Anne Stokes is a British fantasy artist originally from London, but now lives in Leeds, Yorkshire with her partner John and her son Leo. Her fantasy artwork has become increasingly popular over the years, featuring a broad range of lifelike fantasy subjects from the magical world of enchanted forests including faeries, angels and magical animals; to the darker gothic underworld featuring vampires, skulls and dark creatures.
She loves to use symbolism in her images to express emotion or sentiment. "Fantasy art," she explains, "provides a great platform for depicting a wide range of subjects and themes." A common motif in many of her pictures is female characters who are in control of their own destiny. This is familiar to Stokes, who as a little girl always loved to draw and make things, and was encouraged by her mother to explore her creativity.
In her early career, Stokes began as a merchandise designer, most famously this included designing tour merchandise for bands such as the Rolling Stones and Queen. Later on she also worked as a sculptor and produced some jewellery ranges for Harry Potter and Terry Pratchett's Discworld and some of her T-shirts have been worn by famous bands and have also been used in films. Anne then moved on to become a full time freelance illustrator where she produced concept art and illustrations for Dungeons and Dragons.
As the popularity of Stokes's designs grew, she has been able to develop and license her own designs and concepts. "This amount of creative freedom is very rewarding," says Stokes, who likes to sketch her ideas out in pencil before putting them onto a graphic tablet to achieve the intricacy of detail present in her art.
She adds, "With art you can communicate without words. I feed an emotion into a picture and then someone looking at it gets one out. That is a really special things to do".
Many of these paintings and designs have been applied to a huge range of products worldwide including T-shirts, greeting cards and gift wear. She continues to produce new designs and artwork and has also produced several books.
For Stokes, creative inspiration comes in many forms. "England has a rich history, with wonderful medieval and gothic architecture that inspire my designs," she said, "but I also find inspiration in nature and fantasy stories and films."
When Stokes is not creating, she enjoys spending time with her young son and two dogs. She is also an avid traveler who enjoys experiencing new cultures and exploring different environments.