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Last time we talked with the writer of Princeless, Jeremy Whitley. This time we’re taking to Princeless artist Emily C. Martin. Also take a look at her website, http://www.megamoth.net/, which has her portfolio, comic and illustration classes you can sign up for and the web comic she created called “Otherkinds.”
Me: What inspired you to draw comics?
Martin: Big question… I’d have to say that I just started drawing at a young age and never stopped. I was always illustrating stories I made up, and the first books I read were comics, so I suppose it was a natural progression. I wanted to see the characters and stories in my head come to life, and making comics and illustrations achieved that for me. I have jumped between being a comic artist and an illustrator for a long time, but I think comics are really where my passion lies. Two big inspirational figures have been Tony DiTerlizzi and Bill Watterson, as I’ve been a big fan of Tony’s work for TSR and I’ve been reading Calvin & Hobbes for as long as I can remember.
Me: What has it been like working with the writer of Princeless, Jeremy Whitley?
Martin: It has been awesome! Jeremy is really inspired and has a lot of great ideas, and he also gives me a lot of free reign over the designs and artwork. In the beginning, I was a bit shy approaching the story visually, since so much of it had already been established. But Jeremy has been really easy going and enthusiastic about what I have been bringing to the story. It can be tricky to communicate across coasts, but we do get to have face time over skype. Our skype conferences tend to last a lot longer than planned, since we get so involved in discussion. It’s a lot of fun, and I feel honored that I can share his passion for Princeless!
Me: How did you come up with the character designs in Princeless?
Martin: I had a bit of a precedent with M. Goodwin’s designs, so I started from there are then explored more traditional fantasy routes. I spent a lot of time with Jeremy discussing what he wanted for each character, although generally he does not usually specify the look, but rather the quality, of the character, when we discuss design. His characters are so strong that I have little problem coming up with a design idea. A lot of the time, I will have a skype conference with Jeremy and sketch up ideas on the spot. I then make line-ups and color tests with my colorist, so we have something more complete for reference. Fantasy is my forté, and before Princeless I had done a lot of fantasy illustration and character studies with crazy armor and whatnot, so probably the hardest thing for me is trying to make the designs simpler and more streamlined.
Me: Are there any projects other than Princeless that you will be working on in the near future?
Martin: There are! I have my own comic, “Otherkinds,” which I hope to get back to once Vol. 2 of Princeless is done. Of course I do intend to see Princeless through to the end, but I hope that I can get some of my own work out as well. “Otherkinds” is an urban fantasy for a much older audience, relatively far-flung from Princeless. I also hope to work more illustration gigs as well.
Me: Have you ever wanted to step-out of the comic book world and try something different, whether it be art-related or another career entirely?
Martin: I’ve always wanted to do more game and book illustration, although I suppose that is still pretty close to comic book world. I have also had several concepts for fine art shows and projects that involve my printmaking work.
Me: If you could choose to work with anyone (other than Jeremy of course) on a comic book project, who would it be and why?
Martin: Oh wow… this is a really good question. I thought hard about this one. Of the living authors I could name, I would probably go with Neil Gaiman. Not only is Gaiman such an incredible storyteller, but he also has a way of portraying female characters with whom I really connect. I think he represents certain elements of female rites of passage so well, it is almost hard to believe he was never a teenage girl!
If I could work with anyone alive or dead, I would choose Osamu Tezuka, because I have no idea how that man was so prolific in a single life. I frankly think he had some comic-making super power. I would want to learn his magic, even if I was only an assistant drawing houndstooth on jackets.
Me: If you were offered a job to draw any comic book you wanted, what would it be and why?
Martin: An even tougher question! Other than my personal work, there are a few adaptations I would love to do. One being a comic adaptation of “The Dark Crystal.” I know there are some amazing “Dark Crystal” comics that just came out, so I am biding my time… Other than that, I would absolutely LOVE to do a comic based on E. R. Eddison’s fantasy novel “The Worm Ouroboros.” That book simply begs to be illustrated, and I would love the opportunity to bring it to life in such a way.
I’ve also really wanted to try my hand at a short story for Wendy Pini’s “Elf Quest,” since her comics have been such an inspiration to me.
Me: What advice can you give to aspiring comic book artists?
Martin: If you want to draw comics, draw comics. Don’t let anything hold you up–don’t worry about artistic skill or storytelling skill, because the best way to get good is to practice practice practice. Draw all the time, and don’t be afraid to show people your work. Talk to other artists and meet people, online, at conventions, wherever, and keep working!
Me: Thank you for the interview Ms. Martin! Looking forward to seeing your work in Princeless, Volume 2, issue 1, this February!
For more Princeless, explore the links below!