Today I am very pleased to share with you all an interview I recently did with the incredibly talented artist Karen Hallion. Karen has recently hit up the geek world by storm with her fantastic one of a kind Doctor Who/Disney crossover artworks where The Doctor meets many different Disney characters, among many other amazing things. Her artwork really stands out among the masses and I can't wait to see what she comes up with next!
|Falling (Alice meets The Doctor)|
|Part of Every World (Ariel meets The Doctor)|
|The Witch In The Fireplace (Hermione Granger meets The Doctor)|
Have you always wanted to be an artist and what got you into it?
It wasn’t until I was 16 and saw the movie "The Little Mermaid" that I became interested in being an artist. I walked out of the theatre and thought “I want to do that.” I had always loved Disney movies, and had dabbled in drawing, but for some reason, this one really just jumped out at me. I wanted to try to capture the movement, flow, and beauty that I had just seen. I went home and started drawing, and twenty plus years later, I am still going.
Of all the mediums you use which do you prefer the most and what is the hardest to use?
I love painting on wood panels and hope to do some more of that in the future. A lot of my work these days is digital using Photoshop and my Cintiq. I also enjoy drawing on illustration board with Copic markers for something more fun and relaxing. Oils are really difficult for me, I like them, but they just don't suit my style; I am all about line, oils are all about color, light and shadow.
I adore your Doctor Who crossover artwork. What inspired that and what new crossovers can we look forward to in the future?
I started watching Doctor Who because a fellow artist thought I would enjoy it. What struck me was that his companions are not necessarily just love interests but also cohorts in his adventures. I started imagining who else might make good companions for him and thought of Cinderella; what an interesting twist to her story it would be if he appeared right at that moment.
The Disney princesses yearn for excitement and adventure, so I try to place the Doctor at the point in their story where it seems they are ready for things to change but before the love interest shows up. By doing so, I aim to create a new story with my vision for these characters as empowered women who choose adventure not solely based on romantic love. I wanted to make a commentary on alternative possibilities for them as women and illustrate a change in their storylines that would alter their outcomes in a strong and meaningful way.
I am not quite sure what crossover is up next; something with Frozen or possibly Tiana.
No, in fact I have the opposite problem: way too many ideas and not nearly enough time to get to all of them. I have a white board in my office that is covered with notes and concepts, and I am always adding to it.
How many years have you been making a living as an artist and so you have any advice to up and coming artists?
It's been over 15 years since I graduated from art school, and it has taken a lot of work for me to be able to make a living freelancing. Some of the things that have helped me, other than hard work and not giving up, are joining an artist’s group and learning from other talented people. Sub work to companies you want to work with, and when it gets rejected, do more work and sub it. Just keep moving forward (advice from Walt Disney). Use social media. Learn the best way to use it, and USE IT. It's free advertising, and it works. Find artists you love, and study what they do, and learn from them. Take advice and critiques, ignore the haters. Draw what you love, not necessarily what you think will sell. Help out other artists when you can.
Now for some fun questions.
It is obvious you love Disney characters. Who is your favorite Disney Princess?
It’s hard to choose, especially because I just saw Frozen and fell in love with Elsa. But I think of the old movies, Sleeping Beauty would be my favorite and Ariel is always special to me because she inspired my entire career choice.
Who is your favorite Marvel Character and who do you most want to draw next from that Universe?
I love drawing Scarlet Witch and am so excited she will be in the next Avengers. I want to try Jean Grey/Phoenix next.
As a Star Wars geek myself I just wanted to say I really love your Star Wars art. Do you have a favorite character from the saga you like to draw?
Princess Leia; I just love drawing women and she’s easy to draw!
Who is your fictional husband/boyfriend and why?
Flynn Rider for numerous, private, reasons ;)
Can you tell us something interesting about yourself that others may not know?
I used to act in my college years.
Karen is from a small town in Massachusetts just north of Boston called Nahant. She went to Ringling School of Art and Design and graduated with a BFA in Illustration. Up until a few years ago, she was an elementary school art teacher. Now she is working full-time as an artist. She lives with her husband and two small sons who they are raising to be well-versed in all of Geekdom.