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Interview with Concept Artist Jeremy Love

Jeremy Love is a New Zealand-born Concept Artist who has created art for both films and games. He was involved with The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the third instalment in The Chronicles of Narnia movie series, which he worked on for five months. Other projects he has been involved in include Star Wars: The Clone Wars, 007 Legends, and Castle of Illusion.

I had the honor of corresponding with Jeremy, who was very gracious and answered some questions for us about his art and the time he spent working on The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Hope you enjoy!

dragon island

Dragon Island. © Jeremy Love

1. How did you become a fan of C.S. Lewis? 

When I was about 10, I discovered a very well used paperback of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in the school library and it really grabbed me. After reading the rest of the Narnia series, C.S. Lewis became one of my favourite authors.

2. How long have you been creating Concept Art?

Since about 2004 when I got my first Wacom tablet and started doing small freelance jobs. Before that I was a Sign Writer and Air-Brush artist.

3. How did you come to be involved in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader film?

book

The Magician’s Book. © Jeremy Love

I was working at a Brisbane game developer, Krome Studios, when I got a call from Min Yum, a previous Krome concept artist and friend who was now working on films for Fox Studios in Sydney. He had mentioned my name to the Art Director, Ian Gracie, who was looking for someone with experience in designing props. As the film’s production was based at Village Roadshow Studios on the Gold Coast, I drove down for a quick interview, showed them my portfolio and started on site soon after that.

4. Did you interact a lot with those creating the film? 

Although I worked in the art department with the other concept artists, draftspeople and art directors etc., my role required me to visit many of the sets and other departments such as prop builders, set dressers, textiles and costume designers. Their workshops were spread out around the huge backlot so I got to see everything being built. The entire crew including the actors would have a fully catered lunch together every day which was great.

5. What was it like to see the props that were created from your sketches?

telescope

The Magician’s Telescope. © Jeremy Love

Definitely an amazing experience seeing the designs come to life. Some of the larger props, such as the Lone Island slave cart and magician’s telescope were eventually scrapped which was a shame. Not everything makes it into the film but I was happy to see Aslan’s table made the cut. Seeing the huge dragon’s prow and top-deck being built was amazing, even though I only designed a few small fittings for the actual ship.

6. What are some difficulties in creating a picture from the text of someone else’s book?

Luckily that was mostly up to the interpretation of the production designer, Barry Robison, who actually did play a huge part in designing the Dawn Treader ship. He often gave direction for the designs and sometimes had a strong idea of what he was wanting to see. In saying that, it’s never possible to please everyone when designing scenes from such a beloved book. Especially with such a wide audience. After all, each reader has their own personal mental image of what they think the visual style should be.

7. What medium do you prefer to use in creating your art? 

coracle

Reepicheep’s Coracle. © Jeremy Love

I mostly use the digital medium when doing production work but it’s always nice to sketch on paper every now and then and take a break from the computer. I mainly use a Wacom tablet input device and Photoshop which are common essential kit for most digital artists. I find that painting digitally gives me the ability to work quickly without the fuss of messy paints and stacks of paper. Plus, when I make a mistake, there’s always the magic undo button. I still try and keep a slightly traditional look to my digital work. I’ve got a selection of digital brushes that I like to use for most things.

8. Was there a particular piece of art you wanted to draw for The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, but never did? 

Aslan's table

Aslan’s Table. © Jeremy Love

It would have been great to have a go at designing the look of the Dawn Treader itself, but the design had mostly been finished before I arrived. In fact, it had been in the works for some time. I think the portal picture on the wall in Eustace’s house would have been fun to paint. Min did a fantastic job of it.

 

9. Do you use other art to inspire your own? 

Quite often; in fact it’s sometimes the only way I get motivated to paint! Although I try not to look at too much amazing art as it can have the opposite effect. It’s easy to get intimidated and lose that creative confidence. It amazes me how there are so many incredibly talented artists out there, yet every one has a unique style. New and innovative art is being created every day which is truly inspiring.

10. Would you like to work on another Narnia film in the future?

boat

Sea of Lilies. © Jeremy Love

Absolutely. The remaining stories are some of my favourite. The land of Narnia can be a fun place to hang out. I think I’d be more relaxed if I were to work on another one, so the creative juices would flow a little easier. It would be like returning to familiar  ground. I’m not sure if they plan to make another one any time soon, but you never know. I’ll keep checking the wardrobe in the spare room.

You can check out Jeremy’s art at his website

All pictures used with kind permission from Jeremy Love.

Jack and Tollers ~ Darren Scott Jacobs Interview

Some months ago a new Motion Picture project, Jack and Tollers, was announced by Third Dart Studios. The film, they say, “is the true story of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R.Tolkien and the vital relationship shared by these two acclaimed authors.” Please check out the concept trailer here.

We were fortunate to have the honor of interviewing one of the co-writers for Jack and Tollers, Darren Scott Jacobs. This is what he had to say:

1. Did you grow up with the works of Lewis and/or Tolkien?

Actually I didn’t grow up with their works. I do remember being at my Aunt and Uncle’s house in 1971 and finding a description of THE LORD OF THE RINGS in an Almanac of that year. Even though I had no idea what the story was REALLY about (and I was 10 years old) it left a mark on me even to this day.

2. What are your favorite books from both authors (if any)?

My favorite book by ‘Jack’ is TILL WE HAVE FACES and by ‘Tollers’ is THE TWO TOWERS. I could write an entire essay on each book, but for now let’s just say they move me in profound ways.

3. Do or did Lewis and Tolkien have any influence on your life or career in any way?

I’ve been working on our screenplay JACK AND TOLLERS for four years, so I’d have to say BOTH authors have had a strong influence on my career AND my life. I’ve been studying Jack’s work very closely since 1985 and NEVER tire of his words and stories. Tolkien is more difficult to read but worth all the effort. Let’s be honest, both men are some of the greatest voices in literature and will long be remembered when most writers of our age will vanish in silence.

4. Was there anything specific that gave you the desire to create this film?

In 2009 I had the great privilege of being a guest speaker for the C.S. Lewis Society in both Oxford and Cambridge. During that tour I spent time at places I had longed dreamed of visiting (including the Kilns and the Eagle and Child Pub). Shortly after, I was asked to write a documentary about Lewis’ life…and that spun into the possibility of a feature length film. Four years later I’m still working on the movie. You asked in your first question if I grew up with Lewis and Tolkien’s work (I did not); I hope this film connects strongly with our youth so they can.

5. Will the film focus on a certain aspect or certain years (before friendship, during, after) of Lewis and Tolkien’s life?

It will span BOTH their lives from childhood to 1942 (hence the four years struggling with the script). It was a very difficult process so we had Linda Seger (the best Script Consult in Hollywood) go through our script twice top to bottom. I can tell you one thing: there is only ONE flashback in the narrative structure of the script. We simply did not want the story to be so episodic that it was fractured so as to distract enjoyment of the storyline for our audience. That is a very DIFFICULT task to achieve. Within the many revisions we have, we’ve tried to tell the story from all possible angles. The real trick is to find the best one.

6. Are you hoping for this film to be like a story or a documentary? And are you hoping to convey a message through the film?

It’s not a documentary but it is grounded in historic fact. When telling a story about a person of history in film, you still are accountable to expectations of entertainment value and financial return. About 85% of our film is grounded in what ACTUALLY happened. Do we embellish at times? Of course, because no one taped the conversations between these men. Our message is focused on the power of friendship and how it shapes our lives.

7. What was it like working with Louis Markos? Did you gain more knowledge of Lewis that you didn’t already know?

Lou and I have become dear friends and true ‘brothers’ through the process of writing the script. We’ve spent far too many long nights in discussions and revisions to even count. Of course Lou is a world renowned C. S. Lewis Scholar, but he knew early on writing a screenplay was a completely different METHOD of telling a story. A good screenplay is ‘cave paintings’ on a wall; it’s a story told in images, not dialogue. One of Lou’s best scenes is a nightmare that Jack has about lions…one of my favorite scenes in the entire script because there is NO dialogue.

8. Do you have a release date set for the film? If not, perhaps the year and/or season?

I’m hesitant because I believe in under promising and over delivering. Let’s just say SOON as Forrest Gump took 14 years to make; I’m confident, we’ll beat that. 2015 is our mark.

9. Can we expect any updates for the film any time soon?

Yes. My producer Chris Dodge has been in London for production meetings and location scouting the past two weeks. We should have an update of the film’s status very soon.

10. Is there any way that we fans can support Jack and Tollers?

Follow us on our Facebook page by ‘liking’ and ‘sharing’ with others. We intend to make a powerful film that honors the friendship between these men and their lasting literary legacy. We’ve heard through the grapevine of other projects about Lewis and Tolkien who do not share our vision. We have absolutely no interest in sensationalism or controversy; Jack and Tollers’ lives were dramatic enough on their own.

11. Do you have any advice to share with those hoping to go into film-making, especially screenwriting?

Doug Gresham told me some years back NOT to pursue screenwriting. I must admit, there’s a part of me that understands what he meant now. The Lewis/Tolkien project has demanded a great deal of time and energy from my life. But I continue to press on with Lou and my producer Chris, simply because I know eventually a film about these men WILL be made and I want to be in the mix to ENSURE it honors them. Believe me, I know first-hand what some production companies would have done with the storyline to sell tickets. I’m NOT willing to do that. These Men have earned their place in history because of their hard work and creative vision; I intend to do the same in depicting their story.

As far as screenwriting: First and foremost, TAKE A CLASS. That’s step one; when you finish that feel free to call me and we’ll discuss step two.

____________

We recently learned that Tony Nixon has been cast in the film as James Welch! Please check out the announcement here.

For updates on the film, visit the official Jack and Tollers facebook page. We will be sure to follow up on any future news relating to Jack and Tollers!

Oxbridge C.S. Lewis Conference 2014: An Opportunity of a Lifetime

oxbridge

                    source: http://www.cslewis.org

by Elanorelle

Have you ever wanted to to visit the same great cities where ‘Jack’ Lewis once studied and later taught? The C.S. Lewis Summer Institute held in Oxford and Cambridge, England from July 21-31, 2014 can provide you with that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity you will never be able to forget. The C.S. Lewis Summer Institute at Oxbridge (or Oxbridge for short) only comes around every three years and this year will be the 50th year celebration of the legacy of C.S. Lewis. What are you waiting for?

The conference will be held in Oxford, England from July 21-26 and Cambridge, England from July 27-31. Rooms in Keble College (Oxford) and Robinson College (Cambridge) have been reserved for the attendees and are are offered on a first-come-first-serve basis.

During your stay your schedule will be filled with numerous activities from lectures to performances pertaining to the theme Reclaiming the Virtues: Human Flourishing in the 21st Century. As you learn about the theme you will be will also be in the company of various well known speakers and artists.

 

Revd Dr. Jeanette Sears, a writer, speaker and specialist on C.S. Lewis,  has attended this conference in the past and I had the honour to interview her :

1. When did you attend the Oxbridge CS Lewis Conference(s)?

 

2008 and 2011.

 

2. What were the themes those years and how were they interwoven into the programmes/curriculum?

 

I can’t remember the specific titles but they were to do with humans in the image of God and relating to culture, usually general enough to be able to include any academic or artistic discipline.

 

3. What were some of your highlights in this conference?

 

In 2008 I really valued lectures from those who were big names in philosophical and theological anthropology – people whose books I was using in my teaching, such as Profs John Cooper, Nancey Murphy, Paul Vitz, Francis Collins, and John Polkinghorne.  It was great to be able to interact with them.  I also valued hearing Stan Mattson speak about his faith journey, and seeing Francis Collins, the head of the Genome Project, lead worship.  There was also a very enjoyable drama about Lewis’ conversion.  And I enjoyed the chance to chat with fellow scholars on similar subjects. 

 

In 2011 I participated on the Academic Roundtable in the afternoons, which meant I got to know more of the conference participants and had interesting exchange and discussion on research topics.

 

4. Did your experience at Oxbridge CS Lewis Conference(s) influence your life afterwards?

 

It made me feel more connected to the movers and shakers in the subjects I was teaching.

 

5. To whom would you recommend the CS Lewis Summer Institute at Oxbridge?

 

Any students or college lecturers or any Christian with an interest in a particular discipline or art who wants stimulation from the big names in the subject and to think more Christianly about it.

 

6. Would this be an experience you’d like to have again? Why?

 

Yes, although it was easier when my college was paying for me!  

 

7. Is there anything more you would like to add?

 

I was the only Brit at most of the events I attended, as far as I could tell.  The whole thing is very much geared for Americans in Higher Education and American culture wars, so it wasn’t always relevant for me.  I would have liked more talks on C S Lewis himself or the other Inklings.  I already know Oxford and Cambridge well but of course this was a huge plus for Americans and other non-Brits, to experience the places Lewis knew.

To attend this year’s Oxbridge conference be sure to register and make the proper arrangements for your ten day stay that will certainly last a lifetime.

 

For more information please visit the official site for Oxbridge 2014.

 

You can also visit Revd. Dr Jeanette Sears’ personal web site where you will find blog posts on Lewis and Narnia among other interesting things.