Thursday, August 25, 2011

Terese Nielsen Interview

Mazzic had the honor of meeting Fantasy artist Terese Nielsen while at San Diego Comic-Con 2001. You may recognize Terese Nielsen's art as it has graced a few of Dark Horse Comic's trade paperbacks, as well as some of the first New Jedi Order book covers. Nielsen graciously agreed to fill out this Online interview, exclusively for Jade Crusades!

How long have you been a Star Wars fan?

I have always enjoyed the Star Wars saga. I respect the impact it has made in the movie and fantasy art industry. I know many artists that decided they wanted to do Fantasy/Sci-Fi art when they saw those movies as a child.

Which of the four Star Wars movies is your favorite?

I think it would have to be The Empire Strikes Back. I love the process of the young arrogant Luke being humbled by the unassuming Yoda, and the process of Luke finding his inner power through focusing his mind to find the connection to the Force.

Are you a Mara Jade fan?

I can't say that I was simply because I don't follow the current literature that's out there. From what I have learned about her recently, she seems to be a strong female character that I would enjoy.

How familiar are you with Mara Jade's character?

Not a fraction as much as I would've liked to have been. I was wishing I could have picked the brains of some hard core Mara fans when I was illustrating her.

What preparations did you go through before producing Dark Horse Comic's Union trade paperback comic cover?

I searched out several Mara websites, Jade Crusades being one of them, and read up on whatever I could find. Dark Horse also sent along the previously published comics that detailed the story I was illustrating. They also sent along the magazine that featured four or five photos of her. The selection of images was extremely limiting.

What preparations did you go through before producing Del Rey's Edge of Victory II: Rebirth book cover?

Del Rey provided me with a basic idea of what the book was going to be about and they had a pretty clear idea of the direction they were looking for on the cover. I provided a few different compositions which included the elements they wanted to see and then I hopped on the painting. The deadline was very tight on this piece, so it didn't allow me the time to research anything too much or experiment with lots of different ideas.

You have depicted some of the most important times of Mara Jade's life - her marriage to Luke Skywalker, and her pregnancy. What was it like working on such significant pieces?

It was odd creating images for these momentous occasions of this very significant character which was never a part of the SW's movies. I'm sure if I had been reading all the books which added her into the SW's world it wouldn't have been as jarring. I thought it was very cool to be asked to portray these intimate periods in Luke and Mara's history.

What other art assignments are you currently working on?

I just finished up a seven month non-stop run of work/conventions and am happy to say I'm taking a little bit of time this next month to work on some personal pieces. I enjoy studying various Gnostic and mystical texts and plan on producing some work in this vein. As far as what I've been working's been everything from book and magazine covers to computer games, personal commissioned pieces, and last but not least even more "product" for Harry Potter.

What is your favorite art medium?

My favorite medium is "mixed" which means using everything. I almost never do a piece with only one medium. Experimenting is how I stay interested in each painting.

What kind of tools do you use for inking/coloring?

I don't do traditional comic book art that utilizes an inker or a colorist. I'm a painter so you'll find acrylic, gouache, oil, colored pencil, gold leaf, digital, and sometimes collage in my pieces, whatever works for what I need.

Who are some of your artistic influences?

I am inspired by many artists and illustrators, especially those in the early 1900's during the golden years of illustration. Gustav Klimpt is at the top of my list, Alphonse Mucha, Alma Tadema, The Pre-Raphealites, Waterhouse, Dean Cornwell, JC Leyendecker, NC Wyeth, Pyle, etc. etc. I have many influences.

What would you recommend to aspiring artists hoping to do what you do?

I thought art school was very important. It taught me many skills, techniques and also how to paint even when I wasn't in the "mood", something that's crucial when art becomes your job. Lastly, draw, draw, draw. You can never be too good at drawing.

If you'd like to see more of my process for creating the Star Wars pieces feel free to visit I always include preliminary sketches, art directors’ comments and my personal thoughts on the illustrations.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on your questions.

If you are interested in seeing more of Terese Nielsen’s art head on over to her website at!

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