Behind the Artwork: Interview with Cassandra Jean

Fandomsnews had the wonderful oppurtunity to interview Cassandra Jean, a very talented freelance illustrator and comic artist. If you’re a fellow shadowhunter, you will know her work – which can sometimes be emotionally crippling pieces! – of the characters in The Shadowhunter Chronicles.
Cassandra also lends her talents to other fandoms, it’s worth checking out all her work if you’re only familiar with the Shadowhunter pieces.In the interview, you will find out some more details about Cassandra, even her favourite card from the tarot card deck she’s made! We are always so impressed at her talent, the way she brings the characters to life and makes us feel all kind of feels. Her artwork is always shared on the TMI/TID fandom on tumblr, where you can follow her: http://cassandrajp.tumblr.com/Ever wanted to tweet Cassandra? You’re in luck! @CassandraJPLets get the interview started! (Be warned, the pieces shown may contain spoilers.)

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Did you always want to be an illustrator?
Yup, pretty much! I’ve been drawing comics since Elementary school. When I was very small I went through a brief phase where I wanted to be a veterinarian, but that was short lived. I’ve always wanted to be an artist.

Did you draw with paper and pencils before taking to photoshop?
Of course. I didn’t start digitally drawing until… hm, I think it was maybe my second year of high school? (Could have been my freshman year, I don’t remember exactly.) But ever since then, I’ve preferred to work digitally. I still worked with traditional media all the way through college though. (paints, charcoals, sketching on paper, etc.) I’ve been working with digital media for a long time.
What was your favorite tarot card to do for Cassandra Clare?
It’s hard to pick favorites!! I’m pleased with a lot of the cards, but if I had to choose a top favorite… it would be either Max Lightwood’s card from the Suit of Runes, The Jem & Tessa Rune card, or maybe the Matthew Fairchild card from the Suit of Rings. I’m particularly happy with how those three came out, and the Jessa wedding card was particularly emotional and such a beautiful scene. I was so happy while drawing it, and when C.C. described the scene for me to draw, I cried a little!
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 How did Cassandra Clare originally pick up on your work? How did you and Cassandra Clare meet?
I had started drawing and posting fanart of the Mortal Instruments and Infernal devices series, and she had seen it on tumblr. After that, she contacted me to see if I wanted to be one of the artists to work on the Shadowhunter’s Codex (which will be released in October.) and I said of course! How could I say no? I hope everyone likes my contributions.
Are you planning on drawing scenes from the City of Bones movie when it comes out?
Oh, I don’t know. I have nothing to do with the movie, and although I’m – incredibly – excited to see it, my devotion is all for the novels. I might draw one of the scenes?? It’s hard for me to say what’s going to inspire me ahead of time. So basically I am not – planning – on drawing any scenes, but who knows?
What was your favorite part about illustrating the Beautiful Creatures Graphic Novel?
That’s another hard one. Apparently I am incapable of picking favorites in any category! Hmmm…. well, I loved being able to draw the characters as I saw them. It was a lot of fun designing these characters from such a popular novel, and showing everyone how I envisioned them. It was particularly enjoyable since the movie was coming out at about the same time, so I got to draw Ethan, Lena and Macon the way I had imagined them, then look at how the movie portrayed them. (There weren’t a lot of similarities, haha.)13597992
Do you collaborate with authors when drawing their characters? 
Sometimes. When I work with Yen Press, usually I don’t speak directly with the authors. I give all my designs and work to my editor, and she shows it to the authors. To be honest I have no idea how much input the authors have in what I do! Although sometimes they will give me notes, so I imagine they are getting some say in what I do. But the fanart I draw and post on my tumblr is a little different. If I am on some familiar terms with the authors, I’ll ask them about their character’s appearances before drawing them, to make sure I get it right. Other times, I just draw whatever I’m inspired to draw.
While working with Cassandra Clare, it has become a lot more like a collaboration with her than simply drawing fanart. She describes characters and scenes for me. And I try to ask her to write dialog for the characters, rather than trying to think up what they would say myself.
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Where do you see yourself in a year from now?
Uh, well, probably just about where I am now… I already know the next two projects that I will be doing for Yen Press (I think people will be very excited about them, but I can’t say what they are!) which is another year’s worth of work at the very least. But who knows, maybe something surprising will happen too! I tend to be extremely surprised about where my career takes me.
Can you share with us what project your currently working on?
I am currently working on the Manga adaptation of “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children”. The book will be released in October, so long as my deadlines don’t change. I’m having a lot of fun with it (Enoch!! <3) As for what other projects I’m lined up for, I can’t talk about yet~tumblr_mnqfg9kW5h1rj3vn5o1_1280
What can we be expecting from the Shadowhunter tarot card deck?
Well, this would be a better question for Cassandra Clare. But the last news I heard was that we were going to be able to sell the deck. (There is some issue of merchandising rights going around, which happens once big companies get involved.) It will be a full tarot card deck with an extra bonus card, and I -believe- it will be sold in a velvet(?) bag. Don’t hold me to that though, I’m not 100% sure as to when or how the deck will be available and until something is officially announced, things may change.
What is your favorite book of all time?
Watership Down  by Richard Adams. It’s the only book that I have read so many times that it has fallen apart in my hands, I bought a new copy, and then that one fell apart too. (I have now taped it all back together). It’s covered in charcoal and lead from carrying it around in my bag all the time… Really, I love that book so much. I know it’s about a bunch of rabbits, which sounds childish, but it’s an incredibly gripping (and creepy) book.
What is your favorite thing to draw?
Hands. I love, love LOVE to draw hands. I could draw them all day. One time, my friend got a job drawing an instruction text book for sign language (drawing hands all day!). I was madly jealous. Or did you mean fanart-wise? Because in that case, I can’t pick favorites, that would be too hard.Thank you so much Cassandra for letting us interview you! We look forward to your future projects. Stay tuned for later in the week, when we will be interviewing an author. Exciting times!

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  1. ‘Shadowhunter Chronicles’ calendar: new pictures from Cassandra Jean | FANDOMSNEWS

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