The Artist

Elaine C. Oldham at Derby City Comicon 2015Hi! I'm Elaine, and I love all things fantasy (at least so far!). I came to fantasy art via the back door through convoluted corridors. As a child I developed severe asthma. So instead of playing in the backyard, I spent large parts of my summers inside with books. I began with a set of fiction classics that my parents bought for me and my siblings for Christmas. When I got my own library card, a whole new world opened up for me.

Happily my earlier exposure spoiled me for the children's books I was supposed to be reading. When I had a choice, I went to the adult section of the library where I stayed until closing to read the books I wasn't old enough to check out yet, hiding them in the stacks if I didn't finish so I could take up where I left off the next day. The librarians were very tolerant of me and I will always bless them for that.

Elaine C. Oldham sketching at Free Comic Book DayIn junior high school I discovered The Book Nook where I bought my very first paperback, Mysterious Island by Jules Verne. I lived on cookies and milk to save the rest of my lunch money so I could go to the Nook at the end of the week and buy another used book to feed my insatiable love of reading. The Book Nook also sold comic books, but I wasn't interested.

Then one day I walked in and like a beacon the cover of Elfquest #6 drew me to the section of the store I'd never looked at before. I picked it up and was hooked. Now my weekly visits included the question "Do you have any Elfquest back issues in yet?"

Elfquest was created independently by Wendy and Richard Pini. They did it all themselves. I'd always been a doodler - no notepaper escaped without a fairy or dragon filling its margins. More than a few people said I ought to try drawing for real, but it wasn't until, inspired by their story, that I began to draw what is called fan art, first based on Elfquest and expanding to characters from those books that filled my younger days.

One summer I learned that the Pinis were guests at InConJunction in Indianapolis. So I and a fellow fan and amateur artist made the trip to meet them and get their autographs. While there we discovered the InConjunction art show. The next year we went as fan artists. I sold my first piece - a wizard playing a board game with a dragon amidst his hoard - before I'd hung it on the panel. The rest is history.

I kept it up around a full-time job, a mortgage, and the limitations of mass transit as my only mode of transportation. Life has intervened at times but I'm still here and determined to grow a career and be seen hanging art and selling prints at shows when I'm 90+.

See you there!

Sample drawing from photo by Elaine C. Oldham.