Interview with an Artist Q8: Mortal Shadow

Question 8

Another fun reason to do a character portrait is what you can learn. A few months ago, I did a challenge to list 20 things not in my novel (In a Mortal Shadow) that people don’t know about one of my characters.  I just added two more to that list, two things even I didn’t know about my character, and I learned them from the character portrait. 

In the portrait, Falion has a line at the bridge of his nose, which looks just like a scar.  I didn’t know he had a scar on his face.  But he does now.  I just have to figure out what or who gave it to him.  The other detail that caught my attention was that if you look very closely, Falion has stubble on the left side.  Elves don’t grow beards, and Falion has never shaved in the story thus far.  But perhaps, because he is part human, he grows a beard, or at least the skimpy shadow of one.  Perhaps he has to shave a few times a year.  And according to the portrait, only on one side.  The right side is baby smooth!  I think I’ll just ignore that dichotomy.  So I wanted to know how Liiga approached depicting Falion. I saw Falion in a new light—or shadow—because of her answer.

Question 8. The art that inspired me to contact you is called Sunlight. I see that it was a heavily manipulated photo. How did you come up with my portrait of Falion?

In Falion’s portrait, the element of sunlight is portrayed through the contrast of light and darkness, as the character is shown emerging from a murky, foresty area. Since the character has a ‘darker’ and more experienced air to him than the one in ‘Sunlight,’ I felt this would be suitable as a transition from dark into light implicitly shows change, progression, experience.

From the technical standpoint, I kept the description close at hand and looked up additional photos of the actors and characters that had been pointed out as having resemblance to the character, as well as others which seemed to bear a resemblance. For instance, Pierce Brosnan was very helpful when it came to manly eye wrinkles.

I also stared at some birch leaves for a while.

Screen shot 2014-11-26 at 10.49.46 PM

Not for commercial use.
Reposting allowed with the following attribution:
Falion from In a Mortal Shadow. Artist,  Liiga Smilshkalne
(Link to site or list as

Full interview will be available after the last of the selected questions has published on December 12.

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