Interview with Erika Sampaio

As a thank you to Erika, who did such a beautiful job of illustrating Caph and Aden from Children of Artifice, some questions about her art, what inspires her to draw, and the things that she has drawn in the past!

Q) What inspired you to start drawing?

– As a child, when watching cartoons – I started to feel like i want to participate in that fictional world in some way. I didn’t just want to reproduce or copy what I saw, I wanted to create a version of me (kind of) in that universe. When i started to watch Pokemon, for exemple, i wanted to create my own pokemon trainer, even my own pokemons and their evolutions. Every book, comic, film that i liked was the same thing, so i decided to start drawing to give life to that characters of mine.

Q) Which artists do you admire?
– Oh, there are so many i follow and love!  But here are some who influenced me in creating my artstyle: Rebecca Guay, Erica Williams, Lorena Lammer, Djamila Knopf, and some old masters like Gustav Klimt and Alphonse Mucha.

Q) What do you like drawing most?
– Fantasy stuff for sure! Knights (specially women knights!), elves, magic creatures and weapons, all that kind of stuff with tons of details, patterns and arabesques.

Q) How do you find that Social Media feedback has affected your drawing?
– Goes in both ways. It affected me positively because it enabled me to show what I do to more people and thus have the chance to get more jobs and befriend other artists as well. But it affected me in a negative way too because i created a constant demand on me for always to be posting something. I have this sensation that if i’m not posting, the people will forget about me, about my drawings. I’m working on it and I demand myself a lot less now.

Q) Is there something – or someone – you’ve always wanted to draw and haven’t (yet)?– Yes, there is! I always wanted to do a fantasy book cover! i would love (and probably freak out) if I went to a bookstore and saw a book with an illustration of mine on the cover.

Q) If you could go anywhere in the world and draw the place/people, where would it be?– Oh, my…just one place? Taj Mahal, for sure. I only know the place through photos and documentaries, it would be a dream to visit it some day.

Q) Share with us a piece of art that you’re particularly proud of!
– This piece with my OCs (original characters) Lunnadan and Ranah. With this illustration I finally started to feel that i’m finally reaching a artstyle of mine and because of it too i started to receive commissions to make pieces with this style and theme i love so much.

Find Erika on Artstation – here!

Creativity – Seeing and Believing

1111065__fire-in-her-eyes_pA week or so back, the question of Aphantasia, the blindness of the mind’s eye, came up on Facebook. The posted article, by Blake Ross, discusses how it’s possible to actually hallucinate things pictures, real images of people, places, backgrounds… Mr. Ross can’t do it, but he points to a very touching article about a man who could, and who then lost his ability after surgery.

It got me thinking. When I was younger, right up to my early thirties I suppose, I could see things in my head. If I read a book, it came to life. I could see what was happening – clearly and vividly. During gaming, I could see the characters and the world and the action; while writing, I could see the settings and faces as much I could feel the emotions of the characters involved…


Metal gaming dice. Love them.

But I lost the ability when I come to London, I didn’t read, or write, anything for years. When I picked up a book, the words were dead – I couldn’t see the pictures any more. I wrote all three Ecko books in the corner of the bedroom surrounded by images – maps, fractals, character sketches, print-outs, photographs, concepts – just so that I could keep them in my head.

There were times the images came back. Ecko’s fall from the heights of Mortimer, Hiner and Thompson came from standing outside Titan House and having a smoke, looking up at the buildings over the road; there’s a section at the end of ‘Burning’ that was written after I discovered St. Dunstan-in-the-East.

St. Dunstan in the EastSimply, if I can see something in my head, I can write it in one sitting, and the language just flows, it attends to itself. And if I can’t, I’m fucked – I can write the same thing forty times, and it’ll still be shit.

(A shout-out, at this point, to the glorious time-waster that is Pinterest

I know many of my author buddies have boards for their characters and worlds, and use them rather like a visual note-taking method. Quite aside from the ‘it’s research honest’ line, it really is good way to remember things!)

So – is visualisation essential to your creativity? When you write, can you ‘see’ things in your head? When you read? When you draw? Those who still role-play – can you see the Beholder as it zaps your arse into the middle of next week? And what if you can’t – if you don’t see things in your mind’s eye, can you still create?

I’m genuinely curious. Let me know!

Sure as Eggs

There are eggs all over London.

I’m not actually doing the hunt (what the fuck would I do with a Faberge Egg anyway?), but I do walk a lot and I stop to admire them when I see them. They’re absolutely beautiful, and, like the elephants last summer, they’re an amazing way to showcase artists and to help a charitable cause.

It got me thinking about the really sharp graffiti marketing that Orbit did for Simon Morden’s Metrozone series – there must be a way that authors can do this too. Sentence fragments on billboards, on tube trains, treasure hunts to piece them together – I don’t know.

But sure as eggs are – well – eggs, there has got to be a way to make this work for us too…

Holy Shit!

Telling someone else to draw the shit in your head is a pretty tall order.

And when that telling goes through Marketing and Editorial before it even gets to the Artist – well, you almost dread the result.

The anticipation is weird – there’s a huge elation that it’s all really happening, and a fusion of massive excitement and white-cold terror. What if it’s wrong – what happens if the artist can’t actually see what’s in your head?

It’s a huge moment – a crystallised fraction of time where you’ve trusted someone else to draw your dreams. It’s like the surrender of control that comes with your edit – all packed down into a sharp, visual punch that makes you stagger.

I can’t show the concepts here, I wish I could. Not only has artist Martin Stiff done an absolutely phenomenal job of understanding what’s in my head, but the fact that Chris and his team, and Cath, have all been there too means one thing…

They get it.

For the first time, this shit is real…

…and I have no shame in admitting that it made me burst into tears.

Does Yours Do This?

The Science Museum has a new pop culture art exhibit, called ‘Electroboutique’- Russian artists Shulgin and Chernyshev have given a fantastically tongue-in-cheek look at the symbols of modern marketing, plus a series of exhibits which respond to you in real time.

If you get the chance, do go and see it – it’s on the mezzanine to the left hand side of the front hall (right above the gift shop, suitably enough). I mean, where else would you get one of these?

Doctor Who in Comics

For something so huge, it really isn’t very big; you can walk round it in under 15 minutes. But the artwork is beautiful, and it’ll take you through time – from 1964 right up to the present day.

You can see how a Doctor Who comics story evolves from script to finished page, follow the roles played by writer, editor, penciller, inker and colour artist. For those who’ve never read the magazine, this display introduces worlds and adventures that you never knew existed – holes in space-time that show something amazing…

The Doctor is comics form may be ever better than he is on screen.

This is a whole new Universe, a side of the Doctor that I’ve been aware of but never really explored and that was completely new to my Who-mad son. And we both loved it.

I couldn’t take too many pictures and was wary of infringing anyone’s copyright; the stuff I’ve shown here is only the smallest taste of the wonders on display. It’s suitably TARDIS-like – very much bigger on the inside.

But don’t take my world for it – go down and find out where the boundaries of space-time really are.

Doctor Who in Comics 1964 – 2011, exhibit at the Cartoon Museum.


Sometimes, you discover something so absolutely beautiful that you wonder how the hell you’ve never seen it before. By Daniel Arnold-Mist, this just took my breath away. I don’t know whether to call her steampunk, cyberpunk, wirepunk or to leave the punk alone completely and hold back from giving her any kind of limiting label. She’s too delicate, too expressive, for my clumsy words.

Her beauty is astonishing. If I look at her long enough, I expect her to move.

Find more of Dan’s artwork here.

Danie’s Toys

I’m hoping to write a weekly Toys post – though it won’t be weekly, and is unlikely to be (all) about toys…

As I sit here, the guys are unpacking our haul of goodies from San Diego – there’s a tidal wave of samples flooding through the office.

I love toy culture.  Gadgets.  Gags.  Collectables.  I have an ever-growing menagerie of art toys above my writing desk and constantly lust after, though never buy, the beautiful works crafted by such companies as Kotobukiya and Gentle Giant.  Everything from Tokidoki to Steampunk makes me wish that I could fill my house full of wonders…

But that would be getting creepy.

In this little space, then, I’d like to share the goodies I find.  I can’t promise it’ll be weekly, nor that it will be all utterly toy-focussed.  As the culture expands to include Hello Kitty branded chainsaws, (just for example), some opportunities simply write themselves.  I can’t even promise that it’ll always be entirely SFW – though I will warn you if it’s not!

This is not a blog, and it’s not a showcase for my employer.

It’s a little corner for me to shout about the stuff I love!