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Mandy Roberts

Warren: How long have you been illustrating?

Mandy: After being a lifelong “doodler,” I began to get serious about drawing approximately 4 years ago in 2004.  I worked on improving my drawing skills and started out coloring my line art digitally.  At the beginning of 2006, I began to work on digital painting and developing my soft style and that’s where I truly found the direction I wanted to take with my art.  I’ve been doing freelance and commission work since 2005. 

 Warren: How did you first become involved in the project?

Mandy: Warren contacted me back in February wanting a portrait done of his character, Wynne.  He wanted a softer look and felt my style fit.  He sent me some of his writings concerning Wynne and I fell in love with the world and story he had created.   He then went on to request another work featuring his characters, Nehem, Pretorius, and Ariaz, taking the Message to the city of Thelea.

 Warren: What is your favorite illustration conducted for the Message’s world?

Mandy: I definitely enjoyed the Thelea piece most.

 Warren: What did you like about it?

Mandy: I love being challenged and stretched in my work and I’ve never undertaken a piece that was so detailed and epic.  It was a great experience working on bringing the description of the land alive and blending the three characters in.  I had two ideas in mind and enjoyed working to mix them together. 

 Warren: What process went into your designs for Wynne, Nehem, Pretorius, and Ariaz?

Mandy: I first read Warren’s descriptions of the characters as well as the writings that contained them and from there, pictured them in my mind.  I sketched them out as I saw them.  I wanted to depict an innocence and almost fearful determination in Wynne and I wanted to show the beauty and support of Ariaz.  For Nehem, I saw him as a young man given an important task and Pretorius as someone a little older and wiser who could guide him, at the same time allowing him to do what he must. 

 Warren: What would you want the readers to know about this piece (or the whole project)?

Mandy: I would love for them to look at these pieces and read the corresponding writings and see how they fit.  Wynne’s piece shows her faith at a time when it seems no one is around to support her.  She won’t abandon what she knows to be true and she’s willing to take a stand for it even when it looks like she’ll suffer for it.  For the Thelea piece, I want readers to see the three characters’ determination in taking their message forward to a place that’s immense and daunting.  Their first glimpse of the great pyramid would be enough to intimidate anyone and yet, they refuse to abandon their task.  I think both these pieces really show the characters’ convictions, though in different ways.

 Warren: Anything you’d like to change?

Mandy: *laughs*  I always see things in my art that I’d like to improve on!  I don’t think I’ll ever get to the point where that’s not the case!  If anything though, I wish I could bring more detail and intricacies to these pieces.  Warren’s story is so rich, it’s hard to match my images with his words!

 Warren: Favorite memories from working on the project?

Mandy: Hashing out the details is always the most fun part for me because that’s the time when I can really get to know a person’s story and characters.  I loved reading the bits of the story that I did and asking (tons of) questions. 

 Warren: (If you read the story) Do you have any favorite parts from the sections you’d read?

Pretorius, Nehem, and Ariaz open the MessageMandy: I actually had parts from both sections of the story that I really enjoyed.  Wynne’s stand in the Judgment Hall was an amazing scene!  My favorite of everything, though, was when Nehem, Pretorius, and Ariaz brought the Message to the little village and the people were stepping up to the Scroll one by one.  They’d be so happy when they’d receive a statair, but then one would step up and receive a mere seed and would be so angered.  I really loved the symbolism in that.

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