Tag Archives: comic books

Interview with . . . September Mourning

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Who doesn’t love it when two of their favorite things combine to make something extra special? Two of my favorite things – music and comic books- have come together in one band, September Mourning. Worlds colliding can be an awesome thing.

I’m hoping that they will be coming to a comic book convention near me as soon as possible. In the meantime, Emily Lazar, aka September Mourning, has agreed to do an interview.

 

1. Can you describe your group for those who are new to you?

We are a Dark Alternative Hard Rock Musical Graphic Novel Art Project. In layman’s terms, we combine rock music with storytelling through stage performances as the characters from our own original comic book series as well as other media that is in development.

2. How did the main character become half-human?

September’s soul was marked by Fate (in this case personified) as a soul that was to be collected. Fate sends the reaper Riven after her. He observes her long enough to fall in love with her and becomes the first reaper ever to refuse to do the deed. Instead, he gives a part of his power and his gift of eternal life to her. She is transformed into a human reaper hybrid with no recollection of her past/ human life.

3. What is going on with the comic book project?

We have published 2 books through Top Cow comics. The second one releases with the album on July 29th. We intend to finish this story arc in future issues.

4. Have you performed at comic book conventions?

Yes we have performed at a few… most noteworthy, the Atlantic City Comic Con. We hope to be doing a lot more of these in the near future.

4B. Are the comic fans receptive to the band and your projects?

Yes definitely. They enjoy seeing something in print form come to life before their eyes.

5. What has been your biggest accomplishment?

Making this entire vision come to life so far… through the comics and the music and the costuming and the performance and the story lines… and of course reaching so many of our fans which we call our Children of Fate.

6. Where did the idea for September Mourning come from?

I wanted to create a world… a total immersive platform of entertainment through music and story. The story stemmed from my obsession with death and the afterlife. The story became my way of controlling the things we know nothing about.

7. Have you ever had interactions with internet trolls? If so, how to you deal with them?

Yes all the time. In this day and age it is very easy to sit behind a screen and fire off on something without any fear of real confrontation. My way of dealing with them is to ignore them. The more people talk, negative or positive, the more awareness of your project spreads and grows. Bring on the haters… we have a lot of passionate fans that will counter anything they have to sling at us.

8. You’ve switched record labels several times. Is there a reason for the changes? Are you happy with your current label?

Not really actually …  We had a distro deal for some demos in Europe which we fulfilled very early on in our career as a project. We were signed to Virgin for a minute but now we are signed to Sumerian. The staff at Major labels changes so much… if the person who signs you leaves it can be a real detriment to your growth as an artist. We wanted to find a home that supported the entire vision and had a track record of actual artist development. Sumerian is great like that. A rarity in labels these days.

9. The makeup is amazing. Does September ever go do regular stuff in full makeup?

Like go to the grocery store haha… well she’s a supernatural being that can only be seen by those about to die and Claire because of her rare power. So to answer your question… even if she did do those things you would never know because you can’t see her hehe.

10. You’ve been on tour with Mushroomhead. Did you ever get to see an old school show? Also, how amazing is it to tour a with big names like Otep and Marilyn Manson?

No… My first Mushroomhead show experience was actually on that tour! Incredible visuals and very cool sonics. Marilyn Manson is always inspiring to tour with. I look up to him for what he accomplished in his career, and how true to his art and message he is. I’d have to say my dream tour would be with My Chemical Romance though… if the rumors are true and they get back together. Bring on the Black Parade!

 

http://www.SeptemberMourning.com

http://www.facebook.com/SeptemberMourning

http://youtube.com/TheSeptemberMourning

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

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.


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

 

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.

 

q
art by Q Hayashida

 

 

Q Hayashida’s blog

Interview with Q Hayashida

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

 

 

 

 

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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