We have so much talent in the Supernatural fandom! Fans draw, edit photos and videos, write fan fics, create costumes or props, make jewelry and much more. It’s time to showcase the #SPNFamily’s talent and ask the people behind the creations some questions!
I´d like you to meet Esther, the woman behind spectacular drawings of Supernatural characters and actors. Some of you already know her but I bet all of you will love her and her art after this interview! I am proud that I was able to do the interview because I met her at PurCon for the second year in a row. I can tell you she is such a sweet person. Enough gushing! Let´s start with the interview!
How and when did you got trapped into the Supernatural Fandom?
I don’t exactly remember. I started casually watching the show many years ago. When I got more active on social media (somewhere in 2014), I started to enjoy the passionate fandom and I was hooked. After my very first convention in 2016 (Purgatory convention in Düsseldorf), where I met so many awesome people, I was obsessed.
What does the Supernatural fandom mean to you?
For me, the Supernatural Family means a safe place where you can hang with other people who actually embrace weirdness and who accept you for who you are. The people I’ve met during conventions, or who I see online, are passionate and open minded and for an insecure introvert like me, it was a place where I actually dared to show my art online for the first time.
How and when did you start with drawing?
I have always been drawing, but I never thought I was good enough to pursue a career in art (I studied Law and then Philosophy instead).
Then, in 2014, I joined GISHWHES (I assume everybody knows GISH(WHES), Misha Collin’s yearly scavenger hunt). On the last night of my first Gishwhes, at 4 AM, I was dead tired and working on a ‘Croatoan pop-up book’. That moment was a turning point for me. I might have been tired, but the creative flow gave me such a rush! At that moment I realized I wanted to learn more and to become better at painting and drawing. Since that moment I’ve been drawing almost every single day.
What was the first picture you drew? What was the first Supernatural related picture you drew?
I should ask my mom! I really don’t know. I think I started with stick figures like a lot of kids do. The first Supernatural related drawing was of Misha Collins.
I know you also draw digitally. Can you recommend a program/tablet?
I usually draw in Photoshop, since I’m used to that program, I have lots of personalized stuff for it, and it’s still the standard in the industry (I am also a graphic designer). But it’s also expensive. I also use Art Rage and Clip Studio Paint. Those programs are great to work with and a lot cheaper.
I draw on a Wacom Cintiq 22 HDT and I absolutely love it. Every time I switch it on, it makes me happy. It is also the most expensive equipment I own.
When I started painting digitally, I worked on a Wacom Intuos Pro (Medium), which I can recommend.
Also a tip: buy the Lazy Nezumi Pro app! It is cheap and it’s a game changer for smooth lines.
What do you prefer more, to draw digitally or on paper?
Both have pros and cons, but as a computer nerd, I guess I prefer digital painting. A lot of times I start sketching on paper, scan my favorite sketch and then paint it digitally. On the other hand, I plan to work more traditionally in the near future, since I’m really starting to like acrylics and oil paints.
Seems like you can draw with everything (yes, I saw the sketch you made with what you found at the hotel) but what kind of pencils, colors and/or brushes do you use normally? What kind of paper?
I love Micron pens when I work with pen and ink and I’m a big fan of Palomino Blackwing pencils for drawing, because they are really dark (I love their pencil sharpener as well).
For digital work, I love the brushes of Charlie Bowater (Google it. She provides them for free on Gumroad).
For sketching, I use any paper that I have lying around.
Can you explain how/why you choose the pics you draw. What inspires you?
I like realism with a twist. I follow a lot of artists who I find inspiring and I visit museums quite often. I love both ‘old school’ artists (Caravaggio, Magritte) and current artists (like Brian Froud, Tim Burton). My art style might not look anything like their art, but I find it inspiring nonetheless (because of their use of light, surrealism, fantasy or horror, for example).
How long does it take you to finish a portrait/drawing?
Is it ever really finished? I have trouble deciding when it’s finished, so I take forever. Especially with my digital paintings I take too much time (30 hours or more is not an exception) and I tend to get lost in the details. Still learning to let go sooner :)
Not sure if you can decide, but what are your favorite pictures, and, of course, why?
I don’t really have one favorite picture. After it’s finished, I tend to see what I could have done better, or what I would do differently if I painted it again. I guess that’s part of the artist’s curse (i.e. being unable to properly appreciate the painting and always seeing the imperfections in your work).
I always love to see the progress people make with their art. Would you like to share a then & now picture with us?
How many books full of sketches & awesome drawings have you filled?
ONE! Just one. I have a bookshelf full of sketchbooks though. But I only managed to finish one of them.
I know you draw a picture of every person you meet at a convention. You let the stars sign them for you. Do you also gift them one? Can you share some of the reactions from the stars?
I always try to gift them one, if my budget lets me. Right before my last convention (Crossroads 2 in Birmingham), my printer broke down and I couldn’t gift one to every guest. I was sad about that.
The actors and actresses I’ve met have all been so extremely kind. More than once they brought me to tears afterwards! One reaction that surprised me was from Richard Speight, Jr. at the Purgatory convention (‘PurCon’, Düsseldorf) this year. He said one of the showrunners from the TV-show Lucifer had texted him my picture a few days before because she liked it!
That was a double fangirling moment for me :)
Of course, David Haydn-Jones is a gem too. He is so supportive of artists (with his Art Mate Sunday profile pictures). When we first met at PurCon, he took my hand, called me ‘a legend’ and complimented my work (and honestly: I have no idea what he said exactly, cause when he held my hand my brain just went full fangirl and wasn’t recording anymore).
You are also a Gisher like me. I saw some amazing drawings from you for some items (i.e. challenges). Can you share them with us? Right now I have the Misha & Dinosaurs in my mind.
Yes! I love Gish, so much!
If I remember right, you are open for commissions? If yes, how does it work? Are there rules about things you don´t draw?
Right now, I am not open for commissions, but I have done some in the past (and might do some in the future, too). I never actively promoted doing commissions, but people contacted me and I’ve only refused a commission a few times, because I was either not skilled for it (don’t let me draw cars or architecture, I really can’t), or it was something I just don’t do (porn and something with which I had an ethical issue).
What are your next projects?
I hope to do more traditional work in the near future, and my work as a graphics designer takes a lot of time too. I also have a few new fan art projects in mind, depending on the guests that get invited to the Supernatural conventions that I will visit next year. I will keep you updated on my social media.
I like your name, Spectral Stories. Is there a story behind the name that you want to share with all us?
I wanted to tell stories through my art, and ‘spectral’ can refer to ‘ghostly (or supernatural)’ and ‘colors (or relating to a spectrum of colors)’. I like it when my work makes you feel a little bit uneasy and I love working with color and light.
Is there anything else you like to share with the fans? What more would you like to tell us about your art or yourself?
I would like to thank you and everybody else for their support of my art.
In general: if you like somebody’s art, it means the world to them when you retweet, ‘like’ and comment on their work. It’s free and it makes such a difference.
Now it’s time for the question I ask everyone. If you could change only one thing in the world right now, what would it be?
Stay open minded, because when you are open to new ideas and are allowing yourself to make mistakes and sometimes change your beliefs, I believe people can grow and will be more accepting of other people’s beliefs as well.
Thanks for taking the time to do this interview with me!
Now I´d like to share a drawing that Esther gave me last year at PurCon when we met for the first time.
(more in my PurCon Special part 1 & part 2)
Please share your comments, questions, and reactions below! If you want to follow Esther, the links are below:
Thanks for reading.
-Using Words, Telling Stories, The Writer Business-
You can read more of my articles by going to my Writer´s Page!
Read More Stories of Fans who have been "Inspired by Supernatural"! They can all be found in WFB's "Lighter Side" articles!