Please welcome Evan Jensen to The Qwillery. Evan is one of two artists for GENIUS LOCI: Tales of the Spirit of Place from Ragnarok Publications.
This is the twenty-fifth in a series of interviews with many of the authors and the artists involved in GENIUS LOCI. I hope you enjoy meeting them here at The Qwillery as much as I am!
I am a backer of GENIUS LOCI which is edited by Jaym Gates. You may check out the Kickstarter here. GENIUS LOCI has been funded and reached the Deluxe format printed edition stretch goal! There are additional stretch goals!
TQ: Welcome to The Qwillery. How did you get your start in illustration?
Evan: Hey, howdy. Thanks for the questions! As to this one, I've always been drawing. One of *those* kids you hear about, messing with markers and pencils since early days. I didn't quite realize you could do it FER SRS until I was about 14, though. At that point I aimed at art college, and after university (which whatever your feeling on the ROI of art school, is at least a years-long span of dedicated practice time), I've been sort of stumbling through life at various freelance work. From illustration to design to mural work. It's worked out so far!
TQ: How do decide what to illustrate for a particular work?
Evan: Generally I like to read the story end to end, then pick and choose interesting seeming visuals from the narrative. Sometimes there's just a sheer volume of book and you rely a bit on the Art Director or Editor to highlight passages/imagery they would like to see come to life. Such may be the case with Genius Loci, in that this book is awesomely long and if we read it all it would be a while until we were able to sketch up the best parts!
TQ: What is your process for creating your art?
Evan: When I read I tend to visualize the tale that's coming through the words (maybe most people do), so if something exciting leaps out I'll proceed to thumbnail sketches. Lots of small pencil doodles to get the awesome imagery out of my head into a physical shape that keeps the awesome feeling it had in my head. This is a lot of minor refining of composition and layout, shapes and sizes, poses and expressions. After that, maybe a big sketch and then a final drawing; or if it's feeling right, I go straight to final drawing and paint. Generally I work in watercolor over pencil with acrylic gouache or colored pencil to bring out final details. Also, walnut ink is a super fun medium to paint in for monochrome stuff.
TQ: Please tell us about what you are creating for Genius Loci?
Evan: It's the interior art, so it will be in greyscale, varying from spot/quarter page illustrations to a couple full-page artings. Lisa Grabenstetter & I were each going to do 6 illustrations originally. But then there's the More Art! Stretch goal we hit, so...
TQ: What are some of your own favorite works prior to Genius Loci?
One of my favorite illustrators when I was younger was Tony DiTerlizzi. His art for RPG titles are one of the big things that got me into fantasy work. He has a great way with line, color, and character. Likewise, John Jude Palencar's sense of mystique is very appealing to me, if a bit lonely sometimes. I love looking at work very different from my own, too; Ivan Bilibin, sculptor Beth Cavener Stichter, Wylie Beckert, Julie Dillon, printmaker Shane Chick... dang, so many others. It's hard to choose just a few, and you don't want me to list a book's worth I'm sure. : )
Evan: Genius Loci will have my attention for a bit, but after that Lisa & I hope to move to the Pacific Northwest and find some new chances to make art out there. I have a bookplate relief commission to finish as well, which is the printmaking side of my work.
TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.
Evan: Any time, thanks!
About Evan Jensen
Evan makes a mean masala chai, plans to build a bamboo bicycle when he finds some long-lost free time, and lives on rain and fog. He pays the bills off art and freelance illustration. Sometimes he wears the graphic design hat.