Twitter isn’t all bad. Sometimes, Twitter introduces me to amazing new artists I never would have found anywhere else … which is how I stumbled upon the work of Nikita Ryan. She is a master of gay erotic art, and since Escaping Exile is pretty dang erotic, I really, really wanted her take on my characters.
Her art focuses on the male form, and according to her website:
“I believe that love is love and that the attraction between two men (and two women for that matter) is beautiful, valid, and perfectly acceptable. People should be able to be with who they want to be with, without judgement. I just want to celebrate that fact.”
(It’s a shame she lives across an ocean, because I would really love to buy this lady a drink.)
Nikita got the chance to read the Escaping Exile manuscript way before it saw an editor or proofreader, and she delivered this outstanding vision of dark-haired Edmund and his blond vampire Andrew:
(Doesn’t it just make your eyes happy?!?)
Honored that she spent time drawing my lovely boys, I wanted to pick her brain a bit about her work, her influences, and (of course) what she thought of Escaping Exile.
What’s your artistic background?
I’ve always drawn and painted for as long as I can remember. My mum is also an artist so I guess it is in my genes! I went to art college and eventually got a degree in Web and Graphic Design. More recently I also completed another degree in Interior Design, but have ended up not working in either field!
What inspired you to draw M/M subjects?
I also write my own M/M romance/fantasy stories and have several projects on the go (as per normal!) and it was a way of bringing my own characters to life. And what’s not to like about the male body? I have always loved life drawing, but now I am more interested in trying to capture emotions, and two men together does it for me.
I am also hoping to “normalise” the love between two guys through my art and to help that be accepted in society, as I am a firm believer that Love is Love.
You perfectly captured Andrew and Edmund in this drawing. What was the most challenging part about bringing these boys to life? Most satisfying part?
The most challenging part was having to bring someone else’s vision to life. When you write, you have an idea in your head of what your characters look like, and I was worried that my interpretation wouldn’t be what was in Sara’s head.
The most satisfying part was hearing that I had got it right! And that my drawing was well received.
Can you tell me a bit about your process when drawing something like this?
The process involves research, and lots of it! Luckily I had been given an idea of what Sara could see her characters looking like, so this was a helpful starting point. Although this can sometimes add to the pressure! I wanted a pose to capture their emotions and something that would show both of their faces. Other than that it was just a case of drawing them and seeing how it turned out.
Who are your main artistic influences?
I love abstract art and the cubism style, and have always loved the art of Wassily Kandinsky, Georges Braques, and the abstracts of Picasso. One of my artistic influences is Tamara de Lempicka. l love her angular style of painting, and more recently I have discovered the art of Steve Walker, Oliver Frey, Huang Tao, and Steven Clayton Corry, to name but a few. These are artists that paint and draw with a gay theme, and I especially love the way that Steve Walker’s paintings capture emotion and make you think about what is going on in them.
What did you enjoy best about Escaping Exile?
I loved the characters in Escaping Exile and can’t wait to see what happens next. I don’t suppose I can say too much because I don’t want to give away the story! But I loved it.
To learn more about Nikita Ryan (or to buy some of her amazing work), follow her online!
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