The following is an interview with Ana King, an independent creator who excels at everything from hand-drawn comic book art to photography and animation. In this interview, Fanboy Comics Contributor Madeleine Holly-Rosing chats with King about her inspiration for her work, how she has learned to practice her craft, and her career aspirations in art!
Ana and I stumbled upon each other on Twitter, either through favoriting, retweeting, or something. Imagine my surprise when she offered to do fan art for my comic, Boston Metaphysical Society. (My response was, “Hell yeah!”) She sent me this amazing rendition of the character, Caitlin O’Sullivan. It was so good, that later on I saw people requesting commissions after seeing it. In fact, Ana is such an amazing talent that I can’t wait to see how her career develops. And, she dabbles in photography, as well.
Fanboy Comics Contributor Madeleine Holly-Rosing: Ana, you’ve got a DeviantArt page for your hand-drawn work and your photography, but let’s start with your hand-drawn work. It’s pretty clear that you have a quirky sense of humor (which I love), and it shows up in a lot of your work. I particularly like the wedding guest book with a Batman theme. Tell us how that came about.
Ana King: That was entirely by chance! One day, out of the blue, an old friend from high school emailed me. Her fiancé happened to remember my art before she did. Apparently, they had been looking at invitations and guest books for ages and couldn’t find anything that would fit a comic book costume wedding. This means they’d need a custom job done. And, they picked me! I’m so glad they did. I never would have thought of that otherwise, and it is one of my favorite pieces. They only had two specific requests – the characters and their poses – but the rest was left entirely to my creative choice.
MHR: Your coloring is exceptional. Do you have any formal training? Did you have any mentors?
AK: Wow, thanks! Actually, I’m entirely a self-taught artist. No college or workshops (but I really want to). Whatever I’m able to do now is largely based on years of trial and error, studying tutorials, and watching live streams. (Gawd, I love watching live-streaming artists.) But, sh–, I still have so much to learn. I’ve never had any sort of mentor either, but here is an opportunity to give a BIG shout-out and thank you to any artists I’ve spoken to that gave me advice and encouragement.
MHR: Who or what inspires your drawing and photography?
AK: I get a lot of ideas from dreams, whether I’m awake or asleep. But, my drive to draw is pretty much fueled by my emotions. I feel things pretty intensely. So, you’ll be able to tell how wound up I was by how much movement is in the piece, and likewise when things are tense/stiff, solemn, bright, etc. If it’s not a dream or commission request, it’s fan art. Seeing another artist’s work and being moved by the story inspires me to emulate the deep impression it makes on me through art of my own.
And, photography is basically a way for me to have instant gratification in my expression (kind of, there is still editing and all that). Sometimes, as intense as my urge to create gets, I’m just NOT in the mood to draw. So, I take my camera and just go nuts. (I love, love, love nature, old things, and abandoned places.) I do have a mentor here. She is my best friend and fellow photographer, Briana Slate of Sollie Studios. (Not my Girlfriend. Regardless of how much she slaps my a– in public.)
MHR: What is your favorite thing about drawing? Photography?
AK: In regards to both, I’d say expression and satisfaction. Even when it turns out poorly, I’m happy because there is always something to gain from failure. Creating something makes me feel good. For drawing specifically, it’s the development and learning. Knowing that I’m putting my personal self into these pieces, and it’s inciting improvement, is very rewarding.
Photography? Dude, that is a moment of life frozen in time! A moment you seized that tells its own story. What’s not to love?
MHR: I see primarily pin-ups on your DeviantArt page. Have you done any sequential art? If yes, can you tell us about it? If not, have you considered working with a writer or writing a comic yourself?
AK: The pin-ups are products of my fascination with the female form. Ladies, we are dynamic! I took a stab at sequential art with a fan comic called Testify based on REPO! The Genetic Opera. It died after just a few pages though due to lack of time and (in my personal opinion) lack of talent, technique, and patience. I have a story of my own that will one day be a comic, but they are characters that have been a part of me for a very long time, so I am waiting. I want them to have the best that I can offer, because they are so important to me (a.k.a. procrastination like a boss).
Until then, I’m back to talking to a writer about doing an MMO comic, but I can’t talk about that yet! *Wink wink*
MHR: I loved some of the framing and composition you did on the photographs, especially the one of the abandoned cemetery office. Is your process or approach to drawing different than photography? Do you have to be in a certain frame of mind? What camera do you use?
AK: I suppose the approach is different. With drawing I usually have a specific emotion to put into it, you know? With photography I end up capturing things based on how they make me feel [e.g., if something strikes me as quiet and out of place, I’ll probably try to frame it, so that there is little distraction from things in the background (for isolation within inclusion) and keep it out of the center]. It helps if my frame of mind is, well, depressed or I’ll be very mellow. For some reason, in that way, I’m less distracted and more in tune with what is around me. Deep thoughts and all of that over-analytical nonsense put to good use!
My main camera has been my cheap, little Fujifilm 12 Mega pixel DSLR.
MHR: Have you worked any Comic-Cons to try and sell your work?
AK: Nope! It is yet another thing that I dream of doing, but I haven’t yet gotten off of my a–. I really want to build up a good amount of print-worthy pieces before I put myself out there. But, I actually do work cons. Just not in that way. I’m the day manager of the security team for two sister conventions here in Mid-Tennessee, MTAC and GMX. I stop drug dealers, perverts, and, of course, people running too fast in hallways.
MHR: Like most creators, you hold a full-time job unrelated to your art. What exactly does a cold storage inventory specialist do?
AK: I go where I’m needed. Most of the time, I am pulling product to ship, putting received product away, and loading and unloading the semi trucks. I’m constantly driving heavy machinery, like a double reach high-lift.
It also means that I deal with any conundrums that pop up. Sometimes, the RF system decides to be difficult and won’t let someone scan something into the location, or it gives the wrong location. People lose pallets, pick or ship the wrong thing, and stab the s— out of butter pallets with their forklifts. I have to find or fix these issues to keep the floor going smoothly. I also freeze my booty off. Some rooms are 35 degrees, but most are 0 or -10. But, it’s pretty neat. We have blocks of cheese the size of an air conditioning unit. YES.
By the way, we have too many Eggo Waffles. You all need to buy more waffles. Yes, buy more waffles. * Does hypnotize-y fingers at you*
MHR: Last question. What would be your dream job?
AK: That’s a hard one. I used to have a dream to be an animator. But, that has changed over the years, as I hear more and more negative things from people in the professional art industry (and I lack that sort of patience). So many things can have a bad effect on your passion when money meets trends + supply and demand (and terrible bosses). And yet, despite that, I think I still really want to get into the industry. Though, instead of animation, I’ll focus more on maybe being a cover artist and comic creator.
My Twitter: twitter.com/NotTheArtist
My DA Art: inkcell-illustration.deviantart.com/