Big thank you to Tess for agreeing to answer our questions and to all of you for submitting them.
Below is the 15 questions Q&A:
1) How did you get into the comic book world?
I always loved and collected comics, dreaming of a day when I could make a living actually writing and illustrating books myself . When I first attended the San Diego Comic Con in 2004, working the Heavy Metal Magazine booth, I met a lot of people who changed the course of my life. First and foremost being Kevin Eastman and Howie from Heavy Metal. They published me first, and after that I was off and running.
2) What artist, or artists have been an inspiration to you either through their art or through personal contact?
So many artists have inspired me over the years. When I was very young it was Wendy Pini. Elfquest was the turning point for me early on. I found myself dreaming of one day making my own creator owned comics. I studied Frank Frazetta a lot, too. But didn't we all? More recently I've become a terribly devoted fan of artists like Andrew Robinson, Sara Pichelli, Sean Galloway and Eric Canete. The simplicity of their work is truly inspirational.
3) What advice/tips would you give new artists out there, and what do you think is the most important skill an artist should have when drawing a comic?
My advice and my my most important tip is STORYTELLING. It's something I try to improve upon every day. You can be a brilliant artist, but comics are about telling a story clearly, and with emotion. Examples of clear, no frills storytelling are guys like Mike Mignola, Eduardo Risso, Gabriel Ba, and Fabio Moon. Just to name a few.
4) From start to finish, could you summarize your process of working on an issue for a comic?
Working on a comic for a company is a bit different than working on one for myself.
But let's pick the easier one to explain.
-When I receive a script I read through it, and then make thumbnails. Those are small sketches of how each page should look. Usually roughly half the size of my thumb. I then blow these up by scanning and printing them out larger, and tighten them, then send them in for approvals. When they are approved I scan them, and blow them up to 11x17". After that I lightbox them onto bristol blue line, and then I go to town doing final pencils. Depending on the book, the final stage is inking. Ta da! A finished book.
5) Initially, what is it about Charmed that drew you in and made you a fan of the series?
The tv series drew me in early on because of the dynamic between the sisters. I never had that in my own life, so it was intriguing to watch it play out in simple stories where everything was solved in under an hour, and in the end they all hugged and looked after each other. In later years, when it was on in re runs, I got to share it with my much younger brother. The show would come on early in the morning, in two back to back episodes. As I worked he would come in and sit with me to watch it, asking questions and laughing at the antics of the demons and the snarky one liners the sisters are famous for. I've had a soft spot in my heart for Charmed ever since. When I first heard it had been made into a comic, I was dying to "audition."
6) As a Charmed fan, what do you think of the current storyline and the direction Zenescope is taking? And what was your favorite plot turn?
Paul is the Charmed Guru. He is amazing, and can do no wrong in the Charmed-Verse. My favorite plot turn was most definitely Cole's return. That was a *squee* moment for everyone, I think.
7) What are the most challenging and interesting parts of illustrating a comic of the fantasy genre?
The challenge of a fantasy comic is having to render fantastical things that have no reference. Creating things out of thin air! But that's also the joy of it.
8) You have drawn three issues of Charmed so far. Which one is your favorite story-wise and which one is your favorite art-wise?
Issue #19 is my favorite piece of writing from Paul so far. It was cute, funny and very in the spirit of the original tv series. I also like that one the best, art wise out of all the issues I got to do. I grew a lot artistically on that issue.
9) Was Charmed the first
comic you worked on and if not, what was?
My first published comic was actually a Michelle Obama one shot. The style was very photo realistic. Something I have since grown out of.
10) Is there anything in the Charmedverse (whether it be a location, a character, a power) that you are eager to illustrate but haven't yet had the chance to draw?
That's easy. The SOLARIUM! That is such a beautiful part of the mansion and I think I could really do it justice. Sadly, I won't get the chance since I'm no longer illustrating the Charmed comic, but I just might take a crack at it in my own time one of these days.
11) Which power was the most difficult for you to draw?
All of them. I'm rubbish with special effects.
12) Which Charmed characters are the easiest and hardest to draw and why?
The kids were the easiest. I adore drawing children, and there is something very warm and fuzzy about illustrating the Charmed Sisters' kids. It just came naturally. The most difficult character was definitely Phoebe. I felt like I could never do her justice.
13) What other projects/series would you love to work on if you had a chance? (Even if they’re not comic books yet)
If you're aware of my online presence at all you know that I'm a very recent newborn Whovian. I adore the concept of the lonely god. And I'd give my right arm to be given the chance to illustrate the books. Sadly I don't see that happening anytime in the near future as the artist currently working on the series is kind of phenomenal. He's really perfect for it. Simple lines and clear, whimsical storytelling. But I can dream, right?
14) Are there any other TV shows/films that you are a fan of that you would like to see adapted into comics?
I always thought a Rescue Me comic would be wonderful. To see the men of 62 Truck in their earlier adventures. That would be something I would definitely love to not only illustrate, but read!
15) Lastly, what projects are you currently working on right now and what are your plans for the future?
Right now I am off and running on a double arc mini series based on my web comic "Boris and Charlie". My husband Chris Gutierrez and I have dreamed up a lot of fun things for the monster, the girl and the crazy cat. We'll be taking it to Kickstarter with some interesting rewards for potential backers. Stay tuned to my website www.tessfowler.com or come join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/tessfowler7 or www.facebook.com/DinkInc for all the details!