I’ve been long obsessed with fantasy art, drooling over the level of creative detail artists were able to depict in creatures and characters that didn’t exist, crafted by each artists’ imagination. So when I started the “Artist Spotlight” feature, I already had a list of people I’d want to showcase right off the bat. On the top of that list was a guy whose work I’ve been following for years. Some of you know him as the famous Wheel of Time character artist. That’s right, I’m talking about the oh-so-talented Seamas Gallagher. But… who is he really? Outta This World interviewed him to find out.
When did you realize you were an artist?
I’ve always enjoyed drawing ever since I was a little kid, and so far I have been fortunate enough to continue doing it as a bigger kid!
Describe your style and the materials you use
I would like to think that I try and strive for a more stylized approach to my own personal work. At least that’s what I enjoy doing the most. These days I’m almost exclusively working digitally on a Wacom tablet, but occasionally I pick up an actual pencil and paper and do some “old school” sketching.
What artists have inspired you throughout your career, and how?
There are so many talented people out there, it’s hard to name all of them! However, to name a few: Frank Frazetta, because his iconic fantasy images were always a favorite of mine as a kid; J.C. Leyendecker, his style and design is phenomenal; Claire Wendling, whose style I really enjoy; Iain McCaig, an all-around bad ass; and Eric Canete, whose stylization blows me away.
You’re obviously a Wheel of Time fan. How long have you been a fan and how has WoT inspired you?
A good friend of mine turned me on to The Wheel of Time when I was in art school, sometime around 2001. I’ve been hooked on the series ever since I finished The Eye of the World. Being one of my favorite fantasy series, I was inspired to visually portray some of the characters from the series. I think I’ve gotten to a fair amount of the main characters, although there are still a lot more I’d like to sketch out!
Who was your favorite Wheel of Time character to create?
This is a bit cliché, but each one so far has been a lot of fun; however, there have been specific characters that I had a strong gut reaction as to how I envisioned them in my own mind. For example, for whatever reason, Sammael was one such character. He was pretty fun to draw, but I also very much enjoy drawing the “bad guys.”
View Seamas’s vignette tutorial for creating characters like the one seen below.
What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received on your work?
Any compliment is nice to receive!
If you could have any other profession in life, what would it be?
Truly, I can’t imagine doing anything other than what I do. I feel very fortunate that my livelihood is something that I really enjoy. Except for maybe a professional beer taster. That’s a job, right?
What do you do for fun, besides art?
I haven’t had much free time as of late, but when I do get a chance, I like to play video games, read and enjoy an occasional tasty beer.
What advice would you give an artist that’s just starting out?
Draw stuff. A lot. For myself, I found figure drawing to be invaluable knowledge to possess. I also find it helpful to constantly check out cool art by talented artists, not only to get inspired, but to challenge yourself to be a better artist.
Where you can find more artwork by Seamas Gallagher
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When I tell people I’m a huge fantasy nerd and frequent reader, the first question that comes up is, “have you read the The Wheel of Time series?” My lightning-quick response is, “Hells yeah!” (Note: I generally salivate by just thinking of these books). If my boyfriend happens to be around when the question arises, he’ll laugh because he knows just how much I obsess over this series. Picture he and I hanging in our back yard, drinking coffee, and discussing our passions. He talks cars and I talk WOT (when I’m in midst of reading the series). The two of us usually have no idea what the other is talking about, though I did finally get him to read Eye of the World.
After my brother-in-law turned me onto the series years ago, I’ve read (or shall I say listened to; I do books on mp3) each one of the first eleven books several times. Book 12 just came out, so I’ve only got one read in. I want to go on record right now to say that The Wheel of Time is arguably the best epic fantasy series of all time. It combines everything I adore about good stories: fantasy, magic, mythical and dangerous creatures, and two major topics I think every good fantasy series should have: politics and a struggle for power. Yes, yes, I’ve read The Lord of the Rings series too, and oddly found the books a little slow. Perhaps it’s because I watched the movies first and they are brilliant on so many levels.
Haven’t read this series? Robert Jordan has been writing WOT since 1984 until his death. (Yes, I cried when I heard the news!) At that point Brandon Sanderson took over to complete the final three books of the series, and has done an extraordinary job with book 12: The Gathering Storm. By the way, I’m also reading Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy, another great series.
Jordan’s WOT series is one of the reasons I started this blog. There are hundreds of thousands of fans, like me, who spend hours a day scouring the Internet for news, art, and discussions about the WOT, and I wanted to continue to honor this incredible and still flourishing work of art.
As most fans know, Universal Pictures acquired the movie rights to Eye of the World in August 2008, and the movie is set to start filming in 2011 (produced by Red Eagle Entertainment). So I thought it’d be fun to write, shoot, and produce a short scene from the film for fans! Per the suggestions made by WOT fans on a my blog post Which WOT character am I, I’ll be playing the role of Aes Sedai Moiraine Damodred (pictured to the right). It’ll be more of a “making of,” and we’ll document the entire process from start to finish… for fans!
- About The Wheel of Time
- Dragonmount: Best WOT forum-based fan site
- An interview with Brandon Sanderson