I promised that when I reached 450 Twitter followers I would release not only all the cover art for The Art of Forgetting, but also an interview with the wonderfully talented cover artist, Evelinn Enoksen. I wasn’t expecting to get there quite so quickly! So here’s Evelinn, and some beautiful pictures for you….
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? How did you come to be an artist?
Well, I’m one of those people who don’t like to talk about myself, unless I’ve had a few glasses of wine first. But here goes: My name is Evelinn Enoksen and I live in Norway with my husband and children. I’m a Norwegian but I’ve got roots in New Zealand. I come from a long line of writers and artists and was encouraged from an early age to explore these talents. My parents often criticized my work when I was young and dared me to do better, and because of that I have always striven for perfection. There are few things more fun in life than being able to create; it defines who I am as a person and even helps me learn to see the world around me, to really see it. My teacher at art school used to say: ‘If you want to become a good artist, you must first learn how to see’
I have a great love of fantasy and science fiction and grew up watching Star Trek and reading Asimov, and I see now how much my past has influenced my present and will continue to do in the future.
Who would you say your inspirations are? Where else do you take inspiration from? Do you have a favourite artist?
My grandmother was my main inspiration to become an artist, she has created wonderful paintings over the years, but unfortunately she’s developed a joint problem so she doesn’t paint anymore, but she continues to be a positive influence in my life and my career as an artist. As for my favorite painter it has to be Michelangelo, he was a fantastic artist who lived a very interesting life. What fascinates me the most about his works are his plays with shadows and how he makes cloth look real, and his paintings have a depth to them that I admire.
When I paint I take inspiration in everything around me, but I prefer to stay within the worlds of fantasy.
How were you introduced to fantasy and SF? Do you have any particular favorite books / movies?
I used to watch series like Star Trek, Doctor Who and Babylon 5 with my father when I was a kid. Some of my fondest memories are of me and dad sitting on the couch and leaving planet Earth for a few hours. When it comes to books, I actually didn’t start reading until I was around fourteen, I used to have problems concentrating, but I can remember clearly reading Anne McCaffrey’s sci-fi books and being completely absorbed. I see now that I have taken considerable inspiration from those books when writing my own. As for my all time favorite books; they would have to be Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series.
You write as well. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
For me writing is a passion equally as important as painting. Here too I can create what I see in my mind. I started writing in my early teens, following in the footsteps of my father who also writes. But I didn’t have much confidence in myself so it took many years before I completed anything. Naturally, because I’m interested in sci-fi and fantasy, that’s what I write, and a few years ago I completed my first book; Guardians of Evion: Destiny, a science fiction fantasy. And shortly after, its sequel, Guardians of Evion: Humanity. I’m currently working on the third and final book. And I’ve also done some short stories for anthologies, one in Norwegian and two in English. The great thing about being bi-lingual is that I can translate my own works into both languages.
Could you tell us a little bit more about Guardians of Evion – what’s it about?
Guardians of Evion is a project I’ve been working on for almost fifteen years, but with an occasional year or two off, and during those years the story had time to grow and mature into what it is today. Here is a short introduction: Four thousand years into the future, humanity travels to the stars, populating new worlds and expanding their existence throughout the galaxy. A branch of humans have evolved and developed telepathic and telekinetic powers. They become the dominant race and with their superiority they create technology far more advanced than anything else in existence. They discover a power-source capable of fuelling their technology, and one place in particular attracts their attention. They send out mining ships to a remote planet far from their vast network of civilization, all the way to our neighbouring galaxy, the Andromeda. The planet called Evion becomes home to a large colony of humans, but earthquakes and storms cut off communication with the rest of the galaxy, and over time leaves Evion forgotten. Two thousand years after the colonization the main character: Numak Teorenn is unaware that he is anything more than a young telepath, one of the few remaining after the Great Council banned the telepaths from procreating. Only when he leaves home to study at the Tarei Waystation in the mountains of Suli, does he learn differently. All Numak wants, aside from becoming one of the revered Dragonriders, is to find answers regarding the mysterious death of his twin sister. But he soon learns that his life has a pre-planned purpose, and nothing could have prepared him for the reasons behind it. He knows he has a destiny, and when he discovers its true nature, he struggles with the choice to fight it or to embrace it. The story Guardians of Evion book one Destiny is an adventure filled with love and loss and the power of the mind.
I’ve seen your work on cover art from sketch stage to finished article. Could you talk us through that process? When you’re doing book covers, what kind of input from the author is useful?
It can be difficult putting others thoughts into images, so having a detailed description of the work helps a lot, but too much can be confusing, so it’s best to find a balance. From sketch to finished product can be a long process, but my years as a tattoo artist has helped me to take orders and understand what the customer wants. First, one must agree on the sketch, then what colours it should have, how big it’s going to be, how many details and so on. When one has reached a mutual agreement, I find it useful to show my progress often in case something should be changed or added. It’s better to find out along the way than have to start over after you’ve finished.
What media do you work in, and do you have a preferred medium?
When it comes to digital art, I use Paint.net, mostly because it’s free and I’m allowed to use it in commercial and public instances. I try to paint or draw a physical picture first and then photograph it or scan it into the computer to touch it up in Paint. There are plenty of programs out there that I’d like to use, and I will start utilizing those when I have the chance.
I’m not sure I have any rituals, I don’t always willingly decide to write or paint something; the creativity kind of takes hold of me and forces me to do it. I can wake up in the middle of the night and not be able to go back to sleep if I don’t paint or write down what’s in my head first. The Guardians of Evion story, for instance, didn’t leave me alone even if I hadn’t written anything in years. I was meant to write it, that’s the only way I can explain it. I live a very busy life, but I love being creative so I always find time for it.
Tell us a bit about your work as a tattoo artist – was there much scope for creativity there? Any funny stories?
I had wanted to become a tattoo artist for a long time, but getting an apprenticeship proved to be difficult, I must have asked close to thirty places before I finally got a chance. But unfortunately there already were three tattoo studios in my town and business was low, but I had great fun the four years I worked there. As for my creative freedom there were times when customers asked me to simply make an image for them without much to go on, but usually people wanted me to cover up the names of their ex. The most popular tattoos at the time were memorial tattoos and names of children. But of course my specialty was dragons, and I was lucky enough to have the chance to do some cool ones. I can remember one funny occasion—funny because it wasn’t my fault— my teacher did a tattoo on a young girl and spelled angel wrong: angle. I still giggle at that, but fortunately he managed to correct the mistake.
What is your dream project?
I like playing the card game Magic, not because of its strategic challenges and fantasy inspired worlds, but rather because of its wonderful artwork. Ever since I first started playing, I’ve dreamt of becoming one of their artists. I did some research and found the company is called Wizards of the Coast: If they ever asked me to design a card for them; that would be my dream project.
Thank you so much to Evelinn for answering all these questions, and for doing such a great job on the covers! To see more of her work, go to her DeviantArt page : http://siamone.deviantart.com/ or her blog http://www.enoksen-art.com/ or stalk her on Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/pages/Guardians-of-Evion/160938193990822
I’ve also just found out that The Guardians of Evion is due to be released on 20th April 2013 from Kristell Ink – congratulations Evelinn! More information on that here : http://www.kristell-ink.com/future-releases/guardians-of-evion-volume-1-destiny/
Evelinn hasn’t been persuaded over to the Twitter side yet, but if you want to follow me it’s @hierath77
Hope you liked the pictures!