concept art with the amazing Jim Moore last year. I like saying that my teachers are the best artists from all over the world, since I always learn so many things watching the works of other artists. I think that watching and studying the paintings and illustrations of the great artists from the past and from the present, is one of the most important keys to learn and improve in art.
Me: Watching and studying the pros of any profession is a great way to improve. It’s no different with writing–if you want to get better you’ve got to write every day and read all the time. Besides making beautiful pieces of art, what other hobbies do you have?
First of all, thanks for the nice words! I’m a very busy and active person, I have tons of hobbies, which I’d like to bring to the “next level” and make a living of out those as well. With my boyfriend I have a small video and photo production company: we shoot music videos, event videos and do photographic books and stuff like that (it’s called “White Whale Production” you can look us up on Facebook or google if you want to!). I’ve always liked photography and movies, so that’s a way of cultivating another one of my passions. I also am a translator (specializing in video game, audiovisual, and comic translations)! I practice historical fencing and I play an ancient strategic board game called “go”, created in China, but very popular in Japan and Korea as well (I play the Japanese version). Of course I enjoy listening to music, reading, and watching movies and TV series as well!
Me: Wow, you’re certainly a very busy person! Since this is a writing blog I would be remiss if I didn’t ask you some ‘bookish’ questions. So, what’s your all-time favorite book?
Eren: Probably I’d have to say the series “A Song of Ice and Fire” by George. I started reading it nearly 9 years ago, when I was in High School, and I’ve loved it from the first page. More of my all-time favorites are: “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Silmarillon” by Tolkien, “Saving Fish from Drowning” by Amy Tan, “The Girl who Played Go” by Shan Sa. And even if I just got it as Christmas present, I’ve got the feeling that “S.” by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst is going to be a really interesting read.
Me: I’m also a fan of Tolkien, but I’ve never read Martin’s stuff–even though all of my friends rave about Game of Thrones. On that note, who are some of your favorite authors?
Eren: Of course George Martin, but I also love Tolkien’s works, which had a really big influence on me. On the sci-fi side, the “Hyperion” series by Dan Simmons is a must, but George Martin wrote some amazing sci-fi novels as well. Another one of my favorite writers is Terry Pratchett: he’s hilarious! Such a genius! As of now, I’m reading “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle” by Murakami Haruki, trying to understand if I do like his writing style or not, since this is the third of his books I read, but the first one that I’m really liking!
Me: Those sound like interesting books–I’ll have to check them out! What is your favorite fairy tale and why do you like it so much?
Eren: Oh my… this is a tough question. I don’t have a favorite fairy tale, but I do like many of them. If I had to choose, I’d probably go with “Peter Pan”, because of the “not growing up” concept, which really fascinates me. When I was a little girl, my favorite fairy tale was actually “The Hobbit” by Tolkien, which my mom used to read me before I went to bed every night. And it also was the first book I read all by myself as I grew up.
Me: Peter Pan is my favorite too! I love Peter’s character because he’s not really the ‘typical hero’ is he? He’s kind of a jerk, but I love him for it. The Hobbit was also one of the first books I read by myself–I remember pretending that I was sick just so I could stay home from school and read it! If you had to choose between spending time in only one of these magical realms, which would it be and why: Neverland (Peter Pan), Wonderland (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland), Narnia (The Chronicles of Narnia), or Oz (The Wizard of Oz)?
Eren: I’m tempted to say Neverland, so I would never grow up, but I think Narnia would be the place that fits me the most. Fantastic creatures, magic, brave warriors in armors… that’s where I belong!
Me: Narnia would be pretty cool to visit–you’ve just got to find the right wardrobe! For my book, The Prince of Prophecy Vol. II: Cursed, who was your favorite character to draw and why?
Eren: Probably my favorite one to draw was Destan. I like his outlaw design a lot. Also I like him as a character, with his desire for adventure and freedom! Scarlet was really interesting as well, since his outfit was great to draw and I was able to go crazy on it. As I said before, I practice historical fencing and I study rapier (among other swords), so it was fun to draw him a pair of those. Little secret: for one of the inside illustrations I used some of my friends and teachers from my historical fencing academy as references, so that was incredibly fun as well!
Me: It’s funny you should say that since Destan and Scarlet are crowd favorites! Now I’m kind of curious as to which illustration you used your friends and teachers for… So, where can people see more of your awesome artwork?
Eren: My works can be found on different sites:
-Facebook: my official FB page, where I upload all my finished works, by WIPS and sketches and much more https://www.facebook.com/EnricaAngioliniArt
-DeviantART: my entire gallery and my personal journals are here http://eeren.deviantart.com/
-YouTube: I have a channel where I upload my drawing videos and tutorials https://www.youtube.com/user/LadyEren
-Tumblr: I don’t use it much, but I also upload here non-art related works and random stuff: http://www.ladyeren.tumblr.com
-My Official Portfolio: http://enricaangiolini.daportfolio.com
Me: Do you have any advice for all the aspiring artists out there?
Eren: My only advice is to never stop drawing. Don’t abandon your passion, even if it’s hard and it looks like you’re not making progresses (because even if you don’t see it, you’re always improving ;D). Keep on trying, exercising and dreaming. Art is all about passion and effort! Don’t get discouraged! ;D
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