Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Within the comic book industry, you are a multi-hyphenate, in that you are able to experience the business side of the industry through your work as a social media strategist with Lion Forge while also experiencing the creative side through your artwork. Do you feel that these varied perspectives influence or enhance one another, and, if so, in what ways?
Christina “Steenz” Stewart: Oh, most certainly. I know how retailers purchase comics and what they want from publishers, and I know what the publishing schedules are actually like, so creatively I have a more detailed timeline. Also, I like that I know people all over the industry.
BD: Given your work with social media, do you find that specific social media platforms are more conducive to promoting comic book projects, and are there any up-and-coming platforms that we should keep on our radar?
CS: Definitely Twitter. I feel like I see more artwork and works in progress on Twitter. But, I usually just wait until Diamond’s PREVIEWS comes out. I get a lot more of my graphic novels from there instead of single issues.
BD: The color palette and style of your artwork are simply amazing! What can you share about your creative process in terms of the medium that you utilize (e.g., pen and ink, digital, water colors, etc.) and how it allows you to tell a visual story?
CS: I use a WACOM Cintiq, so all of my work is completely digital. Usually, if I’m working on a comic, I’ll do scripting in Google Docs and then thumbnailing on any paper I can find. As long as I can reference it for when I start pencils, it doesn’t really matter what I draw the thumbnails on. I say “pencils,” but that’s all digital, too. For color palette, I have a habit of working warmer colors rather than cool. And I know I need to be better about branching outside of my coloring comfort zone, but yellows and reds are just comforting!
BD: You have been working on the graphic novel, Archival Quality, with creative partner Ivy Noelle Weir, which was recently purchased by Oni Press. For those who may be unfamiliar, what can you share with our readers about the project’s premise, and when may we anticipate its release?
CS: Archival Quality is about a girl named Cel who leaves her job at a library because of a mental/emotional breakdown. She ends up working at a medical oddities museum, where she ends up being haunted by ghost. So, it’s up to Cel to find out what happened to this ghost so it can be free from its tether to the museum. We’re looking at an early 2018 release!
BD: In the troubling and turbulent state of our country, from where do you find inspiration, hope, or courage?
CS: It took a while for me to get back into the groove of drawing, and I’m still not completely back to where I used to be. I’d LIKE to have the same inspiration I used to have, but I don’t think I will. At least not until Drumpf is out of office. I’ve been finding comfort within my group of friends of color. It’s nice to be able to be open with people without worrying if I have to explain how and why I’m feeling upset and distanced. They already know.
BD: As an artist, how do you strive to inspire hope and courage to fans who follow your work?
CS: I just hope that my work gives them some happiness. There’s not a lot of it out there right now, and if my art puts a smile on someone’s face, that’s great.
BD: Are there any current or upcoming projects that you are able to share with our readers?
CS: As of right now, Archival Quality is the biggest thing I’m working on. I’ve done a couple of illustrations for some upcoming Kickstarters like Dollhouse Vol. 2 by Ray Nadine and Bingo Love by Tee Franklin and Jenn St. Onge, Joy San, and Erica Schultz. But other than that, AQ is taking up most of my time.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to learn more about Archival Quality, Lion Forge, and your other work?
CS: Twitter! Follow Ivy and I for AQ news at @oheysteenz and @ivynoelle. Follow @lionforge for their comics. And then, like my Facebook Page, Art of Steenz, for other artwork!