Monday, September 12, 2016

“Picture This” An interview with Outlander fan artist, Vera Adxer, conducted by your Aussie Blogging Lass!

Outlander Homepage Originals By Susie Brown 

As the famous saying suggests, 
“ A picture is worth a thousand words.” Certainly there are many talented artists around the world who can tell a story by putting images onto paper, canvas or computer screen. But Outlander fan artist Vera Adxer goes one step further than that: she takes quotes from Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander novels and then creates stunning artworks based around the words. Her images are memorable, all the more so because the actors from the Starz hit TV series also serve as the inspiration for many of the pieces. 

As the latest Droughtlander continues to drag on, we were thrilled when Vera agreed to chat to us and tell us about the fan art she creates. 

A recent depiction of the upcoming season 4 Drums of Autumn 

OHP: Tell us something about yourself. Do you have a background in art?

Vera: I’ve always had a soft spot for art, whatever its form: painting, drawing, even designing clothes. When I finished high school, I had many options to choose from for further study. I chose primary school teaching, but it was far from what would be my true orientation. When I lacked just two subjects to graduate from Masters, I started researching design - I never imagined it could be so large! After that, I went to an Institute of Design for four years. It was very interesting, because I received a lot of training in Fine Arts and had great teachers. I followed this with a postgraduate degree in Digital Media at UNCUYO, one of the most prestigious universities in Argentina. I specialised in different fields of design, such as editorial design. I worked for a few years in an editorial capacity, but now I work independently.

The design process is usually very structured. I am always “under the eye” of my customers and I must make sure that they are happy. I have to admit that sometimes it is frustrating not to feel personally satisfied with a job, even if the customer leaves with a smile.

My hobby has always been a brush and my lectern. A few years ago I also started to write short stories. It's a very beautiful thing to be writing, drawing or painting. In short, anything artistic is part of my life!

OHP: How long have you been making Outlander fan art? What inspired you to make it? 

Vera: Two years ago I created my Facebook page, "Outlander Love & Art" and then "Outlander Argentina". It was a place just for me and five other people to share something interesting about the series. Then I started creating pictures, trying to make them fit with the texts of the books. It was nothing professional, I did it just for me. But then people started to ask me for more pictures and soon I was trying to fulfill their wants. So I asked for suggestions of some specific parts of the books. As a result, I met many people. It was lots of fun. I made one or two fan artworks per day in my free time.

OHP: What was your first piece and do you have a favorite? 

Vera: One of the first was of Claire and Jamie standing in a book. It is still one of my favorites, as is a more recent one of Jamie in the printshop.  

OHP: Is your work exclusively Outlander based, or do you make fan art about other shows?

Vera: I also do other series - everything anyone asks me - it has become a habit for me. I have made fan art for shows like Vikings, Penny Dreadful and The Walking Dead. I am always open to new ideas. Very recently, a lady wrote to me asking if I could make an art work of her and her husband as I do with Claire and Jamie. It was very comforting to know that they looked like a cover of a romance novel!

OHP: Can you tell us something about the process of making an art work? What steps are involved? How long does it take you to make each one? 

Vera: Outlander fan art is a challenge! I try not to follow a strict line in the designs. I like to innovate, but the pieces are always subject to the lines of the book. That has its advantages and disadvantages. In the beginning, I usually created a picture each day. When I set up the Twitter page, I invited my friend Begoña Díaz to help with the choice of phrases, while I dedicated myself to the art. Bego is now making her own fan art and she is really good. I have a great student!

An artwork usually takes between 20 minutes or 1 hour, but sometimes it can take much longer. The process begins by choosing the theme. In the first season, this was often landscapes and flowers. In the second season, I started building on the historical context, looking at famous paintings and trying to merge the images. The next step involves giving clarity to a photograph. It’s not something that I like to do on a computer, because I'm not very fond of Photoshop and filters. I prefer to use my iPad and perform edits with the digital pen. 

OHP: We know that your fan art is loved on Twitter - how does that make you feel?  

Vera: Everything happens so fast on Twitter!  It is difficult to get people’s attention, so when I thought about creating "Forsteras" therein lay the challenge! Diana Gabaldon’s books have short, romantic and classic phrases and making artworks based on these phrases was a way of getting attention both for the books and my work. It's a kind of positive energy. Today, almost a year later, we have nearly 2,400 followers, who usually leave good messages and it's fun. It is hard work, but having important people following us, such as Diana Gabaldon, Jon Gary Steele and Adhamh Ó Broin is an incentive to do more. I am always striving to do better work for our page.

OHP: Can you tell us about any favourite comments that people have made? 

Vera: I have been very touched to receive private messages saying things unimaginable to me. One lady wrote to me saying the images had helped her a lot through a difficult moment in her health. I’m also thrilled when someone asks for a Fan Art to use for a raffle for charity. I am always happy to help. In a strange way without knowing it, each of those people have helped me to overcome a difficult moment of my life, and this virtual world has become something special for me.

OHP: Have you ever been contacted by anyone involved with the show? 

Vera: Definitely the best day was when we had notification on Twitter that Diana had begun to follow us! Scott Kyle became a great friend, as well as many other followers of Outlander. Many of the supporting actors of the series have asked for their own piece of fan art. I loved the idea and I am grateful to each of them. I've met wonderful, maybe not famous people, but I can definitely say that I have found many friends.

Because we are limited by 140 characters, we don’t tag the protagonists in the series very often, unless they are campaigning for nominations for a prize. Last year for the Golden Globe, Sam gave us two retweets and that helped our page a lot. Then, a few months ago I received a message from Starz. They asked permission to include my name and one of my artworks on their Outlander Community website in the Fan Art section.

OHP: Have you read the Outlander books, or did you discover the story via the tv series?

Vera: Honestly, I did not know of Diana Gabaldon and I had never read the books. Romance novels were not part of my world. I’d watch a movie and if I liked it, then I’d read the book. I always liked science fiction, but had never related to romance.

But Outlander has a unique magic and from the first episode of the series I was captivated! Not even a week later, I was reading “Outlander” and two months later, I had read all eight books.  Now when I watch the show with my parents, they either ask me: “What will happen now?” or “Do not tell us anything please!”

I am continually reading the books, writing down phrases in Spanish and English. I try not to use the translator for my fan art, because it doesn’t always do it correctly. It is also interesting to note that there is a big difference between a book written in English and one in Spanish. The translation can drastically change some parts of the books and that can be very frustrating.

OHP: Apart from Twitter, how can people see your work? 

Vera:  People can visit any of the following sites.

OHP: What plans do you have for the future? 

Vera: I do not think much about the future, therefore my plans are only for tomorrow. Who knows what can happen! My way of life is "here and now", trying to give the best of me to whoever wants to receive. I'll take the end of Outlander as my philosophy: "And the world was all around us, new with possibility."

We’d like to thank Vera for answering our questions - and if you need some more help to survive “Droughtlander”, we certainly recommend heading to her sites and checking out her amazing fan art! 

This interview was conducted by Susie Brown, a writer and teacher-librarian who lives in Australia.

One of our favorites:

We would like to thank Vera for her beautiful work on our, An Evening with Graham McTavish event. The flier, poster sign, and press release art, was Vera's donation to the charity! Without which, our campaign to sell tickets would have been very limited, to say the least!

1 comment:

  1. I've admired, commented, loved, been enamored by Vera Adxer's art for a very long time. Lifelike images you can almost touch. Have shared it with others as well. The light went on this morning, so I rushed to Google. What a gift from God this young woman has.