Rowan Steinke, born in Winnipeg in 1995, started drawing as soon as she could hold a pencil, and soon moved on to watercolours and ink. She took Fine Arts courses, but was also good at maths and English literature. Rowan’s mother is a photographer who shares a home studio with her; the mother modifies photos to “bend reality in a surreal direction,” and has modelled for Rowan a particular way of playing with reality. “Fantasy is an escape; I’d rather live in a world where there’s all this stuff you can be wowed by,” Rowan says. She is attracted to the animation of her subjects in the context of a fantasy world, including dragons and otherworldly creatures. She has written a fantasy novel and has two more soon to appear. “I like easy-to-follow linear narratives, with subplots, back-stories, and action in the background,” Rowan adds.
Her visual work is pencil and marker on paper; bright acrylics, watercolours, and especially ink on paper and canvas; and digital images. The resulting style is sometimes like manga (a book style of anime), though she has not yet chosen to invest the time it would require to author a graphic novel. Yet Rowan feels tugged between the stylization of anime, and realism, which she also admires. “When drawing, I feel in the moment, and never anxious,” she says.