Erika Heins is an illustrator with a special passion for the works of J.R.R. Tolkien; his themes of friendship, love, and loyalty never grow old.
Follow Erika Heins at:
Steampunk Clothing Shop on Etsy
How did you learn your craft?
I have drawn illustrations ever since I was very young... in fact, before I could write. I used to write "stories" by drawing the pictures and then asking my mother to write the story I dictated. I took watercolor and drawing lessons off-and-on between the ages of 10 and 16. When I went to college, I did not major or minor in art, but I did fill in elective hours with art classes absolutely whenever possible. My first introduction to pen and ink was in one of these classes. It instantly captivated me, and I used it for my first Tolkien illustration that same semester - a poem I wrote and illustrated for my best friend. Now, I teach art at a small private school and in private lessons as well as selling my work on Etsy.
If you were a fantasy creature, what would you be and why?
A hobbit ... no question. My love for flowers and food and stories of the long-ago-and-far-away are almost embarrassing. My friends and family are deeply important to me, and I have a need to put down roots deeply and quickly - a need to have a real "home" ... and it better have more green around it than cement. I tend to look at life in a positive and whimsical way, but when it gets tough, there's a simple, deep stubbornness that ensures that I'll stay on the adventure. Although I'm almost 6 feet tall, I do have extremely curly hair ... and have even glued hair on my feet for themed events before!
Do you want to illustrate your own books?
No. For me, I don't use word-painting and image-painting to express the same story, although I will often do head-sketches of my characters as a way of exploring their personality. I actually like to think of other people interpreting my story visually - of them having the freedom to imagine it as it comes to their minds instead of being bound to my visual interpretation. I don't want to limit their imaginations ... it's more important to me to communicate the essence of personality and character than specific physical appearance. So I find myself illustrating others' works, but steering clear of any serious illustration of my own work.