Art and Literature News

Middle-earth In Watercolor: An Exclusive Interview with Artist Kinko White


Such is the nature of genius to inspire the anxious souls dwelling in this world, inspire them as an example by all the means of self expression. The point of it all is the passing on. The light of the genius is a fuel to all other forms of sub-creation, spreading as fast as the lights of dawn, igniting each and every treetop, the human hearts, one by one. As bright as the Arkenstone, as refreshing as the summer rain, and as necessary as water in the desert. A lot means inspiration, and if you found one, you can already consider yourself very lucky. For from that moment on, you are a part of that wonderful chain of light, a different kind of air for a different kind of breathing.

Coming across the fulfillment of that kind of inspiration is usually the delight that mutually sparks us up for the sharing. This is one of those cases. We are always painstakingly in search of new things that will keep your Middle-earth turning, and the best news is, there’s so much going on!

So it happened that one day, the light we spoke of above, touched the soul of a young artist-to-be in the land of Estonia. Getting involved in medicine and, most surprisingly, having no initial education in art, Katrina Valgerist, or professionally, “Kinko White”, was introduced to the world of Tolkien as a child. And thanks to her beautiful artwork, we have found her and have had a chance to interview her personally.


AG: How were you first introduced to Tolkien and his works?

KW: I was first introduced to Tolkien’s world in early childhood. Funny, but I think it was sort of a Russian comic book titled, The Hobbit. At that time, I barely knew how to read. Later, when I grew up, I got to know professor’s other works and totally fell in love with all of his books!

AG: How would you say your art speaks to your viewers?

KW: No doubt, Tolkien’s works are of great importance, but for me there are no symbols or mysterious meanings. Tolkien’s creation is huge, detailed, and feels almost like a real world with its own history, folklore, languages etc. I would say that my art is a kind of a “sketching” of my journey through Middle-earth.

AG: You have a very unique approach to your works- you use a notebook as a background for the paintings, what compelled you to apply this particular canvas? And is there a meaning to it as well?

KW: I’ve been looking for a suitable canvas for a long time, a canvas that could survive my artistic experiments. The point is that, I combine many different techniques when I work: watercolors, acrylic, ink, gel pens, glitter and gold leafs. Besides, notebooks that I use have an absolutely awesome design, what (I believe) is most suitable for my works. In other words, it’s like the perfect frame for my paintings. I received my very first notebook as a gift. I just decided to risk it and try to draw there. Somehow it just turned out well!


AG: What would you say is most inspires you about Tolkien’s and/or Peter Jackson’s masterpieces? What makes an idea of an artwork sparkle in your head?

KW: The Professor’s world has always been somewhere in my mind. This time, Peter Jackson’s movie The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, really carried me away to Middle-earth. Jackson’s concept reflects my vision of this story perfectly. His every movie about Middle-earth is like a beautiful picture itself. I think that the soundtracks are one of most important things too. Tolkien’s works are very musical, they contain a lot of poems and songs. Howard Shore’s music inspires me incredibly!

AG: As an artist, do you get a block sometimes? And if so, what do you do if that happens?

KW: Every artist gets a block time after time. You just have to wait and not panic. Inspiration always tends to ebb and flow.

AG: You use watercolor, and each character you draw has a different set of colors assorted specifically for that work of art. Is that representational in any way?

KW: Indeed. Color set may even depend on the mood of the character. But I also have a series of monochrome works done in sepia tones.


AG: Tolkien stresses many matters while speaking through his books. Which would you say is the most crucial matter to you?

KW: For me the most important issue is the loss of beauty. Valar, white trees, elves, magic … Our world is losing its beauty. We have to do something to keep it safe.

AG: What are you most looking forward to in the upcoming Hobbit films?

KW: I think these films will be great movie adaptations, as always. I cannot wait to see all new awesome characters, amazing battles, outstanding backgrounds, and glorious costumes! I believe they will be a great inspiration for me as well! I’m super excited! At the same time, I dearly hope that the upcoming movies will be as close to canon as possible.

AG: What other artists have influenced your work?

KW: Without a doubt, I can think of a bunch of names of great artists that inspire me to be creative! It’s Francisco Goya, Stephanie Pui-Mun Law, Alan Lee, Brian Frouda, and Zdeněk Burian. Actually, there are many more talented artists, but my list would be too long if I were to name all of them.

AG: As an artist, how would you describe what art means to you?

KW: For me, art is a kind of a portal to a better world, full of beauty, inspiring and positive, and I’m trying to push through this portal as many people as I can. That is why I’m sharing my artwork with others.


AG: If this was the very first moment you opened your eyes and saw this world, if already bestowed with an ability and skill to paint, what would be the first thing you’d put onto canvas? 

KW: It would depend 100% on that what I would see at that very first moment. The light? The smiling face of my mother? Some people in lab coats? 🙂 But to answer your questions seriously, let me answer with a quote:

Here is my secret. It’s quite simple: One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes. . . “ – The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupéry

I mean, the most beautiful things in the world like love, nature, and harmony are always around us somewhere. I just try to put a little piece of it in each of my paintings.


Kinko White is a marvelous young artist with a very unique perspective, not only in the Tolkien-related matters. To view more artwork by Kinko White or to request her contact information, visit or Tumblr.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Great interview!
    I can’t stop watching Kinko’s art!
    Nice job, Ana 😉

  2. Beautiful,delicate work.

  3. These pieces are so, so beautiful. She is able to capture the very essence of these characters in such a gorgeous way!!

  4. Pingback: Wednesday Wanderment | Unearthing Words

  5. Aw, thank you Alice, so sweet of you! I know, right? Her art is wonderfully neat!

  6. Beautiful work!