Monday, October 05, 2009

Faerie Illustrator

We thought you might like to hear from the creator of our faeries...the "faces" of our Village...Jeffrey Himmelman...

A few months ago my dad told me he was building a miniature fairy dwelling in his basement.

To most people this might sound a bit odd, but growing up with my dad, it wasn’t all that out of the ordinary. My dad writes and illustrates children’s books in addition to being a nature photographer and author. He’s just a really creative guy.

He told me all about the Wee Faerie Village exhibition in October, and I was very interested. He mentioned that David Rau, who was putting all this craziness together, found my portfolio linked on my dad’s website. David had worked with my dad in the past but didn’t know that his son was also an artist. He asked if I’d be interested in doing something for the exhibition. I was definitely on board.

I’m primarily a fantasy artist. I went through high school playing dungeons and dragons with my friends and doing other similarly geeky stuff, and now that I’m grown up I’m doing art for games. It’s a really fun field to work in and I consider myself pretty blessed to have been able to turn my hobby into my profession, even if I don’t have time to play games anymore.

David got in touch with me a short time later and told me he was interested in having me create a map and some promotional images. He invited me over to the museum (at the time I was living in New York), and so I took the trip. I spent the day learning about the history of the art colony, and taking tons of reference shots.

Over the next few months I did quite a few illustrations for the museum. I broke out some of my fairy art books for inspiration. Brian Froud and Tony Diterlizzi are some of my favorites. I was trying to convey a different personality into each of the faeries. The boy faerie (nicknamed Griswold) is kind of brash and adventurous, whereas the girl (as you may have guessed, her nickname is Florence) is more demure and playful.

The actual map was a bit outside of my comfort zone. It took much more collaboration and fine-tuning with David to get exactly what they were looking for. In the end however I think the map turned out well!

So there you have it: my experience helping to create the Wee Faerie Village. Thanks for reading, and I hope you’re looking forward to visiting the village as much as I am!

~Jeff Himmelman
Illustrator & Podcaster

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