Angelique Blog Tour + Giveaway

This is a unique blog tour, and I have to say, I rather like the idea. Today we’re featuring the ILLUSTRATORS of Angelique. That’s right… the artists behind the book. 🙂

Are you back, Angelique?”

He waits in his library, alone, drawing back curtains on memories of love so many years lost. Reports of dead men, bloodless, all eerily similar, tell Vincent the tale. Stalking in shadows, she seeks him.

Will she have him still?

Told first in Helen A Rosburg’s poem “Angelique,” the story of Angelique and Vincent’s undying love now comes to resplendent life in this novelette illustrated by Cherif Fortin and Lynn Sanders and offered in animated-book format. With its beautiful prose and breathtaking images, this instant classic vampire story will haunt and delight readers for eternity.

Available at iTunes

Reena Jacobs: Please share with us a bit about Angelique and how you got involved in the production.

Lynn: We had illustrated two hard bound books for Medallion Press in their Masterpiece line: “Passion’s Blood”, written by Cherif and I, and “There Be Dragon” by Heather Graham. Medallion had an innovative idea to make the most out of today’s technology, and because of our history working with them, they contacted us about illustrating interactive apps for the iPad. The idea was to make the most out of multimedia and create animated images to go along with a story. Their initial app release was “Passion’s Blood”, which was a kind of proof of concept, and the latest release is “Angelique”.

Cherif: We’ve also had the good luck to be cover artists for quite a few of Medallion’s print books. Over the years we’ve become familiar with how they operate and we have good relationships with everyone on staff. I think Medallion felt we could understand what they were trying to accomplish with this new direction.

RJ: Your artwork is beautiful. I can see why Medallion keeps returning. What is your working environment like?

Cherif: These days I work primarily digitally on computer. I recently upgraded to a 31″ Dell monitor, so life is good!

Lynn: When working digitally, I’m at my computer of course, but I do still have a north light painting studio in my home for when I’m using oils.

RJ: The age of computers. 🙂 Seems even when folks do get messy, there’s the opportunity to put it in a digital format in the end. What is your process for coming up with new ideas?

Cherif: Well, for me, ideas come from everywhere: literature, art, movies, comics, video games, magazines, conversations with friends, etc. I try to stay inspired by keeping in touch with other artists online, visiting art blogs and forums, and I keep an “inspiration” folder on my pc in which I put works that for one reason or another catch my eye. It’s at well over 2 gigs in size currently, and I add to it nearly every day. If I find I’m blocked for new ideas I just rummage through that folder a little and in no time my juices start flowing.

Lynn: It’s always been easy for me to come up with ideas. They just pop into my head and are stimulated by many things.

RJ: Cherif, you sound like me. 🙂 A folder full of ideas I don’t have time to complete in this lifetime. What is something you’ve learned by working with authors?

Lynn: They really care about the images that depict their thought process.

Cherif: Word choices matter. Authors struggle deeply with words to find just that perfect blend that will convey exactly the right nuance. As an artist, you have to respect the author’s work by doing your research. It’s not always possible, but if details are supplied describing the scene or character you are illustrating, then you need to get those details right in the art.

RJ: You better believe it, Lynn. If other authors are anything like me, they have concepts and images in their head but lack the artistic skills to translate them visually, but they do have words. 🙂 It’s absolutely amazing when an artist can pluck one of those ideas and bring it to life… to get to the point where the author looks at the illustration and says, “Oh my gosh! That’s exactly what I imagined!” XOXOX to the visual arts peeps! Who are some artists or illustrators who’ve inspired you?

Lynn: I love the Pre-Raphelites. Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Lawrence Alma-tadema. Waterhouse. William Mortensen (gutsy illustrator hated by Ansel adams). Luis Royo. Boris Vallejo and Frank Frazetta.

Cherif: My list would take up two pages on its own, but some of my biggest influences are John Singer Sargent, John William Waterhouse, Jean Leon Gerome, Rembrandt van Rijn, JC Leyendecker, NC Wyeth, etc. More contemporary artists that I admire include Jeffrey Catherine Jones, Frank Frazetta, David Palumbo, Donato Giancola, Dan Dos Santos, Michael Komarck, and Craig Mullins (to name a few).

RJ: Can you suggest up-and-coming artists or illustrators we should check out?

Cherif: Well, I’m not sure I am knowledgeable on the latest up-and-comers in the field, but if you want to see some amazing things happening in the world of illustration, check out http://muddycolors.blogspot.com/ online. It will blow you away. Irene Gallo (art director at Tor Books) maintains a terrific blog up at http://igallo.blogspot.com/ which features many great illustrators and their work. You can also check out the website of the Society of Illustrators for info and galleries at http://www.societyillustrators.org/default.aspx

RJ: Will do. I love cooing over artwork. Any advice for illustrators?

Lynn: Practice, practice, practice. Study posing, cloth flow, short light, cropping.  And If you are photographing for an expression don’t take too long to take the picture. Your subject will freeze and you will lose the life in the face.

Cherif: Finish your paintings. Even if they end up hidden away in the dark for the rest of your life, the act of finishing forces you through the hard parts of the process and maximizes your learning. If you quit working on paintings every time the going gets tough, your toolbox gets shallow and you won’t develop confidence or the skills necessary to deliver on time. You’ll also have fewer and fewer pieces to show in your portfolio, which you need to get work.

RJ: Anything you’d like to say to your fans?

Lynn: Like Elvis said as his fans were tearing his clothes off his back.” Let them have them, they paid for them.” I don’t think I have to worry about losing my clothes (can’t speak for Cherif) but you get the idea. Thank you for your support and we really want you to enjoy our images.

Cherif: Please check out more of our work at www.cheriffortin.com, or keep in touch with us on Facebook at  http://www.facebook.com/cheriffortin and  http://www.facebook.com/saralynnsanders. Thanks for reading!

About the Illustrators!

Cherif Fortin is a freelance photographer, illustrator, and writer living in Chicago, Illinois. At one time he has worked as a professional stuntman, as a full-time firefighter, and as one of the country’s leading romance cover models. Cherif’s artwork has been featured on the covers of hundreds of books in dozens of countries, and on calendars and collectibles. He runs the successful Fortin & Sanders Studio along with partner, Lynn Sanders, producing commercial art and photography for leading clients internationally. He lives with his wife, Dawn, and their three children: Kira, Kai, and Lara.

Lynn Sanders is an artist, photographer, and writer of romance fiction and children’s books. She is co-owner of Fortin & Sanders Studio, which produces cover art for some of the top publishers in the world. Her paintings have been exhibited at Epcot Center and are owned by private collectors such as Hugh Hefner and Fabio. She has three adult children, three grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. She lives in northern Illinois with Ce Ce, her faithful Cirneco dell Etna.

Giveaway Time!

To enter to win a copy of Angelique, leave a comment along with your email.