It’s Wednesday and that means it’s New Comic Book Day, and there’s a new entry for the Indie Artist Spotlight feature. Today the spotlight shines bright on artist Peggy Wolohan von Burkleo.
TA: How did you get into comics?
PB: My Father grew up reading Golden Age comics. He would buy me comics when I was little, so I guess I’ve been in to them my whole life. I started out with Caspar, and Wendy, then when I was a little older, got into TinTin and Astrix. When I was 12 or 13 I got into Marvel comics. It was the early 80’s and the stories and art were amazing! My favorites were the X-men! It was just after the Phoenix saga, when Kitty Pryde had joined. I identified with her right away.
TA: What inspired you to become an artist and when did you begin to draw?
PB: I’ve been an artist my whole life. Again, my father was my inspiration. He was an amazing artist. I grew up watching him make, and just assumed I could too. I would draw all the time. When I was little I would draw rainbows, and horses endlessly. Art class was always one of my favorites. When I was 14 I was admitted into the Oakland Arts School, a magnet school. It was kind of like Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, but for artistic kids, instead of mutants. All the subjects were taught through art, in addition classes devoted solely to the study of art. It was the beginning of my formal training.
The Oakland Art School was also where I first began making comics. My best friend Ashanti Gahnia was (and is) an amazing artist, and I would always come up with stories for her original characters. Constantly. To the point of annoying her so much she would tell me to draw my own stories. So when a comic book making class came up, I took it! Kevin Eastman gave a lecture to the class, once. He was alum of the high school. He had finished Cobalt 60, and only just started TMNT, so a lot of the questions were about Cobalt. The thing that stuck with me from that lecture was the importance of good character design.
TA: Which tools do you use to create comics and what makes them the “right tools” for you?
PB: I draw my thumbnails in the margins of the notebook I write the scripts in. I use printer paper to draw the rough layouts on top of a sheet of grid paper on my lightbox. The lightweight computer paper works well with the light box and since it’s only for roughs I don’t need anything heavier. I use a 0.3 mechanical pencil for all my pencil work, usually with an HB or F lead. I like the precision and control the small lead size gives me and HB & F are darker than the H lead weights but they don’t smudge like the B weights. I scan my roughs on a Canon Pixma MP170 3-in-1 scanner then do the clean pencils, inks and tones with my Wacom Intuos4 in Manga Studio EX4. Manga Studio is by far the best art program for making comics that I’ve come across. Photoshop is better for coloring, I color my covers in it, and Illustrator is better for lettering – it’s the industry standard. I recently purchased Manga Studio EX5 and I’ll begin using it when I start the next chapter. It’s supposed to be as good as Photoshop at coloring and I’m excited to try it out! Manga Studio pricey, but it is often on sale. If anyone is interested in purchasing it, I’d recommend waiting for a sale.
TA: What is your art style?
PB: I have multiple styles and work in many different mediums. I’m the kind of person who walks into an art supply store and thinks, “Toys!”
For Samhain Night, my style is influenced by Manga, Arthur Rackham, Brian Froud, Adam Lee, Wendi Pini, and Jim Fitzpatric, as well as traditional Celtic artwork. All the Celtic designs in Samhain Night are my own original work, as well.
TA: What inspires you to create comics?
PB: I make the comics I want to read. I’m full of stories needing to get out! Samhain Night stems from my love of Celtic culture and history. It is full of characters and elements of traditional Celtic myths and folklore and is a way for me to share those things with others.
TA: What do you do when you’re drained and need to recharge creatively?
PB: I listen to music, podcasts, audiobooks and audio drama when I work to keep me motivated, popping out from time to time to chat on social media when I need a break. I twitter under the name @samhainnight if anyone wants to follow me.
When I start to feel burnt out I take a break & go for a walk in the woods or go to the beach and watch the ocean. Getting out and recharging helps. Sometimes, if I’m up against a deadline, though, I’ll tell myself I can stop whenever I want, but if I do, I have to clean house! Then suddenly, like magic, I feel motivated to do more art!
TA: What advice can you give aspiring artists?
PB: Take care of your wrists!!!! Working to the point of giving yourself carpal tunnel isn’t a good work ethic! You’ve only got one body and working it to the point of injury is bad management and ultimately self-defeating. Take mini-breaks every hour or so. Do wrist stretching exercises and back stretching exercises to ease muscle pain. Look into the distance – 15 ft or more for a few minutes to ease eye strain. Your body is the best art tool you’ll ever have. Take good care of it!
Art is inspired by life, so expose yourself to as much art, writing, music, cultures and places as you can!
Draw every day. Really, more than anything this will help.
Never stop pushing beyond your boundaries and never stop learning. The most wonderful thing about art is that there’s always more to learn.
Never, never, never stop believing in yourself. Art is a journey, not a destination, so enjoy the trip.
TA: Can you tell us about any of the projects you’re working on?
PB: Nope, sorry! The cool secret comic project I’m developing is secret. And cool.
TA: What’s an important lesson that you’ve learned so far from working in comics?
PB: Comics are a marathon, not a sprint.
TA: Where can people find your art?
PB: At samhainnight.com and beltain.com