Interview with Maja Madeline LaValley « Reality SkimmingReality Skimming
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Interview with Maja Madeline LaValley

Maja Madeline LaValley is the cover artist for the 2013 release of the book. View her portfolio at

Interview by Sarah Trick

Could you tell us about the inspiration for the cover image for Hal Friesen's book?

How I got the inspiration and the idea for the book cover was talking with Hal over the phone about some scenes in the book he would like. I made sure I got all the small details and colors so I could piece it together in an image.

What is it like interacting with an author to design a cover? How do you stay true to the story while also making sure the art reflects your vision?

Interacting with the author was a rather pleasant commission experience. He gave me enough information about what he wanted that I could easily come up with a design. To stay true to the story I wrote down details from the scene and sent him sketches to show him my progress and get his advice on how I should modify or improve it.


You do many different kinds of art, from digital work to body paint. What are the challenges of having so much variety in your work?

The biggest challenge of working with many different kinds of art is what works in some formats doesn't in others.  For example, I love the look of watercolor, but it's extremely difficult to achieve the same effect in other mediums, such as digital or any other type of paint.

What is your favourite kind of art to do? Which works are you most proud of?

It's hard to pick a favorite medium to use as they all have their benefits. Pencils will always be my first choice because I use them the most and learned how to draw with them. They are great for getting ideas out of my head quickly and easily. Pencils also shade very well, so when a sketch or idea turns out well, I can make it look finished without needing more materials. Watercolor and digital are next on the list. Watercolor is quick and has great colors; they are also fun to work with. Digital is a little tricky because I'm better at drawing on paper than the computer, but the layer modes can do some amazing effects and can create amazing detail. Here are a few links to some pieces that I'm rather pleased how they turned out:

3D model of the boogeyman from 'the Stuff of Legend' (final project in 3D modeling class): A drawing I did for a competition (the character belongs to the contest holder):

You do a lot of fantasy art and your work has a magical realist quality to it. What attracted you to this style?

I have always loved fantasy. It has this fascinating, organic feel to it. I love how much freedom fantasy gives me and how much easier it is for me to draw than most other genres. I have several different styles, varying from simplistic cartoon to semi-realism. I draw lots of inspiration from other artists and try to experiment with alternate styles. I like having a few different styles to choose from so I can better fit the mood of an image with an appropriate style. 

Could you tell us about some future projects?

As of right now, I'm working on a short animation for school involving a mix of 3D and 2D animation, and I'm in the early processes of writing a book for which I plan to have several illustrations.

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