Nodus Astra

Thank you for the interview and for having pieces of art in the World of Stendaaris!

What name do you go by when creating art?
Hello! I tend to go by ‘Nodus Astra’ (translated roughly to “the node of the stars.”) I grew up wanting to become an astronaut (and a fireman, and a movie director, and…etc). I was the nerd with the telescope, braces, and the big glasses, who loved hunting for constellations.
What is your Background in Art?
I feel like this is common with many artists, but I grew up with a pencil and a sketchbook since I was a little kid. I wanted to tell stories in any medium possible, from pictures to novels. Having grown up in a tough neighborhood and an only child with few friends, and a difficult home situation, I turned to humour or drawing pictures to cope with it.   I went to university to study English, but my heart always went back to drawing and painting. Most of my work is digital, but I learned how to use watercolours, oil paints, ink, graphite, and charcoal. These days, if I ever create traditionally, it’s always with pencils and watercolours.   I was insecure about my work and knew that it was imperfect. If it wasn’t for critique and feedback from the people around me who genuinely wanted to see me grow, I don’t think I’d take it as seriously as I do today. It’s scary AF, but it comes from a place of value, something I appreciate a lot more as I get older.
Do you see yourself as a hobbyist or professional?
Is it pretentious to say ‘both’? I feel like I’m a hobbyist in the sense that I’m still learning and finding my way, but I’m sure a lot of people would argue that because I’m getting commissions, that makes me a professional.
What time of day do you normally do your Art?
I don’t have a set schedule, but nights tend to be quieter, allowing me to focus.
What inspires your Artistry?
Oh gosh, so many things! Real-life, music, movies, games, TTRPGs, and so much more. They inspire me to daydream about certain characters, situations, or scenes, which revs me to get drawing. My brain goes into, “Why haven’t you drawn this yet?! Hurry!” before I even start.
Who are your biggest artistic influences?
AAHHH! So many to name!!   In terms of classical artists I’ve studied, Caravaggio, Rosetti, and Bob Carlos Clarke come to mind, as their use of contrasts and vivid, experimental works always captured my eye.   I’d say that Hieu (aka. Kelogsloops), Audra Auclair, Djamila Knopf, CLAMP, Jen Zee, everyone who worked on the Netflix series Arcane, Ethan Becker (OH GOD, THERE ARE TOO MANY TO NAME!)
What art styles(mediums) are you the fondest of?
I’m very fond of pencil, pen, and watercolour, but I love my digital darlings too. :)
What is an art style(medium) you want to try but are intimidated to try? Why?
I would love to learn how to sculpt! Watching these clay masters create such elaborate masterpieces is inspired and terrifying. I have this image of perfecting the head shape, etching in the face, only for it to fall forward and flatten the whole thing! I’d be so upset with myself.
What are your favorite works of art you have completed?
Okay, I’m not blowing sunshine and rainbows up the proverbial hole, but one of them is probably this darling below: It was my first foray into using a painterly style with some intensive contrasts, involving a LOT of trust from the client and a bit of careful thought from my end. I’ll always be grateful for that. I’m proud of what came out of it. :D
Do you have an image to share for this interview?

Londa The Eldritch Whisperer by Nodus Astra

How do you seek out opportunities?
I primarily use my Fiverr account, but I also use social media to share my images. At times, it can be a tightrope, but the people I connect with are great to work with. :)
Where can people find your art?
I have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and a few other places to post my art! If you have the time, please take a peek! linktr:NodusAstra
How do you price your work?
It’s usually broken down by materials, time taken to create the piece, and years of experience. In freelancing, it’s always tempting to lowball your prices, but it’s a career that requires you to value yourself (which is hard!) and the knowledge you have. Nobody can feed themselves with exposure alone, but you also won’t find too much success if you charge a dollar for something you worked hard on.
Is there a risk in doing commissions? If so, do you have an example?
Oh gosh, always. It’s why many artists charge a deposit upfront because of it (unless they’re a regular client.)   One example involves a novelist who wanted a front cover for her book. We went through all the steps, where I sketched everything out, she selected a design, and I went on to paint it out on wood board and acrylic.   After sending her a proof scan of the design, I sent her my account info (the shipping was included in the price) and let her know it was ready to go—complete silence. I occasionally dropped a line to ask if everything was okay, but I ended up getting ghosted and blocked. That was about 5-6 years ago, and I still have the painting, but I’d like to throw it out at some point.   It was a hard lesson, but I think it was just beginners’ bad luck. That said, I’ve had commissioners also cancel out of the blue when I was halfway through a piece.   Conversely, though, I think there’s a risk for the buyer too - you’re putting faith in the fact that a stranger, no matter how talented or popular they are, is going to produce a piece for you after paying them.   I’ve heard of quite a few scams of artists taking money from clients and never giving them a piece, which utterly blows my mind.   So there’s always a risk on both sides, but those are the strongest examples that come to mind.
Do you have advice for any new upcoming artists?
I do! There’s no shame in using references - you’re not going to nail something new in a vacuum. Don’t be afraid to break down animals, poses, faces - whatever you need. It’s the best way to learn and refine your skill. References are tools, just like brushes, tablets, canvas, whatever you’re using. It’s not a crutch but a guide.   The other thing is about criticism. I don’t think I’d get far if I didn’t have people saying where there’s room to improve. Sometimes it hurts, but it’s important to look past that pain and understand that there’s value in critique. It’s great to have positive feedback - but you won’t get that as often unless you make room to improve.   We’re typically a sensitive, passionate bunch - many of us put ourselves in our work - and I think what we tend to hear isn’t, “There’s a mistake here,” and instead hear, “You’re a mistake.”   That said, your feelings of hurt are completely valid. Feel through it, take a deep breath, and try to see where your critic is coming from. They aren’t trying to hurt you (and if they are, then yes, ignore them!) but see the potential you have.
Is there something you want your fans to know about your art?
I’m happy to contribute my work to help someone’s story come to life, and I hope you can enjoy it as much as I enjoyed making it! Thank you for the support and your unending faith in me.

Thank You Again for the Art

  Nodus Astra is being recognized for their magnificient work on many Non-Playable-Characters(NPCs) and Playable Caracters. They have brought to life many NPCs of the Metallic Council, and Grand Master Wizard Council. She even helped bring life to the various Houses of The Kingdom of Malgos and even some sinister characters of the Cult of Mystra's Folly.  

Queen Aben Saundersfoot

Queen Aben Saundersfoot by Nodus Astra
Queen Aben Saundersfoot Holding Bow by Nodus Astra
This was my first Commission with Nodus Astra. She did such amazing work with Queen Aben Saundersfoot. Thus it led me to do more work with her and some of my players did as well.
— DMSirSwank99


Metallic Council

Metallic Council Main Logo
Eldenser by Nodus Astra
Metallic Council Logo Black by Nodus Astra
These pieces of art where to exprese the humanoid side of the Metallic Council. The shapshifted Metallic Dragons left their mark on the World of Stendaaris. Just like this commission as the mutual emblem of the Metallic Council and main logo for the World of Stendaaris came from this commission.
— DMSirSwank99

The Houses of The Kingdom of Malgos

House Drekker with background by Nodus Astra
House Drekker no background by Nodus Astra
House Malgos with background by Nodus Astra
House Malgos No Background by Nodus Astra
House Morrill with Background
House Morrill No b by Nodus Astra
House Niganze by Nodus Astra
House Niganze no by Nodus Astra
House Potters with background by Nodus Astra
House Potters no background by Nodus Astra
House Roffken with background by Nodus Astra
House Roffken no background by Nodus Astra
House Silverheart with background by Nodus Astra
House Silverheart no background by Nodus Astra
Magic Scrolls with background by Nodus Astra
Quill of Morrill by Nodus Astra
Sword of Malgos by Nodus Astra
Wand of Morrill by NodusAstra
This commission was to bring life to the Human Houses of Malgos and what each house represents via their House Emblem. Even some of the reworks turned out to be great concept art pieces. I also requested a few key items to be pulled out such as The Magic Quill of House Morrill.
— DMSirSwank99


Londa The Eldritch Whisperer

Londa The Eldritch Whisperer Enchantorium by Nodus Astra
Londa The Eldritch Whisperer by Nodus Astra


Night Slinger Namue Isardum the Eldritch

Namue Isardum the Eldritch no mask by Nodus Astra
Namue Isardum the Eldritch by Nodus Astra
Namue Isardum the Eldritch with Elements by Nodus Astra
This commission is artwork to express one of the few Cult of Mystra's Folly members. However, this character is the most villianous of all the other members. Nodus Astra even provided the floating elements for me to use as concept pieces for other items in my world.
— DMSirSwank99
Elemental Air Crystal by Nodus Astra
Elemental Earth Crystal by Nodus Astra
Elemental Fire Crystal by Nodus Astra
Elemental Water Crystal by Nodus Astra


Grand Master Wizard Council

Syldan Liadon by Nodus Astra
Headmistress Phone by Nodus Astra


Bookbinders Guild

Kriv by Kriv
This commission included both the Bookbinders Guild member Kriv Norixius of Wintersvale and four members of the Grand Master Wizard Council. This is the most recent commission I had the pleasure of working with Nodus Astra on. I am so excited that they brought life to Ascelin Veabrid.
— DMSirSwank99


The Antiquities

Andrin Shov by Nodus Astra
Andrin Shov (Shirtless) by Nodus Astra
Fylandris Grovekeeper by Nodus Astra
Senugri by Nodus Astra
These last three commissions are pieces of art submitted to me by my players. They went to Nodus Astra after seeing the work done on Queen Aben Saundersfoot. Nodus Astra has brought life to Andrin Shov, Fylandris Grovekeeper, and Senugri. These three are getting into some dangerous activites and clever giant agriculture planning. You can read about that here The Saucy Stories of The Antiquities.
— DMSirSwank99

Cover image: Metallic Council Main Logo


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