Tag Archives: illustrator

Jenny Jaeckel—Author and Illustrator

Jenny Jaeckel is the author of House of Rougeaux, her debut novel, which made Bitch Media’s 25 Must Read Books of 2018 list. Her previous titles include For the Love of Meat: Nine Illustrated Stories and Siberiak: My Cold War Adventure on the River Ob. In 2016, Jaeckel published the graphic memoir Spot 12: Five Months in the Neonatal ICU, which was the winner of the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards and a 2016 finalist in the Foreword Indies Book Awards. She has worked as a translator, an editor, a Spanish teacher, a graphic arts teacher, and an illustrator. Jaeckel is currently working on her second novel, yet to be named, a continuation of the Rougeaux family epic.

And she agreed to be on my little blogblogblog! If you haven’t read House of Rougeaux, I recommend you remedy that as soon as possible—must be ready for the sequel. Links to connect with Jenny and purchase her books follow the interview.

Tell me about your writing process, the mechanics of it, schedule, strategies to keep you going, where you write, research procedures, and what inspirations surround you or motivate you.

Wow, where to start… All the aspects of the process, whether internal or external are quite varied. As a writer, I have to have a whole mental “team” going on: the passionate one, the researcher, the emotional digger/investigator, the critic, the cheerleader, the scheduler, etc. etc. My biggest inspirations are my favorite books, the ones I love with all my heart and soul, and have made me want to be a writer in the first place. I always aspire to those literary heroes. They function like my North Star. I may be down in my clunky little rowboat, with my one broken oar, paddling furiously and getting nowhere, but when I look up, at least I know where I’m trying to go. J.D. Salinger, Toni Morrison, Merce Rodoreda, Eduardo Galeano, and Edith Wharton are some that I return to again and again.

Tell me about the publishing process, including your publishing team, and your responsibilities as the author.

One of the most key parts of the process for me is working with my editor, Neesa Sonoquie. When I first showed her the manuscript for House of Rougeaux, I thought it was in pretty good shape. I’d already gotten some feedback from readers I trusted and done a lot of revising. But I had not worked with Neesa before. She absolutely demolished it. I’d sent off a book and got back confetti. It was humbling, but it turned out to be a transcendent moment. The revision process transformed the book and made me grow tremendously as a writer.

I am currently in such a moment again, because Neesa has just demolished a draft of my next book—a coming-of-age/love story that will be finished before the House of Rougeaux sequel (I’m still working on a first draft of the Rougeaux sequel.) What a good editor does is see the book you are trying to write inside the draft, which is full of wrong detours and other flaws. The demolition is all about cutting the crap so you can get to the true heart of the matter. It’s challenging but very exciting.

Describe your support system online and IRL—who are your biggest cheerleaders?

I don’t exactly have a cheerleading squad, but I have a small group of friends and acquaintances who have, at one time or another, said, or written some very wonderful things about how my work has touched them. When I get this in an email, for example, I print it out and put in on the wall by my bed, where I have a little collection, and when I get discouraged, I read them over and over. I also talk pretty regularly with three writer friends of mine. Though we all deal in different genres, the process and the struggle are the same, and being able to engage in that mutual support is essential. My lovely family is very supportive too. My partner and child give me regular feedback on my blog posts and written interviews (like right this second).

I know you’ve written about a difficult time in your life through a graphic memoir as part of coping and healing. In what other ways has your life influenced your art and vice versa? How do you choose your subject matter?

Art and life have a complete interface for me, like body and mind, or heads and tails sides of a coin. My first three books were all memoirs, the next two pure fiction, so while my relationships to all those topics varied, it was all deeply personal. When writing memoir, it has been much easier for me to see the therapeutic aspects of storytelling. Curiously though, putting key chunks of my life into these packages called books has made me identify with the stories less, as if these events happened to a human, and that human just happened to be me. It’s very liberating.

With fiction, though I’ve been exploring lives that couldn’t be more different from my own, every choice I make, and the ways I try to connect with my characters and get to know them, has everything to do with who I am. At the moment, working on this coming-of-age/love story, I am blending autobiography and fiction for the first time, and the process is extremely strange. I have to get to know the protagonist, for example, as the fictional person she is, but she is also so like a young version of myself that it’s a real mind-bender.

What do you love most about your creativity?

I am grateful to creativity for being the force that animates me. I think without it I’d be a lifeless hulk, a Frankenstein’s Monster pre-electrification, misshapen and covered in scars and moldy clothes (but smaller). I was lucky that as a child I was encouraged in art (so many are discouraged or even shamed for their efforts,) and lucky that since then I’ve had countless opportunities to grow creatively. Creativity takes infinite forms, I think it’s our birthright as human beings, and I think the more we can bring it to all aspects of our lives the better off we are. Once I heard the singer Krishna Das say in an interview that his music was how he stayed alive. He didn’t say music was his bliss and all that, he said it was how he literally stayed alive. I really appreciated that. It’s survival. Creativity is not the icing on the cake, it’s the cake itself.

Connect with Jenny:

website

Twitter

Amazon author page

Goodreads

Instagram

Sullivan Suad—Comic Artist

 

 

I met Sullivan through a writerly Facebook friend who hires him to illustrate his stories. His work is fantastic, so I asked him for an interview. He graciously agreed, and here I can share his work with you and offer a peek behind the scenes at his artistic process.

 

 

Describe your artistic process—schedule, materials, studio, and inspirations.

Let’s start with inspiration—my inspiration comes from everything I’ve read that I’ve seen and lived. It comes from all that. The comic gave me everything, gave me my work, gave my culture, gave the taste for reading; the comic led me to like various things. Although my family did not encourage me much, the first time I won a comic, I found it fascinating. I thought, “This is what I want to do.” While other kids said they wanted to be doctors, lawyers, or football players, I said I wanted to work for Marvel drawing Spider-Man. HAHAHA!!! My studio is my bedroom. Here I work and develop everything. The materials I use are conventional—I am still learning to adapt to the use of technologies. The creative process comes when the script itself arrives; you read and begin to internalize the scenes. So I do. I imagine it and play it all on paper soon.

 

Tell me about your support system, online and in real life.

I can say that who supports me in my work, both in real life and online, is my teammate Zilson Costa. It has been a few years since we started an excellent partnership, and this has paid us good results. Our production chain begins when the client sends us the script, and it comes to me that I make only the pencil sketch. After I do the drawing, I send it to Zilson, who puts in the ink.

 

How do you obtain clients, and is all your work specific to clients?

I already have some specific clients, others are by indication. But I am always divulging my portfolio to get new jobs.

How does your life influence your art and vice versa?

I counted on the influence of several friends, also comic book fans–who were an incentive for me to gradually learn everything as a self-taught artist. The inspiration came from Marvel and DC Comics.

 

What do you love most about your creativity?

It may seem heresy on my part, but I love my profession, because it is like playing a little god. You create, give a life to a character, and lead a whole universe of possibilities—it is something incredible. I wanted to finish here and leave a positive message about all this: Never stop studying, the market is always changing and you need to update. If you do not practice every day, you will surely miss an opportunity for someone who practices every day. As for the financial part, those who work with comics can earn as well as any other professional in another area. It only depends on it, not only as a drawer, but as a person who knows how to take advantage of the opportunities; after all if you follow a career for the status of that money always, there would not be so many lawyers changing branches. The beginning is always complicated, no matter the area or profession. You will grate, you will work double, and you will receive little. But if you sneak in and keep on evolving your work, believe me—there’s never going to be a lack of opportunity and money can be interesting.

 

Connect with Sullivan

Facebook

Google+

Goodreads Author page

 

Zilson Costa—Freelance Comic Artist and Illustrator

I met Zilson Costa through an author Facebook friend, who hires him as an illustrator. I’d asked about the work, because it’s so bold and detailed, almost jumping from the page. Fortunately, Zilson agreed to an interview, so here are his words and his work:

 

 

 

Carolina Daemonic 2 Back Cover Suad n- Zilson

 

Describe your artistic process. When do you draw? What materials do you use? Do you have a dedicated studio? What are your inspirations?

I draw every day. I do this since childhood, but since 2012, I work as a comics professional in Brazil and the United States. I use pencil, paper, and my interactive pen tablet display to make inks and colors. I do this in my own studio, in my house. My main inspirations are the comics of John Buscema, Jack Kirby and the dynamism of the 90’s.

 

Through what avenues do you obtain commercial work?

Most of the work I do is through e-mails and social media networks, when I contact authors and vice versa.

Also, I create my own characters. I publish my own comics with the characters Skull-Man and Brazilian Legion of Super-Heroes, and in August, I will publish the comics inspired by my own band, Evil Machines.

 

Sharkman by Suád n- Zilson

 

 

Tell me about your support system, online and in real life. Who are your biggest cheerleaders?

In fact, my wife and friends have always supported me in my work.

 

 

 

childrencover-2

 

How does your life influence your art and vice versa?

I try to put in my work what I like. I like harmony, clarity and try to pass this on in my work. But I also really like superheroes. My art influences my life when I teach drawing techniques to my elementary school students and I see them growing as people. This is very rewarding.

 

 

Brutal Bazaar Cover colors

 

 

What do you love most about your creativity?

Like drawing, coloring, composing songs, playing my guitar… A lot of stuff.

 

 

 

 

Links and Bio:

Website

About Zilson

Facebook

 

Zilson Costa has been a comic book author since 1996, a founding member of the RHQ Factor group. Born in São Luís, Maranhão, Brazil, he created the character Skull-Man and his entire universe based on experiences and people from school age. He works as a comic book professional since 2012 for American publishers, webcomics, and Brazilian authors. His first work for the US market was the story “The Origin of Shazrath” by the publisher Argo Comics. He holds an academic degree in Plastic Arts from the Federal University of Maranhão and teaches the art discipline at municipal schools in São Luís and São José de Ribamar. He is also a guitar player and founding member of the heavy metal band Evil Machines.

Gareth Walsh—Artist and Illustrator

 

Click on photo to purchase “Blue Eye” painting.

 

 

Gareth is my first interviewee who’s not a writer, and I’m proud to share his evocative, intriguing work.

Purchase his gorgeous work here: The Darkling.

Share his work far and wide; someone you know will love it.

 

 

 

Click on photo to purchase this original pen drawing.

 

 

Tell me about your artistic process.

“Usually ideas will flit through my mind, and I try to store them in memory for future use. Sometimes the work in progress may go in different directions. Mostly I try to follow the natural flow as much as possible.

 

 

Click on photo to purchase “The Gathering of the Sluagh.”

 

Your art is gorgeous and affordable. How do you determine price?

“Currently, I determine price by the time it takes to complete the work, and also which medium and materials are used.”

 

 

 

Click on photo to purchase this original pen drawing.

 

 

Explore the dark elements in your work.

“I choose colors in a very random way. A lot of my process is very much a kind of instinct. I like this as it keeps the work exciting, at least for me.”

 

 

 

 

Click on photo to purchase this oil painting.

Describe your studio.

“My studio is small and, due to finances, very limiting at the moment. I have various objects around which might prompt ideas, and reference photos. Usually inspiration comes from within, my memory, and dreams.”

 

 

Click on photo to purchase this original watercolor.

 

 

What do you love most about your creativity?

“The thing I love most about creativity is the freedom from reality—the everyday, and how it allows expression of my feelings.”

 

 

 

 

Click on photo to purchase “Moonlight” oil painting.

 

Go to The Darkling to see more of Gareth’s work. He’s always producing: ink sketches, watercolors, and oil paintings.

Get his work on your walls now while it’s still affordable!

Follow Gareth Walsh on Facebook and Instagram @dreemtimeart_.