Exclusive Interview with Artist Cassandra Jean!

I am very pleased to share this interview with you today. As a huge Shadowhunter Chronicles fan, case I have enjoyed the artwork that Cassandra Jean has produced for the fandom, and am excited about the new things coming, like the calendars and The Secret Treason graphic novel.

For those of you who don’t know, Cassandra Jean is an artist. She works on many things, like original graphic novels, and does artwork for other YA novels, like Beautiful Creatures, The Lynburn Legacy, Shades of London and The Raven Boys. You can check out her website, and her artwork, here.

Cassandra Jean became known to me when she started doing the artwork for the Shadowhunter tarot card series.

Here are some examples:

There are SO many more of these, and you should check them out, because they are SO cool.

After this, I decided to check out Cassandra’s website, where she does a multitude of artwork, all of it so talented and beautiful. I enjoy any time she does work, and especially when its from the Shadowhunter Chronicles. Occasionally she does “sneak peek” or “spoiler” work for City of Heavenly Fire, or to celebrate a holiday and such.

Just recently, she unveiled the Men of the Shadowhunter Chronicles calendar, featuring all of our favorite hotties from the series. You can see all those by clicking here.

Now, I’ve had the awesome opportunity to interview the lovely Cassandra. Enjoy!

Sara: What is your background in art? When did it become something that you were really passionate about?

Cassandra: I’ve pretty much always wanted to be an artist since I was a child. I think there might have been a year in elementary school where I considered being a veterinarian (animals!) but that didn’t last long. I have always wanted to draw. I come from an artistic family so they’ve been a big influence on me and have always encouraged my artistic side. My mother writes, my father paints, my grandparents were art teachers, photographers, writers, seamstresses… so, yeah, I’ve basically always been into art. I majored in Illustration in college and started working on graphic novels straight out of school.

CJ_Will_&_Tessa_1

Sara: How did you get involved with doing artwork for Cassandra Clare and the Shadowhunter Chronicles?

Cassandra: Through my fanart actually! She liked a drawing I had done of Will Herondale and approached me about working on the Shadowhunter Codex. I said YES (of course!) and the rest is history! Since then I’ve had the pleasure of illustrating a lot of things for her, she’s so much fun.

Sara: How do you approach a piece of artwork based on something that has already been written?

Cassandra: Working on something that someone else has written is a lot different from creating your own story from scratch. While working on an original artwork, you are using a character who is unknown and you have complete control over who they are and how they look. But while working on something that has already been written, you’re interpreting something that already exists. Neither one or the other is better, but both processes have their own pros and cons. When I work on something already written, I get to skip the whole script writing stage! But, there is a lot of pressure to get things right. Because these are characters that people have already read about and fallen in love with, and the fans will notice if you mess something up. So in order to get things right, I read the book, and while reading, I take careful notes about the characters. I write down their names, their family, their appearances (hair, eyes, facial structure, fashion sense, quirks, habits, etc) so that when I draw them later, I can consult my notes.

Sara: So many people know you as the artist behind the Shadowhunter tarot cards, the City of Heavenly Fire sneak peeks and now the Shadowhunter Men calendar, but what other art do you do?

Cassandra: Well! At the moment my life is pretty Shadowhunter-ed up! But I work as an illustrator for YenPress. I’ve done the graphic novel adaptations of “Beautiful Creatures” and “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” and a short comic titled “Something Wikkid”. And I have more books lined up!

Sara: What is your process like? What sort of mediums do you use?

Cassandra: I work almost entirely on a computer. Sometimes when I’m sketching up thumbnails for comic pages or trying to decide on the layout for an illustration I will use pencil and paper, but most all of my process is done on the computer these days. I use a tablet so that I can draw digitally into programs like SAI and photoshop.

Sara: What is sort of your goal when you are doing a piece of work? How do you work to capture the essence of a character?

Cassandra: Uhm… hard question! Well, I read the book first and foremost. Since that’s the best way to get to know a character. When I draw them, I try to keep in mind their personality. If they are sexy and flirty, or shy, or quiet and moody. Our personalities, and the character’s personalities, effect how they dress or how I would pose them. Often when I draw a picture I try to focus on the overall mood. Like if I’m in the mood to draw something sad, or happy, or sweet. Then I try to pick characters to draw that suit the mood I’m in. It seems to work out more naturally that way.

Sara: You’ve worked on so many different projects besides The Mortal Instruments like mangas, and Beautiful Creatures and Raven Boys artwork. Are there ever any challenges in doing so many different things or do you like the challenge of that?

Cassandra: I like the challenge. In fact, I kind of need it. No matter how much I love something, I can get exhausted drawing it over and over without any variety. That’s the sort of thing that can send me into a slump. So that’s why I draw so many different subjects. It’s refreshing, and I feel like it keeps me on my toes. Especially when it comes to comics. A comic can take me 8-9 months to finish, and every page is filled with tons of drawings of the same characters. So working on a variety of fanart and projects at the same time prevents me from falling into a rut.

mlol_chapter1.00

Sara: What are some projects that you’ve worked on that some people don’t know about but you’d really like them to?

Cassandra: I used to illustrate an online comic called Land of Lions! I haven’t been able to work on it for several years now, since Yen Press started hiring me for work, and these days I’ve improved a lot so the artwork in it is a bit old. But I’m still pretty proud of what I did with it. If people were interested I’d be flattered if they took a look at it. It’s up on a website called MangaMagazine.net In fact that website has a lot of awesome stuff you should check it out some time if you’re interested in reading original works online.

Sara: What are some of your hobbies besides artwork? Do you read, and have you read the books that you’ve done the artwork for?

Cassandra: Art kind of eats up my life. It’s my work AND my hobby. But I do read a lot too. I have of course read all the books I’ve done artwork for. I try not to draw characters for things I haven’t read because I think that if I didn’t, they wouldn’t turn out right. I wouldn’t have a very good grasp on what the characters looked like, how they acted or dressed… (with the exception of the Dark Artifices and TLH which have not been written yet, but Cassandra describes the characters to me in detail so that I get them right) So yeah! All the series I’ve done drawings of, I’ve read, and I’ve read plenty that I haven’t done art for either, sometimes I like to just read. I also play a lot of video games when I get the chance. And rearranging my book shelves. Does that count as a hobby? Because I love doing that.

Sara: What are you working on now and what can we expect from you in the future?

Cassandra: Lately, I’ve been trying to slowly hash out an original story that I’d like to illustrate. But I think it will be quite some time before that’s ready to show off. I’m also drawing the Shadowhunter Calendars still.You can also expect the “Miss Peregrine” graphic novel to be in stores in October along with the Shadowhunter Codex (some of my illustrations are in there, though I haven’t seen the book yet myself so I’m not sure which ones made the cut!) Also the next book I’m working on, which was leaked a few days ago, is The Secret Treasons with Cassandra Clare. So please look forward to it!

 Sara: What can you tell us about The Secret Treasons, and what and when can we expect that? 

Cassandra: I can’t tell you much about it other than what you already know. It follows Valentine and the Circle back in their younger days. I’m looking forward to drawing not only the younger versions of Valentine, Jocelyn and Luke, but also drawing the characters that we never got to meet in the books because they had already passed away. Stephen, Michael… I’m so excited about working on a Shadowhunter comic. Hopefully soon, the publisher (Yen Press) will release more information about it for you guys to feast on.

Sara: A nice little fun question that I ask all the people I interview: who is your fictional crush?

What really happened in Peru - Ragnor Fell 4

Cassandra: Crush? As in just one? UH…Ragnor Fell! My big cranky green lima bean. What’s that? No, he’s not dead! He’s just…hibernating!! [sound of gross sobbing in the distance]

*      *       *      *      *

I hope you all enjoyed this interview with this awesome, awesome artist and super cool person. This was a super fun interview to do, and Cassandra had a lot of new stuff to share with us all.

I hope you all will check her out. You can find her at:

Her Website

Her Tumblr

Her Deviant Art Site

Her Twitter

Happy Reading everyone!

 

What Really Happened in Peru Review!

17334079

Yeah, physician we finally get to see some background information on our favorite sexy warlock, ed  Magnus Bane, of the Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare.

Magnus Bane is a pretty big character in both series. You first meet him in The Mortal Instruments, when he comes to the aid of Clary, Jace and the rest of them, and is the warlock that erases Clary’s memories of her Sight. Then he starts dating Alec. Then as Cassie started to release the Infernal Devices series, you meet him again, in the Victorian age, years before Clary’s time, and he helps out Tessa, Will, Jem, Charlotte and the others and is involved with a lusty vampire by the name of Camille. We’re never really sure of Magnus’s real age, it could be anywhere from 300 years old to 800 years old and he makes odd and random references to his past that leave us dying for more.

And so Cassandra Clare, along with her dear friend and fellow author, Sarah Rees Brennan, decided to write stories about Magnus Bane called The Bane Chronicles. The Bane Chronicles will release a chapter at time over the course of the next few months, starting today (April 16th) and ending with the last story on December 31 of this year (check out the list below).

Eventually all of the stories will be bound together in one print book, but there isn’t any concrete information on that quite yet.

But anyway, the first story that was released was What Really Happened in Peru, where we finally will learn why on earth Magnus is banned from Peru, something he mentions very briefly in the Mortal Instruments series.

Now there ARE spoilers ahead, so if you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, go ahead and skip this part, and check out the future release dates for the next installments and their titles!

I LOVED the first installment of The Bane Chronicles…mostly because they were so absolutely random but so…so…so Magnus. They live and breathe Magnus. This story tells of a few adventures that Magnus has in Peru, mostly with Ragnor Fell, and another warlock by the name of Catarina, who sounds like an awesome character and I hope makes more appearances.

The first adventure takes place in 1791, where Magnus and Ragnor explore Peru, and Magnus gets in trouble with a monkey and then they get a job protecting a ship carrying guano, or bird poop. Of course, only madness can occur. We are informed that this incident is NOT the reason Magnus is banned from Peru.

The second adventure takes place in 1885, so after Magnus’s part in the Infernal Devices trilogy. He’s back in Peru but with Ragnor and Catarina. This story is the shortest and involves breaking into an ancient tomb to acquire a lost treasure. Still no word on what got him banned…

Next adventure is in 1890, with both Ragnor and Catarina again. Magnus has fallen in love with a local musician named Imasu who plays the charango…and of course he’s a black haired, blue eyed man (oh Alec Lightwood). This story is the longest and the BEST. It showcases Magnus falling in love with Imasu and his relationship with the man, and even though I’m a HUGE Malec shipper, you can’t help but ship Magnus and Imasu too. And then after Imasu breaks Magnus’s heart, he goes on a crazy drinking bender and has the craziest adventures ever. He does…he does the craziest things. He enchants a carpet to fly and sets guinea pigs free, and its just fantastic. I was cracking up the entire time while reading this story…and yet…he still isn’t banned from Peru…

The last story takes place in 1962, where Magnus runs into tourists and steals away the girl to go on a sort of Bonnie and Clyde adventure for the summer. Its short, and sweet and just…its just SO Magnus.

I think that’s the best part of these stories. Magnus is an eccentric but wonderful character and he’s just so mysterious and obviously has a lot of history. He casually mentions his past often, doesn’t really tell anyone what his real age is and is just one of my absolute favorite characters in the novel, and one of the favorites of most Shadowhunter fans. Obviously Magnus is old, though we don’t know exactly how old, and he’s had to have experienced a lot and we get a little piece of his random and awesome life.

We also start to get a little bit of his past and the way he is kind of damaged by his parents: his mother, who committed suicide after realizing that she had not had a child with her husband but with something ungodly, his stepfather, who obviously wanted nothing to do with him and his father, the demon, whose identity we don’t know yet but obviously isn’t a great friend of Magnus’s. Its very consistent with the Magnus we get in TMI and TID; we get the charming and funny and sexy Magnus but the complicated one as well.

But, oh, Cassie and Sarah, you WICKED wicked wonderful women, how dare you! The stories end with us finding out that the Peruvian government sends Magnus a letter, saying that he is banned from Peru for “crimes unspeakable” but we don’t know what they are and they remain a mystery!

We still don’t know why he was banned! After all of that, we get to see a ton of Magnus Bane’s adventures in Peru but we still don’t know why he’s banned! What brilliance and poppycock! I think if the stories weren’t so good, I would have been so mad but I just laughed and shook my head, thinking of what clever little girls that Cassie and Sarah are.

All in all, five out of five stars for this first installment and I canNOT wait until the next one comes out, which you can see on the list below!

Release Dates for The Bane Chronicles

The Runaway Queen-May 21, 2013

Vampires, Scones and Edmund Herondale-June 18, 2013
(apparently Magnus has a thing for Will’s dad! Scandalous!)

The Rise of the Hotel Dumont-July 16, 2013

The Fall of Hotel Dumont-August 20, 2013

Saving Raphael Santiago-September 17, 2013

No Immortal can Keep a Secret-October 15, 2013

The Course of True Love (And First Dates)-November 19, 2013
(Alec and Magnus’s first date! Wee!)

What to Buy the Shadowhunter Who has Everything-December 17, 2013

The Letter-December 31, 2013

You can read the brief plot hints for each story HERE, on Cassandra Clare’s website. The only one that doesn’t have any hint is the last one, but that is almost to be expected haha.

All of these are ONLY available in ebook format, for Kindle, Nook, Sony eReader, Ipad, etc. If you don’t have any of these, don’t worry! You can download Kindle or Nook apps for literally any device, including just your regular ‘ol computer! So everyone gets the chance to be able to read it! Yay!

*      *      *      *     *

For those of you who have read it, what did you think? Did you like it or dislike it? What do you think really got Magnus banned from Peru? Was it something in the stories or something we may never know about? As always, let me know in the comments!