CM: What is your education/background in art?
NE: Apart from the blurred years of elementary school, I never took a single art class in my life! I’ve been drawing ever since I was 4 or 5 years old, but it wasn’t until last year – after I finished law school – that I began focusing completely on art and art alone. In fact, I’m planning on making 2016 a very big year. I’ll be taking Film and Animation classes here in Brazil and hopefully abroad as well!
NE: I’ve always been a very crafty person, but I think that what really got me into paper art was the wonderful artwork of The Little Mermaid made by one of my favorite artists ever: Brittney Lee. I stumbled across her blog last year and I was so amazed that I decided to give it a try.
CM: What is your process for creating pieces with paper?
NE: As to my process, I usually start with some doodles and sketches on my sketchbook. It’s really messy at first, and sometimes even I can’t see how the whole thing is going to turn out! It normally takes me three or four days to finish a piece, and I often try to use different kinds of paper so I can have a wide variety of colors and textures. The same goes for my gouache paints and watercolors.
CM: What are the challenges of working with paper?
NE: I think that the main challenge of paper art is trying to achieve the sense of movement easily found in a digital illustration, or even in traditional acrylic/gouache/watercolor paintings. That’s because my technique consists basically of little pieces of paper glued together. It can seem a bit static at first. The perk of working with paper, however, is the awesome 3D effect that it provides, which I’m constantly trying to improve.
CM: You’ve done quite a few Disney pieces. What draws you to create Disney art? (Or art from different fandoms, like Sherlock and Game of Thrones.)
NE: Disney means a lot to me because I grew up surrounded by it. Stories like The Little Mermaid, Beauty and The Beast, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella have always been present in my life. I love the whole fairytale-princess-mermaid thingy so I guess that this passion for magical things is in everything I do.
Speaking of passion and magic…the fandoms. Oh, don’t ever let me get started on them. But for the purpose of this interview, I’ll just say that British shows are one of my favorite topics to discuss. Any day, anytime. I’ll definitely start working on some Doctor Who pieces soon because…well, David Tennant and Matt Smith. Not necessarily in that order haha!
NE: I think Audrey will always be my greatest source of inspiration. To me, she is one of those people that you wish that could have lived forever. Her timeless style, grace, and class are the very qualities I try to bring to my own style of drawing and art in general. She had that rare kind of innocent beauty and elegance that you just can’t find anywhere nowadays.
CM: Where did you get the idea to create your own model of Bag End?
NE: At first I had this idea of making some sort of night lamp shaped like Bag End, but only the front door and the Hill, like a bonsai tree. I thought it would be so pretty to see it lit up on my desk. But then this little idea became much bigger, and I decided to build the whole thing, with rooms and furniture, just like a dollhouse. The first thing I did was to cut holes on the wood to make the round windows and doors. That was definitely one of the most difficult things to do! My mom helped me a lot (she’s a far better artist than me!) during this part. After that, I began putting together the walls and room dividers, painting them, installing the floor tiles and so on.
All this crazy adventure took about one year and a half – I started it in July 2013 and finished it in November 2014. I had to pause the project for a bit because I was studying a lot during the time. The materials I used…let me see, I used pinewood for the walls and pretty much for the whole structure, mini bricks, static grass, many kinds of decorative stones, MDF wood for the most delicate parts of the house, and Fimo clay for the food and garden flowers.
CM: What was the most difficult thing about this project? The most fun?
NE: Apart from cutting holes on the walls, the most difficult thing about the entire project was figuring out a way to build a replica as close as possible to the real hobbit hole. The obvious problem was the fact that Bag End is essentially a tunnel, round with curved walls. Carving the wood to make it round was pretty much impossible so I decided to change the whole design. The most fun part of building my miniature Bag End was probably having to watch The Fellowship of the Ring and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey over and over again!
CM: What did you learn from this experience that was different than your other art?
NE: I definitely learned a lot about construction and architecture, and I had to figure out how to set up the electrical wiring, install tiles, window panels and everything else that there is in a real house. This is the kind of art that you only make once in a lifetime, and it’s completely different from everything that I’ve ever done before, but if I had to I would undoubtedly start it all over again from scratch. In fact, I’m planning to start building a 221b Baker Street dollhouse soon…
CM: Are there any new mediums, subjects, or styles you’d like to try in the future?
NE: As I mentioned earlier, I enrolled in Film and Animation class, so I guess I’ll be starting to work with digital illustration soon enough. I also want to create some pieces based on animals, like horses and cats. I just love their elegant silhouettes!
Which artists inspire you?
NE: I’ve also already mentioned Brittney Lee as a contemporary artist that greatly inspires me. Some other awesome people that I admire far too much for words are: Eyvind Earle, Mary Blair, Eric Larson, Glen Keane, Lorelay Bové and J. Scott Campbell.
NE: As for new upcoming projects, I plan on building a miniature of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson’s legendary rooms at 221b Baker Street, complete with Persian slippers and many types of tobacco ashes! I’ll continue working on my Audrey pieces – there are still a few Breakfast at Tiffany’s outfits to be done and after that I’ll jump to the My Fair Lady, Roman Holiday and Funny Face ones (phew!). I recently started watching Downton Abbey and I loved it with all my heart…
Like I said, I love far too many movies and shows, so it’s fair to say that my head is constantly filled with ideas! I’m also working on some original characters, and I’m trying to put together a little art book, like a portfolio, which will soon be available on my Etsy shop.
Ta-ta for now guys!
Nathanna Érica is a Brazilian girl who loves to draw, paint and cut paper. She also loves to build things and watch movies. The Seventh Art has pretty much defined her life in numerous occasions. She grew up waiting for her Hogwarts letter. Then she wanted to personally take the One Ring to Mount Doom and make sure that everything that is green and beautiful in this world would be safe from the shadows of Mordor. Sometimes, she’s sassy like Holly Golightly, singing Moon River by her window. Sometimes, she’s like the Dark Knight, on the rooftops, waiting for a chance to fight crime and injustice. She likes detective stories. And detectives. She also loves fish and chips, red buses and black cabs. If you can carry on a conversation with her about all those DC and Marvel superheroes, she’s already your best friend. She sings all the time. Just like a Disney movie. Yep, that sums it up.
Follow her on Twitter @nathsketch and Instagram @nath.sketch
See more of her art at nathsketch.tumblr.com
For the whole story behind her miniature Bag End, visit myhobbithole.weebly.com and nathshobbithole.blogspot.com