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In this new edition of Illustrating Westeros, we're doing things a little differently and bringing to you a double feature of two long-standing artists in the fandom: Carrie Best and Evolvana. Despite having small galleries of ASOIAF art, both women express the passionate inspiration that the books manifest in artists around the world, and their art reflects a concerted investment in bringing these characters and their stories to life in beautiful detail via their respective styles. 


Daenerys by CarrieBest
Daenerys and Drogon by Evolvana


Welcome to another edition of Illustrating Westeros, Carrie and Evolvana. To begin, tell us how you became an artist, and the influences that have shaped your style.

 

CARRIE: Hi, there! I really appreciate being invited for this interview. Its such an honor!

 

My love for drawing and painting started way early in life and, of course, way before Photoshop or any digital media took hold. I studied Scientific Illustration in college, where I actually used a real airbrush and cut frisket film. And yes, thats tedious. Another of my favorite traditional media was scratchboard. I always had a special love for drawing wildlife and especially wolves in scratchboard.

 

To be honest, though, I put fine art aside for many years to study graphic design, which is what I do by day now. Seeing so many amazingly talented people online using digital media is what got me inspired to pick it back up and learn digital painting. I enjoy it as more of a hobby now, but one which complements my career choice nicely. I basically taught (or am teaching) myself what I know in Photoshop by researching all kinds of online tutorials and using the techniques that work best for the semi-realistic style that I want to achieve. I like to try new techniques from time to time because I never want to assume that I know enough already. One of my favorite resources is Clint Cearleys book The 10 Most Common Mistakes in Digital Painting and Their Solutions. I also love watching his videos. Another of my favorite artists is Charlie Bowater. Her style is what Id really love to emulate.

 

EVOLVANA: I’ve been drawing since I was a child, just for pleasure, during my free time or at school whenever I had a little free space left in the margins on my notebooks. I liked to draw little comics, and so I improved year after year. But I really started complicated things when I discovered digital painting. I bought a tablet and enjoyed that way of painting very much. I still prefer drawing linearts with a pencil, but for colors I really prefer the digital way. I think I was influenced by the work of concept artists for various videogames, what they do is impressive.



You are an outstanding illustrator of George R. R. Martin's works. When did you read the A Song of Ice and Fire books for the first time, and what was your initial impression?

     

CARRIE: Thank you! I started reading A Game of Thrones shortly before the HBO adaptation began. I learned of the show being in production and so I wanted to hurry and read it first, maybe a year prior to the show. You know what its like being addicted to something? I was so hooked on these books right away. I made myself tired from lack of sleep because I couldnt put them down.

 

EVOLVANA: In fact, I started by the first season of the Game of Thrones series. It was just starting to become popular, I heard friends talking about it and then I watched it, and loved it! I could not wait for the second season to be released, and I wanted to avoid spoilers as much as possible, so I decided to read all the books.

   
 

Who are some of your favourite characters in the series, and is there a scene that is particularly memorable to you?

 

CARRIE: Its hard to name a favorite because they vary by the book. Some plotlines are more gripping than others, and then some become more interesting later. Theon, for example, became the most interesting character for me in ADWD. Because his arc took him from being completely despicable to someone whom you really feel genuinely sorry for, and perhaps are now rooting for. Its amazing how GRRM made him sympathetic after all that he did. If I have to name a favorite character, though, I would say Tyrion. I know thats an unoriginal fave, but hes just so intellectually superior to everyone and I see him as one of the best good guys. Its great to have a hero who isnt naïve or too honorable. His scene on the show in Season 4 defending himself in courtyou know, that tiradethats my most memorable scene so far.

 

EVOLVANA: Jaime Lannister is my favorite character. It was not the case at first, because he seemed arrogant, and pushed Bran from the top of a tower! But when we start to read the chapters with his own point of view, we finally understand the character a lot better, and he is far more complex then what he looked like. I think he is the character who has the best evolution in the books. There are many scenes that I liked, but the one with Jaime rescuing Brienne from the bear is one of my favorites.



After HBOs Game of Thrones came out, many readersinner pictures of characters and scenes have been replaced by actors and settings from the show. Could you tell us about your own mental images of the characters, and if this has been influenced by the show?

 

CARRIE: I love the cast of the show. I think they all fit the roles so well and have given wonderful performances to bring them to life. So I have to say when I read the books, I do have the actors images in mind. I cant help it, being a huge fan of the show. When it comes to painting, though, I just enjoy coming up with the characters and costume design from my imagination. Its part of the creative process that I find fun.

 

EVOLVANA: Well, as I first started with Season 1 of the show before reading the books, I did not have that problem for the main characters. But for the characters of the other seasons, I was a bit bothered to see the actors for the Mountain and Daario Naharis changed from one season to the next. But I was glad they did not keep the Tyroshi style from the book for Daario (blue hair, strange beard . . .). I was very disappointed by the looks of Theons sister, I imagined her very differently. But for the others, most of the time I liked the way they looked!



Sansa and Lady depicts the eldest Stark girl with her direwolf pet, Lady, a sweetly serene scene that presents the bond between them in fine detail. Your ASOIAF gallery also shows an interest in capturing depictions of other direwolves readers know and love. Can you tell us about your impetus to create this piece, and about your affiliation with the direwolves on the whole?



Sansa and Lady by CarrieBest

 

CARRIE: I’ve always felt that wildlife illustration might be a strength of mine, so the direwolves are always a welcome challenge. And I love wolves, period. I also have a special interest in drawing female characters. I hope to have a style that brings out female beauty well. That’s why my gallery is mostly filled with female characters. I should branch out, I know, but I also think it’s good to focus on what you really like! 

   

We are impressed by how you capture the beauty and menace that lies beyond the Wall in your Jon Snow illustration. Can you share some behind-the-scenes insight into the creation of this piece, and why you think it has captivated the imagination of so many ASOIAF fans?

 

Jon Snow - Beyond the Wall by Evolvana


EVOLVANA: Jon Snow was my favorite character from Season 1, so I wanted to draw something about him. I also love undead creatures, so it was natural to draw at least one White Walker as well. I wanted to show the threat that was there, so close just beyond the Wall, the unseen danger. Jon feels that something is not right, and Ghost smells something odd, but they do not see anything. The White Walker is hiding, waiting for the right time to reveal himself. Like the forest, everything in that scene is frozen, like the calm before the storm.


Melisandre showcases the fiery R'hllor priestess in all her glory, aptly illustrating the book quote you chose in your description, "Many would call her beautiful. She was not beautiful. She was red, and terrible, and red." Was it a challenge to capture the essence of this very powerful woman, and why do you think she remains such an enigmatic temptation for artists?



Melisandre by CarrieBest

CARRIE: It was hard for me to capture her character. Im mostly happy with the painting from a technical and aesthetic view, but Im not sure that its a complete success as a Melisandre portrait. She might be too young in my painting. One of my challenges is portraying a persons age and personality well. As my skills improve, I may revisit her sometime! Shes a fascinating character because part of you might want to root for her if youre on team Stannis, but shes capable of some of the worst evils! You know her moral compass isnt right. 


 

The Bear of Harrenhal is a dynamic and thrilling look at the scene where Jaime rescues Brienne in A Storm of Swords. What is it about a bear and a maiden fair that inspired your artistic interest?

 

Jaime and Brienne - The Bear of Harrenhal by Evolvana

EVOLVANA: In general, in ASOIAF the atmosphere is dark, the knights are far from the romantic ones from the tales and legends, and reality is very cruel. But strangely, in the middle of these dark times, that heroic (and quite romantic) scene happens, like a flower blooming in the middle of a battlefield. Brienne is not a beautiful princess, Jaime is handsome but is not perfect either, but still, he comes back to save her, and from then she really starts to trust him and to discover the true Jaime. I love the relationship between these two.



Do you have a favourite art technique? And do you have a preference for experimenting with new techniques and styles or for keeping to your established ones?

 

CARRIE: Ive grown so familiar with Photoshop thats its really my tool of choice. I still do sketching by pencil because I find it easiest to get the basic sketches down that way. And yes, I do like to try approaching digital painting in new ways from time to time. Lately, Ive tried using the technique of working in grayscale first and then adding color later to help with tonal values. I think its always important to push yourself to try new ways if you think it will help you. You can always revert to the old ways if thats better.


EVOLVANA: When I want to make a colored painting, I never do any lineart digitally. I first do a pencil sketch on a piece of paper, for the general composition, and keep it aside as a reminder, and I directly paint in colors with my tablet, because I would feel “imprisoned” by the lineart. Especially when you paint fur, or clouds, it is better not having any lineart.



Is there an ASOIAF artist whose work you admire? And/or a piece of ASOIAF art that you have as a personal favourite?

 

CARRIE: There are so many fan art pieces out there that blow me away! It would be difficult to name a favorite artist, but some of my favorite pieces are Bran Stark by Teiiku, Sansa Stark by elia-illustration (I love her style!), and this beautiful one of Daenerys by hart-coco

Game of Thrones: Daenerys

Game of Thrones: Daenerys by hart-coco


EVOLVANA: The work of MarcSimonetti is quite impressive, I love what he does. But there are a lot of very talented artists who did nice artworks about ASOIAF, including Olivier Frot, who did all the covers for the French pocket edition of A Game of Thrones, you can find his work on deviantart under the nickname krukof2

Daenerys and a Dragon by krukof2

Daenerys and a Dragon by krukof2


Are there any particular challenges you find with doing ASOIAF fan art? And have you ever attempted a scene and given it up through the process for some reason?

CARRIE: I tried to sketch the dragons and failed. But sometime I'd like to try again. The anatomy of those creatures is daunting to me. I'll try again sometime. There is certainly lots of amazing dragon art to learn from out there. 

EVOLVANA: I did not give up yet on any ASOIAF fan art. I had a different composition in mind for the Daenerys one, involving the desert, her dragon and a sandstorm, but it never really happens in the books, so I decided to make something simpler (the dragon is not as big as this yet, but I hope he will!).

 

 

Martin is known for being supportive of fan art, and has been personally involved in the creative decisions of the official ASOIAF art for calendars, books and comics, even supplying descriptions to artists and choosing scenes himself. If you could do one official ASOIAF artwork, what would you like to depict?

 

CARRIE: I would most likely choose Cersei, just because I think she would be such fun to paint. I love to hate her character, but even so it would be a joy to paint her. I dont really have a reason for why I havent painted her already. Shes on my list.

EVOLVANA: I would definitely like to draw something involving one of Daenerys’ dragons, because I love drawing them so much. And Daenerys is interesting to draw with them too, with her long dress and beautiful hair.

 

 

Is there a plotline, whether in the North, the Vale, King’s Landing or Essos that you're anxious to see resolved in the next book?

 

CARRIE: Im getting more excited about the Others and wights coming down for war. The TV show has me excited for that actually, since the recent Hardhome episode. The books have become so expansive that it would be nice to see some of the various storylines converge around this issue. Maybe it wont be the next book, but hopefully more of the characters will at least become aware of it and start planning for the war to end all wars! Dany and her dragons could save Westeros from the undead right?  I also am wondering what will Brans role be in all of this? We havent seen enough of him even in the last book. Is he going to warg into a dragon?

 

EVOLVANA: Yes, I really want to know what will happen to Jaime and Brienne, and I fear the worst…

 

 

And lastly, can the fandom expect more ASOIAF art from you in the future?

 

CARRIE: Yes! I have plans for Arya and Nymeria.

 

EVOLVANA: Yes, with the release of a new season of the series, and the next book (soon, I hope), I will have even more scenes to choose from for new fan art!

 

 

Thank you for talking to us, Carrie and Evolvana! You can see more of their art at:

 

carriebest.deviantart.com/

 

evolvana.deviantart.com/

 



Add a Comment:
 
:iconkrukof2:
krukof2 Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2015  Professional
:#1: great interview!!!!

:blush: 
Reply
:iconlovelessdevotions:
lovelessdevotions Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2015
Happy you enjoyed it!! :aww: And very glad to see you back on DA! :D
Reply
:iconcarriebest:
CarrieBest Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much for the interview Aesara-Dayne! It's the nicest compliment and I really appreciate it! I'm also really flattered to be featured next to such a talented artist as Evolvana! :rose:
Reply
:iconaesara-dayne:
Aesara-Dayne Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
You're welcome, Carrie. You definitely deserved the exposition.

As for the style, both of you do complement each other well, as I was saying; you with your beautiful ladies and she with her more expansive illustrations.

Hope to see more from you in the near future, even if not for the fandom, so keep producing lovely art, please.
Reply
:iconaesara-dayne:
Aesara-Dayne Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
I think it looks great to present these two talented ladies together, now that I see their work in full size. Their work looks so pretty side-by-side, as their styles go with each other well.

Carrie's preference for depicting lovely ladies I'd noticed before, but had ascribed it just to her favouring female characters, and now I know it's also a deliberate artistic choice. She is right, she's good with females, I'd say it's her strength definitely. I'd be curious to see the other ladies she plans to do eventually!
Reply
:iconevolvana:
Evolvana Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2015   Digital Artist
Thank you for that interview :)
Reply
:iconkrukof2:
krukof2 Featured By Owner Edited Jul 6, 2015  Professional
:icontardglompplz: merci beaucoup Evolvana 
Reply
:iconevolvana:
Evolvana Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2015   Digital Artist
:hug:
Reply
:iconlovelessdevotions:
lovelessdevotions Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2015
You're welcome :hug: I hope the next book provides you with lots of inspirational ideas for new fan art :) 
Reply
:iconevolvana:
Evolvana Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2015   Digital Artist
I hope so! :)
Reply
:iconaesara-dayne:
Aesara-Dayne Featured By Owner Edited Jun 17, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks for accepting the interview, Evolvana. It was pleasant to get to meet you at last, as I'd always wanted to hear your take on the books.

You have so few pieces, but all three remarkably good. My  favourite is your Jaime/Brienne at Harrenhal illustration, which happens to be my favourite fan art of that scene as well. It has always made me smile that you chose to have him brandishing that bone at the bear :D.
Reply
:iconevolvana:
Evolvana Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2015   Digital Artist
Thank you for choosing me for the interview, too ;)

Yes, I was really waiting for that scene in the series, and I think it was quite good (my bear is a bit too big, but well =p )
Reply
:iconaesara-dayne:
Aesara-Dayne Featured By Owner Edited Jun 17, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
The bigger the better! :laughing: I like it just as it is. If you ever do a print of that, let me know.
Reply
:iconmeadowoftime:
MeadowOfTime Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2015
Brilliant!
Reply
:iconlovelessdevotions:
lovelessdevotions Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2015
Glad you enjoyed it! :) 
Reply
:iconmeadowoftime:
MeadowOfTime Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2015
Yes :)
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