Hello and welcome to this month’s blog.
Something a little bit different this time around. A few days ago I had a chat The Casebook of Sam Spallucciand the second edition of Sam Spallucci: Ghosts From the Past. She is currently working wonders on Sam’s next outing Troubled Souls which includes cases ranging from Cherokee hauntings through to serial killers and time travel.with the lovely Carolyn Edwards who some of you may know as one of my cover artists for my Sam Spallucci books. At the time of writing, Carolyn has produced covers for the third edition of
I’ve known Carolyn for a number of years now and she is always a pleasure to meet up with on the convention circuit as well as a delight to work with professionally. There will be links to her sites at the end of the interview.
So, first question. Tell us a little bit about yourself and where you’re from.
I'm from Yorkshire, originally. From a little town called Keighley, but for the last 26 years, I've been a resident of Manchester. I defected to t'other side of t'ill! I'm a professional artist, who likes to keep
fit and active. So some of my hobbies are snowboarding, rollerblading, cycling and running. Running is my current favourite. As for the arty side, I've been drawing for as long as I can remember. I went to art college, gained a degree in Illustration at a University in London, and I've been working professionally since 2000. My favourite things to paint are anything Doctor Who related, particularly pensive portraits, but I love book illustration too. I'm inspired all the time by fellow artists and creators, and love catching up with them when I can, at sci-fi & memorabilia shows.
How would you describe your style?
Traditional, mainly portraiture. My favourite pieces of art are the ones which evoke an emotion. My favourite portraits are the ones where I've managed to capture a spark of life/personality.
So, as you said, you’ve painted a lot of Doctor Who related pictures. Have any of the good Time Lord’s actors seen your paintings of them and have there been any memorable responses to your work?
I'm fortunate to have met, and had great experiences with many actors, or heard some lovely comments passed on by people who got artwork of mine signed by them...
Doctor Who Actors: John Barrowman wanted a copy of my portrait of him... Terry Molloy and Frazer Hines commissioned portraits from me. Sylvester McCoy, Peter Davison, Peter Capaldi, Paul McGann, Tom Baker, Ingrid Oliver, Tony Curran, Pearl Mackie, Katy Manning, Arthur Darvil, Noel Clarke, Michael Sheard, Debra Watling and Lisa Bowerman have all been enthusiastic and complimentary about their portraits... Colin Baker uses one of my portraits of his Doctor on his Twitter page. David Bradley admired my portrait of his Doctor, and then kissed me on the cheek... and I've had lovely comments back from people who have taken prints of my artwork to actors for signing and they've liked them.
My most memorable, hmm. It's hard to choose. There have been so many lovely and humbling experiences meeting the actors. I feel blessed to have had them.
Non Doctor Who actors: Danny John-Jules, James Marsters, Caroline Munroe, Claudia Christian (Interviewer’s note: Austin feels incredibly jealous about that one...), Tom Ellis, Jon Campling, Devon Murray and Bonnie Wright were very complimentary of their portraits...to mention but a few.
I think my fondest memory was meeting Rutger Hauer, who was gracious and smiley and accepted a print of my portrait of him. He had a lovely twinkle in his eye. I'm sorry he has left us.
Those are only the ones I can remember just now... I didn't realise I'd met so many actors!
I don’t know, rubbing shoulders with the stars...
Is there a character (from any series/genre) who you haven’t painted yet who you would love to?
Not really, though I have loads of ideas for paintings waiting to be created, such as a big, bold Doctor Strange canvas...
That would indeed be awesome!
So, obviously you’ve painted two covers for my Sam Spallucci books with one more brewing away at the moment. How does the process differ creating images for fictional characters you’ve read about, but not actually seen in the flesh?
When I'm creating a portrait, I try and 'feel' the person I'm painting, and connect with their personality, in an emotional way. That seems to help create an accurate likeness, and help people to connect with the finished artwork. When I'm creating a character, I find it helps to read as much as I can about them and pick up their characteristics from the page. I also need good picture reference. If the client has a clear idea of what they're after and can convey that, and provide photo reference, it helps a lot.
I was very lucky in the case of Malcolm's portrait for Ghosts From the Past because I was given a clear idea of his character, and what he looked like, and also knew of an actor (Jon Campling) who I thought fit his physical description very well. Jon kindly agreed to pose for some photos for me at a show he was guesting at. I gave him a brief description of the character he was portraying, we found a prop for the snake staff, and hey presto! I don't always have such wonderful tools to work with! I'm very grateful to Jon for giving me that opportunity.
I met Jon for the first time at York Comic Con this summer. He’s a lovely chap and was blown away by the cover art.
Tell us a bit more about your running. We’re not talking a quick jog to the shops, are we.
I've been running on and off for many years, but only started taking it seriously about 8 years ago. I was recovering from a badly broken leg, and determined to get back to running 10km/6 mile distances again. I joined the Parkrun community, and then through them, a running group, who showed me that I was capable of so much more. I completed my first marathon back in February this year, and have a half marathon trail run booked in November, along with lots of other trail races and 10ks in between. I find it helps me mentally and physically to run, and I miss it when I don't. I've definitely got the bug!
I know exactly what you mean. There really is something about the mind and body connecting through exercise. I normally feel more creative when I’ve been off on a long walk or a significantly shorter run than you are used to. Do you find it helps your creative process?
Definitely. Most importantly, it lifts my mood, as I do struggle with low self-esteem and anxiety...
Well I can safely say that your artwork on my books definitely goes down a storm with my readers. When you’re not painting and running you also make quite a few appearances on the convention circuit. Which ones do you have coming up, where people can see you amazing work?
Thanks Austin, it's good to hear people like the covers I've done for you. My next shows are VWorp Con here in Manchester, this Sunday, Nor-Con in Norfolk at the end of September, then Timelash in Germany 11-13th October.
Excellent. As a final word, what advice would you give to young artists just starting out?
Draw/paint what moves you, what you enjoy the most, and keep doing it. Chat to other artists and share ideas, if that helps. Practice, practice and more practice. Look at other artists' work, be inspired, but never take or use it for yourself/publish it without permission and/or credit. Art theft is a big problem for working artists.
Finally, enjoy the journey. Even mistakes and discarded art is a part of the learning process.
Carolyn many thanks for taking the tie to chat to us.
As promised earlier, you can find Carolyn and her amazing work at the following links:
Until next time, keep looking for what lurks in the shadows.