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Talks with Tolkien artists: Candra

Journal Entry: Fri Sep 19, 2014, 2:14 AM

Today I bring you an interview with :iconcandra: - Candra , an artist known for her beautiful depictions of the elven king Thranduil.

So heavy is your crown by Candra The Kings Jewel by Candra

Ties of memory by Candra farewell by Candra
Welcome to Mirkwood by Candra Past and Thoughts by Candra

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

I live in St. Petersburg, Russia and I draw a lot, both for myself and my clients. Most art I draw for myself is fanart for my different fandoms. My current fandom is Tolkien, but this is actually my second time with this fandom. First time was a long time ago, back in student years, when I engaged in LARP and drew a lot of fandom art (unfortunately, old works were lost in moving to another city). Later new interests took over and I was not active in fandom anymore until Hobbit movies rekindled the old flame.

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

The first Tolkien book I read was 'Smith of Wootton Major', but it was in early childhood and I initially did not remember author's name, only the plot about star in the cake and general warm fairytale feeling of the story. And only much later, after reading Lord of the Rings, Silmarillion and Hobbit I decided to read the rest of Tolkien works and rediscovered Smith of Wootton Major for myself.

3. How extensive is your knowledge of Middle-earth? Do you consider yourself Tolkien expert?

I'd say it is four out of five, or even three-something out of five. I doubt I will be able to recall all of the sons of Fëanor if you wake me in the middle of the night and ask about it. Also, for Tolkien the linguistic part of his world was very important, and for me those fictional languages might as well be a rocket science – completely outside of my area of expertise.

4. Thranduil is the most frequent object of your pictures. Can you tell us how you view this character?

My love for Thranduil surprised myself as well. I always liked Legolas and was indifferent to his father. After all, in the book Thrandul was not well developed as a character (though I know people who loved him as a character long before the movies). But then, I never really liked Hobbit as a book, and I was in love with Lord of the Rings. I read Hobbit too late, only after I read Lord of the Rings and Silmarillion, and I was 18 or even 19 at the time, and Hobbit seemed childish in comparison. If I read it ten years earlier, the situation might have been different.

With movies situation was opposite. I can barely sit through the Lord of the Ring movies without swearing at director every other scene, but the first Hobbit movie was not only a pleasant surprise, but also revealed the beauty of Thranduil to me. In my opinion the weakest point of Jackson adaptations was the casting of elves. The book sets the bar too high – unhumanly beautiful creatures with wisdom of ages in the eyes and so on. And in the movies we got humans with pointy ears. In best cases they still were attractive humans, like Arwen and Legolas, and in worst cases it was Agent Elrond. There also were some good looking elves in background, but I never can tell if they really were or it just seemed this way because they were less than a second on the screen.

In comparison movie!Thranduil looks the closest to what books implied (not the character himself, but elves in general). There's indeed something outlandish, unhuman, elvenlike about him. Could be better, of course, but still he's the most elven-like elf in the movies. At least that's how I see it. And that's why I never draw portrait likeness in my art – I tend to increase the 'elveness' to my liking.

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?

I am professional artist. As for influences, it's complicated. I've been drawing as long as I can remember myself, so I just do not remember initial influences. I like a lot of artists and there are many I aspire to. Sometimes, though, I get surprised by some comparisons I hear from my viewers.

6. Could you tell us a bit more about the "headcanon" depicted in your "Halls of Dead" series of pictures?
On the way to Halls of Dead by CandraIn the Halls of Dead by CandraThe Time Of Spells by Candra

Tolkien has The Lay of Leithian, 'The song of release', the story about how Lúthien is released from the bonds of the Eldar to the physical world. My story is the opposite one, the song of confinement, the story about elf who has bound himself to the mortal world for all eternity.

For next part warnings for slash and OOC are in order (also, I do not presume this could ever happen in canon, it's purely my fantasy).

At the time of one of the visits of Mirkwood elves to Erebor a great love (and many things that are not allowed to be depicted by DeviantArt policies) happened between Thorin and Thranduil, but Smaug's attack ruined it all. Thorin started to hate all elves, and he made peace with Thranduil only before death. Thranduil made a promise to dying Thorin that he will make it all good, that he will find a way to be together for the rest of times, that valar are merciful towards loving hearts, as seen in story of Lúthien and Beren. After Thorin died, Thranduil secretly left for Dale ruins and sent his spirit to Halls of Dead. There Thranduil begged Mandos to let him share dwarven fate and let him leave for the Hall of Aulë, where spirits of dead dwarves go. Mandos listened to him, then took the council with Eru and returned to Thranduil with words 'You are needed in the Middle-Earth'. Then he sent Thranduil's spirit back to the body and didn't even offer a choice between mortal fate and Valinor as he did to Lúthien. After that Thranduil decided that he will keep his promise no matter what, and will stay with his love forever, if not in afterlife then in death, as long as Erebor stands. So he stayed, and he stays there till these days. Times went by, lands have changed their shapes beyond recognition, but Erebor still stands, even if all the dwarves had left long time ago and Erebor itself is covered by thick forest. And in this forest Thranduil dwells and guards Thorin's rest any way he can. From loneliness and sorrow he went mad and has turned into evil spirit, and the forest around Erebor became a deadly place.

Thranduil in my headcanon is a very tragic figure.

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?

Can't say I have a favourite technique. I like to experiment and I use different techniques – digital painting, watercolors, pencils, markers and so on. I aspire not to be a one-trick pony. Though some fandoms and characters associate with certain mediums to me. For example, to me watercolor goes particularly well with Thranduil, so majority of my Thranduil art is done with watercolor.

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

I don't think I have any special tricks in my arsenal, just regular artschool techniques that you can find in most tutorials.

9. Could you give us a link or thumbnail from your gallery of
- a Tolkien illustration you are most proud of?

The Time Of Spells by Candra

- a picture from other fandom or original picture you are most proud of?

Night in Eden by Candra

- a picture that fits your current mood?

Broken mirror by Candra

- a picture that was hardest to paint?

Springtime in Mirkwood by Candra

(it has a lot of animals in it, though the hardest pictures are always unfinished ones, there's always the fear you would ruin it in the last moment)

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

Yavanna's gift. by Candra

I think koalas are very cute!

10. 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.

I get support from my husband and friends. As for inspirations... The list will be too long. From relatively recent inspirations I can point out Stephanie Pui-Mun Law. She does not draw Tolkien art, but she has outstanding watercolor techniques and I learned quite a lot from her books.

11. 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?

StGeorge and the Dragon, 2 mns later... by somkCthulhu - Gold and opal (Daily Deviation) by somkFerrets and knots by somk
Curled Dragon Mask In Green SOLD by natamonDr. Weaselhoffer by natamonSir Batty Sculpted Brooch Pin *SOLD* by natamon

Though to be quite honest, most people I follow on DeviantArt are animal photographers.

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

I really hope third Hobbit movie won't be a disappointment, because second one has left me with mixed feelings.

Best regards,

Thank you for your time and answers!

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Rohirrim journal skin.

Horse head 2009 - Grinmir-stock
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Knotwork by gbrgraphix
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