An interview with… Lisa Woodworth

Hope you had a lovely weekend. We’re starting the week with another interview with one of our Changeling artists: Lisa Woodworth.

Emmy: Hello! Please tell our readers a little about yourself.

Lisa: My name is Lisa, I work under the name Furryocious, and I come from Liverpool UK.

Emmy: What inspires you to create?

Lisa: I love fantasy art, I always have, I love the idea that you can take a myth and make it a real creature. I struggled to create fantasy art for a long time because I have aphantasia, which means I struggle to picture things in my mind clearly, it’s just the vaguest idea or feeling. Nothing would ever look right or good enough, and in my younger days I planned so much it killed it before I got going.

I studied form, proportion, shading, anatomy, anything and everything to give me the skills to begin to make these ghosts take shape. The way I work now is to try and hold that murky idea in my head as a starter, get as many reference photos and anatomical photos together as I can and just piece together my creatures bit by bit. I have no idea what the final picture will become, it will evolve as I draw. I don’t plan anything, I just go for it (and keep an eraser handy). There could be a pattern rattling round in my head that suits a dragon’s scales, or a sky with the most amazing colour scheme, or I see something out in nature that is beautiful and I want to incorporate it, so I will add it in. It often means my pictures start very simply but frequently become very busy. I love filling in the details, and it stops me losing interest in completing the picture because I’m adding something new all the time. I do paint, but for convenience right now I use coloured pencils and acrylic paint when I need it.

Emmy: What inspired “Night Spirit”, your Changeling piece?

Lisa: “Night Spirit” was inspired by my love of woodland, and the way that the feel of the woods changes at night. It’s familiar but also completely different, maybe more scary. It feels like the trees are more awake, and so are the nocturnal creatures that were hidden away in the day. I love the moon and the night sky too, so I wanted to make a creature that could be a guardian to watch over all the night wildlife and the woods. I saw a pink moonrise in Cornwall when I was really young, and it has stayed with me ever since. I wanted to get that into the sky, and to blend the sky and the trees together in the Night Spirit itself.

Emmy: Who inspires you creatively?

Lisa: I have so many artists that inspire me. When I was younger, I loved the artists that worked on fantasy like Warhammer and D&D – Larry Elmore, Angus McBride, Iain McCaig and John Blanche from Fighting Fantasy, Kevin O’Neill from 2000AD Comics, Rodney Matthews who did so many album covers, and naturally, Jim Henson’s Creature Shop. I also love classical artists like John William Waterhouse, Rodin, Michelangelo, Geiger.

Emmy: What do you enjoy the most about creating?

Lisa: Sometimes it makes me sad that I don’t have sharp pictures in my mind like other people do. The part I enjoy though is the journey of what will become. It’s exciting to start at one place and wind up somewhere unexpected. I love to spot something and squirrel it away for the future, and then to use it when the time is right.

I love being able to use art as a way of getting rid of my fidgets, I can sit and draw or needlefelt or crochet, and it calms my body instantly, and helps me slow down the whirlwind in my head and let’s me think more clearly. I work curled up on the sofa in my happiest place to be.

Emmy: If you were to give a young aspiring artist advice, what would you tell them?

Lisa: If I was to give a young ND artist advice, it would be to create what YOU love. It doesn’t matter one bit who else likes it, even if that’s nobody. Learn the basics – proportions, shading, perspective and then bend all of them how you want. You have to learn the rules in order to break them. Keep it fresh and interesting to you. Collect images, take photos, sketch shapes, because eventually you will find them a good home. Most importantly, though, practice.

Changeling Annual 2023 will be published in Spring — keep an eye out for updates by following our Instagram.

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