Interview with: Sheri Cook (RohanRider)
Q: What is your occupation? Tell us a bit about your art background.
I am a stay at home mom of a daughter (Sarah) about to turn three. A late in life baby for this 41 year old artist!
As far as art background… I do equine and canine portraits professionally through my website www.happyhorsestudio.com. I discovered LOTR fan art this past spring and am HOOKED!
Simply… I am self taught through years and years of drawing (horses that is).
Q: Why did you choose this particular picture to draw?
I found an image of Elijah Wood on a fan site and it was just beautiful. The colors, shading, and I loved the overall feel to the image. I just turned it into a portrait of Frodo for my enjoyment. I worked on this piece a few nights a week for about three weeks (about 15 hours altogether).
Q: What in your opinion makes a portrait lifelike? And how do you capture the likeness in a person’s features/movement?
You have to get the eyes and mouth right. If you stray too far on these visually the fan/viewer knows right away. I really feel this makes or breaks a work of a known and much loved character. For instance it is all about Elijah’s eyes. Then there is the overall shape of the face. He has superb cheeks. Plus his coloring is a dream as far as fluidity and smooth graduations. Just beautiful.
The same is true for horses…their eyes are the expression of their souls. Then of course their muzzles and ears play a huge part in capturing their likeness to an owner’s content on a finished portrait.
Q: What do you feel is important in order to display your individuality in your drawings, and how do you create expression and character in faces?
One thing that sets my illustrations apart is my use of Celtic borders with my LOTR works. A personal stamp you might say. I think it adds to the feel of my works. I think of the Rivendell settings with its twisted branches and it reminds me of knot-work. I also have this thing about using heavy lines to give it a more illustration feel- a subtle way to set my work apart. Our individuality is really just a reflection of what personally pleases us the most as artists. We create what we like and then hope it turns out how our mind’s eye saw it first before we ever lay a pencil to paper.
It is expressive in that creating each LOTR piece is my way of expressing my adoration for the books as well as the movies and the actors who brought those beloved characters to life. As an artist, the subject has to move me visually as well as emotionally to create a really good piece of work. Thus my artwork is an expression of my love for that subject matter. So yes…I LOVE FRODO.
A work has to be going down the path I envisioned to get the results I hoped for. If the eyes go wrong (horse or human) then I know to scrap it and start over. I am one of those that have to reach A before I can proceed to B (if that makes sense at all).
Q: Why do you choose Primsacolour above any other medium?
It is a great medium for control freaks like myself. You have lots of control with color pencils. Of course there is much work within this medium because you have to layer and layer and then erase (for highlights). It is a great way to create a painting without paint!
Q: And finally, what tips do you have for aspiring artists?
The BEST advice I can give is “DRAW WHAT YOU LOVE”. Don’t listen to nay sayers. Do listen to critiques to help improve your style but stay where your heart led you. Life is too short to waste time on subjects that leave you bored, frustrated, and empty. You want to spend time where you will get the best rewards… drawing subjects that stir your artist’s eye, challenge your skills, and fill your artistic spirit with pride.
Here is another of Sheri’s portraits.
**Click here to see Sheri’s step-by-step article of how to draw Frodo Baggins.
You can also see her other works at her website: