First Im­pres­sions

Learn why this artist likes the chal­lenge of paint­ing some­thing that doesn’t ex­ist…

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Artist Insight Muscle Groups - Lind­sey Look Lind­sey has cre­ated sci-fi and fan­tasy art for a range of clients, in­clud­ing Wizards of the Coast, Ap­pli­bot and Pen­guin Books. www.lind­sey­look.com

Where did you grow up, and when did you re­alise you had a tal­ent for art?

I grew up in Con­necti­cut, US. I hon­estly can’t re­mem­ber a time when I wasn’t draw­ing, paint­ing or mak­ing some­thing. I wouldn’t ex­actly say that I was tal­ented at it, just per­sis­tent. When I went to grade school, I be­came a highly sought part­ner for any­thing in­volv­ing posters or art projects. That’s when I be­gan to re­alise I had a knack for it, and knew at that point that I wanted to make a ca­reer out of art some­how.

Did your up­bring­ing in­flu­ence your style of paint­ing in any way?

Prob­a­bly. My par­ents en­cour­aged hard work, so I’ve al­ways been some­thing of a per­fec­tion­ist. I think it’s likely at­trib­uted to the highly ren­dered qual­ity of my work. I ac­tu­ally love that loose, more painterly ap­proach that many artists have, but I al­ways feel this com­pul­sive need to paint in thin lay­ers and smooth ev­ery­thing out.

What’s the ap­peal of sci-fi and fan­tasy art over, say, mod­ern-day im­agery?

I find the cre­ativ­ity and imag­i­na­tion that needs to be put into el­e­ments of the paint­ing which don’t ex­ist or can’t ex­ist re­ally ap­peal­ing. It’s not enough for me to just paint some­thing I can take a pho­to­graph of, or see sit­ting be­fore me. I want to solve the vis­ual prob­lem of fig­ur­ing out what some­thing fan­tas­ti­cal would look like.

How valu­able was your in­tern­ship with Dan Dos San­tos?

In­valu­able. There’s no bet­ter ed­u­ca­tion than work­ing in the field with some­one who knows the busi­ness in­side and out. Dan taught me how to make in­voices, gesso boards, hire mod­els and shoot ref­er­ence… ev­ery­thing. Hav­ing some­one there to walk me through it made it much less daunt­ing and sped up my learn­ing process. It was also nice to have some­one to hang out with and dis­cuss in­dus­try-re­lated top­ics on a weekly ba­sis.

What’s been the high­light of your ca­reer so far? Any low points?

The day I lleft my job so I could fo­cus full time on free­lanc­ing was one of the big­gest high­lights. Be­ing able to sup­port my­self while hav­ing com­plete con­trol over how I make my liv­ing is im­mensely sat­is­fy­ing. I’ve had plenty of low points too. Any time I don’t have a few jobs lined up I start wor­ry­ing that my en­tire ca­reer is about to come crash­ing down around me.

What’s been your most chal­leng­ing com­mis­sion or as­sign­ment?

With­out a doubt, my first book cover. I was in­tern­ing for Dan at the time, and he called and asked if I wanted to do a cover he couldn’t fit into his sched­ule. I said, “Ab­so­lutely!” and he said, “Great, they need it in two weeks.” I was still work­ing my re­tail job full time, and I just about had a ner­vous break­down. But I pushed through it, and with Dan’s re­as­sur­ances and guid­ance I was able to de­liver the cover just in time. And the art di­rec­tor called and left the most won­der­ful voice­mail about the cover that I still have saved on my phone.

Have you no­ticed more de­mand for your art? What can you at­tribute this to?

Yes, def­i­nitely. I think it’s a snow­ball ef­fect: the more work you do, the more ex­po­sure you get, the more in­ter­est in your work is gen­er­ated. I’d also like to think I’ve im­proved over the years.

What ad­vice would you give to your younger self?

I would have told my­self that grad­u­at­ing col­lege wasn’t the end-all to my art ed­u­ca­tion. I had this mis­con­cep­tion that I’d start get­ting work right out of col­lege, and it just wasn’t the case. I had a lot more learn­ing to do. I think I’ve learned just as much – if not more – work­ing in the field than I did in col­lege. My process, tech­nique and the busi­ness as­pect of what I do is al­ways evolv­ing.

How would you sum up your work, in un­der 10 words?

Colour­ful and de­tailed fan­tasy, fea­tur­ing strong hero­ines.

The day I left my job so I could fo­cus on free­lanc­ing was one of the big­gest high­lights

The Blood­forged Lind­sey painted this for Erin Lind­sey’s sec­ond book in the au­thor’s high-fan­tasy se­ries.

redeemer The cover art for CE Mur­phy’s book was based on the clas­sic Rosie the Riv­eter poster.

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