Monday, October 17, 2011

Bringing Yeine to Life: The Artwork of Nubia Palacios

A few weeks ago, when visiting N.K. Jemisin's blog, I stumbled upon this artistic interpretation of Yeine, the protagonist of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms:

Yeine, by Nubia Palacios
I loved it, and quickly found my way to the homepage of the artist--Nubia Palacios.  Nubia is a game artist with a passion for science fiction and fantasy characters.  Today, she has generously agreed to talk about her work for us:

How did you get into drawing and computer art?

I  am from Nicaragua, a third-world country in Central America, where art is more of a luxury.  I never touched paper or a crayon until my mother brought me to the U.S. I specifically remember the day that art became a passion for me. I was 5 when my sister introduced me to it. I became fascinated with it and ever since, I observed my surroundings and drew. There were periods in my life, more so during high school, that I stopped drawing and painting all at once. But you can never leave a passion forever. It emerges in your heart periodically no matter what you are doing.  My last two years in high school were my most productive artistic years.  I learned to use different materials, learned different techniques, and completed many pieces. Then, my senior year came.

"Do what you want to do, then you will never have to work in your life." I took this quote very seriously. But I knew that I did not want to be a starving artist the rest of my life.  I researched the different artistic careers that had security, but also integrated everything that I loved doing. My research led me to game design. I started college, but it wasn't until my second year in 2009 that I was introduced to digital art. Ever since, I have been digitally painting my ideas and bringing those ideas to life in 3D.

Everace, by Nubia Palacios
A lot of your drawings are of science fiction/fantasy-like characters.  What draws you to draw these sorts of characters?

I believe it is mostly my upbringing and the way my brain works.  I  love the genres that inspire mystery and the "what if" factors. Sci Fi in particular has a lot of that. We have a long way to go in order to understand a fraction of how the universe works, so that inspires me to come up with theories and build  my story around it. I feel that characters in these genres are more dense and mysterious. There's a story behind each one of them that we don't know about because these worlds are vastly different from the world we know. That's the thrill that I find in SciFi and Fantasy.

What inspired you to draw a character from Jemisin's The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms?  Was there something about the book that made the characters easy to visualize?

I loved the books so much that I thought it would be fun to make the characters. There were a few sections in the books where the character's physical nature was described, but you have to look past that to really know this character, in order to portray them with the same type of energy as in the books.

Tell us about your drawing of Yeine.  Why did you choose to depict her the way that you did?

Yeine is a strong female character from a strong matriarchal culture. I love this character because she is not the typical female presence in books, movies, or entertainment, for that matter. She takes the front stage, and she's the type of woman that makes the tough decisions. So, I created her in a way that I would like a character like this to be created.  Deep inside she is frail but she looks upon that to become stronger.  Her illustration was created to give mystery to this character. You don't know what she is capable of, you don't know what she's like if she starts talking. But at the same time, I wanted to leave enough room for the audience to fill in the gaps.

Make sure you visit Nubia's website and check out the rest of her artwork!

All images copyright Nubia Palacios 2011.  Used with permission.