by Graham Robert Scott
I‘ve lately been struck by the fantasy art of Laura Bevon, a French illustrator who has been posting up a storm on the DeviantArt.com site.
Despite having only arrived on the DeviantArt scene a few years ago, the 23-year-old has been prolific — and her work, wide-ranging — since completing studies at the Emile Cohl Art School in Lyon, France. Laura dabbles in fantasy, science-fiction, comics, in media ranging from digital painting to line art and inks. Many of the characters portrayed in her work are women as varied as her interests:
- a falconer wizard holding out a hand to a finely detailed falcon in mid-landing,
- what appears to be a fiery, scimitar-bearing drow woman in a work titled “The Burning Desire“,
- a spectacular illustration titled “The Fish Bowl” — a submerged rescue scene for which the woman’s dress looks like it must have been quite a challenge to create (note: it’s the woman doing the rescuing, and there’s a hint of the supernatural to her — a mermaid perhaps, but without evidence of a tail),
- a witch with a staggering floor library and some fire hazards (though I suspect she has things under control),
- plus fan-art for established characters like Persephone, Maleficent, Sky Doll, Poison Ivy (of whom Laura says she’s quite a fan) and a short-haired, action-posed Ms. Marvel.
“It’s concept art I [created] after playing Kingdom of Amalur-Reckoning,” Laura wrote of the falconer wizard, the piece by her that first caught my eye. Kingdom, she explained in an email to me, “inspired me a lot with its mixed classes. I’ve also always been fascinated by falconers and the animal itself.”
A black-and-white rogue’s gallery of near-silhouettes titled “Shadows All Around” reveals a diversity of characters, no two alike. There’s a cowboy with a truly enviable gun, a ninja-superhero in mid-flip, a hulk in powered armor, a swordsman with pointing sword and billowing cloak. That they are in shadows encourages some viewer interpretation–it’s like a really cool Rorschach test–so your interpretations of the figures might differ from mine. That’s a good thing.
Asked how she got into fantasy, Laura writes, “I grew up with two important–and kind of opposite–influences: comics, through animated series; and mangas, through books and video games.” Laura says she “fell in love,” early on, with American superheroes, Japanese-inspired RPGs like Final Fantasy, and MMORPGs. What ignites her imagination are “open worlds with lots of real or imaginary references, character classes, and design. It fascinates me on a graphic level, and has really marked my imagination.”
Laura has since expanded her influences, drawing increasingly on mythology and history for symbolism, and though she has more recently discovered an appreciation for science-fiction, “my early love for fantasy and video-games has always stayed.” Eventually, Laura hopes to be illustrating professionally for universes of her own design.
When Laura isn’t creating and posting freelance character sketches, she’s crafting images for indie computer games like Graal Seeker, small comics like Thomas Heurtier’s steampunk-themed Smog, trading card games like Moonga, and some French tabletop role-playing games. Much of that work she posts to either her personal site or to her Facebook page. Of these, however, Laura says, trading card game illustration remains “my favorite kind of work.”
Laura enjoys trading card illustration enough that, even though she says she rarely revises or revisits her earlier work, she recently updated some paintings she had created for a contest related to the French “Are You a Werewolf?” card game. Some early art she had created for the contest had been something of a hit in the DeviantArt community, and a version of her werewolf graces the cover of her recently completed, first artbook.
However, she writes, “I wanted to renew the experience [and] test my skills.”
Laura’s updated version of “Werewolf Attack,” sampled above, widens the scene beyond the original card dimensions and gives the enthusiastic viewer what he or she would have wanted: more. ♜