Interview with Elizabeth Malczynski, Fantasy Artist and Illustrator (Part II)

Last May, FairyRoom brought you Part I of our interview with fantasy artist Elizabeth Malczynski. Elizabeth’s enchanting depictions of fairies, elves, and mythical creatures have graced book covers, magazines, and countless canvases.

In Part II of our interview, Elizabeth gives a behind-the-scenes glimpse into her creative process and shares her exciting future plans.

Tell us about your creative process.

My work process is completely unpredictable. In my house, I have a wonderful new studio space that’s full of light and has windows facing the woods. I work mostly on a drafting table with tons of full spectrum lamps around me. I love to paint and like it best when I can work for ten hours without an interruption–I can do this for days at a time.

I have four lovely grown daughters who love to stay in touch, so incoming calls and texts can be a challenge to staying focused. Beautiful warm days when the garden calls are a serious challenge as well. But even if I can’t be in my studio for a day or two, I do some drawing every day. If I cannot draw for days, I get very agitated. I really need to be doing my artwork.

What about your work do you enjoy most? What is the hardest part of what you do?

I love everything about it: my paintbrushes, the feel of all the different media, all of the colors and being able to mix them to get exactly what I want. I love being alone to create. I’ve just started to study etching, intaglio, and printmaking. I’m loving the entire process and being in the print-shop for hours.

The hardest part is getting interrupted too often by the typical distractions: the doorbell, the phone, the need to cook, and the people in my life needing attention.

What is coming up for you? What can fairy fans look forward to?

Because I want to hold onto my original pieces, I have begun making giclée prints of my work to sell on my website and at select events–I’m hoping to be at DragonCon in Atlanta and WorldCon in Toronto this fall. I am very lucky to have found a wonderful printer who works closely with me to get the exact color matches I require, as I won’t put out a print that doesn’t exactly match the original. We spent about five hours proofing my “Blue Mermaid,” as blues are very difficult to get right.

In terms of originals, I have started doing some hand painting over digital grisaille. This allows me to make a one-of-a-kind paintings without having to reinvent the design. On my first edition of “Emily’s Dragon,” I used metallic paint for highlights and was very happy with the result. 

I’m also having cards made of my artwork to sell on my website and perhaps Etsy–I’m still exploring all possible venues that are out there. The wonderful people at Ojolie made an e-card from of one of my pieces for the Year of the Dragon (pictured below). I am definitely giving thought to featuring animated e-cards with dragons and fairies in flight on my website.

As I mentioned, I’m very excited about etching and intaglio and spending lots of time in the print shop. I love what I can do with this medium. I think I will be hand-coloring some of these images as well.

I have a project for the longer term to make silk scarves. I have the design in my head and I’m slowly getting it onto paper. We’ve found a manufacturer in Italy who produces scarves for some of the top names in fashion. Please contact me if you’re interested!

What advice would you give to others in your field?

The best advice I can give is to follow your heart.

Where can we find your work?

Besides my website, I use Facebook from time to time to post pictures of my works in progress. Since it takes so long for me to create a finished painting, I find it nearly impossible to part with my originals, so my work has not really appeared in galleries except for show. I am hoping that my etchings and hand-colored etchings will become more widely available for people to purchase in galleries.

Thank you, Elizabeth, for a wonderful and enriching interview!

Don’t miss Part I of this interview. More exclusive FairyRoom interviews can be found here.