Interview with Gothic artist and illustrator Jae

Jae is a Gothic/Fantasy artist and illustrator. Jae had been working as a graphite and charcoal artist for many years but as an illustrator, she now uses digital art more. Recently, she is working on a Kickstart project which is a gothic/Fantasy themed Tarot Card Deck. Lots happening to her in 2018. Including the Gothic Moon Tarot companion book, A Graphic Novel based on her original characters, a brand new Tarot/Oracle card deck and appearing at the Birmingham Comic Con in the UK. We have conducted an interview with Jae.

How long have you been a graphite and charcoal artist? Why did you choose this medium?

I have been a graphite artist for as long as I have been an artist, you can use graphite on pretty much any type of paper, make’s it’s a great medium for practicing/learning. Another great feature of graphite is the ability to work within fine detail which is probably why it is a favourite amongst portrait and realism artists. Charcoal is relatively new to me I was introduced to it in workshop a few years ago and immediately fell in love with it, however I don’t use it as much as I really want to.

Which genre do you love most?

I love, love the gothic, fantasy and horror genre which is what most of my work consists of, my imagination just goes to another place, it is when I am at my most creative. Most people think I am sad, unhappy, because some of my drawings and illustrations are quite dark, I can understand that because a lot of my work has originated from my own personal feelings and experiences. However, I am a very positive, happy person who wears a lot of black, has a room full of skulls and draws dark art lol.

What is the biggest project you have undertaken?

By far the Tarot Card project is the biggest I have undertaken. The time, the focus, the work, the project has taken me a best part of the year and we are now almost complete. In 2018 I have at least 3 major projects that will keep me extremely busy, one of which will see all proceeds go to a children’s charity. I can’t say much about it right now as I haven’t formalised anything yet, but it is going to be fun where people will be able to view me live and enjoy this creation along with me.

Which are your top 3 personal favorite original characters you have ever created?

Well of course Gabriel is one of my favourite characters, Gabriel is the central character of the Tarot Card deck so you will see him all through the minor cards. I guess he is special to me as this is the first Tarot deck I have created so he is with me on a daily basis. I have a few other characters that I haven’t really revealed much about yet that are part of the graphic novel. Rain and Knight are the central characters and I have a spiritual Wolf in there too, there will be more to come on those characters in the new year. The novel will be in the dark fantasy genre and will be based around the adventures of the 3 characters.

How challenging is the creation of a Graphic Novel? Where do you plan to exhibit your creative artwork and creations?

Very challenging, I had to do a lot of research about illustrating a graphic novel. Yes graphic novels are very visual but the plot of the story and the actual story writing is equally important. Writing and Illustrating the graphic novel, an instructional book by Daniel Cooney has helped me a lot to understand the frame work of even attempting to write a graphic novel.

For me illustrating the characters is obviously where I am most comfortable, writing on the other hand is the challenge. I will hopefully be debuting the graphic novel characters at the Birmingham Comic Con in June 2018 where I will be exhibiting my artwork. I was there this year, it was my first my time at a Comic Con so I did a relatively small exhibition but next year I intend to put on a bigger exhibition with brand new artwork.

I do have other exhibitions I hope to be able to attend but I have nothing confirmed yet except for the Birmingham Comic Con.

What/who inspires you to create the Tarot/Oracle card deck?

Well the Tarot Deck I’m creating right now is a team effort. We have the author of the deck Ophelia Jade, whom is an experienced Tarot card expert. Whilst most people read tarot from feeling and intuition there are a lot of novices out there so it was important that the deck had an author so novices have a basic understanding, and we also wanted to make sure it was a working deck, it’s very important that the deck can be read with. I also have my, as I like to call her, creative assistant, Tinez Pollewop who helps a lot with some of the symbolic creations of the cards. And of course there is myself the illustrator, yes it was my creation initially, but without the other 2 creators it would never have been a completed project.

It all started with an illustration which was a golden cup, it hit me how much it resembled the Ace of Cups from the Rider Waite Tarot, so I thought well, let's carry on. I had no idea how much it would become a very important and life-changing project for me because it forced me to delve within my own personal experiences of life, some of which I had not dealt with yet on a spiritual level. So a lot of the cards are in fact from my own life experiences, specifically the Sword cards, which deals with the not so welcoming parts of life we have all experienced at some point, heartbreak, sadness, tragedy and the mental conflicts that accompany them. It’s has been very therapeutic for me and not just a project, in fact I don’t even like to use the word project for this particular creation.

Tarot was and still is in fact a card game, it wasn’t until the late 18th Century that it began to be used for divination and now we are flooded with Tarot card creations, from cats to biblical themes and even movie themes, the Tarot genre is vast and there are lots of collectors out there. It’s fun, It’s therapeutic, and for some it has been life changing, Tarot deserves respect and not the “evil” stigma that is attached to it.

It is a very personal experience for someone when choosing a Tarot deck, most choose a deck they feel a connection to and not just because the artwork is pretty, of course initially the artwork does attract the eye of the person which makes them want to explore the deck more, most usually know if they have a connection within a few minutes. I hope Gothic Moon has a connection for some.

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