Erin Beachy’s work is elegant, yet has a fairytale quality to it. Several of the artists have “Red Riding Hood” in their portfolios, including Erin. I love her use of line and muted color and the magical, mystical, wonder(full) relationships between her characters.
OCB: What do you think of YA author Jacqueline Woodson’s claim?
Erin Beachy: I imagine this is true for some visual artists, but not for me personally. My art is usually just influenced by whatever stories I’ve read recently and/or how I’m feeling at the moment.
OCB: What are you painting or creating art for (as in, what is the deep-down driving force behind your choice to paint/illustrate in the first place)? What is it about the act of drawing or painting or illustrating that speaks to you or resonates with you most?
Erin: I’ve been drawing ever since I can remember. It really doesn’t feel like a choice to me, it’s just something I need to do. I feel most like myself when I’m making art. My favorite thing is trying to interpret visually the stories that I love; it’s an outlet for expressing how I feel about them. Books and art usually go hand and hand for me. And the process of starting from nothing and creating something beautiful is incredibly satisfying.
OCB: What technique/media did you use to create “East Side of the Sun and West of the Moon,” and/or “Wild Swans?”
Erin: Both are drawn with Blackwing pencils and then scanned and colored in Photoshop. “East of the Sun and West of the Moon” was colored with Kyle T. Webster’s watercolor Photoshop brushes, which I highly recommend.
OCB: Since you illustrate books for young readers, did you have a favorite illustration or illustrator when you were young (or now)? If so, why?
Erin: Growing up my favorite illustrators were (and still are) P.J. Lynch and Alan Lee. We had a couple of picture books that P.J. illustrated when I was a kid and they were my favorites; his work is gorgeous. I found Alan’s work through obsessing over The Lord of the Rings. I spent a lot of time marveling over his Tolkien concept art and watercolor paintings. My relatively newer favorite is Arthur Rackham. I absolutely love everything about his work, the style and tone are perfect for fairy tales. All hail Rackham.