Sunday, August 30, 2020

Diva's Reylo Fan Art Series: KasiopeaArt Draws Addictively Entertaining Star Wars FanFic Web Comic


It is no secret that many Reylos have been utterly disappointed with the way Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (TROS) wrapped up the Skywalker saga. To salve their heartbreak and feelings of frustration, Reylos turn to the treasure trove of fanfics and fanart out there.

One of the Star Wars-inspired fan art that stood out for Red Dot Diva was a series of entertaining webcomics by KasiopeaArt with a story post-TROS beginning with an alternative ending where Ben Solo survived. The comic's script filled with cheeky banter and great chemistry between the characters, that includes a particularly mischievous Porg. The entertainment value is further added by Kasiopea's deft artwork as she depicts the likeness and mannerisms of the actors with such detail.


Kasiopea is based in Warsaw, Poland, and has illustrated several children's and fantasy books. A long time fan of Tolkien's Middle Earth, she has also contributed writings and art to Aiglos, the Polish fanzine for all things Tolkien. Oh, and she also loves all kinds of animals!

Despite the pandemic and the need to prioritise real life matters, Red Dot Diva was glad that Kasiopea was able to find time to do this interview, and share more about her art “hobby” (as she calls it).

Red Dot Diva: When did you discover your love for drawing?
Kasiopea: As soon as I was able to hold a pen in my hand.

Red Dot Diva: Who are your favourite artists and illustrators, and why?
Kasiopea: The Polish trio – Stanisław Rozwadowski (master of portraying animals, especially in motion), Janusz Grabiański (sweet illustrations, mostly animals, very light fairy-tale and optimistc vibe) and Jan Marcin Szancer – a legendary illustrator (I especially adore his black-and-white works).

My favourites are also Tove Jansson (her works are pure magic), Ernest Howard Shepard (who doesn’t love his Winnie the Pooh illustrations?) and Alan Lee – his watercolours and pencil works are absolutely incredible. I love all their works because – apart from being beautiful - they all are true and dedicated to the story they illustrated.



Red Dot Diva: I know that many Reylos are disappointed with how TROS ended up the way it did. I saw your tumblr post that you felt you were not able to draw Star Wars fan art anymore as you felt franchise no longer brought you joy. However you have drawn this wonderful Reylo comic about an alternate ending and universe. How did you manage to summon enough joy and love back again to do such a detailed piece of work?
Kasiopea: Joy? No. Don’t underestimate the power of the Dark Side. :) TROS destroyed Star Wars for me. Me, a hardcore fan since A New Hope, who used to say that if midichlorians can’t kill my love for this franchise, then nothing will. I was wrong – I wasn’t prepared for Episode IX to be such bad, cynical and dark story, without sense, without hope, without myth. It casts a long shadow on everything I knew before. I still can’t believe this is the way they decided to end the Skywalker saga. 

My comic rose from anger and disappointment. We are living in a dark world, most of us are struggling with a very hard time – we need fairy tales with “they lived happily ever after”, we need them more than ever. Years ago I fell in love with ST characters, Rey, Ben, Finn, Poe. I wished them to be happy, victorious and fulfilled. Since Disney Lucasfilm is no longer interested in telling a hopeful fairy tales that end happily, I decided to draw what I wanted to see.
Red Dot Diva: And I know many will agree with me. I have to tell you that I'm so glad you are bringing so much joy to the Reylos out there!




Red Dot Diva: I felt that your Reylo web story is as good as many comics! Do you already plan the story before drawing them? How does it take for you to map out the storyline and panels?
Kasiopea: It’s usually 2-3 days per panel. As for writing – it’s hard to say, because I invent the stories while riding my horse, driving the car, during cleaning the house, walking the dog, etc. I write them down when I have a bit of spare time.

Red Dot Diva: Do you aspire to be able to draw comics for one of the well known publishers one day?
Kasiopea: I no longer have such aspirations. Once I dreamed about illustrating The Lord of the Rings or The Silmarillion, but I know now that it won’t happen since the Tolkien Estate aren’t interested in new faces in their enchanted circle of Tolkien illustrators. I dreamed about working for Lucasfilm, but that dream ended brutally with TROS. So – no. I illustrated around 80 books, most of them children classics and fantasy/science fiction and that will be it.



Red Dot Diva: You are the one of the few Star Wars fan artists I’ve seen who draws very realistic likeness of the cast and characters! (So, so good!) Who is the toughest to draw? Also have you already memorized the moles on Adam Driver’s faces?
Kasiopea: The toughest to draw for me is young Luke Skywalker. I don’t know why – maybe because of his boyish features. It’s easy to make him into his own caricature. And Rey – there are times I start drawing her face again and again and can’t catch the resemblance. As for Adam’s moles – well, yes. I have drawn him so many times I have a map of them in my mind.





Red Dot Diva: Other than Star Wars art, what other fandom art do you love to draw?
Kasiopea: I used to be very active in the J.R.R. Tolkien fandom. I had been drawing illustrations for The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion, I had been writing fanfiction stories, papers and reviews for tolkienist almanac “Aiglos” for years. My opus magnum is a novel-length story The Son of Gondor.



Red Dot Diva: Have you ever thought of selling your fanart as prints or merchandise online like so many others have done? If no, why?
Kasiopea: I wish I could sell prints! But I live in a country very unfriendly to artists. To legally sell prints you need to establish your own business and the tax on such an activity is horrendous. I can’t afford it.

Red Dot Diva: Do you have any tips for artists who are getting started on creating fan art?
Kasiopea: Follow your heart. Ignore the trolls. And draw, draw, draw.

Red Dot Diva: Thank you so much for this inteview, Kasiopea! Keep doing what you are doing. You have been a bright spark this year when it has been tough for many of us. I can't wait to see the next web comic panels for the current Reylo story you have been sharing with us. I love those adorable Porgs!


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To read Kasiopea's entertaining Reylo web comic, go to these links:

Twitter - https://twitter.com/KasiopeaArt
Tumblr - https://kasiopea-star-wars.tumblr.com
 
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Other articles from the Diva's Reylo Fan Art Series:

* Interview with Rachel Xin
* Interview with Afterblossom (Kelly)
* Interview with Leiaporgana (Cody)



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