Eldkrind (he/him) is the illustrator of “Metamorphosis – Chrysalis,” the first eight pages of which appear in the Becoming Anthology, live now on Kickstarter! He also illustrated “Trinkets,” a Children of Gaia short comic. A visual storyteller from Norway, he spends most of his time submerged in art and comics. We talked to Eldkrind about safe spaces for artists, Welcome to Night Vale, and his dream of becoming a gluten-free hermit hermit.
Tell us about yourself, Eld! How did you get into comic art?
I’ve spent most of my high school and college years learning media and communication, which I think in some ways have helped me become a better artist, as I can implement a lot of design elements and thinking into my art. I wouldn’t say that I’m a naturally gifted artist though; it took me almost a decade of hard work (and fun work) to figure out how art even works. I’m not kidding when I say it took me 3 years to understand what composition even is. I spent most of my high school years being mocked for my skill level by other artists my age, and it left a huge chip on my shoulder. But luckily it formed me into the artist I am today, which is someone who cares a lot about creating positive environments for other artists and myself to grow and thrive in, rather than cracking down on people who have less experience than me. My art focuses on quiet moments between loved ones with no hidden layers of spite or condescending words. In a lot of ways my art mirrors the relationships that helped me become the person I am today.
I wanted to try out comics for years before I finally started in 2019, but I was too scared that I would be mocked because of my low skill level in the craft. In the beginning of the Pride Month I came down with the flu and wasn’t able to do much work. I stumbled upon a comic made for Pride, and reading it sparked something inside of me. I felt so inspired that I texted my friend Nathaniel and we worked on our first comic for one month straight. I managed to finish my comic on the first of July, and I remember feeling disappointed that I didn’t manage to finish it before Pride Month was over, but the reactions from friends and family who read it filled me with so much pride and joy that all the hardship of making a 12-page comic with no experience just melted away. Now I have much more experience, but I have plenty to learn, which keeps me motivated to continue to create and experiment with my art.
Can you tell us about the inspiration and creation of “Metamorphosis,” the short comic you created with Missy for the Becoming Anthology?
A few years ago Missy and I, and a few other friends, were part of a group that did various creative exercises. Missy had a poetry corner where she taught us how to write poetry (I got semi-decent at Haikus). And I had a workshop where we would create characters and stories together. The workshops usually had themes, but they were pretty open-ended. In our first session we managed to create Teddy and Viélaore and had a very basic understanding of the world they lived in. I even did some quick doodles of them! We then went on with our lives for a few months, I honestly didn’t expect them to be more than some random characters we made for fun, as creating characters and stories is my hobby. If I remember correctly, the 8 pages we’re submitting to the anthology were originally a dream Missy had, which she then turned into a comic manuscript. I’m surprised at how fast she was at creating the manuscript, considering this is her first comic ever. These 8 pages are just the start of our comic, and we’re currently figuring out and plotting where it will go from here.
“Metamorphosis” incorporates a lot of world-building and character development, but the
story itself is relatively simple. How did you weigh all of these elements in your art?
I usually am a very character-centric storyteller, so it was very interesting to suddenly only focus on worldbuilding. Missy and I spent many hours just discussing where the plot would go and what our characters need, which we then sprinkled throughout Stage 1 and later pages. “Metamorphosis,” in a lot of ways, was just pure experimentation on both of our sides. This is Missy’s first time writing for a comic, and I got to develop a whole new visual language for it. So I’m happy we spent over a year just analyzing our story and figuring out what would work and what didn’t work. I’m super excited to add more plot to the story and see where it will go!
Who are your art heroes?
Honestly, I live in my own bubble 99% of the time, so I don’t follow or know a lot of artists outside my friend circle. Of course I’m influenced by pop culture and Norwegian/Nordic culture, so nothing I make is original. We all get influenced somehow before we sit down to create, and some are better at being aware of it than others. I usually avoid taking inspiration from a single artist; instead I try to look at a whole genre or art movement. In recent years I’ve been very inspired by the American art movement tonalism! I love the lack of contrast between colors, values and shapes. In a way it reminds me a lot of Norway, with the constant fog and rainy weather.
What comic book character do you identify most with, and why?
Would it be cheesy to say Donald Duck? I read so many Donald comics growing up and I even learned how to draw in the style as a 12-year-old. I even learned to talk like him, but I’ve lost the skill from lack of practice. I think Donald and I have a lot in common: We’re both hot-headed. We’re both adorable. And we’re both good uncles (or trying our best). Also we don’t wear pants, but who wears pants these days anyway?
What are you currently reading, listening to, and/or watching?
I’m on the last chapter of “Strange Practice: A Dr Greta Helsing Novel” by Vivian Shaw and I’m excited to find out that it’s a book series! It has everything I want in life: murder mystery, books written by women, and the bliss of living a domestic life with 2 vampires, a demon uncle, and a human doctor.
I am still listening to the podcast “Welcome to Night Vale”, who celebrated their 9-year anniversary earlier this year. I’ve been a huge fan of them for 8 years! In the past years I’ve really gotten into podcasts that discuss serious topics, but it’s nice to come back to a familiar voice and have a good laugh every now and then. I love this podcast so much that the moment I finished my latest comic project I didn’t do anything but spam my friends with my theories of the show for a good week before becoming a functional human being again.
What does the world need that comics, or art more generally, can provide?
Comics as a medium is very accessible. I remember reading about a project for children with difficulty understanding facial expressions. They had taken the character Nemi (Norwegian comic woot woot!) and used her extreme expressions to show what they meant and how to recognize them. It was even featured in some issues of the comic, because the team was so proud of it! I think that’s pretty neat! I’m all for accessibility and being able to help others, and seeing how comics help people from all walks of life is very inspiring.
We’ve heard that you’re aspiring to live deep in the woods as a cryptic in the future—a noble
goal! Tell us about your ideal deep-woods existence.
Okay this is my ultimate dream: I am a weatherworn man living on top of a mountain. I forage for my food. I spend most of my day in my garden, tending my crops and chatting with my hens. I have a small cottage made from lumber. It has a grass roof with a single birch tree growing on it. I never step outside my safe haven except for once or twice a year to get provisions. I appear in the nearest town and whispers can be heard all around me.
“That’s the mountain man.”
“I thought he was a myth.”
“I’m surprised he doesn’t smell that bad,” they might say. I go to the local pub and order myself a gluten-free beer and sit by the bar alone for hours, slowly sipping my beverage (I don’t like beer so it will take me a while to finish). No one approaches me, but many take long glances in my direction and whisper under their breath. By the end of the night I leave after giving the bartender a considerate tip. I vanish into the forest once more and the locals soon forget who I am until my next visit.
Are you working on anything new that our readers can keep their eyes on?
Each year my friend Nathaniel and I make a comic for Pride Month. It focuses on healthy queer relationships in a futuristic college town filled with various fantasy monsters. The story focuses on the trio Lisbeth, Nate and Ox and their budding relationship. From discovering that monsters exist to meeting each others’ parents, the comic has everything a queer person wants in a relationship. We’re excited to continue working on it, especially since we’re planning on publishing a whole book! We’re hoping to have it kickstarted in 2023, so stay tuned for sneak peaks and teasers! You can purchase the previous chapters on my gumroad!
Where can our readers find you online?
You can read my comics on gumroad.com/eldkrind and see my illustrations on instagram and
twitter @Eldkrind. I’m also trying to figure out how Tiktok works, so you can follow me there for
cat videos and speedpaints! tiktok.com/@eldkrind
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