Naomi Franquiz: A to Z Challenge

Naomi Franquiz loves puns, raspberry ice tea and looks amazing in plum lipstick. She is also a fantastic artist that everyone should know about and support. You can find her on Twitter and Tumblr. Maybe you could send her some jokes or raspberry ice tea in a care package or something
What are you working on now?
I’m working on a few small projects at once, one of which being an entry into a comic anthology in the works (“Power & Magic,” spearheaded by the amazing Joamette Gil). The anthology will be a collection of stories about magic and queer women of color, created BY queer women of color. (You can stay up to date on when the project launches by checking out @powerandmagicpr on Twitter!) My story will be about the discovery and importance of “found family,” aka the relationships and people met in life that can (and often are) more supportive and healthy than blood relation. Aside from that, I’m working with a local writer to start a fun, mythical web-comic series. I can’t say much about it now, but I can guarantee it’ll be full of after-life shenanigans, impromptu demon summonings, and mythical creature nonsense, so I mean… It’s gonna be a blast.
Who has influenced you the most as an artist?
If there’s one person who really drove me to be the competitive artist that I am (even if I’m only competing against myself) it’s my older brother, Omi. When I was a kid, I used to take my drawings to show him because I thought he was probably one of the coolest people in my life. Omi (being the annoying big brother that he was) would almost always reply with, “That sucks.” Me (being the annoying and persistent little sister that I was) would always respond with, “Shuttup, YOU suck!” So… basically I worked hard to shut him up and – whoops – accidentally on purpose dove deeper into this art thing that I love so much.
Who is your favorite female superhero/villain/comic book character
This is a toss-up between Dawn from Joseph Michael Linsner’s same-titled series (I do love me a goddess of life and protector of witches), Rainmaker from the Gen13 series (bisexual woman of color in comics, hello), and honestly? Bulma from the Dragon Ball series. She’s a frickin’ technological genius who could out-build Tony Stark in a cave any day of the week, if I do say so myself. Plus, she landed herself a prince husband and their relationship is one of my favorite relationship tropes in fiction. Give me sarcastic, bombastic couples who argue and fuss but would drop-kick you in the throat if you dared mess with their bae!
Do you think people expect a certain type of art from you since you are female?
I think there’s definitely a type of aesthetic that people expect from me, and I’m not sure if it’s because I’m a woman or if it’s because… well, I come off as very bubbly, goofy, and weird, and that’s not always how my art is. People expect silly cartoons, and suddenly they get a four-page dream comic where I’m ripping bloody vines out of my own body.They don’t expect that from me, ya know? On one hand, I enjoy that because I like proving people wrong. I like that “booyah” moment that comes with accomplishing something people thought you couldn’t do. On the other hand, it’s incredibly annoying because I hate being underestimated and not being given the opportunity to challenge myself.
How often do you go to comic book conventions? Do you enjoy conventions?
Not as often as I’d like to, honestly. I usually go to the local ones or ones in my area (so Orlando or Tampa) every now and then. The last few cons I’ve been to I tabled at and it’s a lot of fun to get to meet people, but it gets exhausting. The best part about tabling is getting to meet other artists. It’s a different world on the other side of the artist alley table, but sometimes I would rather just wander the convention and explore on my own.
Are you an introvert or extrovert?
I consider myself an extroverted introvert. I get my energy from being alone and having my own time, or one-on-one situations. When I’m around other people, though, I can switch “on,” so to speak. It just gets exhausting and social functions are usually followed by a few days where I stay home and speak to as few people as I can haha.
What do you do if you have writer’s block?
Oh lord, writer’s block – what a beast! Usually I just make myself write down all my bad ideas, like a writing purge. I start writing like a bullet-point list of whatever thought or story idea is going through my head just to get it on paper, and then I step away. I go hang out with friends, or watch a movie, or read, nap, walk, etc. I do something to take me away from the project and recharge a bit before I step back with (hopefully) refreshed eyes to look at everything I purged. Then I trash ideas or incorporate/branch off of ones that are salvageable. If that doesn’t work, I usually have a few friends or peers that are willing to act as sounding boards to beta my ideas for me. Never be afraid to ask for help!
Have you had any interesting or awkward experiences since you’ve been an artist/writer?
I’ve had a good share of awkward experiences since I started taking commissions and sequential work. Most recently, I’ve been seeing a lot more approaches from clients who found me on Kelly Sue Deconnick’s #VisibleWomen Twitter tag. Some of them have been wonderful, but it’s definitely become a filtering game to determine which pitches are genuine (i.e. “I’d like to work with you because I think your style would fit well”) and which are just trying to cash in on the #VisibleWomen trend. I’ve had writers who, in so many words, stated they wanted to bring me on board the project because of the trending tag and rising attention to indie female creators. That approach immediately turns me off because I don’t want to be somebody’s token for them to use so they can brag about being progressive. I’m an artist, a storyteller, and – above all – a person. I’m not a trend.
Beverage of choice?
Raspberry sweet tea, please!
When was the last time that you dressed up for Halloween?
Last year, actually! I dressed up for a Halloween house party. I was Nagisa Hazuki from “Free! Iwatobi Swim Club,” except as the spoof version from the “50% Off!” series on YouTube from Octopimp. The wig was atrocious, but that’s what you get for giving me scissors and responsibility.
What do you want people to know about you?
I make a lot of stupid jokes and pretend like I hate puns, but I love them. A lot. Too much. Somebody send help. I need a puntervention.
What was the first thing that you were proud of drawing/writing?
When I was in middle school (the 6th grade I think? I think. I actually have terrible memory – my childhood is a blur) I made a comic book on that perforated printer paper. You know, the kind that was connected and you had to rip off those side strips with the holes in them? It was a full twelve pages, all in pencil, and was about a cyborg woman named Ace who was a secret agent. She did awesome stuff, probably punched some things, had a cool super suit, and saved the world. In hindsight, the story was probably terrible, but it was the first comic that I had actually finished and I was incredibly happy and proud to have a finished piece of work. I had a terrible habit of starting ideas and getting invested in them before letting myself get intimidated and quitting cuz I didn’t think I was good enough. If I could travel back into the past to my younger self, I would shake me. Shake me like I’m not supposed to shake a baby. You gotta make bad comics before you can make good comics, after all.

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