Tag Archives: female comic book artists

A to Z Challenge 2016: Reflection

A-to-Z Reflection [2016]

So it was not a perfect challenge. . . it was a little dyslexic and two letters were forgotten. Sorry X and Z. Maybe I’ll get to you next year.

However, I was mostly pleased with this challenge. There were 24 talented, funny, amazing ladies that agreed to do interviews and actually replied. Soon, I will add them to my interview page.

Hopefully, next year I will have more time for blogging. My time was consumed by being a soccer mom, work and sleep.

No regrets.

P.S.  I honestly do not know what I’m going to do next with the blog. Suggestions welcome.

 

Gabrielle Bueno: A to Z Challenge

Gabrielle Bueno was a last minute addition to the female comic book artist lineup. Thank goodness that she agreed to do the interview!
She loves Harley Quinn and sweet tea. Check out some of her Harley Quinn art work and original comic book, Die Erste Liebe. She is completely and totally awesome!
What are you working on now?
I’ve just wrapped up a short six page comic called “Le Petit Monstre,” for my portfolio and now I’m living free and getting back onto my neglected webcomic entitled “Die Erste Liebe.” I’m awful fond of titles in other languages.
Who has influenced you the most as an artist?
A big influence on my art have been my peers mostly. Valerie Bastille is a good friend of mine whose dreamy artwork is a big inspiration. She influenced a lot of my painting while my favorite comic artist Sean Murphy influenced a lot of my inking. Those two come to mind more than others, although I’ve been influenced by so many things in my short life.
Who is your favorite female superhero/villain/comic book character
Harley Quinn hands down. A little nervous about her big screen debut in Suicide Squad but man would I love to draw her series. She’s such a fun character that really spoke to me even as a child watching the Batman Animated Series.
Do you think people expect a certain type of art from you since you are female?
I would hope not and if so that’s pretty silly. I draw what I like, whether it be something ultra kawaii and adorable or something visceral, sexual and horrifying. If anyone put me in a box based on gender they’d be missing out on some weird stuff.
How often do you go to comic book conventions? Do you enjoy conventions?
I love tabling at cons, not so much being on the other side with all the people haha. I recently returned from Emerald City Comic Con and had a blast! It’s really fun to meet other artists you know from online or even artists that you admire with all your heart. To actually have that short moment of face to face contact can make an impact on a gal. I know I was a little starstruck with some people.
Are you an introvert or extrovert?
I’m an extroverted introvert thanks to years of retail 😀 I don’t mind talking to people and I can, but boy do I love me some alone time yessiree.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Everywhere I can. Primarily through the comics/art section of bookstores, but even in my day to day life I try to take something that I can put in my work, whether it be a piece of fashion I spotted online or a classic car that almost tried to run me over crossing the street. Everything can be inspiration.
What do you do if you have writer’s block?
 
Typically draw until the writers block goes away haha. Honestly, my bouts of writing inspiration come and go. I try to jot things down when I can but I try to balance writing and art. Usually I won’t suffer a block from either side unless I’m killin’ myself over a page and then I’ll get frustrated. At that point reading a comic or playing a game chills me out.
Have you had any interesting or awkward experiences since you’ve been an artist/writer?
Not really! Everyone’s been very nice to me and so far respects what I’m doing and my work. Boys can get a little weird with me (unless I’m just not good at recognizing flirting) but otherwise it’s been pretty laid back.
Beverage of choice?
Green tea latte or original down south sweet tea. MMMMM. ❤
When was the last time that you dressed up for Halloween?
Just this past year and I was Harley Quinn~!
What do you want people to know about you?
That the reality is I’m a space witch from a galaxy far far away here to demand all your comics are belong to us or some other internet meme popular from with the kids these days. Seriously.
What was the first thing that you were proud of drawing/writing?
I was extremely happy/proud of finishing the first act of my webcomic Die Erste Liebe. I had been writing that story since I was a child so to see at least a piece of it finished and shared online for all to read was a surreal moment in my life. Yes it’s not published work, but that story is my baby, and it’s finally being made. There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing all your hard work finished.

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

image

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

Dailen Ogden: A to Z Challenge

CdZqbGqUMAEcNyI

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.

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

 

This post brought to you by the letter L.

L

Robin Childs: A to Z Challenge

The interviewee for this post was recommended by fellow comic book artist, Dawn Griffin. I sincerely hope that you visit her sites. Her work is thoughtful with a blend of mythology and storytelling. If you love a good story, then you will enjoy Child’s comic books.

What are you working on now?

Currently I have two big comic projects. The first is my ongoing fantasy epic, LeyLines (http://leylinescomic.com), about an irresponsible prince, his dream-weaving sister, and their adopted brother, who are given a mission by a voiceless goddess of dreams that will force them to choose between their future and their family. The second comic project is called Wavemen, which is a collaborative, team effort. Cory, my husband, is the head-writer, I’m co-writer, and we’re working with a team of five phenomenal artists to illustrate the story. Wavemen is set in Heian Japan, where the Emperor has gathered a team of legendary heroes to solve supernatural mysteries. It’s like the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but pulling from ancient Japanese history and myths. We’re running an IndieGoGo for the project right now! If history, mythology, and strong storytelling interest you, please take a look!

Wavemen

Who has influenced you the most as an artist?

My influences are all over the map, so I’d be hard-pressed to pick any one creator. For print comics, the works of Carla Speed McNeil (Finder), Christopher Hicks (Mister Blank), and Wendy and Richard Pini (ElfQuest) had a big impact on me as a kid. As an adult, Vertigo’s Lucifer has become a definitive comic series in my collection. Online comics showed me new ways of creating, and I was very inspired by the work of Scott Kurtz (PVP, Table Titans), Joe England (Zebra Girl), Faith Erin Hicks (Demonology 101, Friends with Boys, The Adventures of Superhero Girl, Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong, etc) and Tracy Butler (Lackadaisy).

Who is your favorite female superhero/villain/comic book character?
I confess that I’m struggling to answer this question. I often don’t feel like the female characters I see in comics are ones I can relate to very well. I enjoy Val from Table Titans (http://www.tabletitans.com/), Delilah Dirk (http://www.delilahdirk.com/) and the whole team from Agents of the Realm (http://www.agentsoftherealm.com/) but I have yet to read a female character that really jumps out at me as a favorite. I do think that we’re starting to see more female characters on the page (especially online) and I’m encouraged to see what the future brings. Perhaps in a few years, I’ll have so many favorites that I’ll be unable to name them all!
Do you think people expect a certain type of art from you since you are female?
It’s less that people expect a certain type of art, than a certain type of role. I write and illustrate my own comics. My husband is my editor. Yet, time and again at a show, people will look at the two of us at the table and say, “So…he’s the writer, and you’re the illustrator?” Sometimes folks have trouble imagining that I’m involved at all. “YOU? A GIRL? Made THESE?” However, for every comment like that, we’ll have twice as many over-joyed parents introducing me to their daughters and saying to their little girls, “Look! This wonderful lady did ALL OF THESE COMICS!! She did these! Isn’t that amazing? YOU CAN TOO!!” Those are the moments I try to focus on. If I can encourage and inspire those creative children to pursue their own stories and art, maybe someday we will all be so prolific and visible that nobody will find a woman making comics strange.
How often do you go to comic book conventions? Do you enjoy conventions?
 
We go to about 8-12 shows a year. Whether I enjoy a convention depends largely on the event itself. I get energized when people are positive. Excited about the show, interested in discovering new things, moved by my story, or just tickled to be at a big event, surrounded by folks of like-mind. If I can have valuable conversations and connect with a positive community, then I’m almost guaranteed to enjoy the show.
Are you an introvert or extrovert?
Introvert. Which often surprises people, because at shows I come across as very extroverted. I think people often confuse social skills for extroversion. Engaging with people is a skill that anyone can learn. We introverts just need to balance it with some high-quality alone time afterwards to recharge our batteries.
Where do you find your inspiration?
History, myths, life, washing the dishes, listening to music, going on walks, interacting with people, devouring books.
What do you do if you have writer’s block?
It depends on what the source of the block is. I’ve learned that writer’s block can be induced by a variety of factors, and the same symptoms may require different cures. It could be that I’m burned out, which means I need to rest. It could be that there’s something wrong with my script, which means I need to dig into it and try to find the source of the problem. It could be that I’ve been stuck too long in output mode and need to switch to input mode, which means I need to search out new books, movies, music, and experiences. I wrote a three-part series on motivation and creative lulls, which you can find as follows:
Have you had any interesting or awkward experiences since you’ve been an artist/writer?
 
One of the trends I’ve found interesting about choosing to pursue a creative career is how people have reacted to it over time. When I first started my own business, every person I spoke to tried to talk me out of it. Complete strangers, knowing less than five minutes of information about comics, me, and my projects, would immediately try to convince me it was a lost cause and I should quit while I was ahead. Now that I’ve had my business for a few years, have published three books, and started offering editing and coaching services, the response has completely changed. Now people will say that what I’m doing is okay, but if I REALLY want to be successful, I should try out THEIR idea. Again, these recommendations usually come from complete strangers who know absolutely nothing about what I do or the industry I work in. I’ve had people tell me to pursue everything from movie deals to reality TV shows. It makes me really curious about how the response will change in another few years. And why people have responded differently over time. Am I presenting it differently as I’ve gotten more confident in my work? Does the amount of time, or the quantity of books published, change a person’s perception? Most importantly, it’s taught me to filter the advice I get from people and consider its source. It’s far more valuable to listen to the perspective of an expert or peer that I trust and respect, than to worry over the discouraging remarks of an uninformed stranger.
Beverage of choice?
Tea! Jasmine green is a favorite, but I love a variety of hot (or cold) leaf juice options. My tea cabinet is constantly overflowing.
When was the last time that you dressed up for Halloween?
Last Halloween. Cory & I went as Gomez and Morticia Addams. We feel that their relationship is the most representative media portrayal of our own marriage.
What do you want people to know about you?
One thing I try to be very open about is that I have chronic depression. I share my experiences in my blog in the hopes that others who also struggle with similar feelings know that they’re not alone. Depression is such an isolating state of mind, and so heavily stigmatized culturally, that it is easy for people to believe that there is Something Wrong With Them and Nobody Else Feels This Way. I share my thoughts, struggles, and lessons learned on my blog, intermixed with the book reviews, silly stories, heavy life questions, and fanciful musings. In many ways, my blog is just as important to me as my comic work. I’ve had people write to me sharing their own survival stories with depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and assault. It is a humbling experience to be trusted with such personal stories, but also powerful and affirming to become part of someone’s community in such a meaningful way. Many people have told me they got through a challenging period with their own mental health because they’d seen their own behaviors reflected in my writings, and found a new perspective to get out of a negative spiral. Being a part of that growth is so powerful. It’s often terrifying for me to share those kinds of personal things, but knowing that it’s helping others grow keeps me opening those doors and shining lights on the things that are hidden in those dark spaces. It’s scary, but it’s worth it.
What was the first thing that you were proud of drawing/writing?
Pride is an emotion I usually don’t feel until I look back at something years later. It’s a feeling that fits best in retrospection, I think. I’m proud that I never gave up on my stories. No project has ever been perfect, and it never will be, but I’m glad that I’ve always tried to improve, expand, and challenge myself. I’m proud of the journey thus far. I’ll do my best to keep pushing forward to even better things.
C

Enkaru: A to Z Challenge

enkaru

tumblr_o458uxEq631uhtx79o1_1280.jpg

While searching for a person for the letter E, I stumbled across Enkaru on Tumblr. Luckily, she agreed to do the interview. Now we follow each other on Tumblr. Next week, we’ll be BFF’s. I would encourage you all to follow her and check out her art work.

 

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

I suppose it was when I saw my first comic titled “Trisquel” published. This day I felt really excited and proud to see that my dream came true.

 

What are you working on now?

Now I’m working on Sparkshooter, a webcomic written by the comic book writer Troy Brownfield. I’m also doing illustrations for games and books and creating my own comic online about epic fantasy adventures. It will be published on my site enkaru.com. It’s under construction now, but it will be ready very soon.

Who has influenced you the most as an artist?

I don’t know exactly because I have a lot of influences. In the beginning I had a strong influence from manga, especially from Rumiko Takahashi. But now I’m inspired by artists like Ludo Lullabi, Cory Loftis, Humberto Ramos and many more. I think my current style of drawing is a mix of all these influences along the time.

 

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

I like Princess Mononoke, Nausicaä and practically all the female characters created by Hayao Miyazaki, because they’re physically and emotionally strong. Maybe they need a partner or a friend who go with them, but not somebody to save them.

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

I’m not sure, but sometimes people think I’m a man because I like drawing fantasy characters like orcs, goblins, dragons or beautiful female elves. And my nickname doesn’t help either, ha, ha.

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

A few years ago I used to go a lot of comic conventions to sign my books and so. But now I’m only going to a pair of conventions at year. It depends on the free time I have. And I really enjoy them because I can meet another artists from all over the world.

Are you an introvert or extrovert?

Extrovert. I like to meet with my friends and get to know new people.

Where do you find  your inspiration?

I find my inspiration playing videogames, reading books, watching films, listening to music or just beholding an illustration. But sometimes I find it playing sports because I’m thinking about new ideas while I’m going running, for example.

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

I think the most interesting experience for me is to give several drawing courses in different cities from Spain. I like to teach what I learned to other people and talk about my experience working for a publishing house.

Beverage of choice?

Fennel tea with cinnamon, allspice and ginger. But beer is good too, ha, ha.

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

Last year. I dressed up as a dark wizard.

What do you want people to know about you?

I’m a charming person and a really beautiful woman, haha… just kidding. I like to be happy and I laugh a lot, and I think it is reflected on my work. I love drawing comics about adventures with a good dose of humour, but I also want to send a positive message through them.
I’m trying to do my best every day, but sometimes I feel blocked and I think I can’t improve anymore. Hopefully I have amazing people around me who give me the strength I need to go ahead, and I think this is really important to be succeed. So, always support the people you love even you think what they do is worthless, because it’s the only way they can reach their dreams. And surround yourself with friends or relatives who support you as well.

Enkaru on Tumblr

Enkaru on Twitter

E

Dawn Griffin : A to Z Challenge

D is for Dawn Griffin, an independent kid-friendly illustrator. She is from Cleveland, Ohio, which is almost in my backyard.
When I first asked her to participate in this project, she asked me several questions about myself like “Who are you?” and “Why are you camping on my lawn?”
Just kidding. I suppose there are creepers out there. So after she decided that I wasn’t a creeper, she answered my questions. Also, she didn’t yell at me when I lost the questions. I blame Google. It’s possible that the internet can make your stuff vanish, right?!
Anyway . . . check out her response and all of her websites.
Also, if your kids “borrow” all of your inappropriate comic books and leave them under the couch without the plastic covering or cardboard, Griffin’s comics could be a good starting point for their own comic book collection. Just do it. Comic book artists need love and support too.
1. What was the first thing that you were proud of drawing?

When I was 5 or 6, I wrote/illustrated my first book. I still have it. It’s made out of construction paper, stapled, glued, and paper-clipped. The title is “My Silly Day with Sally and Sue”. Alliteration at the age of 6. Not much else was spelled correctly.

2. What are you working on now?
I am actually in between projects. I just ended my 9-year run with “Zorphbert & Fred”, an all-ages comic strip series about 2 aliens, disguised as dogs, here on earth to study (make fun of) humankind. I specialize in all-ages, or kid-friendly, comics. My artistic style is cute but quirky, and I tend to be humorous but insightful in my writing approach. My next project will be much in the same vein, but a graphic novel format geared towards preteens. It will have a supernatural element to it as well, but still retain some humor and social commentary. The details are being ironed out, but essentially it’s a coming-of-age tale about a new tomboyish girl in middle school, who discovers a mirror that allows her to better understand her peers whom she doesn’t get along with well. The message of uniting rather than dividing, and general empathy for our peers is an important one to me.
3. Who has influenced you the most as an artist?
Whew, that’s like asking a musician which single band influenced them the most. The most diverse creative people open themselves up to a wide landscape of other artists. But for this purpose, I’ll name a few. My first memory is of Peanuts curtains in my nursery. Comic strips became a huge influence, stating with Schulz’s “Peanuts”, and trickling down to Watterson’s “Calvin & Hobbes”, Amend’s “Fox Trot”, and Johnston’s “For Better or for Worse”. As I got older, I branched out to underground comic like Pekar’s “American Splendor”, and the art of Robert Crumb had a role in my own style. But it also extends to animation of all sorts, some fine artists, and today I gather more and more fellow cartoonists thanks to the internet, that are groundbreaking and inspirational in their own ways.
4. Who is your favorite female superhero/villain/comic book character?
I’m really into Ms. Marvel right now. The re-imagining of her as a young Muslim girl, trying to fit in as a teenager while remaining dedicated to her family and culture, AND dealing with these crazy superpowers…. it’s a recipe for a complex and topical story. Highly recommended reading.
On the more indie side of the pond, I also love the Rat Queens. Talk about powerful women, kicking butt, taking names, all wrapped up with witty writing and suburb art to boot.
5. Do you think people expect a certain type of art from you since you are female?
I do think cute art is expected. Thing is, my work is pretty “cute”, but has enough quirky sophistication to it, that it surprises adults who at first glance wrote off my books as “kids stuff”. I figure– if adults can fully enjoy a Pixar movie that is also kid-friendly, why not comics? I write with adults in mind, I just happen to make the content appropriate for kids too.. which, coincidentally, is what kids like about my comics. They don’t pander. Calvin & Hobbes is one of the last great comic strips for just that reason.
But just in general, women are a severe minority in this field. At conventions, I’ve had people wander up to my table and ask “When will HE be back?”, assuming I’m just watching the table for the male artist. Awkward! So really, just the fact that I’m a woman who creates ANY kind of comics is still somewhat shocking. The good news is I’ve seen more and more women join me in tabling at comic cons now, so that ratio is going up.
6. How often do you go to comic book conventions? Do you enjoy conventions?
I hit maybe 15 shows a year, in all varied sizes. Almost every major city or media market has one nowadays. And living in Philly, I’m quite lucky, as between here, DC, Baltimore, NYC, and Boston… I can drive to all these different shows. My biggest “problem” is conflicts! But yes, I do love working these shows. I like meeting online readers, introducing kids to comics, interacting with fellow geeks, and networking with other cartoonists/artists. It’s a place where I feel more at ease, being “among my people!”
Plus, there is no high better than finding out you have inspired others, your work has spoken to them in some fashion. It’s what I live for!
7. Are you an introvert or extrovert?
Slightly more introverted. I think comic cons have brought me out of my shell, and I can “turn it on” to sell books at a show, but otherwise I need my space and quiet time (drawing!) to find my zen-happy place. Throw me in a party of people I don’t know, and I’ll just go hang with the dog. For those like me who are into the Myers-Briggs personality test, I’m definitely an INTJ. That makes me about the most left-brained artist you’ll meet.
8. Where do you find your inspiration?
Everywhere. Comics, obviously. Children’s books. Animated movies. Regular movies. TV shows. My overflowing coffee cup.
9. What do you do if you have writer’s block?
Good question! I step away. Which can be hard, as I’m extremely focused and hate pushing off deadlines, even if self-imposed. Take a walk, chat with a friend, read, watch TV. But much like finding love, it comes when you least expect it. And usually when you can’t find a pen OR something to write on.
10. Have you had any interesting or awkward experiences since you’ve been an artist/writer?
Hmm. In being kid-friendly, I am terrified of accidentally drawing something phallic or suggestive, or having a punchline that could mean something else entirely. Last thing I want is angry parents with pitchforks at my door. So, when I ran a kickstarter to have plush versions of my characters made…. and added a level where the plush had a working zipper with a tentacle inside…. and made a animated GIF showing the zipper coming down and a tentacle popping out…..
uh, yeah. Hindsight. Although NO ONE said anything. People are too nice.
11. Beverage of choice?
Daytime: COFFEE.
Nightime: whiskey cocktail, Old Fashioneds are my current obsession. Is that hipster irony?
12. When was the last time that you dressed up for Halloween?
Gawd, years ago. My husband and I went as the couple from Office Space, as he looks a bit like Ron Livingston. I look NOTHING like Jennifer Aniston. But I had my flair.
13. What do you want people to know about you?
See questions 1-12?
Or maybe this is where I shamelessly promote? Was that the cue? I’m oblivious. Smack me next time.

You can find my portfolio at http://dawngriffinstudios.com, read my comics at http://zfcomics.com, buy my kids book series athttp://abbysfanclub.com, and get some useful free tips, articles & a podcast at http://webcomicalliance.com. You can also bribe me with ice cream. Just an FYI. Use the power for good, at least.

D