Tuesday, October 1, 2013

{Blog Tour--Fairy Tale Comics} Interview with Gigi D.G.

You KNOW how much I love graphic novels, especially ones from :01 First Second.  I recently reviewed their most recent anthology, Fairy Tale Comics- a collection of 17 fairy tales by 17 different cartoonists.  I'm thrilled to be part of the Fairy Tale Comics blog tour- please, PLEASE follow the entire thing here.  Many great blogs are interviewing these talented illustrators.

I fell in love with the style of the "Little Red Riding Hood" re-telling, and jumped at the chance to interview artist Gigi D.G.  Huge thanks to Gina Gagliano and :01 First Second for setting this whole thing up.

Now, without further ado, my Q&A with Gigi:

First off, did you always know you would to be a cartoonist? I ask because, despite my love of reading and daydreaming, the thought of being a librarian didn’t occur to me until after 3 different majors and a stint in musical theatre in California :)

It can definitely take a while to find yourself! For a while in high school, I considered studying French or Japanese and pursuing a career in translating. I was pretty serious about it, too! But art has always been my first love, so I think becoming a cartoonist was inevitable.

Are there any cartoonists/artists that have influenced you?

Erté and Tadahiro Uesugi are two of my favorite illustrators, and the work of Mary Blair was a huge influence during my art school days. I also draw a lot of inspiration from the art direction of video games like Kirby's Adventure and Paper Mario.

What tools do you use?  And what is your preferred medium?

I like watercolors and gouache from time to time, but my preferred medium is digital. I usually work in Photoshop.

How often do you draw?

As a children’s librarian, I have to ask: were there any picture books that inspired you, or that you kept coming back to, when you were younger?
I remember really enjoying Miss Spider's Tea Party by David Kirk and The Stinky Cheese Man by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith. And, while I didn't grow up with it, I adore the work of Mo Willems.

Do you read a lot of comics?

Admittedly not as many as I should, but Yotsuba&! by Kiyohiko Azuma is one of my all-time favorites.

What does your illustrating process look like?

Messy! My sketches are usually very loose, and I like to lay down huge blobs of color as quickly as possible, then slowly chisel away at them until the final product reveals itself.

Where is your drawing space?  What does it look like?  (asks the girl with wind-up sushi, Adventure Time miniatures, and Korean wedding dolls on her desk)

At the time of writing, I've just moved into a new apartment, so my work station is still a little barren. But there isthe giant, stuffed Donkey (from Shrek) that my friend sent me as a joke a few years ago. He's there.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?

I like baking. Actually, I just baked a batch of chocolate chip cookies to celebrate the move.

What was your reaction when approached to contribute to Fairy Tale Comics?

Surprise! I was incredibly honored to be asked to participate in a project with so many amazing illustrators, some whose work I've known and loved for years, and I honestly felt a little out of my league. Even now, it's surreal (in a great way!) to see my name in the table of contents.

When did you decide to do the character twist with the lumberjack, and what influenced that twist?
I like ladies taking active roles in old-fashioned fairy tales, so I figured there was no reason not to have a female lumberjack. I was discouraged from making any radical changes to the original Red Riding Hood story, so I was worried that the change might be overstepping my boundaries, but the folks at First Second were very receptive.

What is your favorite fairy tale/folktale?

I loved Sleeping Beauty as a kid, and it still has a place in my heart.

I checked out Cucumber Quest (and I love it!)- what was your inspiration for the story and characters?

Thank you! Cucumber Quest was largely inspired by the video games I grew up with, both in storytelling and visuals. Though it pokes fun at a few "hero's journey" conventions, I don't consider it a parody--at its heart, Cucumber Quest is a very genuine, very silly adventure story that kids and adults can enjoy.

What advice would you give to new artists out there?

Keep drawing what makes you happy! It can be easy to forget what drew you to art in the first place, especially if you pursue it as a career. Always work hard and keep learning, but don't forget to have fun with it, too.

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me!  I look forward to seeing more of your work!

Thank you for the interview!

Fairy Tale Comics was published a mere week ago- that means you can go get it now!  Also, you should check out Gigi's webcomic Cucumber Quest.  You can also follow her on Twitter Tumblr.

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