‘Vengeful Sprites’ by Sophie Blackhall-Cain
Hailing from Brisbane, Australia, Sophie Blackhall-Cain’s Etsy-selling endeavors are only a few months old, however her delicate illustrations have managed to attract a lot of love around social-networking traps. Sophie was kind enough to answer a few questions for me about her piece Vengeful Sprites, and how her art becomes a fully flourished work from a single song lyric.
Name: Sophie Blackhall-Cain
Weapon of choice (medium in which you create) and why?
I love Indian ink and sable brushes/nibs for drawing lines as they’re so graceful and striking, but because I am indecisive and messy, Photoshop is awesome for colouring as I can simply ctrl+z anything I don’t like/that’s not working. Traditional methods are still really visually appealing to me, so I try to make my digital stuff look as traditional as possible.
What inspires your art?
Songs, stories and narratives. Visualising the imagery behind stories has always been one of my greatest joys. I’m currently turning Joanna Newsom’s song Colleen into a comic.
What was the particular inspiration for ‘Vengeful Sprites’? Any story behind it’s creating?
It’s a reply to a piece by one of my favourite illustrators, Kali Ciesemier, who depicted a male god-like figure and his goading sprite helpers. I reversed the genders, made the sprites vengeful and threw in a sailor for good measure, because sailors are awesomely fun to draw. It was also inspired by the Greek myth about furies: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erinyes I mean, how badass is that?!
What are the details of the original Vengeful Sprites print, and the details of the ones for sale on Etsy?
The original is only an ink outline on grained rag which I’ve scanned in: the colours were added digitally. The one for sale on Etsy is a giclée print of my digital painting!
Despite being from Brisbane, a lot of your art depicts the colder seasons a lot more, such as It was in the way she’d curl her toes at a particularly resonant piece of prose and Oh, you are the roots that sleep beneath my feet and hold the earth in place; is there a fascination with winter or a reason behind your depictions of winter/autumn?
Definitely! I don’t find sub-tropical Brisbane weather or the immediate Queensland landscape that inspiring, so I gravitate more towards other environments because they’re new and different.
Who are your artistic idols (if any?)-
I’ve already mentioned Kali Ciesemier. Sam Bosma, Kaye Blegvard, Lizzie Stewart and Angie Hoffmeister are all illustrators I admire to the hilt.
Is your art purely for pleasure, or do you have any plans on taking it further?
At the moment it’s for my own enjoyment, but I would love to work full-time in illustration! Stupid university, always getting in the way of more worthwhile pursuits…
Are you working on anything special currently?
I’d love to illustrate Vashti Bunyan’s The Trawlerman’s Song, or a few traditional Appalachian ballads. When I finally complete my Colleen comic, it will be compiled to be bought in my Etsy store. In a few weeks I’ll also be illustrating a shirt for Made in the Now, so that’s really exciting!
Do you have a favourite piece of work that you have done? Something you are particularly proud of?
I’m staring right now at this enormous piece I did in grade 12, for my final art assignment. It’s a huge canvas, it takes up about half of the wall, and it depicts Lady Macbeth dying and her spirit being borne away. It’s creepy, but I can’t bring myself to stash it away.