A short while ago I commissioned Bethany Stevenson, a talented teen artist and fellow writer, to create character art of Evelyn and Philippa Hapwell from The Light Between Worlds. They’re still a work in progress, but Bethany gave me a preview of the line art, and I was so thrilled I immediately asked if I could show my future readers as well. Bethany agreed, and also let me pick her brain a little on her creative process as both an artist and a writer.
Here’s our interview–throughout the text, there are samples of Bethany’s gorgeous art, and once you’ve read through, you’ll find the first glimpse of my beloved Hapwell girls <3
I’m not sure what my first picture was, probably scribbles, but I’ve been drawing as long as I could hold a pencil. Between ages 6 and 8, I loved to make little construction-paper books and illustrate them with stamps and markers. I learned to read extremely slow though, so my early stories were acted out in the backyard.
When I hit 9 years old, I decided I wanted to be the next George Lucas, which is funny because I preferred books such as Narnia at the time. So I wrote my first 100-page novel before my 10th birthday, consisting of space princesses wielding swords, hamburgers, and match-making. It started everything. At 13, I wrote a 110,000-word long novel and a trilogy over the summer.
I successfully completed my 40th full-length novel before my 18th birthday (which already took place by the time you’re reading this!) and happen to be the only one who’s read most of them, but I’ve become a turtle-writer over the years as art became more prominent. (starting my last semester of high-school doesn’t help, haha)
What’s your process like when creating art versus writing? Do you find there’s overlap, or are they relatively different artistic forms for you?
In some ways, there’s a TON of overlap, in others, my art and writing don’t connect at all. I haven’t thought too hard about it until now!
Drawing characters or scenes have always helped me brainstorm when I’m not quite ready to write something but feel inspired. Things I’ve drawn sometimes turns into scenes in my writing.
At the same time, they don’t connect, because in writing there’s action and voices and scents and sounds and emotions within words. Art has those things too, but it’s all visual. In art, you see something and fill in what’s taking place in your head. In writing, you’re reading what’s happening, and fill in the images in your head.
Are there any particular places you go for inspiration for your art and stories?
For my stories, childhood experiences or dreams always come back around to inspire me Surprisingly, I still love a lot of the same things I did half-my-life-ago. Themes of large friendship groups, family, astronomy or meteorology related things, and something sparkly or forest-related always shows up.
For my art, I often don’t look for inspiration, because a lot of my favorite drawings started when inspiration found me at unexpected times.Whether it’s a sunrise at the begging of a long car trip or someone’s prom-dress advertisement, it comes on its own and I’m usually left staring into space trying to figure out what to do with it.
Obligatory Top 5 Books question!
In no order…
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli (Kristen helped edit one of my chapters once and now we’re friends and she’s the best ever, go read her book!!!)
Keeper of the Lost Cities Series by Shannon Messenger
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (and the rest of the Quartet, if adult sci-fi and philosophy is your thing)
Neverending Story by Michael Ende (not the movie, go read the book. It’s a masterpiece)
And a toss up between the Maze Runner by James Dashner and Ms. Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs… can’t decide.
Where can we follow you online to see more of your art?
Oh, I’m so glad you asked!!
Instagram and YouTube are my art worlds. Twitter is my writing world with bits of art posted here and there… (such as promo art for amazing authors 😉 ) Here’s my handles and links, it’d mean a lot if you click follow/subscribe because it’s the best way to support me as a young artist/author right now:
Instagram: @bethanystevenson_art (https://www.instagram.com/bethanystevenson_art/ )
YouTube: Bethany Stevenson – Art ( https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrR8im16mXvLJzi0Shg36aA?view_as=subscriber )
Twitter: @bethanypeep ( https://twitter.com/bethanypeep )
And now, I’m very pleased to be able to show you Bethany’s line art of Evelyn and Philippa Hapwell!
Evelyn Hapwell, by Bethany Stevenson
Philippa Hapwell, by Bethany Stevenson
Aren’t they lovely??? Thank you so much to Bethany for sharing with us <3