I'm so excited to introduce my guest for today, the awesome Danielle D. Smith! You all know her because she's the author of Skriker & Rose's adventures, but today she's discussing her artistic side, and you get to see some of her gorgeous artworks!
Danielle D. Smith was born in San Diego, California, USA. She was first published at age 29. In addition to being a writer of bestselling gritty angel-and-demon themed supernatural fantasy stories that have gained a dedicated cult following, she is an accomplished fine artist and illustrator whose visual work has appeared in various public, private, and gallery exhibitions and in national publications, and has studied everything from costuming to tattooing. Dani, as she is known by many who are close to her, lives in San Diego with a large number of books, indie flicks, and documentaries. Her novels appeal to dreamers, troublemakers, dark romantics, horn dogs, and general escapists. She is the proud owner of several beautiful tattoos, and she adores reading, creative food and drink, motorcycles, muscle cars, prison bodies, and cuddling her sweet little boy, Ryker...not necessarily in that order.
Tell me a bit about your background as an artist.
I have been drawing/painting/creating since I was less than 2 years old. I suppose you could call it an addiction with no hope of rehabilitation! Starting in primary school I attended the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts, where I gained a solid foundation in basic drawing, painting, and design principles. I studied tattooing for two years as well, which was a huge influence on my work in recent years. Despite the fact that I do a lot more “popular” art these days, including working digitally quite a bit, I come from a very strong traditional art foundation. I still love working in oils, acrylics, colored pencils, graphite, and the like. My style could ultimately be considered semi-realist, and this has given my more popular work a different look than the typical comic-y style work out there. My work usually follows the dark fantasy/ urban fantasy/ gothic/ paranormal genres closely. I adore painting angels and demons, mermaids and Fey, warriors and beauties. Always have, and I suspect always will.
You are also a dark paranormal fiction author. Does your writing influence your art and vice versa?
They definitely influence each other. Character development always includes sketches and portraits, which are then used to promote the books. I also insist on doing my own covers, every time, and my publishers have been wonderful about accommodating me. It’s really a blessing to be able to create MY vision of my characters “for real”, rather than relying on the same old stock photography and headless/faceless buff guy images used on everyone else’s covers and in their promos.
Word on the street is that you are creating a comic book based on your dark paranormal adventure story, Black Dog and Rebel Rose. How do you transition from written word to visual storytelling?
It’s actually not too difficult. The storyline in the book acts almost like a script—character actions and dialogue are already there for your use. I have had to make some slight adjustments, including cutting out small sections that would clog up the flow of a graphic novel story, but much of the Black Dog and Rebel Rose tale fits quite well into this medium, so with this story I’m very lucky. Pairing a sexy badass half-demon hero and a headstrong Nephil huntress as they splatter vampyre guts all over the walls is pretty much comic book Nirvana. The goal is to re-create the action and excitement of BD&RR in a visual state. It’s been really exciting thus far!
Can you give me a glimpse into the process that goes into creating a comic book page?
I typically create my comic book pages in stages. The first would be a very loose sketch that gives me an idea of whether or not a certain setup will work for the scene. The second stage would be finished pencils, which are then scanned into a program called Manga Studio. I tweak pencils in the program before laying down digital ink. After inking, I color/shade the art, and finally I add dialogue and narration bubbles or boxes.
You are known among some of your peers in the art collectives you show in as the Big Booby Girl. What exactly does this refer to? Don’t be shy!
Ha! It’s not what you think, though I must say that I do consider myself pretty lucky in the rack department. ;-) I have always had a tendency to draw/paint women with very luscious…assets, and it kind of caught on as a friendly joke between me and my crew. I have had people remind me for certain shows: NO BIG BOOBIES SHOWING! *ROFL!*
What is in the future for you, as both and artist and writer?
Naturally, I have great expectations for my graphic novel. I attended Comic Con International this year and really came away with the idea that comics are truly the way to go with my work, at least right now. I love fine art and traditional painting and drawing, but comics not only have the potential to earn me a decent living from my work, but are also a way for me to merge storytelling with the visual. This graphic novel will be going to the submissions departments of some of the biggest creator-owned comics publishers out there. If I play my cards right, I will be able to translate many of my in-print novels and novellas into the cutting-edge comic book format and extend that into the future. For a combination artist/writer, what could be better?