Meet The Artist: Linda Bergkvist


Linda Bergkvist is the new international superstar in fantasy art. Her award-winning artwork is known throughout the digital art community for their exotic and ethereal depictions. She has been awarded numerous EXPOSÉ awards in both EXPOSÉ 1 and EXPOSÉ 2 for her astonishing character digital paintings.

Linda was an author in the D’artiste: Digital Painting digital artists master class book, sharing her techniques and tips on achieving her unique style of paintings. She is currently working on her collection of short stories entitled ‘Furiae’, which will be published by Ballistic Publishing later this year. Linda is an active Forum Leader on CGTalk, where she openly shares her techniques and participates in the community.

Linda Bergkvist was born in Sweden - in Umeå, where she still lives. Her main interests have always been art and language. When she was younger, she did little but draw pictures and tell other kids long, intricate stories about imaginary creatures. Sometimes, she pretended these beasts were real and spoke of the ‘monsters’ with such enthusiasm and emotion that a lot of the kids actually believed her! Living a fairy-tale life, she would go hunting for witches in the woods.

Not sure about her artwork, Linda chose to study Language at University with the intention of becoming a teacher while painting and practicing art on the side. When the offer to become an artist at a local computer company emerged, she took the chance and has been a professional artist ever since. Having worked as a comic book colorist, Linda now freelances and is furiously preparing artwork and stories for her upcoming Furiae book. She also teaches at the University of Umeå part time.

Asked about her style of paintings, Linda responds, “I love the visual element of fairytales. Things that are fantastic and unnatural and not quite real fascinate me to no end. I suppose I am in love with old, cruel tales and the wickedness that comes wrapped up in lovely forms. I suppose, in a way, I still enjoy the very same things that I have all of my life - a mixture of fantasy and horror with a little twinge of romantic idealization.”

Related Links
Linda Bergkvist
D’artiste: Digital Painting – digital artists master class book
Interview with Linda Bergkvist (2003)

Post your questions or request for critique
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Linda. Inspiring beyond words.


Your works always amaze me. You alwaze seem to capture the luminosity of skin - your characters always seem to have a life-like glow about them. How do you do it?! It’s more than just studying light, it’s how it reacts with the materials that make up people, and it always looks different in each painting - you never seem to repeat the same skin tone! What should I be studying to achieve this?! Can you give some tips please?

Also, about your art, your characters always seem to be deeply thinking. I can’t imagine one of your characters to be the easily enraged type, to just fly off the handle and explode. Your characters seem very controlled of their emotions. Do you think that represents you? :slight_smile: Can you paint someone going absolutely berserk for me? :scream:

Thanks for taking the time! Huge fan!


Do you ever paint guys?


Hi Linda

As everybody else I would like to start by congratulating you for the excellent quality of your work. Also I would like to thank you for sharing your artworks with all of us, they are really inspirational and I believe they encourage everyone who sees them to improve their own work.

Could you tell us a little about those artists that you think had an influence in your technique as well as those artists who inspired you in any other sense such as theme.



Tja, Linda! " Inspiring beyond words" indeed! you are one of the many artist on this site that Inspire me every day. God bless. :slight_smile:

My master & servent art


This is probably a silly quesion, but when did you start painting these masterpieces? And do you remember the first time you were like “hey… I can do this…” ?

Needless to say, your eye tutorial is well appreciated :smiley: thanks for that!

Your work is just stunning.


First off, thanks for having me :smiley: I’m both excited and a little terrified about this. Anyway, since I’m up late this Sunday night, I thought I could start answering some questions.

Joe Burnham – Thank you kindly :]

Tevih - Why, thank you. I’m not entirely sure if there’s any way to study something in particular to learn skin tones – except for people. My best tip to you would be to take photos of one person, a friend preferably, in a lot of different settings. You can do it like a fun day of fun photos - go all over the place, from morning with morning sunlight until the evening. Even snap pictures at night time if you can. Keep the subject’s face at the same angle. Then shrink all these photos to a smaller, thumbnail size and set them up next to each other. If there’s a better way to get a quick crash course in how skin tones are affected by different environments, I honestly don’t know. After you’ve done this, do very, very quick referenced skin tone shots of each and every little photo (meaning, don’t paint a portrait, just try to imitate the skin tones), and try to get a feel for it. Phew, that was a long assignment, heh.

And, yeah… well… I am a pretty controlled person. I have two different settings - serene, or full-out loony, heheh. For some reason, I’ve always found serenity, quiet romance, silent seduction and just… calmness… more interesting in paintings. I’ve promised someone already to do a painting of my comic book self, but I’ll try do something very emotional following that. I promise.

THX – Oh yes I do. Rarely guys as other people view them though. There are so many artists that do this already - and much better than I would. When I paint men, I paint them as I would see them in a fairytale: beautiful and exquisite and elegant. Most tend to mistake these for females, and I don’t mind. I get a lot of requests to draw more manly and muscular men but I simply do not find drawing them interesting (in no way do I belittle buff men, it’s just that not all things fascinate you as an artist if you know what I mean: some people never paint chubby old ladies, I prefer not to paint men of Conan the Barbarian’s disposition).

Mahtan – Aw, thank you :]

My biggest artistic inspiration as I grew up was John Bauer. He has left an unfading impact on me, both in subject matter and in the ‘feel’ of a painting. Brian Froud was another of those artists that was an early influence… but the first time I saw a Tim Burton movie, I’d found my main inspiration. I find the feel of his movies, the mood of them and the flow of them to be beyond inspiring. The colours he uses, the music he chooses (Danny Elfman being another inspiration) and perhaps most of all the spirit that lurks beautifully underneath the surface have left a huge impact on me as an artist. Whenever I feel uninspired, I sit down and watch one of his movies, and I’ll paint like a madwoman for hours after.

As for technique – I learned a lot about colours and forms from a few of the artists that seem to be so popular among the digital art community: Bouguereau, Lawrence Alma-Tadema and Frederick Leighton among them. For me, though, technique is never as inspiring as subject matter, and though I love these great artists’ work – they’ve had little impact on me when compared to John Bauer and Tim Burton.

Samuraikuroi – Hej hej, and thank you :} !!

Jakiloblanco – Well… I got my first wacom tablet when I turned twenty - that is now seven years ago. My first digital paintings were, well, ‘horrible’ would be too mild a word. They looked plastic, awful, drab and icky. I found that progressing on the computer was far more quick than doing so on pen and paper though (for me, at any rate), since I grew daring and bold with trying new things. I’m still not sure if I can say I’ve had a ‘hey… I can do this’ moment: I feel like I’m constantly learning new things and when I look back six months, I feel embarrassed with my old paintings (it’s a funny, scary thing doing that. It’s left me very vary of patting my own back as far as any of my work goes: I know I’m likely to loathe it half a year into the future).


I just wanted to thank you for some truely inspiring work. I love your stuff. Also, your contributions to the community just go to show what a true professional you are.

I’m so happy I found this forum and get the chance just to say thank you to such great artists.


Hi Linda,

Great to have you here, your works inspire me and have done so since I ‘found’ them.

  1. How do you go about planning your paintings? Do you have a general method that you use for composition, value finding, etc?

  2. What were your inspirations, artistically, when you started out and what are they now? Not just subject matter wise, but other artists/painting methods, &c.

    I love this Q & A forum, it makes so much sense to have a focused question area, instead of having to search through all your posts to find gems of wisdom… ahem…
    I’m off to bed now, it’s well past my bedtime!
    Tack så mycket once more!


You know the whole DSG community are fans, so I’ll skip the praise and get straight down to the nitty gritty:

[li]How’s the hand? :sad:[/li][li]You seem to do a LOT of side projects. How much of your work is commercial and how much is for friends and your personal collection?[/li][li]Describe a typical “I’m going to paint something today” day.[/li][li]How important is your environment to your working style? Not just your desk, but your house. Could you ever move abroad to work, or is home where the heart is (and azrael for that matter)?[/li][li]What is the longest stretch of time spent on one piece of work?[/li][/ol]You are one of the most inspiring and influential artists I have met on this forum.:smiley:


Linda, I admit. As much as I don’t appreciate “Ars Gratia Artis” and the perfection of the painted material, I can’t help my heart muscle going Samba when I am in the presence of your work. There is something beyond “Art for the sake of Art” in your work and I can’t seem to figure it out.

Here is my question: You have inspired thousands of young people already, what is your maximum objective in your art/life ?



What they ( ^ ) said :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: .

Linda where can I see some of your work done in traditional media ?


I love the work of Tim Burton as well
It seems to me that you give great importance to inspiration.

Am I right on this, I mean have you ever painted not being inspired and what do you do in those cases?
Would you consider inspiration as important as technique or even more important?

One last comment
Your work has become as inspirational as a Tim Burton movie


cracks knuckles I’ll answer these, and then be off to bed.

Sacslacker – Aw, well, I’m honoured. Thank you.

Paperclip – 1) welllll… this is a difficult question to respond to, for me. It depends wildly on the painting. I must say that the best paintings always start out with an idea. The idea always has colour, and after the colours follow the shapes. If I decide to plot out a painting carefully, I’ll do several colour sketches (very blotchy, very simple) in different compositions before I decide which way to go - but if it’s a highly inspired painting, I will leap right into it. I’ll let the theme guide me, splotch the colours around until I feel satisfied, and then start picking the shapes out that I was looking for. I know that planning well ahead is the best way to go about things, but looking back - my best paintings weren’t so much planned, as exploded. I’ll have an idea and then jump straight into the fray.

  1. O my. I sort of responded to this one, already, but it’s difficult to say. The embarrassing thing is that my main inspirations remain the same, years after. I could say that, perhaps, the biggest change is that the contemporary artists that inspire me tend to change depending on where I’m currently roosting (meaning, which forum, gallery, ‘place’ I like to visit online). At the moment, some of my main sources of ‘wow’ that make me want to paint are hanging out at the same forum as I am, which is incredibly nifty to say the least.

The problem with listing inspirations, for me, is that beyond the artists that I hang out with and chat with (and love!), my main influences are not other painters, but music, nature, books and poetry. I’m far more likely to look at a movie or read a book if I need immediate inspiration - this is not to say that I can’t drop my jaw just like anyone else when I see a lovely picture, it’s just that that ‘thing’ that I look for in art I often recognise elsewhere as well. Does that make any kind of sense? I’d be loathe to have to mention names for the people I know that I find inspiring. The list is much too long. I have some of them linked from my website, but a good many of them sneak around at CGtalk these days.

Erilaz – 1) Thanks for asking :] The hand is much better now. It still starts hurting if I paint for any extended amount of time - I still do it, though, but it’s not as much fun, heh. Evil cat.
2) Well, a lot of the side projects are all of the above. When I do a piece for my ‘furiae’ world, I fully intend to be able to use it for quite a few of the side projects. When you see me post a painting that has a little story attached to it, it might well end up in both a book, and the rpg that I’m planning in the future, as well as feature in personal role play outside the commercial world. Does that make sense? When I do something for my friends, well - that doesn’t happen quite as often, but I’ll do it occasionally when one of my real life friends have been absolutely cute with me. They’re lovely people, and I like to be nice back.
3) Oi, oi. I get up in the morning, I sketch like a mad person. I take the cat for a walk, I stalk around the flat, I take a long bath and then sketch some more. If needed, I’ll call a friend up for quick reference photos, and/or snap some pictures of myself. I might set fabrics up on chairs or place a big mirror next to the computer. If I take breaks, it’s to watch movies, listen to music, take more baths or go for a walk with the cat. Eat, I’ll do in front of the computer (pathetic, I know), and I’ll be obsessed and weird when people try to talk to me on the phone, ha ha. They’ll try to chat about whatever’s going on in their lives, and I’ll exclaim, “This DAMN eye! I just can’t get it right! Should I go with blue or green?” My friends know better now than to try to get me to function normally on my painting days.
4) Very important. I can’t see myself living or working elsewhere. It’s not so much the actual flat I live in, as my friends, my family, my cat and the environment surrounding me. I love Sweden, I love the city I live in, and I am addicted to my friends and family. Home, for me, is definitely where the heart is. I can’t see myself living, nevermind working, somewhere where my friends aren’t.
5) Stretch, as in, ‘work without pause’? I’d say about 30 hours, if that’s the case. Back when my insomnia was really bad, I could go three days without sleep, and sometimes a good amount of that time would be used painting - not necessarily getting any good paintings done, but at least painting.

Ashakarc – Thank you :] My maximum objective? As in - where I want to go? I never truly think that far ahead. I never originally intended to paint for a living. My dream, as such, would be publishing my Furiae world in all manners possible. I’d like to work on nothing but it, and my personal paintings. Mainly, I just want to sit around and paint and be happy. I’m not a very ambitious person :slight_smile:

Vegan – Heheh, I’ve not done any serious traditional painting since six or seven years back. I have a large oil painting planned out for this summer, I’ll promise to post it when it’s done. I miss the traditional media - I gave up with it when my scanner broke, and then later, when Azrael became something of a nuisance (the latest water colour I tried was two years ago, upon which the cat spilled the water over the entire thing. If I am to paint, I have to force my parents to take care of him while I do it)

Mahtan – Yes, inspiration does mean a lot to me. Since it’s my job, though, I’ll have to paint while uninspired at times. I hate doing it, though, and I usually abhor the result. It looks dead and lifeless to me, and these paintings rarely end up seeing the light of day if I can help it. I consider inspiration far more important than technique - a quick, clumsy sketch with a lot of heart can be a LOT more catching than something that is technically flawless, but dead.

And, to your last comment - thank you.

And thank you :} I’m off to bed now, I’ll answer questions again tomorrow (well, technically ‘today’, but later anyway)


I have one question Enayla, actually 2,

How long did it take you to learn all the Digital Work?
Do you have secret brushes on Photoshop, whatever I do, I just can’t get any closer to your painting technique :slight_smile:

Tack så micket


:love:I have always admired you since I first saw your art. I don’t know any questions except one;

Will there be any event where you will participate in, in sweden? I mean, where you have a conference or something the like, showing of your work or techniques?

It would be such fun to see you explain live. :arteest:


Hi, this is Ameer Magdy from Egypt, and if it comes to questions, I have alot, but I won’t bug you with it, because you’ve already given us the whole answers…
I want to say that you are my Idealist artist and as so to many others, when I talk about art, I start with you, I’ve been showing my friends in the faculty of fine arts your great works, and I’ve requested the D’artiste: Digital Painting digital artists master class book, specially for to see your techniques, but still have a question though,

How do you define your scene? I understood the part of the people inside yr’ work, but when it comes to the environment around them, I wonder how perfect that is? are you using a reference or from your imagination, and which is harder or I mean to say, take longer, the people you draw or the background??

  • Are you teaching any kind of courses outside the university? private lessons?

thad you very buch (Bilbo Baggins)
Ameer Magdy / Alexandria - Egypt


I just discovered your work a week or two ago, and am majorly impressed. You manage to illustrate beautifully a lot of designs that I’ve not had nearly as much luck at (the dragonfish mermaid in particular, is eerily similar to some stuff I’ve been trying to do). Major kudos.

My questions:

  1. What sort of things are difficult for you to paint, and why?
  2. What are some of the most valuable lessons that you’ve learned doing this over the years? Realizations like “wow, suddenly A, B, and C make sense” to “god, I’ll never do -that- again” are what I’m aiming at.
  3. What unexplored topics do you want to delve into in the coming years?
  4. [this may be a dumb question] What is the DSG community erilaz referred to? Google turned up mostly german-language sites.

Thanks for taking the time to do this! You are an inspiration.


Yeah, hi Linda!

This is Corey Loving , and I have a question for you my fair lady! How do you go about choosing your colors for a scene, you know like for the characters and background? I suppose what I mean is like, do you choose the colors, for your character’s shadows for example, based upon the background or do you just use reference to make color choices? An artist named Anry, once told me to choose your colors based off your background…

Also , I cant seem to make something look as photorealistic as you can, even if i use reference…I’ve been studying this, and trying to find the secret to really making something look photo realistic…At first i thought it might be grain…But i’m sure you can make any object look realistic if you choose the right colors. I’m just curious as to how you know which colors to use for things. Not just human flesh but trees, metals, ect…anything really …If you could lead a young artist into the right direction I would be very greatful!