Cover illustrator for Reading 5X5
Tell us a little bit about your artistic background. How did you first get into illustration work? Do you make art in other fields/media, too?
When I was a teenager, I was involved with an online fandom community that published a monthly magazine, for which I did a bunch of colored-pencil cover illustrations (my scanner was one of my most precious possessions). In college my main focus was intaglio printmaking, but even my fine art assignments usually had an illustrative bent. Some of my favorite pieces incorporated intaglio into paper sculpture, vitrines and miniature rooms. Abstractly, I wish I still had the studio space and shop access to continue creating more non-digital work, but my head’s no longer there–most of the pieces I want to create now tend to be digital.
What are some of your artistic influences and aspirations?
Here’s a list, starting with: birds. Parrots, specifically. Both historical and modern fashion. Those pictures you see of actors on set, where they’re decked in lavish period costume and chilling with their phones. 19th century bricks of novels. Prose that’s either ultraviolet and everywhere, or cool and precise. Art, same. I’m in awe of people who can take a style and really indulge the world it creates.
You are a writer (with publications in Apex and Lackington’s) as well as an artist. How does your writing inform your art and vice versa?
I almost always draw what I’m writing, but I don’t have to write what I draw. That’s not to say that certain images aren’t stories in themselves–I’m just satisfied to leave them as something of a mystery. I recall a great conversation I had with a comic-artist friend: when she sets out to tell a story, she thinks of drawing it; when I set out to tell a story, I think of writing prose. I won’t limit myself by saying I’ll never try making comics, for instance, but I much prefer illustrating moments of a story that encapsulate the whole.
What keeps you going when art and/or writing gets hard? How do you recharge?
I struggle with this, honestly! I’d struggle more if writing and art weren’t always a little bit hard for me–and those few magical days when they aren’t are worth the perseverance. If I’m not actively working on something, I’m keeping vague thoughts tucked away for when I can put them together. Alternating between writing and visual art helps, too.
What projects are you working on right now? Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
In addition to various illustration commissions, I’m about to start revising a novel (again). I also want to continue developing this whole “women in space, with parrots” setting until it’s a place I can write in, too–right now it’s mostly visual, which I’m also happy to explore. Though I enjoy building elaborate scenes and rooms in my art, prose worldbuilding is not one of my strengths, so this should be an interesting challenge.
For more about Kathryn Weaver: