Something new here at The Pagan and the Pen is the Pagan Artist of the Month. We have been planning this for sometime and I am pleased to announce that our first is Tom Brown, a very creative artist that I personally dig.
To kick this whole thing off, I wanted to interview him and I have to tell you, after researching some past interviews on the net, and well, some posted here by Bryn Colvin, I knew that I was dealing with someone with a deep mind and intense talent. But don’t let me convince you…read and see for yourself….
I give to you, Tom Brown…
CH Scarlett : Tell us about the Pagan that lives inside of Tom Brown and do those beliefs inspire your fabulous art?
Tom Brown: Paganism is not as much about belief for me, as it is about experience and perception.Probably dating back to feelings I had in certain landscapes and situations as a child. The woods tended to wake something in me particularly. I’m currently on the druid path. (studying and exploring with Brynneth Nimue) The draw here is the sense of tradition, celebration and honor , mixed with a very non-dogmatic desire for exploration. Like Brynneth, I would describe myself as an agnostic with suspicions.
CH Scarlett : When did you first discover your talent?
Tom Brown: Oh. Difficult to say. I’ve been drawing as far back as I can remember, and as soon as I was able to write, the art was part of stories. Most of my early efforts were sequential. I studied comic books, fiction and illustration rabidly, and practiced for hours and hours – frequently when I was supposed to be doing other things like, paying attention in math class. Most of my homework was..erm..illuminated.
CH Scarlett : And I would have been the mindless twit sitting behind you in math class, peeking over your shoulder, sighing heavily over everything your pen drew.
Now with that admitted, what is the process behind most of your art? What mediums do you use?
Tom Brown: The technique I’m using now is a fairly recent development. I had been using watercolor and charcoal and pen quite a bit. Now it’s almost entirely reliant on pencil with some augmentation in Photoshop. There is something about working in graphite on Bristol board…very time consuming but you can get a range, depth and subtlety this way that’s nearly impossible otherwise (in my experience at least). I’m playing with combining other visual sources and bringing the digital painting and compositing in more recently. Sometimes I miss the impact and drama of black and white, so may return to ink some day.
The current process goes something like this.
1 Sketch lightly on Bristol board.
2. Rub and soften the sketch lines.
3. Redefine lines sharply (where appropriate) and begin shading.
4. Rub again and start picking out highlights with eraser.
5. Find and establish the darkest areas and boldest lines, work them until they are sharp.
6. Using very sharp drafting pencil pick out fine details (tree branches/twigs, bits of architectural detail etc).
7. Scan and put a layer of color over all in Photoshop.
8. Erase color layer to define lighting and emphasize highlights.
9. Digitally paint opaque elements (Magic, glows, eye color, sharp highlights and so on).
10. (If it is a page) add balloons and text.
CH Scarlett : *sighs* SORRY, I was slobbering-eh-um-daydreaming over one of your art pieces! Told ya, I just dig your creations!
Knowing now my dark chocolate, I have to say that I am often moved by certain artists. When I’m writing, sometimes I will find a piece of art by an artist, place it on my desktop and use it when I need inspiration for the world I am about to create. I do the same thing with music. What artists and or musicians–and songs– if any, inspire you and why?
Tom Brown: I used to have music on constantly, while working but over the last year have been working without. No real idea why. I do love and enjoy music. It’s certainly a source of inspiration. I seem to be in an between place with what music in particular just now though. My taste in music is…eclectic, to say the least.
For inspiration I have on my desktop, a photo of my partner, Brynneth. Her writing is also a major source of inspiration.
Visual artists who inspire me are myriad. I spend a lot of time on deviantart.com. The sheer amount of collective talent and skill represented there is overwhelming. Constantly inspired and frequently humbled by what I find there. Some of my all time favorites would be Bosch, Hayao Miyazaki, and Mike Mignola. Any attempt at a complete list though, would take hours (and be incomplete).
CH Scarlett : Well I have to admit, you and Brynneth working together (Copper Age) is absolutely explosive. Her writing, your art—*sighs*
There I go again, so let me focus! lol
After exploration of a web site of yours, and seeing first hand a picture of you, I have to say my mind began to spontaneously combust with curiosity concerning the man behind the brush.
It made me think of a movie I watched long ago called In the Mouth of Madness. I’m not sure if you have ever seen that, but in the movie, an author named Sutter Cane ends up creating a world of Horror that becomes reality. This happens because of all of the readers that come to believe in it. So I began to compare you with that storyline. If Tom Brown had the power of Sutter Cane, what would the world look like tomorrow when we woke up to see it with new eyes?
Tom Brown: Wow…! What a question! It would look very much the same as it does now most likely. It’s all about which parts you choose to pay attention to. (And which possibilities you are willing to explore and accept.)
I could go on here..but it would very likely turn into a story. The real answer is probably in the art as it is. Some things need to be set in the dark to shine properly.
Again, brilliant question!
CH Scarlett : Judging by the picture above, that is so true.
Some things need to be set in the dark to shine properly.
Thank you Tom for doing this interview, for kicking off our Pagan Artist of the Month, and for letting us decorate our posts here and there (for the month) with your fabulous creations. If someone would like to commission your talent, where can they find you? What are you open for—Book covers, Graphic Novels… what?
Tom Brown: It’s my pleasure, and thanks very much for the opportunity! Time permitting I’m open to nearly anything. I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org & check out http://www.itisacircle.com/
Now remember everyone, I’ll be making posts here and or there showing off Tom’s art throughout the month of December. And believe me , no one will have to twist my arm to do it. There’s just something about the worlds he creates that keeps a dash of Goth girl such as me like a moth to flame. And mark my words when I say this…keep your eyes on Tom’s masterpieces because it doesn’t take a crystal ball to know that he will go far…very, very far!
*sighs* I am drooling again. I can’t help it! I just want to live in his pictures!!!!!