Keezy Young: A to Z Challenge

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The letter Y is brought to you by the sublime Ms. Keezy Young. She can be found on Twitter and Tumblr. I highly recommend seeking her art work wherever you can.

What was the first thing that you were proud of drawing/writing?

I’m sure my mom can tell you a bunch of other things I was proud of, but the first one that comes to mind is when I drew a giant bee with a stinger and sharp teeth and gave it to her for her birthday.

 

What are you working on now?

A bunch of stuff! I’m busy with Yellow Hearts, my webcomic about three childhood friends-turned-criminals who made a deal with a demon when they were kids. It doesn’t have a release date yet, but I’ve started storyboarding, so it shouldn’t be long now! I also have two pitches in the works, one to the Beyond Anthology with Cassandra Khaw, and another with Steve Horton called Sorcerous Ways. I also have a couple of zines coming out with my illustration work in them.

Who has influenced you the most as an artist?

I’m constantly inspired by the other artists I know from Twitter and Tumblr and in person. I love and idolize a lot of masters like Alphonse Mucha or John Singer Sargent, and more contemporary comic artists like Hiromu Arakawa or Fiona Staples, but there’s something amazing about watching my friends and peers work hard and put out so much gorgeous art and writing every day.

Who is your favorite female superhero/villain/comic book character

I’m really fond of Major General Armstrong from Fullmetal Alchemist. She isn’t a superhero, but she has left an imprint on a lot of my own characters.

How often do you go to comic book conventions? Do you enjoy conventions?

I go to local ones like Emerald City ComicCon and more general geek conventions like GeekGirlCon. I do enjoy them, though I think there’s still work to be done with making those spaces more inclusive and welcoming. There are a lot of great things that come out of conventions, and community is super important! But I am also hyper-aware that I may be interacting with people who don’t think I have a right to a place in the comics industry because I’m a queer woman who writes and draws stories about queer characters, and that sexual harassment at conventions is still a huge problem among fans and industry pros. I would love to get to a point where convention-going is exhausting just for the fun reasons and not the scary ones.

Are you an introvert or extrovert?

I’d say I’m a very friendly introvert! I LOVE talking with people, but I definitely need my alone time.

Where do you find your inspiration?

The short answer would be ‘wherever I can.’ I find that some of my best inspiration for drawing comes from enjoying other people’s art, and for writing I love discussing stories and characters with my friends and roommates. But honestly, inspiration can come from anywhere.

What do you do if you have writer’s block?

Usually I’ll hit my head against the wall for a little bit before I sit down to play video games. I’m trying to get better at acknowledging when I need a break.

Have you had any interesting or awkward experiences since you’ve been an artist/writer?

Directly related to my art…? I guess I would say that my characters have been pretty instrumental in coming to terms with various aspects of myself, and self-realizations are always interesting and kind of awkward.

Beverage of choice?

Black coffee

When was the last time that you dressed up for Halloween?

Last year! I wore a Spyro kigurumi. It was very comfortable.

What do you want people to know about you?

I want people to know that the number one reason I draw and write comics is to add something wonderful and exciting to the world, something that makes people happy. I know that I won’t always be able to make everyone happy, and there will be missteps, but it’s important to me that I keep learning and growing and contributing to the overall happiness of the people around me.

 

Keezy’s SketchBlog

Keezy Young on Twitter

Whitney Weber: A to Z Challenge

Honestly, I can’t remember where I found Whitney Weber’s work. I’m so glad that I did! She’s a tinker at heart and a Ravenclaw. I can totally see us having sparkling cider and tinkering on our newest project. It would be lovely.

If you have a chance, visit her website and support her tinkering.

What was the first thing that you were proud of drawing?

Hard for me to remember the very first, I was much more proud of my work when I was little and drawing all the time. The first thing I was proud of when I started my digital work was a piece for my Intro to digital art class, it was a scene from what is now the basis for my YA graphic novel with a few of my main characters that I have since redrawn.

What are you working on now?

I am currently working on my graphic novel, a very slow process, and also a collection of Fae pieces that I sell at conventions and gallery shows.

Who has influenced you the most as an artist?

Eyvind Earle and Brian Froud are the most inspirational for me. I remember being a kid and looking through every Faerie book of Brian’s in the library and being completely captivated. Eyvind’s work is most known from Sleeping Beauty and it will always stand out to me with its rich colors and his overly detailed yet somehow still simplistic look. I try my best to include as much meaningful detail and whimsy into all my work as these two talented artists.

Who is your favorite female superhero/villain/comic book character?

Rogue has always been one of my favorites as well as Mystique.

Do you think people expect a certain type of art from you since you are female? For example, do people expect something cute and are surprised that you specialize in zombies or vampires?

Actually I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the lack of stereotyped expectations I’ve received. Every time I’ve been asked onto a job it’s always been for the overall look of my work and less about the subject matter. I’m really happy about that, I love to draw faeries and goblins in my free time but I’ve been incredibly lucky to have art directors and bosses that can trust me with drawing all kinds of subject matter like run down yachts and laser blasting toasters.   

How often do you go to comic book conventions? Do you enjoy conventions?

I attend and try to exhibit at as many as possible throughout the year. I’ve loved attending cons since my first stint with Wondercon in 2010 when it was still in San Francisco. It’s wonderful to know that these conventions can introduce you to a great deal of new artists and work you’ve never seen.

Are you an introvert or extrovert?

Very much an extrovert.

Where do you find your inspiration?

A lot of my inspiration comes from what I remember reading as a kid (fairytales and mythos) but I do find a lot of my inspiration from other artists or spending time exploring outdoors. I really enjoy hiking and I find a lot of wonderful things for my mental reference bank while doing so.

What do you do if you have writer’s block?

I’m not the greatest about writer’s and artistic block. To try and help myself out of a funk I usually take a break for even a few days and do something that is less artistic and requires me to just be present like hiking, going to the park, or just hanging out with friends. Sometimes what can help is watching tutorials or finding a bunch of new artists work to skim through online. When I do that I usually get really excited to create again.

Have you had any interesting or awkward experiences since you’ve been an artist/writer?

Probably the most embarrassing moments have just been witnessing other people’s poor etiquette when approaching other artists, it has definitely made me more conscious of how I approach people working at conventions or shows. I’ve seen people shove portfolios in artists’ faces to ask for a review and have also had people ask if they can give me a Starbucks gift card instead of payment for my work.

Beverage of choice?

Martinelli’s sparkling cider…or Champagne. I love bubbly drinks haha

When was the last time that you dressed up for Halloween?

I dress up every year! This past year I dressed up as a Tinker fairy for Mickey’s Halloween party in Disneyland. I like to sew; Halloween is a wonderful creative outlet for me that provides a great break from drawing.

What do you want people to know about you?

I am working on my graphic novel, hopefully I can get the first part of that out in the next few months. I am also a Ravenclaw 😉

 

 

Tinker Illustration

Vanesa Del Ray: A to Z Challenge

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Vanesa Del Ray is the featured artist for today. Seriously. If I were the fainting type, I would have fainted when she replied. Instead, there were feelings of immense joy. You can all have feelings of joy when you check out her art work. Some of it is a little risque but I like that sort of thing. Can you blame me for wanting to buy everything that she has drawn? However, I would need a bigger house with more walls. Or an art gallery. I need an art gallery.

Enjoy the following interview with Ms. Del Ray.

1.    What was the first thing that you were proud of drawing?
I think I remember drawing Belle, from The Beauty and the Beast, and being really happy with it because I had gotten her dress right.
2.    What are you working on now?

I’ll have a project coming up with Image Comics and a couple more things with Marvel, but I can’t talk about them yet! My apologies!
3.    Who has influenced you the most as an artist?

My grandmother has been a great influence from day one. She was my first art teacher.
4.    Who is your favorite female superhero/villain/comic book character?
Cat Woman was the first I ever knew about. She’s still my favorite to this day. But it wasn’t through comics that I found out about her, it was through the Tim Burton movie Batman Returns from 1992. I lived in Cuba at the time and we didn’t have access to comics form the US or any where for that matter!
5.    Do you think people expect a certain type of art from you since you are female?

Some people still get surprised, yes. I don’t think they expect anything from me, I just do the work. But I’ve had people say to me that i have a masculine style or that I look nothing like what I draw.
6.    How often do you go to comic book conventions? Do you enjoy conventions?

I’ve been going to conventions for about 3 years now. I go to 3 or 4 conventions a year right now. I enjoy conventions a lot in part because I get to hang out with other folks from the industry and I get to meet new fans, and old ones too!
  7.    Are you an introvert or extrovert? 

Definitely an introvert.
8.    Where do you find your inspiration?
I like to read, and watch movies a lot. I enjoy stories being told, it doesn’t matter what kind. It could be a horror story or true crime or even a biography or history. It’s all stories.
9.    What do you do if you have writer’s block?
I take a break and go for a walk or go for a swim. I could watch a movie or read a book. I have to get away from what I’m doing and come back with a fresh mind.
10.    Have you had any interesting or awkward experiences since you’ve been an 
artist/writer?
Well, every time I interact with another human is either interesting or awkward or both at the same time.
11.    Beverage of choice? 

Water
12.    When was the last time that you dressed up for Halloween? 

Last year. I was a vampire-nun. Not very original!
13.    What do you want people to know about you?

My work.

Vanesa Del Ray

Alina Urusov: A to Z Challenge

 

Alina Urusov has done art and colors for comic books such as X-Force and Young Avengers Presents and X-Force #11. She has also done the cover art for  NYX: No Way Home and other Marvel Comics’ publications.

I’m still in shock that she agreed to do this interview. Enjoy!

What was the first thing that you were proud of drawing?
Some early things include Jesus, naked women, horses and princesses, and this one awful painting in art class at age 5 that must have looked like a tortured soul’s divulgence into insanity..
What are you working on now?
I will soon start work on a personal contribution to a comics anthology, but I have been taken a hiatus to travel and raise my toddler lately..


Who has influenced you the most as an artist?
Everything has, but probably the art books my mom had when I was a child, because I became so familiar with art that I could easily see myself carving masterpieces too, haha


Who is your favorite female superhero/villain/comic book character?
honestly I dont follow comics and I never attach myself to characters, I just enjoy pieces of fiction as a whole, for the atmosphere they create and to escape my own headspace.
Do you think people expect a certain type of art from you since you are female?
I hope by now I have sufficiently proven myself, so that’s probably not the case and I enjoy the darker things just as much as the cute things, actually when the two are combined it creates an indispensible balance..


How often do you go to comic book conventions? Do you enjoy conventions?
I dont go anymore.. I used to when I was producing more.. they are work for me.. another way of selling my product, and doing sketches for 3 days straight can get tough. I enjoy the cosplays immensly though..


Are you an introvert or extrovert?
Introvert mostly, but its important for me to have one on one connections with others. I dont do well in groups as much.. unless we are all busy being useful.
Where do you find your inspiration?
In visual things of an articulate design.. I have a lot of wondefully designed nicknacks.
What do you do if you have writer’s block?
well I havent tried being a writer but inspiration and meditation or just Doing Something Else should solve that problem.


Have you had any interesting or awkward experiences since you’ve been an artist/writer?
Yes and yes, I actually have a great memory for awkward moments in my life, but listing them here would just cause a daylong journey into a bad frame of mind.. in a nutshell I will simply say, deadlines and perfectionism don’t mix, for those who are looking to be a writer or artist, mkay..
Beverage of choice?
green smoothy.. I am into health and taking care of the temple that is my bod these day ya dig.
When was the last time that you dressed up for Halloween?

Haha what is this Halloween, I have deadlines and a baby to dress down to.. but seriously, I just wore raver gear and hooped at a rave last time – something everyone should do.. every day..
What do you want people to know about you?

I am no longer an artist.I am a citizen of mother earth and I am committed to dedicating my life to taking good care of her and myself by doing creative things when i please and staying healthy and happy dammit! People, make sure you are doing what feels right and feels right the morning after as well.. it is high time end the suffering we create for ourselves so we can have no regrets later.. the end.

 

Alina Urusov

 

ALL ARTWORK © 2010 ALINA URUSOV
ALL CHARACTERS © TO THEIR RESPECTIVE OWNERS.


Rachel Kelly: A to Z Challenge

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Several years ago, the  boyfriend and I met Rachel Kelly at a comic book convention in Columbus, Ohio.She was –  and still- is a really lovely person. A little boy approached us and said, “Hey, come look at my mom’s book.” He was totally adorable so of course we went over to meet his mom. Unfortunately, I couldn’t afford her book at the time since I had already spent all of my comic book convention money.
You should all buy her book so I can feel even less guilty about telling her cute little boy that I couldn’t buy his mom’s book. This year, Colorworld is going to be in the budget or so help me. Seriously, though check out her books and buy them all.
1) First thing I was proud of drawing:
I don’t draw, but I work with a LOT of artists, whether it’s coming up with illustrations for my books, illustrating the upcoming Colorworld Comic, or doing commissions for us to sell at conventions. I can tell you about the very first piece of Colorworld artwork that was done (outside of the original book covers), and that was a promotional illustration. It was a scene from Colorworld, when Wendy, the main character, sees her friend Kaylen using her telekinesis, and she realizes Kaylen is far more powerful than she thought. The scene was digitally drawn by Mike Richardson, who would later end up being the illustrator for book 1 of the Colorworld Series. To see a scene from my book turned into something more than black and white words is what truly began this journey to bring the Colorworld story into as many mediums as possible. Once my husband and I saw Colorworld in another dimension, we HAD to have more.
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 What are you working on now?
I am personally in the process of editing the 5th book in the Colorworld Series, Dreamworld. In the realm of visual arts, we are currently putting the finishing touches on the Colorworld Comic, Issue #1, illustrated by Garrett Richert. Comics are a whole different animal, as they are basically like directing a movie. So we have several people working on it.
We also have a team putting the first book into audio format. So we will soon have two brand new formats to choose from!
 Who has influenced you most?
My husband, Brad Kelly. I never would have taken the step to publish Colorworld, the first book. I wouldn’t have devised the KicksStarter to begin the creation of illustrated editions and audiobooks. Or the second Kickstarter to fund the comic. I wouldn’t be on tour around the country, in an RV, with four children. I wouldn’t be collaborating with some twelve artists. There is NO substitute to having another person in your corner, someone who believes in what you’re doing to get you through your reclusive artist tendency to hide from the world and do art in your underwear. There is no substitute for having someone on your team with business sense and with vision. That’s what Brad is to the story. He does everything that makes these things successful. I cannot say it more seriously than that. Colorworld would be dead in my closet without him.
Favorite Favorite female comic book character?
Wow. I don’t know. I think that’s kind of a testament to how underrepresented women are in comics, eh? Wonder Woman is the natural answer, but I think that’s because she’s like the ONLY major female superhero. I like her, but meh… If I were to broaden my tastes to television, I would choose Ashoka from Star Wars: The Clone Wars. I love her progression as she begins to question the establishment. It’s hard for her to leave the Jedi order, but she totally owns it for the sake of her personal integrity, which I find absolutely commendable. She doesn’t completely turn away either. She might be leaving an upbringing and culture that has been her family, but she retains the good parts of it. So few people manage this in life.
Do I have photos of my fave Star Wars character in Cosplay?? Of course I do!
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Do you think people expect a certain type of art from you since you are female?
I have, on occasion, been ‘accused’ of writing a female character as if I’ve fallen prey to a trend. To write a female lead has become ‘the thing to do’ and I guess the expectation for some is that it will pass, sort of like zombies or vampires. This is, of course, ridiculously sexist. It’s also wrong. To think that women are coming into the spotlight only to be taken out of it later is… gross.
More commonly, when pitching the book to men, I have been asked if it’s ‘girly.’  They don’t seem to have an issue with a female protagonist as much as they worry what KIND of protagonist she is. This is also an issue. If I’m going to write a female character, it shouldn’t be a certain TYPE that’s acceptable.
From women, the demand is always for a “strong female lead.” To me, this is just as denigrating. “Strong female characters” imply that there are certain female aspects that are NOT strong, which we should shy away from. We should embrace the feminine in all it’s forms and we should embrace people as constant works in progress. Women are multi-faceted, and we are also flawed, just like men. We don’t pop out perfect, and if we are reading or watching a story of a female, we should allow her the opportunity to develop without bashing the writer for not making her a “role model” right off the bat or for letting her languish over a boy. Sheesh. Men are hot. Women are hot. And we all want each other. This isn’t a dirty secret. It’s not a disservice to women. If men can be absolutely enthralled with females and still be considered “strong” then women can be likewise. It’s narrow-minded and equally disparaging to only write women as “already arrived” at their powerful selves or to be unaffected by attraction toward men. That castrates them of the most powerful drive of humanity: the desire to find lasting companionship, to not be alone.
How often do you attend comic book conventions?
I go to comic cons every weekend, just about. My family and I have been doing so since January of 2015, and we adore it. The convention scene is unlike anywhere else on earth, because it is one of acceptance. It’s a judgment-free zone. Sometimes I emerge more fully into the “normal world” for a time and am awestruck by how un-accepting people are of anything outside of the usual. But I then remind myself that I’ve been immersed in convention life so long that there is almost nothing than fazes me anymore. Nothing that makes me look twice. No lifestyle or fetish or fandom is strange. My kids as well. They are growing up at comic con, and that is a very unique thing, something I think no other kids on the planet can claim. If there are other kids out there living their lives like this, I haven’t seen them. And I would have, since I have been to most conventions around the US and Canada.
Cosplay is welcome ANY time on the #CWBT:
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Introvert or Extrovert?
Introvert. Definitely. But I’ve been an introvert training in extrovertism (I made that word up!) for the past year and a half. You can’t work at conventions and not learn how to enjoy talking to people, learn how to enjoy being around people. My very first convention, Salt Lake Comic Con, in 2014, I slept for two days straight when I got home afterward. It was that draining. I’ve built up a lot more tolerance for being surrounded by tens of thousands of people since. It’s something I’m very proud of.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Everywhere. Convention life coupled with constant travel means I get first-hand experience of new people and places. I’m am SO lucky in this. I don’t have to look everything up on wikipedia. I’ve BEEN to almost all of the places I write about. I also know people everywhere now from all different belief-systems. Again, real-life experience. Because of this, I’m also stretched psychologically because of so many new paradigms I’m exposed to that I have to fit into my world-view. It means personal growth. It allows me to infuse this growth into my characters, and their progression is more organic. I don’t have to contrive anything. Most of what my characters struggle with are things I have struggled with at the same time in some form or another.
Our crew in front of #Bonnie, our most recent RV:
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What do you do if you have writer’s block?
I delete something. A lot of somethings. If I have writer’s block, it’s because I’ve written the wrong thing up until that point. I told the wrong story. I am really good at using the delete key.
Interesting or awkward experiences?
I laughed at this question. I live at comic con every weekend and in an old unreliable RV with five other people the rest of the time, sooooo, yeah. If you want the full story, with all the sordid details, you can visit our facebook page under Colorworld Books, or you can search our Colorworld Books Tour hashtag #CWBT. There are TONS of videos.
Here is a facebook post I made on February 21 of this year, just to give you a taste:
I’ve been stalked by Journey fans who thought my RV belonged to the band. I’ve hidden underneath my RV to hide from loading dock security. I’ve stood on the top of my RV to pick mulberries. I’ve slept in my RV on the side of 95. I’ve been pulled over in my RV 6 times on suspicion of drug running. Last night I woke up to drunk people having sex against the side of my RV. Can’t make this stuff up, people.
Chuck, see what you missed by refusing Beya’s invitation to tour with us??
‪#‎ConLife‬‪#‎CWBT‬
Beverage of choice:
Coconut water
 Last time you dressed up for Halloween:
2011, I think. It was the first and only time I have ever made themed family costumes. We were the cast of Phineas & Ferb, my favorite cartoon ever.
 What do you want people to know about you?
I am in love with my husband. So much so that The Colorworld Series is about him and the love he has for me. The love story is THE MOST REAL PART of the series, which is the irony of the whole thing. Everyone assumes his character is too fantastical to be real, and the love between him and the protagonist is too instant, too perfect. But it’s real. I’m not saying my husband inspired the story. He IS the story. I can’t be more serious about that. In fact, I had to add in a lot more trials and tribulations just to make my real-life story LESS unbelievable in the books. I think knowing this fact makes a difference when people read the books and when they choose to invest in our ongoing story, which we live out on social media. I’m not just a writer, and he’s not just my business guy. We are an inseparable, devoted team, and as we meet more success, our love story will have been the thing that inspired it all, both inside and outside the pages.
Me and my guy, doing what we usually do late at night:
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And secondly, we would not have survived the last year and a half without fans, family, friends, and artists. We are broke beyond belief. But we are the people-richest people I know. No joke. We survive to fight another day on tour because of the people who have been cheering us from the sidelines.
K

Trie Blasingame: A to Z Challenge

 

Trie Blasingame made this adorable mermaid/unicorn that I love. Apparently, we also have the same glasses. And the same sweater. And the same sense of humor. We’re almost the same person except that one of us is a talented artist and the other is not.

Keep reading to find out more about Trie, who is the talented artist.

 

What was the first thing that you were proud of drawing?

 

The first thing I was really just pleased with as a semi-finished piece was this unicorn-mermaid chimera creature I drew in 2015 because drawing is really a new-ish thing for me because I work primarily sculpturally, but I found in the last couple of years that I really wanted my work to be more illustrative.

 

The unicorn-mermaid was also the point at which the aesthetic for my illustration work solidified.

 

What are you working on now?

 

I always have a bunch of different projects going on—some large, some small—and right now isn’t any different.  I have three Thing-A-Day projects going on—Selfie-A-Day, Photo-A-Day, and Sketch-A-Day—as well as an opera series that I’m kinda working my way slowly through.  I’m also playing with encaustic and cold wax, which are both totally fun.  But, really, it’s a lot of little things currently rather than a huge series, sprawling series.

 

Who has influenced you the most as an artist?

 

This is always such a difficult question to answer, ya know?  But, I honestly have to say that the person that influenced me most as an artist was Ed McCullough, my 3-D art professor in art school, and not because he was my professor or because he was a sculptor (he’s an excellent large-scale metal sculptor, by-the-by)—I mean, those were probably in there somewhere—but because Ed was the first art instructor that I had ever had that was openly interdisciplinary in how they approached their work and how they expected us to approach our work.

 

Ed shared what he was reading with us (Dante’s Inferno at the time) and shared movies that influenced him (anything Fellini) and people he had found inspiring (he adored Mother Teresa) and wanted to know about what we liked and were inspired by in-turn.

 

Somehow, all of these disparate parts came together in his work.

 

He shared his process with us—like, his actual process not just here’s the technical “how to do the thing” walk-through that most of my art instructors were presenting—and had us complete a project in that way so that we could feel how another artist might work, which is the kind of headspace emersion that we all want as artists, that HOW ARE THEY DOING THIS kind of delving, and he shared it with us intentionally and with no hesitation.

 

He was also just the most amazing, hands-off instructor who would suddenly APPEAR at the exact moment when you needed a hand or another set of eyes while still encouraging us all to get feedback from the people we worked around—something we all started to call “crit-on-the-fly”—because the person sitting across from us had been looking at our work for as long as we had been, so they were likely going to have some thoughts and opinions.  It was just the best way to learn and work as a young artist.

 

Ed gave me process-art as a legitimate exploration of my own art practice; gave me the realization that art really isn’t ever done, it’s just abandoned; and gave me the example of someone else with a million-and-one interests who still managed to make them all relevant to their work.  And, he shared it all freely.

 

Who is your favorite female superhero/villain/comic book character?

 

Do I have to pick just one?  Because I have a lot a lot.

 

Okay, top *cough*fourteen*cough* in no particular order:  Laura, The Wicked + The Divine; Doreen Green/Squirrel Girl, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl; Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel; America Chavez, The Young Avengers; Peggy Carter; Spider-Gwen; Deathface Ginny, Pretty Deadly; Haruhara Haruko, FLCL; Mad Hatter, Angel Sanctuary; Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel; Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow; Kate Bishop/Hawkeye; Harley Quinn; and Penny Rolle, Bitch Planet.

 

(I could really keep going here, and I’m totally behind on my comic reading.)

 

Do you think people expect a certain type of art from you since you are female?

 

Ya know, I’m not sure—especially since I’m genderqueer—and also because my work always has a tendency to walk the creepy-cute-abject line, but people do seem surprised with the depth and breathe of subject matter that comes into my work and how I negotiate it.

 

Like, my primary impetus, as an artist, is fairytales but not just in a Brothers Grimm, Happily-Ever-After sense—though, to be honest, I prefer the earlier iterations of fairytales where everything has a bit of the blood and death more prominently displayed in them—because visual/popular culture(s) are our contemporary fairytales, so there’s a lot a lot of superheroes and villains, monsters and mythology that filter into my work—big concepts like the failure and uselessness of princes in fairytales—and they’re dealt with in a myriad of ways from wearable, hand-spun sculptures that definitely get the label of “Women’s Work” to anime/manga inspired illustrations that are more directly Participatory Culture works.

 

How often do you go to comic book conventions? Do you enjoy conventions?

 

I like the idea of cons—that there are all these people together that are excited about the same sorts of things and are in a space where they won’t be shamed for being excited—but I’m not sure that I enjoy attending cons?  Lots of people make me claustrophobic because I’m literally 4’11”, so everyone towers over me.  But, that may also be because I haven’t been able to attend cons as often as I’d like in a recreational way.  I’ve enjoyed the ones that I have attended, and I’m beginning to attend them in a professional way, so that’s amazing.

 

Are you an introvert or extrovert?

 

I’m actually an ambivert, so the answer is yes.

 

Where do you find your inspiration?

 

A lot of different places.  Because I have backgrounds in Classics (meaning Greek, Roman, Sumerian, Egyptian, et al. cultures and mythology and language), History, and Literature, I have a vast knowledge-base to work from, but I’m also a voracious consumer of visual/popular culture(s), so I have all of those places to be inspired from also.

 

And, really, as an artist, there’s nothing like the work of other artists to really get you excited and inspired and cause you to think in new directions.  One of the joys of the Social Media Age:  artists’ work is more accessible than it has ever been before.

 

What do you do if you have writer’s block?

 

I actually keep running lists of ideas and projects that I can work on when I get stuck on something else, so basically, I treat writer’s/artist’s block like an incubation stage and let the ideas I’m stuck on percolate until they work themselves out, and then, I come back to them.

 

Have you had any interesting or awkward experiences since you’ve been an artist/writer?

 

There’s kind of this perpetual awkward thing that happens when I demo my work where I live:  I get older people saying that my work is “interesting” but in this disparaging way that means that they’re confused by what I create.  A lot of this is because I live in an area where the local art scene hasn’t quite evolved beyond Realism yet.  It’s changing, but there’s still a lot of ein plein aire going on here, and neither my aesthetic nor my subject matter matches with their expectations.

 

So—awkward.  Perpetually awkward.

 

Beverage of choice?

 

Chai.  I love chai.  It’s like liquid gingerbread.  But, I also love coffee.  Omg, coffee.  I also don’t turn my nose up to a nice pop:  Coke, Sundrop, or Cherry Ski.  *JOY*

 

When was the last time that you dressed up for Halloween?

 

I try to dress up every year for when I pass out candy/toys to trick-or-treaters, so last Halloween was the last time that I dressed up for Halloween.  (It totally wasn’t elaborate or anything.)

 

What do you want people to know about you?

 

I’m not sure that there’s much to know about me?  I have an affection for cephalopods of all sorts.  Cecaelia, which are cephalopod-based mermaids, are just about my favorite mythological creature.  I think Pop Surrealism is brilliant—especially Camilla d’Errico and Chiara Bautista.  I have an extensive collection of Funkos, Monster High creatures, and comic book action figures as well as plush toys.

 

I may or may not sleep with plush crocodile.

 

Creatively, I’m having a love affair with Copic Markers.  They’re just brilliant.  I have a very complicated relationship with a button-maker because who doesn’t want to be able to make anything they want into a button, yeah?  And, I’m reconciling with my spinning wheel after a lengthy separation because art yarn is just the most fun thing to make.

This is a short bio from the artist, followed by the links to all of the places to see her art. 

‘trie (sounds like “tree”) blasingame is a conceptual mixed-media artist working in the wilds of North-central Wisconsin with a BA in Classics and History and a MA in Literature from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, PhD work in Art Education from Northern Illinois University at DeKalb, and post-baccalaureate work in Sculpture from Columbia College Chicago.


where to find tentacle-made studios–

 

 

 

T

Taki Soma: A to Z Challenge

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Taki Soma takes lots of photos of her food and her cat. Therefore, I love her. It makes her relatable. I feel like I could send her pictures of my food and bond. For now, I’ll just enjoy her art work from afar.

What was the first thing that you were proud of drawing/writing?

I was maybe 6 yrs. old or so, my bio-dad took me out to see E.T. – afterward, I drew the alien over and over again from every angle I can remember so I could hold his image close to me. I wish I still had the drawings to see how wrong I was, but also to relive that pride I felt then.

 

What are you working on now?

A story close to my heart which started off as a webcomic many years ago – with a move, a life-changing tragedy and few other things in the mix – I didn’t get to finish up, or even get to the middle of it. I want to retell as a comic both for myself and those who were reading it called ‘You’ll never die…’
A noir revenge story with a sci-fi twist.

Who has influenced you the most as an artist?

Picasso.
Is that silly?
I don’t think so. He was amazing and what I do know about him, I’ve admired and incorporated into my creativity.
But of course, every artist I encounter, I think there is something I can learn from and be influenced by.

Who is your favorite female superhero/villain/comic book character

Remember Spoiler? Yeah, she was cool. From what I remember, she was a teen mom, she’s clumsy and unsure of herself but she was amazing when she spread her wings.
I also just loved her costume with her full face mask and cloak.

Do you think people expect a certain type of art from you since you are female?

Maybe? We are all guilty of allowing our eyes to interpret the world around us so I can’t help but feel as if there is a certain expectation of something… but what that is, I’m not exactly sure.
I have had many instances where after learning that I’m Japanese, some either say ‘so, where’s your manga stuff?’ or ‘oh, I see the manga influence in your work now.’
Again, I don’t think people are attempting to pigeonhole me – more that there just aren’t a lot of Japanese people doing western style comics (oh look, I’m doing it too) to make it a non-issue.

Are you an introvert or extrovert?

Depends on the situation and who you ask! I personally believe that I’m an introvert especially after going through a couple of life-changing traumas, but I think most of my friends see me as an extrovert.

Where do you find your inspiration?

I get asked that often, and my answer is always ‘life, thinking and breathing.’

What do you do if you have writer’s block?

Just keep writing, even if you feel it as unimportant or simply dumb – ideas can sprout from so many sources. I also love to talk about storytelling with others. It helps me focus on it and see it form a solid life when you speak it out loud.

Have you had any interesting or awkward experiences since you’ve been an artist/writer?

hrm… I’m generally awkward anyway so I can’t blame the art or writing on that, I don’t think… but interestingly, I found my writing ‘voice’ when I was working at Walgreens many many moons ago – whenever I had to leave a note for the next shift so they knew what needed to be stocked or whatnot, I would write it humorously. And I’ve been told by many that my notes made them laugh every time and they’ve started to look forward to them.

Beverage of choice?

Sparkling water!

When was the last time that you dressed up for Halloween?

2015, I borrowed my friend’s Chewbacca mask and jacket – both 7x too big for me which (imho) made the costume that much better. But it was so dang hot and I had just a tank top on underneath that I wasn’t comfortable walking around in that forced me to leave the party early. Sorry Chelsea!

What do you want people to know about you?

I workout regularly. I’m proud of that fact and I think it’s really very important to make it a habit especially as we all age. It’s good for the soul, your heart, your mind, your creativity – if you can find a regimen that you can stick with, DO IT!

Taki Soma on Twitter @takisoma