Erin “Shadowind” Cooper (she/her) is a freelance artist and illustrator specializing in creature art and concept design. She graduated with honors from University of Saint Francis in Indiana in with a BA in computer arts in 2008 and has illustrated and self-published several books, including her dragon colouring book and Zeneta: A Faery’s Tale. Shadowind enjoys working in both digital and traditional painting and hopes to share her joy and love of nature to others through her work while sparking inspiration wherever she can.
She was the colorist for both “Strange Pair: Healthy Habits” and “Children of Gaia: Cohorts” in the Cohorts Anthology. We talked to Shadowind about her inspirations, art practice, and more!
Shadowind, it has been a while since our last interview! Tell us what you have been up to lately.
Recently I’ve been getting things ready for my last market of the year, an indoor Yuletide market. I was at it a couple years back, and it was pretty popular as it’s been going on for many years. I want to make sure I have plenty of art to take to it! So I’ve been making polymer sculptures, painting, pricing things, and figuring out how I want to pack it all up to take with me. I’ve also been taking lots of walks.
I love the autumn time. The leaves are always so pretty, and I found a new route to take to a walking path that I can walk to from where I live.
You worked on two different pieces in Cohorts. What did you like about working on each?
That’s correct! I really enjoyed going for that traditional watercolor feeling that Teknicolourful wanted for her comic, “Strange Pair: Healthy Habits.” Tek loaned me her Photoshop sub to work on her comic, and it was really a lot of fun experimenting with all the watercolor brushes on that program and making things look painterly as well as textured, grungy, and post-apocalyptic. I also had a blast putting in some little Oneshi Easter eggs.
I’m currently still in the process of coloring Jayel’s comic, “Children of Gaia: Cohorts.” It’s definitely been a bit different, as there are a LOT more characters to focus on and a lot of detail and action to capture, which can be challenging, but in a good way. I think what I have enjoyed a lot so far working on it has been the capturing the magical feeling of the Rendaraian setting, as well as the Trex’ ‘Itti (fairy) characters, whose whole nature is magical!
You created the first Oneshi Press coloring book, Mitheran Fauna. What about COG made you want to be a part of it?
I love the depth of world-building and development that has already gone into the COG world; it really does feel like it could be a real place. All my life I have loved letting myself fall into fantasy stories and worlds. I love the creativity that goes into them. Growing up watching The Dark Crystal and The Lord of the Rings and similar such stories always inspired me, so when I learned about Children of Gaia, it seemed natural to want to learn more about it a be a part of such a cool creation!
What comic book character do you most identify with?
Hmm, that’s a hard question. There are so many comic book characters out there! I could probably find something to relate to in many of them! If we are just sticking to the Oneshiverse, I’m going to with either Patience from PACK or Nicola from Tracy Queen.
What does the word “cohorts” mean to you?
To me, the word “cohorts” means someone to team up with and plan with and figure stuff out. I think about stories were people get thrown into situations together by coincidence or fate, and have to figure it out. They aren’t always friends at the start but sometimes, by the end of it all, they are!
Who are your art heroes? Who inspires you to keep creating?
All of the team and community at Oneshi are art heroes to me. I think it’s so cool what they are doing and what they are building together.
But some other greats I look up to are: Jim Henson and Brian Froud, Melody Peña (creator of Windstone Dragons and the comic The Vigilant) and Terryl Witlatch.
What is one piece of advice you would offer people getting into creating art?
Draw, write, paint, create music, etc. Do what you’re passionate about, and try not to worry about what other people will think. Persevere, and in time you will find your people!
Don’t be timid in your creation process: Experiment with different techniques and mediums. And make sure to make plenty of mistakes—that’s how you learn and get better!
Are you currently working on any other projects?
It seems I always have something going, and there are almost always too many ideas in my head to actually pursue. However, recently, besides coloring these comics, I have been continuing to work on Children of Gaia: The Expedition whenever inspiration strikes and I get some time.
I also have a personal project that I’ve been fiddling around with creating for a number of years. It isn’t exactly a priority and isn’t too developed at all really, but I have been working on it a little bit between things lately. It’s a story series about four witches, all with different strengths and powers, and their magical houses and familiars.
What are you watching, reading, and listening to currently?
I started working on watching my way through the original One Piece cartoon on Netflix, and I’m still at it for the moment. I had no idea how long a series it was when I started!
Listening to…I’ve been listening to a lot of Hozier lately. Reading…I’m sort of between books at the moment, been trying to decide what I want to read next.
Where can our readers find you online?
Support Shadowind: Back the Cohorts Anthology!
And thanks times a zillion to our pal Chris Byers for their help with these interviews!
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