I am so thrilled to have my cover-artist over here on the blog today for an interview. First and foremost, though, Angelina is my sister-in-love (as the Walker family puts it). The fact that she also is an amazing artist and willing to work with me on covers for my books is just icing. Most of the pictures throughout this interview are images of other artwork that Angelina has worked on that she was kind enough to let me share with you all, hope you enjoy seeing them. Well, let’s jump on in and I’ll introduce you all to my wonderful sister!
Hi, Angelina! Thanks for coming over to the blog for an interview today! I know our readers are excited to get to know you a bit better. So we’ll start off with an easy one – tell us a little bit about yourself as a person. What are your interests and hobbies outside of art?
Thank you for having me! It is exciting when people are interested to hear more about the person behind the art and the process to arriving at the final cover.
Interest and hobbies….hhmmm…other than the obvious ‘painting’? Since becoming a new mom to a 1yr old now, I like to say that that is my hobby. Being a mom is a full time job and also joy. But aside from that, I would say thrifting (I’m a thrift store junkie), crafting, and teaching.
How did you become interested in art? Has it always been something you enjoyed?
I’ve been creating since I could walk. I remember taking art classes as soon as I was old enough to enroll. At the age of 8, I was talking private lessons from a Disney animator where I entered many of my color pencil Disney renditions in contests/conventions. I always thought I’d draw for Disney one day. I skated my way through high school never taking a foreign language because “I was a serious artist.” (whatever that meant)
What is your favorite medium to work with when it comes to creating a piece of art?
ACRYLIC! I fell in love with color, form, and texture in college. I quickly grew to love the spontaneity of color spilling across the canvas, being pushed around with a brush, and intertwining with other colors to create a beautiful composition. Oh and how I love to peel dried up paint off things!
And, can’t ask that last question without asking this one: what is your least favorite medium to work with?
Pen and Ink. My ink always comes out blotchy. Watercolor is a trying medium too.
I’ve told my readers that you taught yourself how to paint with watercolor in order to create the cover of King’s Warrior – can you tell us a little bit about that experience?
Hahaha yes I have. Funny to follow this question with the last. Watercolor has probably caused me to pull my hair out the most purely because I can’t erase. With oil and acrylic, if you put a color down you don’t like, you just paint over it. Not so with watercolor.
Why I decided to do these illustrations in watercolor its hard to explain except in hearing about the authors influence and the background, I felt it necessary to create an image that fulfilled that richness. I wanted a classical picture. With watercolor I felt I could achieve that.
So on to the library I went, checking out ‘Watercolor Painting How to’ books and searched YouTube for technique demonstrations. It is amazing how much you can learn just by watching YouTube videos (am I just now realizing that?!). Those tools became essential to my development as a watercolor artist. Having a concentration in painting in college, my knowledge of color theory gave me a step up. I wasn’t in the dark about how watercolor paint worked, I just never cared to master it. Well now I have…almost. I am still learning the art,. But then again, as an artist, you are always developing and fine tuning technique.
I look forward to the journey.
Is there an artist that you really admire or has influenced your own artwork? Who and why?
Oh there are many artist I admire. To name one would be too difficult. My undergraduate portfolio was heavily influenced by Pia Fries, a Swiss abstract painter. I spent much time studying the great abstract expressionists like Frankenthaler, Motherwell, Sam Francis, to name a few. I have always admired Edward Hopper as well has Edgar Degas.
What about the artists you mentioned do you like or what about their work influences your own? (And I’m excited that because of watching White Collar I actually recognize a lot of those names!!!) haha.
Pia Fries makes paint look like candy, so rich in color and texture. I have included a picture for you all to enjoy as much as I do. As you look at my portfolio, it is evident she heavily influences how I handle paint. I look to Frankenthaler and Motherwell for composition expertise. I admire Degas for his confidence in creating detail with a single brush stroke. His Ballerina series is masterfully done.
Can you tell us a little bit about your process for taking a project from that first idea to completion?
I always start with a charcoal sketch. I love working with vine and stick charcoal. I can use my hands to smudge and shade, covering a large area quickly. After working out a few compositions, I create a medium to small scale color sketch with pastels, color pencils, and watercolor. Then sharing with the author possible layouts, a final is chosen. From there I move into more directed studies of certain aspects of the painting.
IFor the Second Son cover I spent a great deal of time working out many countryside landscapes to resolve color and tree compositions. I had the most fun creating the castle. That may be my favorite part. I actually think my smaller sketch of the castle is better than the one on the cover. lol Of course sketches of the boys had to be done. Images were drawn from Star Wars scenes.
I am always asking for critiques along the way. I think that is crucial to any artists complete work. Luckily my husband is just up the stairs and VERY opinionated when it comes to my art. Only because he knows what I am capable of and in this case, very familiar with the subject.
Once I have worked out my color compositions and feel confident in the details of the project, I begin work on the final.
How is creating book covers different or similar to other art projects you’ve worked on?
Similar in that it requires planning your composition and doing several sketches before the final. At least I can say that was true with my figure drawings and Still Life works. Much of my abstract work was done on the fly…which is what I loved about it so much.
Different in that it I am working with another party. I may have an idea, but the authors opinion is always priority. The story isn’t mine. It is only my job to convey the author’s story as best I can with the information given me. So if I think the dragon would look cooler purple, I can’t do it.
What is the most difficult part of working on an art project?
STOPPING. I sometimes work and rework a project until I hate it and need to start over. In the case of watercolor, you can’t overwork it. It will be a muddy mess if you do.
What is your favorite (and/or least favorite) part of the process of creating a piece of art?
Similar to the previous question. Least part is stopping. Favorite part is mixing color. There is nothing I enjoy more that mixing paint on a palette.
What advice would you give to an artist who is just starting out?
Go to galleries, museums, coffee shops. Look. Learn from others. There was much I took away from my undergraduate professors about studying artists consistently. To be aware of what is being created in the Art World today and what has been done yesterday. Submerge yourself. And find someone to offer critiques for your work (vice versa).
What inspires you the most when it comes your artwork?
Nature. Look at a sunset and the shape clouds take. Look at the way moss grows on a tree. The beauty of old buildings. How oil mixes with water (or doesn’t). Look at the colors of fall. Color inspires me always. And God is the Master Artist. I am inspired by His creation.
Thank you so much for coming over and hanging out with us today, Angelina! Loved having you! Dear Readers, I hope you enjoyed getting to know Angelina a bit better today. I simply cannot wait to share her latest creation with you all.