Six Answers from Veronica V. Jones
It’s the end of her convention season and Veronica V. Jones must be feeling introspective. After a decade of fantasy illustrations for the role playing and card game industry, she’s recently been expanding into the children’s illustration market.
What was one of your earliest fantasy experiences?
“When I was a girl, I read comics a LOT. My dad and I bonded over comics. He would pick them up for me and bring them home so I could read them. He’d also help me scrape together spare change so i could make the trip to the local 7-Eleven to buy my own comics. Anyway, I was obsessed with the idea of superheroes.
“I remember one day when I was about 10 or 11, I was walking home from a neighbor’s house after school. It was a crisp fall day that is a treasure to experience, and I remember vividly watching the wind whip the golden trees back and forth. I started to fantasize that I was able to direct the wind and I felt keenly that any second, a strong gust would come along and send me soaring.”
How did you become a professional artist?
“It’s a long story full of sighs….I’ve always been big into drawing ever since I was small, doodling characters and unicorns. However, I had it stuck in my head that it’s not something you can do as a profession to make money. So when the time came to go to college, even though art was my favorite class, I made the completely practical decision to go with a completely practical major. I actually enjoyed it very much, but I was missing art. I would go to scifi and fantasy conventions and do drawings for people, and actually get into high demand.
“When I graduated, I kept trying to bring art into my work – doing design of web sites and brochures. Finally I met a medical illustrator and had my eureka moment – people can be professional artists! I immediately started trying to get into this challenging field, taking classes in figure drawing, watercolor, colored pencil and acrylic painting to beef up my portfolio. As i was doing all of these classes however, I came to another realization. I didn’t want to limit myself to just medical illustration but wanted to explore as much as i could. It wasn’t long after this that I was able to find work as an in-house graphic artist and art director at a company that made sticker photo booths. The rest, as they say, is history.”
Where do you find inspiration for your work?
“I try to find inspiration in the everyday. I try hard to keep my eyes open to the beautiful things that are right in my neighborhood – the people, places and things I see regularly. I see inspiration in the work of others, including the design work that shows up in ads, magazines and posters. I also take inspiration from nature. There is so much weird and wonderful out there!”
Is there a single message that you find yourself most drawn to?
“Get to the story behind a picture. I try to imagine what may be going on behind the moment I’m trying to capture and I think that gives my pieces a bit of depth. Use expressive faces to help tell that story and ground it with detail.”
What has been your most challenging project?
“Years ago I was commissioned to create a piece for a company who had the license to create a game based on the Song of Ice and Fire books by George R. R. Martin. The company was going all out creating a deluxe version of the game book and was commissioning artists to create 2 page spreads based on scenes from the books. I’m a fan of the books and loved this opportunity. I also was quite a bit intimidated that I could do justice to a subject I loved so well. I had never before attempted such a massive project, not only in size but scope, as the scene I was given was very dense with 3 separate actions taking place.
“I spent days doing research, rereading section by section to get the characterization right and getting references to work from. I spent weeks on the painting, sometimes scrapping and repainting areas completely that I wasn’t happy with. Although I wasn’t thrilled with my work, I was able to get it in on time and eagerly looked forward to getting paid for my work. However, as happens too often in the hobby game industry, the client had bitten off more than it could chew and closed it’s doors before it could pay the artists it had contracted. I did get copies of the books though. :/”
What are you working on now?
“Right now I’m working on a piece for LFNE: Campfire Tales which is dark and spooky. I’m waiting on some CCG work for Legend of the Five Rings to come in and I have some private commissions I’m working on. While I continue to create work for role playing games and collectible card games, my main focus has shifted to the juvenile book market. I’m working on portfolio pieces and stories.”
Written by Jeff in October of 2011. Last edited September 2014.