Rel is So Awesome: A to Z Challenge

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Rel is so awesome! That’s what her website is called too. Genius! I should have tried to fit the word awesome into my blog title. Anyway . . . if you want to find out why Rel is so awesome, keep reading.
What are you working on now?
Currently I write and draw a weekly webcomic called Witchery, etc. I also write a daily strip webcomic called School of World.
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Who has influenced you the most as an artist?
That’s really hard to say.. I feel like every new artist I take in influences my art just a little!
Who is your favorite female superhero/villain/comic book character
Probably Kate Bishop, I think! I think both the Hawkeyes are a lot of fun, but I find Kate to be particularly relatable.
Do you think people expect a certain type of art from you since you are female?
I hope not!
How often do you go to comic book conventions? Do you enjoy conventions?
I frequently attend conventions (on average about 10 per year), but I mostly stick to anime conventions or small press conventions. They yield very different crowds but either way it’s still an audience that I find approachable. Generally speaking I tend to avoid any convention that has “Comic” in its name… they tend to bring in an audience that just isn’t my target demographic.
Are you an introvert or extrovert?
I’m not sure!
Where do you find your inspiration?
From all over the place, to be honest. I find ideas an inspiration pretty easy to come by! The hard part is holding onto that inspiration, and putting in the hours to make that idea a reality.
What do you do if you have writer’s block?
When I’m stuck, I like to take a walk or a drive, usually while listening to music.. train rides are good, too. Moving out of my workspace usually helps to clear my head.
Have you had any interesting or awkward experiences since you’ve been an artist/writer?
I can’t say that this is terribly interesting but there is an absolutely tremendous feeling that I get when someone picks up one of my books, starts leafing through it, and then starts laughing to themselves.. it’s a really good feeling, to be able to make people laugh!
Beverage of choice?
Coffee, black.
When was the last time that you dressed up for Halloween?
Probably several years ago.. I dress up often for conventions, but seldom for Halloween!
What do you want people to know about you?
I want people to know they can read my webcomic at http://www.witchery.com , and they can buy comics and other work from me at http://fruitbat.storenvy.com !
What was the first thing that you were proud of drawing/writing?
School of World, which I work on with Megan Brennan. You can read it at http://schoolofworld.tumblr.com !

Q Hayashida: A to Z Challenge

This post is not an interview. I repeat: not an interview. I did post a link to an actual interview with Q Hayashida.

I’m still amazed that there is a female comic book artist  with a name that starts with the letter Q. It’s nothing short of a miracle.

Q Hayashida is a Japanese artist known mostly for her series, Dorohedoro. Her work is gritty and brilliant. Even the illustrations of zombies are beautiful.

 

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art by Q Hayashida

 

 

Q Hayashida’s blog

Interview with Q Hayashida

Plume Comics: A to Z Challenge

 
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Plume is a webcomic by K. Lynn Smith that I found on Tumblr. Smith was agreeable to doing an interview. Check it out.
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What are you working on now?

I am currently working on Plume, my western webcomic. I have a few other projects in the works, but they are still in their early stages.

Who has influenced you the most as an artist?

I grew up on Disney and Don Bluth films, so my style has definitely taken a cue from them. I also love Hayao Miyazaki’s story-telling ability. As a result, my work is “Disney meets Anime”.

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

I have become a fan of Jessica Jones, simply because she is a reluctant superhero. She is damaged and jaded, but still manages to come out on the good guy’s side.

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

Personally? No. I haven’t really experienced anything like that. The number of women in the comic book world are growing more and more. The only responses I’ve received have been positive.

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

This year, I am able to go to more shows all across the USA. I love them. To be in a room filled with passionate people is just amazing.

Are you an introvert or extrovert?

Good question. I like to think of myself as an outgoing introvert. If given the choice of going out or staying in, 9 times out of 10, I will stay in. But when I go out, I have a great time.

Where do you find your inspiration?

Art, lovely comments and a good story. If I am feeling less than inspired, I will prowl the internet for inspiration.

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

No joke, I take a shower. Some of my best ideas have come from shampoo-rinse-and-repeat. Is that strange?

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

Mmm… Not sure? My brain has a safety feature where it blocks out all awkward moments.

Beverage of choice?

Coffee. I love coffee. Coffee is the best.

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

Last year! I wore horns and face paint and went as an ‘Ex Girlfriend’.

What do you want people to know about you?

I love what I do. I have sort’ve stumbled into the comic book world, but I’m here to stay. It has been the best experience of my life so far.

 

Dailen Ogden: A to Z Challenge

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I’m not saying that Dailen is my favorite artist. It wouldn’t be fair to the other artists. It’s hard to choose a favorite of anything – child, movie, rockstar, etc..For example, I can’t choose a definite favorite illustration by her.

She does have spectacular works of Game of Thrones, adventure time and marvel comic book characters. There’s one illustration that I almost love more than the others but I can’t say that I love it more than the illustration of the Khaleesi. She also has fabulous original pieces of art.

What are you working on now?

Oh, a bit of this and that. Currently, the project I am most excited to work on is my upcoming comic, called Liminality. It’s a mystery-adventure-soft horror story set on the backdrop of a world where magic has been recently introduced into our modern society. I’m in the pitch-bible stage and it’s been such a thrill to watch all of my threads start to weave themselves together into something coherent.

Who has influenced you the most as an artist?

I don’t think I could name just one! Stylistically, I spend a lot of time looking at Alphonse Mucha and some of his contemporaries–Megan Lara and Helen Mask, specifically. But I’m also hugely influenced by the light and color handling I see with artists like Claire Hummel, Joy Ang, and Justin Oaksford. In a broader sense, I have to give a shout-out to Jenny Parks–our art looks nothing alike but she’s been an incredible friend and mentor, and I don’t think I’d even be doing interviews like this if it wasn’t for her. She’s really helped me get my foot in the door in comics, and even more than that she’s helped me figured out that this is the direction I wanted to go. I only had a vague idea when I was in college.

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

Actually, I’m gonna have to go with Sailor Moon! Usagi is such a beautiful, multifaceted character; she’s allowed to be clumsy, and jealous, and silly, and childish, and it never detracts from her status as Purehearted Savior of the Universe. I think she’s a wonderful model for other female characters. Her heroism never hinged on any kind of perfection–only on her belief that she could and would save everyone.

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

That’s actually kind of a difficult question–personally, I have trouble parsing which peoples’ expectations of my art are based on my gender, and which are based on what they’ve seen of my work so far–which is, largely, on the more delicate, “feminine” side of the aesthetic spectrum. That said, I have seen it happen to other women–especially online; when gender may not be as obvious, a lot of people may assume you’re a man by default if you post art and little else about yourself. I may have to get back to you after posting some of my more gruesome work and gauging the reaction, haha.

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

I travel the country and attend cons professionally, and I love it! Last year, I attended 7 conventions, and this year I’m aiming to attend close to double that. As much as I miss my dog and my bed, I like to be able to connect with fans and clients face to face.

Are you an introvert or extrovert?

Very much an introvert. After each convention I finish, I need more than a few days to myself to recharge. I work a lot of long hours at my desk by myself, but particularly since I adopted a dog I rarely get too lonely or stir-crazy.

Where do you find your inspiration?

Definitely from the artists I mentioned earlier, but I have a lot of other sources as well. I’m finding that my work reflects a lot of my interest in tarot illustrations, tattoos, nature, mythology, and history. I spend a huge amount of time on the Met Museum site browsing through old art and textiles.

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

Usually, my answer is taking a break, actually. I read a quote some time ago about remembering to respect the laws of dormancy in nature–I’m more deciduous than evergreen, so to speak, and when things aren’t working I try to switch gears creatively (drawing, crafting, etc) or to immerse myself in things that inspire me to give me some time to rest. After that, things usually start up again on their own.

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

I’ve definitely had people try to quiz me on my knowledge of franchises that I’ve done fanart pieces for–can I name all the House Stark dire-wolves and their human counterparts, for instance? The answer is: of course I can. That’s one that I definitely think stems from the fact that I’m a young woman; I’m not what people expect a geek to look like and it can be awkward when strangers try to gauge just how much “cred” I have.

Beverage of choice?

Maté tea and Cinnamon Dolcé Coffee. I like my tea earthy and my coffee as blonde as a Barbie doll.

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

Last year, actually! I went as a werewolf. I wanted to dress up again this year, but I was busy and it didn’t come to fruition. I was going to dress my dog up and everything, so I’m disappointed that it didn’t happen.

What do you want people to know about you?

Just that I’m here, and hellbent on telling a story or two.

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

When I was in the seventh grade, I starting writing an epic werewolf adventure-YA romance novel, and I wanted it to be my debut into novel writing–something I wanted to do before I decided on a career in the visual arts. I worked on that thing well into high school, and lately I’ve taken to scavenging the good stuff from it to use in other projects. It was my first baby and it still has a special place in my heart.

Dailen Ogden illustration

Dailen Ogden on Twitter

 

 

 

 

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.

Megan Madrigal: A to Z Challenge

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When I saw Megan Madrigal’s Twitter handle, Zombie Teddie, I knew that I wanted to interview her. I didn’t know who or what Zombie Teddie was but the name was intriguing. Megan is also intriguing. She is a mystery – at least as far as finding a picture of her. I cannot find one. My sleuthing skills aren’t what they used to be. So we’ll let her interview and art speak for themselves.

 

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

Can’t remember, when I started drawing I drew a bunch of Sonic the hedgehog fanart and oc’s so it must’ve been something like that! Oooh man that was embarrassing.

What are you working on now?

I’m currently working on 2 short stories for an anthology some friends & I are putting together(Crimson Sun Arts!). Also really excited to work with the lovely Ashley Rubay(@mzrubay), putting together a web comic about a kid who has this power to speed up and slow down time, yet can’t control it for the life of him.

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

Raven from Teen Titans! I loved watching the show so much and I loved reading stories with her in comics. She’s also so much fun to draw since she has so many looks 😀

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

I’ve never really given that much thought, but I do think a certain time of art is expected from women. If you’re a woman artist I think you’re more expected to draw in cutesy styles or not draw a lot of gore, etc. (This is not always the case of course!). I fortunately avoid this online by just using my alias “ZombieTeddie”. It’s not like I hide it anyway, its just not the first thing people see lol

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

I wanna say at least 1 every 3 months? I absolutely love cons, the atmosphere is so much fun! Not to mention I get to get my hands on new merch and discover fantastic artists I hadn’t heard about before.

Who has influenced you the most as an artist?
I can’t really choose a specific artist that’s inspired me, rather there have been several throughout the years, even my own friends. For me, I get inspired by random artists online. Currently I’m getting into digital painting so I follow more digital painters, like Artgerm. When I work more on comics I enjoy looking at stuff by Heather Campbell(Makanidot), Babs Tarr, & Kris Anka!

Introvert or Extrovert?

Introvert most definitely. Although I love conventions I can only take so many at a time, I can barely stand talking to people on the phone. Sorry grandma.

Where do you find your inspiration?

From a bunch of different places, the most from my friends however. I’m able to draw socially with them and bounce off ideas, ask what works and what doesn’t. Also when I’m really digging certain music it gets my creative thoughts flowing!

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

I usually step back and work on something else, I do it for artist’s block too! I do a bunch of crafting so that tends to help, or even reading comics or watching some Netflix. Helps you see how other people write and create.

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

My whole life is an awkward experience, haha. What’s sticking out right now is, when I was selling at a convention last year. I got asked to do a commission from an artist who’s work I love!!

Beverage of choice?

Tea or iced coffee!

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

2014! Really pushing it with the trick or treating that year lol, its free candy though!!

What do you want people to know about you?

Damn that’s tough, I guess that I’m always willing to talk about art? That and I love cats. Yes. (and I’m love to do art trades!)

Zombie Teddie on Twitter

Zombie Teddie

 

Laura Guzzo: A to Z Challenge

 

The thing that I’m loving about doing the interviews with 26 or so different female comic book artists is that they are so talented and amazing in a million ways. It’s not so weird that I want them all to be my new BFF’s right? For example, Laura Guzzo and I could sit around talking about our love for David Mack and drinking ginger beer.

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

The earliest drawing I can remember getting excited about was a sketch of an avenging angel based off of a Magic The Gathering card. It was the first time I’d drawn a human figure that looked halfway decent. Prior to that, I mostly drew animals. I can still picture the card clearly- She was wearing red and gold armor and looked fierce and lovely and full of righteous fury. I was in middle school at the time and I’ve searched for that particular MTG card ever since, but I’ve never been able to find one with the right artwork.

What are you working on now?

My most recent piece was a variant cover for the comic Girls’ Heist Out! GHO is a heist story with an all-female cast that is very well written, beautifully illustrated, and extremely fun. I had the pleasure of reading the script for issue #1 before almost anyone else and I’m so very excited to see where Rob Wieland takes from here. Our Kickstarter campaign just ended last week and we were able to get it fully funded, so we’re all very excited about that!

Who has influenced you the most as an artist?

That is an extremely difficult question… As a comic artist, I’d have to say David Mack. His art style was so unlike like anything else I’d ever seen on the shelves, I noticed it immediately. He’s a major part of why I was interested in Daredevil when I was younger, and his Echo storyline is still one of my all-time favorites. I’m just sick of comics that have that glossy digital aesthetic going on. It’s boring. David Mack was extremely influential to me as a young artist because he showed me that it’s possible for beautiful art to succeed at finding an audience, even if it doesn’t fit in with the standard industry style.

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

If we’re talking the traditional/western/tights & capes kind of super heroine, then I’d choose Black Widow. In some of the older Daredevil comics, she’s portrayed as a self-reliant, morally ambiguous kind of character, which is far more interesting to me then someone who fits neatly into the hero/villain role. I always liked the fact that Black Widow never really sided with the good guys or the bad guys- it was more like she was on her own side, if that makes any sense.

…That being said, if I’m allowed to pick ANY comic heroine, then my answer is Battle Angel Alita (from the manga of the same name), hands down. I absolutely LOVE that character!! She has a very attractive duality to her nature. She’s portrayed as extremely vulnerable, both physically and emotionally, but at the same time, she possesses both the skills and the passion necessary to pose a significant threat to opponents much larger and stronger than she. The original series is a great read and I recommend it highly.

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

I don’t know if people expect a certain type of art from me because of my gender, but I CAN say that it is irritatingly common for people to approach me at conventions and express their disbelief that the art on display is mine. Whenever I ask a male friend to assist me at a convention, more often than not, people will speak to them as if they were the creator of my work- despite the fact that they are standing in front of a giant banner behind me with my name and face on it.   Just last year, after telling someone that I was actually the artist and they straight up called me a liar. It’s extremely frustrating to say the least.

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

I love working the convention circuit! It’s exhausting, but so so rewarding. I used to travel a lot more than I do right now. A year or two ago, you would’ve seen me at over a dozen major conventions across the east coast and many of the smaller local shows, but I’ve recently had to scale back to a few core favorites. The next one on my calendar is Wizard World Philadelphia in June.

Are you an introvert or extrovert?

I’m definitely an introvert. I can “turn it on” when I’m at a con, but honestly, I function best when I’m interacting with someone one-on-one. It takes a lot out of me to interact with a crowd and after the show floor closes for the night, I don’t really get to recharge until I’m somewhere quiet and isolated.

Where do you find your inspiration?

My inspiration comes from all over. It comes from my love for the beauty of the human figure and my bone-deep fascination with the wonders of the natural world. From my weeaboo roots as an anime loving teenager and my obsession with art nouveau. Movies I like, half-remembered dreams, you name it. Anything I find interesting is bound to influence my art somehow, often in ways I don’t expect.

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

Whenever I’m having trouble moving forward on a specific project, I try to research the subject matter and surround myself with reference material. For example, if I was trying to draw a knight, but didn’t know where to start- I’d look up photographs of armor from different cultures and time periods. I’d seek out illustrations that are similar to what I’m trying to accomplish, since it’s useful to see how other artists where able to communicate the concepts and emotions I want my image to invoke.

But when it comes to the type of “writer’s block” where you’re just feeling so drained that you don’t want to draw anything, I try to work on smaller creative projects just to keep the juices flowing. Weaving, painting dragons on eggshells, that sort of thing. Something to keep my momentum going without burning out the circuits.

Beverage of choice?

Right now I’m going through a ginger beer phase. There are few things more refreshing than a good Dark & Stormy cocktail, made with Reed’s ginger beer and Gosling’s Black Seal rum. It’s my go-to drink at the moment.

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

A better question would be: When was the last time I didn’t dress up for Halloween? (Answer = NEVER) I’ve been blessed with a mother who knows how to sew and who is willing to humor me year after year. In 2015, I dressed as Chun-Li from Street Fighter and it looked A-MA-ZING!

What do you want people to know about you?

That I make art and it is for sale! You can purchase prints and all manner of three-dimensional merchandise with my art on it at my RedBubble shop. And for art collectors interested in the originals, many of those are on sale at the Comic Art House.

 

Laura Guzzo on Twitter

 

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