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Fantasy Artist Interviews

image by Veronica V. Jones

Six Answers from Heather V. Kreiter

Heather Kreiter hiding behind one of her griffons.

Many of our friends are veterans of countless fantasy gaming and media conventions, and few have traveled farther or setup their table more often than Heather Kreiter. We wanted to know from whence her beautiful, twisted imagery comes.

What was one of your earliest fantasy experiences?

“I guess I have several actually. When I was 11 I was OBSESSED with Unicorns. If it had a unicorn on it, I had to have it. Yes, many young girls liked Unicorns at one point in time, but mine evolved from Unicorns to dragons when I was 14. Also at that same time a friend of mine gave me The Sleeping Dragon by Joel Rosenburg to read. That book paved the way for The Dragonlance series and my love of Larry Elmore, Keith Parkinson, Fred Fields and Clyde Caldwell.”

How did you become a professional artist?

“Cuz I draw good. No, just kidding. It was kind of by sheer luck. I attended my very first Origins in Columbus, OH in June 2000. I had a table in the very small art show. One of the days I decided to take a break from my table and do some shameless self promotion in the dealers room. I brought my portfolio, business cards and pamphlets with me. I hit up every single booth that I could, just trying to get someone Art director-ish to talk to me. I finally happened upon the AEG booth. Their art director at the time, Jim Pinto, sat down with me and actually took the time to give me a real portfolio review….and it was harsh. During my review, one of the other AEG booth monkeys came over and told Jim, You’re not supposed to be doing portfolio reviews until Gen Con! He replied to her, I was told I could have a half hour of my time to do what I wanted, and I’m looking at her portfolio!! Luckily for me, he must have seen some sort of potential as he gave me my very first assignment a month later.”

Where do you find inspiration for your work?

“Inspiration is something that I’ve never run low on. At any given time I have at least two dozen ideas for projects floating around in my head. I draw inspiration from my Pagan/ Native American spirituality, from my crazy children, from dreams. I may see a face, pose or landscape in a magazine and have a whole idea spring from just that one visual.”

Is there a single message that you find yourself most drawn to?

“Create what makes you happy, and everything else will fall into place. It took me a long time to realize that. I used to take on any project that would come my way, despite if I liked it or not. One day I made a conscious decision to ONLY work on projects that I wanted to, that I enjoyed. As soon as I made that decision, I began to get work that I really enjoyed working on.”

What has been your most challenging project?

“That’s an easy one. 5 years ago I was given my very first book cover by an independent author. It seemed like a fun project, but the author actually called me all the time bitching about the other artists that he was working with (there were 6 books that he needed covers for). After working on the project for about 4 weeks, I finally received my contract. Several days after receiving my contract, I finished the painting and emailed a copy to him to review. When he called me about it, he was less than enthusiastic about it. There was a section of “cells” in the painting that were supposed to be glowing. He never told me this, but apparently put it in the contract, which as I said, I received a month after starting the painting. I ended up repainting all of the cells. This took me an additional 1 hour/cell and there were at least two dozen that I had to repaint. In my opinion, this made the painting look worse/much less dramatic. When I sent him the revised painting, I never heard from him for three weeks! When I finally did get a hold of him, he told me that his lawyers had told him not to talk to me. What the…?? I ended up getting a puny kill fee and to this day have absolutely no idea why my project was canceled.”

What are you working on now?

“Right now I’m working on 4 cards for the L5R expansion that is coming out in Dec., several private commissions that include tattoos, My Little Pony/Demon personas, and a line of Zodiac Angels.”

Keep up with Heather’s projects at Shaman Soul Studios.

Written by in August of 2009. Last edited October 2011.

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