Words and Art: Giving Mist a Face
Written by Susan Krinard
Lo these many years ago, when I was just out of art school with a BFA in Illustration, I wanted to become a science fiction and fantasy cover artist. I went to New York with my portfolio and schlepped around town on the subway and shank’s mare, going from publisher to publisher.
They turned me down. I know now that it wasn’t because I lacked talent, but because I hadn’t done the necessary work it takes to really become a really good practicing artist. A bit of luck for me, as it turned out, since it pushed me toward becoming a writer. And I’ve been doing that for twenty years now.
However, I never lost my interest in illustration, especially the fantastical. I have always appreciated the work of really good book cover artists, and note the best of them when I go on my monthly book-buying spree.
That brings me to Mist, and bookmarks. When my short story by the same name was published in the anthology Chicks Kick Butt — the tale of a centuries-young Valkyrie who finds herself battling the trickster “god” Loki Laufeyson in defense of Odin’s magic spear, Gungnir — the release of the first Thor movie was months away. (Bear with me.) I’d always loved Norse mythology and, as it hadn’t been done a lot in urban fantasy, I decided to draw on those myths and adapt them to my own ideas and story.
Now, I really loved “my” Loki. But when the Thor movie came out, I developed a passion for that Loki as well, though mine and Marvel’s were far from the same. And then I found some gorgeous art on Tumblr, and followed it back to the source: a young lady from Russia, Daria, also known as “Pulvis”. The painting was an art nouveau rendering of the movie’s Loki and his adoptive movie mother, Frigga. (Who is not Loki’s mother, adopted or otherwise, in myth or in Mist.)
That’s when I got the idea. I really liked Daria’s style, and imagined illustrations of my three main characters as bookmark designs. I contacted her, and we worked together to get character descriptions and sketches, which she created by some magical means on her computer. (I’m the old-fashioned kind of artist — brush, pencil and paper — and am constantly amazed at what digital artists can do.)
At my suggestion, Daria came up with some fantastic elements in addition to the figures, adding little touches like the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco skyline for Mist’s design, a coiling serpent (representing Jormungandr, one of Loki’s three monster children) for Loki’s bookmark, and the “beast” — which figures prominently in the novel — for Dainn’s. Then, I hired Frauke Spanuth of Croco Designs, who also refurbished my website, to design the other side of the bookmarks.
I couldn’t have been more pleased with the results. It’s very exciting to find an artist who can produce beautiful custom work, yet has the imagination to create interesting touches of her own. And it’s amazing what two artists working together, regardless of discipline, can come up with!
Three bookmarks, one of each design, are available from Susan for a 46¢ stamp sent to: Susan Krinard, P.O. Box 51924, Albuquerque, NM, 51924. Visit Susan’s website and then hop over to http://www.crocodesigns.com/ to see more of Frauke Spanuth’s web-design.
From the Tor/Forge July 22nd newsletter. Sign up to receive our newsletter via email.
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