Interview Meinert Hansen

How did you first come to discover the Barsoom books by Edgar Rice Burroughs?

I read a lot of fantasy and science fiction when I was younger, so I was familiar with that world but had not read very much of it.

What do you find appealing about the characters and milieu?

The romantic notion of a Mars that’s populated is still very appealing, and it has a swords-and-sandals side to it that is timeless.

What sort of an influence do you think the Barsoom books have had on the development of fantasy & science fiction?

I’m not sure what impact it had on literature, but it sure influenced a lot of visual artists. You’d be hard pressed to find any book on fantasy or science fiction illustration without at least one image from the Barsoom universe.

Who is your favorite character in the Barsoom canon? (And why?)

It’s hard not to like John Carter, since as readers we are seeing the strange world through his human perspective.

Tell us a bit about your illustration for the anthology. What’s happening in the scene?

My illustration depicts a moment when John Carter sees the great city of Pra-Ohn. I wanted to establish a sense of scale, and an organic style of architecture that is not terrestrial.

After reading the story, how did you decide which scene to illustrate?

I initially drew two images; one depicting a sword battle between John Carter and a Thark, and the cityscape drawing. I was glad the latter was chosen, because there have been so many illustrations depicting sword fights in this world.

Was this a particularly challenging piece to create? If so, how?

Depicting a city on Barsoom is challenging in the sense that there are so many possibilities of style and architecture. For my drawing, I went with my intuition and drew it quickly, allowing the lines and curves to produce interesting shapes. This kept it more organic and less formal, which is what I imagined this civilization would go for.

What artistic techniques did you employ to create this piece?

I used simple pencil and paper for this image, but gave it a pen-and-ink treatment after scanning it and boosting the contrast in Photoshop. I added more lines here and there digitally, using my tablet, and added areas of solid black to give it depth. Overall, I wanted to keep it quick and loose to keep an old-fashioned hand-drawn feel.

Any new work of yours just out or forthcoming you’d like to mention, or anything else you’d like to add?

I’m currently working on a major video game project which remains top-secret for now, but will be released in two years.