Camilla d’Errico is an urban contemporary painter, illustrator, character creator and comic artist residing in Vancouver, Canada. With roots in comics, Camilla’s work is seen on toys, clothes, accessories and more. She has been published by Random House/Watson Guptill books, Boom! Studios, Image Comics, IDW, Dark Horse Comics and more, with self-publishing roots for her literature-inspired series, Tanpopo. Camilla has distinguished herself as one of the breakthrough artists in Pop Surrealism’s New Figurative movement through her ability to seamlessly weave manga and western styles with surrealist elements, wrapping it together with an extensive emotional palette. Camilla’s unique style bridges cultural and geographical boundaries, working with creative partners Hasbro, Disney, Mattel, Coastal and more, while remaining totally relevant to today’s varied audience. Ever the prolific artist, Camilla lives the double life of comic artist/creator and New Brow painter, while expanding her horizons to include fashion, music, merchandise and designer toys.
I sat down with Camilla during a brief moment of down time during Emerald City Comic Con, literally seated on this gorgeous, vintage looking, re-upholstered chair printed with her art.
L: Wow, this is just…beautiful. These chairs are for sale?
CD: Yeah, I would like to do two a year! I was talking to Rubbish Rehab, a local company that makes them, and this is the first time we’ve had them available at the show. They sold so fast, and we had people ask to do more, and I’d love to bring more vintage chairs, and have them every year from now on.
L: Would you do different styles of chair?
CD: All styles. They did a throne for me, and it was the nicest thing. I wish I had a promotional photo seated in it.
L: All of you art has this sort of wide-eyed doll-like appearance. Is this something you pulled from yourself? Now that I’ve seen you in person, I can see you in these!
CD: Oh, really? That’s so funny. You’re making me blush! No, I’ve had people say that I look like my art, which I think is a huge compliment, cause they’re like, big doe-eyed adorable girls! I do have big eyes, but you know, the only time I realized I had big eyes was when I went to Taipei and the people there would tell me!
L: Do you use yourself as a model?
CD: Noooo, no, no. Not at all. Actually, I try to avoid getting photographed or recorded or even like, mirrors. I’m just not…I just try to see the world around me, I don’t actually look at myself, like for inspiration.
L: I noticed you’ve done some fantasy art, some anime inspired art, is there a favorite genre for you?
CD: I definitely like the melting colors right now. I finished work for my solo show and I melted so many colors into these multiple paintings…I can’t get enough, I can’t stop. I’m completely inspired by seeing different colors blending together, or just in contrast! Seeing color with weight, um, it’s just part of my obsession with wanting to eat color, which you can’t cause it’s toxic, ha ha. It totally looks like candy. These girls are like the fantasy I want, they get to experience and taste melting color.
L: So, you use traditional mediums when painting! I don’t know why I thought you did it all digital. Do you prefer oil, or acrylic?
CD: I use oils AND acrylics. There’s also this brand I use called Holbein Duo and it’s oil paint you can blend with water. It’s unbelievable.
L: How do you determine your color palette? Is it dependable on the subject, or the individual piece?
CD: I’m always going for bright. I try to blend it, so that it’s in contrast. I’ll have my muted colors and then mix the rich and vibrant. If I try to do it all vibrant, it gets lost. You don’t know where to focus the eye, but if you use, like, the Paint Catcher, there’s lots of pinks and reds and her face is really muted. I try to keep it a good balance. I love hearing people’s interpretations of my art.
L: I know you’ve done some comic art for different publishers, but would you be interested in taking on one of the younger heroes from Marvel or DC?
CD: I’ve done SOME superhero stuff, but I haven’t been asked to do any lately. If Marvel was like, “Hey, let’s see your version of Spider-Gwen,” I would be like heck yeah! Spider-Gwen is right up my alley. I would die.
L: What other projects do you have in the works, aside from your upcoming show?
CD: In July, I’m debuting my very first adult coloring book! I’m so excited!!
L: How have your fan experiences been? Are there any particular memorable encounters?
CD: Yeah! People overwhelm me when they bring me presents, or tell me stories of how my art has affected them, and I have these two fans that are just the cutest. They are from Costa Rica and they bring me these chocolates and coffee. I’m always like, “YOU GUYS ARE THE ABSOLUTE BEST!” Two years ago at San Diego Comic Con, we did this Zombie Escape run together. It was amazing and I…I left them behind. Oh my God, I totally left them for dead! – laughs- It was so high intensity. There’s dozens of zombies, and army guys. I had to leave them behind. I felt so bad even though it’s like, the apocalypse.
L: You did what you had to do. It was a people eat people world!! Let’s talk about about the expansion of your art into various other merchandise. You mentioned elsewhere that your dream is to make clothes, and it looks like you’ve brought that dream to fruition!
CD: Goldbubble and Nuvango carry my stuff!! I would love to do a lolita dress. I would do the coolest lolita dress!! I would just love to do high fashion too, THAT’s my real dream project. The scarves we just put out are just beautiful. Every year I try to branch out and do something different, so I don’t know. Maybe next year I will actually get to do runway dresses. How cool would that be?
L: It sounds like it’d be pretty cool! I just noticed you did a Sailor Moon piece, and I’m curious as to what you enjoy or gravitate towards personally.
CD: In my personal life, oh man, I am super obsessed with anything supernatural, especially vampires. I wish I was vampire, and like if you ever meet a vampire, let me know. I would so turn to the dark side, which would go against my color palette, but you know, whatever! I love all of that. Vampires, werewolves, ghosts…all of it. I would turn my husband because we said, “Til death do us part.”
L: That is hilarious! Since we are out of time, how do you get yourself in the mood to draw? Do you find yourself inspired and immediately go to put it on paper?
CD: Well, it depends. Usually if I’m on a deadline, I put on audiobooks, like Harry Potter, or Driving Mr. Dead, an awesome vampire book by the way, and I’ll get my latte going. I’ll just start drawing and create.
Rainbow Children and Pop Painting are the latest books of art from Camilla, and are both now available on her website! If you’re local to Los Angeles, her solo show at Corey Helford Gallery opens April 23rd!
After our conversation with Cuban writer Ivan Brandon (Drifter) at New York Comic Con, we felt a push to highlight some more Hispanic comic creators and artists during the last days of Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15- October 15). Check out if your favorite artists made the list below as well as in part 1 and part 2 and be pleased as we were to note that most of them sit at the top of our lists of favorite artists of all time.
This talented Brazilian artist is best known for his work on Blue Beetle and as the co-creator with Scott Snyder of American Vampire, which won the Eisner Award for best new series in 2011.
This Brazilian cartoonist and illustrator is currently working on DC’s adorable Bizarro with Heath Corson. His previous works have been collected and published by Dark Horse.
This openly gay half Irish-half Mexican American artist is known for his LGTBQ advocacy as well as his award-winning tenure in the industry. He is loved for his collaborations with Grant Morrison (New X-Men, The Invisibles) as well as his run on Wonder Woman.
This Puerto Rican artist has been beautifying and sparking controversy in the pages DC comics with his work on Red Hood and the Outlaws and Teen Titans. His work has been consistently unique and gorgeous since his days on Wolverine/Punisher and Madam Mirage.
Inkers never get enough love from comic fans, so we decided to mention this prolific Spanish artist who has worked on both Marvel, DC titles.
In our interview with Ivan Brandon at NYCC, we commiserated on our inability to name any Hispanic colorists. Luckily, Brandon was able to save the day. This Mexican colorist has worked on Marvel titles including The Amazing Spider-Man and World War Hulks.
This legendary Puerto Rican artist defined DC and Marvel comics in the 1970’s and 1980’s in the pages of Teen Titans, Avengers, and Wonder Woman.
This Spanish illustrator and colorist is best known for his lovely work on Batgirl: Year One and The Amazing Spider-Man and Daredevil.
Quick, push us to compose a pt 4 before Hispanic Heritage Month ends on October 15th! Shout out your favorite Hispanic Artists in the comments below.
It’s October, so things are just a little… darker. A little… spookier. A little more creative. And for a quick Artist Spotlight this busy NYCC week, we have just the person to talk to.
CJ Draden, known for his edgy glass paintings of superheroes and live light-box demonstrations has a new debut graphic novel this fall, The Wooden Heart: A Pinocchio Story and new project Atlas he’ll be bringing to this fall/winter convention circuit. We were able to briefly talk to him about his unique craft and a get a glimpse into the story behind his work.
Glass painting is such a unique medium, you certainly don’t hear of too many people doing that. What brought to you to this medium versus other mediums?
CJ: I was traditionally trained in the arts at Ringling College of Art and Design, there I was exposed to traditional media and ways of creating images. What turned me on to glass is somewhat of a philosophical answer. It’s a reflection of myself . There’s a notion of how artists create their work, viewers and artists alike talk about the “feeling” when they see an amazing piece of art or hear a beautiful piece of music. That’s pretty much it.
I wasn’t able to successfully communicate my vision of reality with standard ways of painting and drawing, traditional media. There was this major block from head to hand, everything felt forced. I went back to the drawing board and started building a brand new process and step-by-step kept implementing a technique that felt right. I can say that my journey of building and communicating through my art hasn’t been easy, but if you can visualize… you can manifest. Everything I do is purely based on instinct and not traditional training. I believe that’s the feeling people get when they view my work. Nothing technical, just instinct.
What is it like using this medium for multimedia projects such as for print work for your graphic novel? I’d imagine it’s a bit different.
CJ: I don’t feel art is a matter of trying to fit into a paradigm of projects. It’s more about doing what’s right for you. If it feels right, do it, if it doesn’t feel right, adjust your thought process to make it feel right or project perimeters to make it feel right. When I began writing and illustrating ‘The Wooden Heart,’ I struggled with this because the way I work doesn’t fit the status quo of comics in terms of panels and pages. I was highly critical of myself, and the work I was producing for the book. I had never made a comic or graphic novel before so I didn’t really know what I was doing except that I had a vision for the story and a drive to get it done.
After 4 years of working on it, I was ready to abandon the project. I didn’t feel like it was acceptable. Then I came to understand I needed to apply the same instinct I felt for discovering myself in my glass paintings into finishing ‘The Wooden Heart.’ It’s a major growing pain as an artist, developing the skills to execute to vision you have for creating images and creating stories, but you have to have a vision. If you don’t have a vision then you have no subconscious goal of knowing what you are personally doing that could be better. It’s something that can’t be explained, only felt. Therefore it doesn’t matter how I think my work is going to translate, I have zero control over how people are going to be affected by my work. I’m just a messenger bringing artifacts from a world that exists only to me and placing them in this reality for everyone to see.
Most people are only familiar with Pinocchio as a story from Disney and are unaware the original story is quite a bit more dark and disturbing. What drew you to Pinocchio for adaptation?
CJ: Like all artists, I have experienced my own dark times and struggles. There were probably three primary reasons why I like Pinocchio and decided to write ‘The Wooden Heart.’ The first was that I wanted to deal with my problems in a way that wasn’t as self destructive as the problems I was struggling to overcome at the time. The second was that I never had a father, but I always loved reading stories about men that lost their mind to the notion that they could create a child to love them unconditionally. A father that wanted a son, like Dr. Frankenstein and Gepetto. The third, I generally don’t talk about. I’ll keep that as a personal story for now.
You’re somewhat of a performer too in a way with your live demonstrations. That’s pretty unique in the comic world. Do you consider yourself a performer?
CJ: Absolutely. I love painting live. I love blues music, and play blues guitar as a hobby. I’m too shy to perform as a musician onstage so I guess I get my shyness out as a performer through my live painting demonstrations at the Comic-Cons.
Can you tell us a little more about “Atlas”?
CJ: Well… there’s a lot to tell about Atlas. But I’ll just say this. I mentioned previously that part of the growing pains of an artist is vision execution. After everything I’ve learned from completing ‘The Wooden Heart’ I started building projects that reflected the things in life I love to learn about – philosophy, anthropology and science. This project is just the next step in developing my narrative/artistic skills and goals.
Final question! What’s your dream comic? What characters or team would you love to illustrate?
CJ: Sandman. The Endless be my dream team. No pun intended, haha.
Thanks to CJ for letting us ask some questions. For those going to NYCC this week you can catch him at his both, Booth 519 at The Block to check out his work and live demo!
Have you seen any amazing unconventional artists at conventions or online that deserve a single out artist spotlight or feature? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us at @Sub_Cultured and at @maxlikescomics.
In Charlyne Yi’s (actress, musician and, for brevity’s sake, all around creative) new adult-illustrated story collection, the writer and artist promises to take readers into her tortured mind of daydreamed parables. If this was her aim, then we suggest that Yi delivered. Oh, the Moon unfortunately reads just like it was inspired by barroom prophets and the vampire-hours kept by newly-minted and caffeine-stimulated young adults.
Be honest, is there anything more trepidatious than a friend’s insistence that you just have to listen to the wild dream that he or she had last night? Has the subsequent retelling ever really interested you or did you feign even passingly engaged attention? Is a half-remembered tale of your friend walking down the aisle in a dress made of pigeons that then turned into a pack of howling monkeys before the groom revealed himself to be Bart Simpson a model of good story-telling? It’s possible that I’m just a bad friend. If so, perhaps the sudden non-sequiturs that compose the narratives of Oh, The Moon’s longer stories are perfectly constructed out of transitional and-then-this-happeneds.
However, I’m just going to go ahead and insists that while a twist can be fantastical (especially in fantasy) it still should function as part of a larger story. Even a wrench, like those that form the epically silly journey to the grocer in Neil Gaiman’s Fortunately, The Milk, is framed and grounded in motivation and has a logical beginning and end. In Oh, the Moon, a man sells his soul to the devil for a tall hat, travels to the get it back at the behest of his lady-love, is for some reason led inside of a giant frog, and then dies soulless after getting struck by droplets of bile in the frog’s stomach. Only from the similarities in the artwork is it even clear that from page to page you are reading the same story.This isn’t the case for every entry in the collection, it is but certainly categorical of most of them
The art, however, does deserve some further mentioning. It’s delightful and plentiful. Yi has some real talent and each story is told with a unique style that shows that she has a range that deserves to be comparison to works like Tim Burton’s superb illustrated poetry collection The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories. The art proves that Yi has a future in this strange but wonderful medium of adult-oriented illustration, even if her individual tales fall short of engaging story-telling.
Oh, the Moon by Charlyne Yi releases November 3rd from HarperCollins and is available for pre-order from Amazon, and local book retailers.
By featuring traditional art by Matt Huynh as well as animation, sound effects, music, and video clips, the comic is not only a unique experience but an educational one. It is an example of an internet exclusive medium that needs to be looked at closer and utilized more for storytelling in the digital age. By adding interactive elements not unlike a computer game but still firmly rooted in its illustrative roots, you add additional atmosphere, immersion and context to the piece. A perfect intersection between mediums it allows easy audience (reader) engagement in a highly distractable culture in it’s ability to inform.
For “Artist Spotlight” we were not only able to view and experience this fantastic comic, but were also able to talk to Matt about the project and about his body of work as an artist.
I’m an illustrator and cartoonist from Sydney, but I’ve been living in Brooklyn the past few years. My work draws as much from South-East Asian ink painting as it does the Western superhero comics that I grew up on! I’ve worked across animation, performance, murals, packaging, advertising and editorial, but my first love was comics.
I’d love to do a superhero comic one day. Having that particular genre so saturated in the wider media today allows for greater subversion, particularly with playing in the toybox of existing worlds, characters and conventions. The breadth and possibility for content and voices in comics is much more exciting to me at the moment though.
I noticed while experiencing The Boat and then looking at your work on your website, you state that your style is informed by ink brush painting, or sumi-e and shodo. Where did those influences come from or what brought you to those art forms?
It snuck up on me a little! I grew up in a not-so-devout Buddhist household and although we weren’t very into ritual and ceremony, ink paintings and calligraphy were part of the hodgepodge household decor which I mostly ignored because I was immersed in Western comics as a kid. I taught myself how to draw by following the direction and weight of brush strokes across the pages of superhero comics. I grew up with a little bit of the stereotypical first generation parents’ emphasis upon academics and intellectual achievement, so when I started my little rebellious exploration of art and spirituality, I was introduced to the ideas of dharma art and brush art as meditative practice in local monasteries.
What do you enjoy doing most with your art?
There are ideas about putting ink onto the page as a joining of heaven (the blank page as a sea of expansive possibility or ‘ma’), earth (inspiration or thought) and human (the act). In other words, to be open, consciously and intellectually engaged, and physically energized and connected to making the work. Every stage is really integral and healthy to encourage other. Just physically keeping my drawing hand moving and my eye exercising keeps me out of my head enough to be open to discovering the unexpected. It helps to think through an idea on the page with the medium itself rather than coming up with an idea abstractly in my head about a hypothetical visual and trying to adapt it into physical ink on the page. Ultimately, pulling a brush balanced with ink is simply very sensually satisfying in the most direct way. It’s just animal hair, pulp, carbon and water!
SBS contacted me about adapting Nam Le’s story into an interactive comic. I usually don’t work from other people’s source material because comics can be such a laborious and engaging task, especially with such harrowing material. However, the content, artistry, influences, resources and collaborators enthusiastic to work on a comic that was progressive and innovative was a big incentive for me. Nam Le is an astute writer dealing with themes and a moment in history I am very personally engaged in, and working with the team at SBS offered a chance to work with top notch sound design, animation, production, archival footage and programming to take the presentation of comics online to a new level.Australia is also enforcing abhorrent and regressive asylum seeker and boat people policies that has made clear to me, and my peers, how lucky my parent’s generation were to have a government with a comparatively open hearted, empathetic and compassionate policy. It is urgent to bring stories of some of the most vulnerable people and characters back into a debate that is being told by big media outlets and political pr spin from a world away.
The leadership role of an artist is to be fearless. There’s overt censorship and then there’s the more insidious, subtle pressures that erode the confidence of young artists wishing to engage in humanitarian, activist and political issues. If an artist is worried about paying rent, they’re going to find it difficult to take a risk, speak out, or just draw attention to themselves. I would love to see more young artists and students represent their own stories and experiences in their work, including their client work. A lot of mainstream media feels regrettably forgettable and impersonal, the most obvious example being the lack of diverse roles and stories. I would loathe to think that myself as a daydreaming young aspiring artist, would grow up, finally become an artist, be in a position to communicate and work with a bigger megaphone, only to be afraid to speak up and show myself.
I’m very engaged with the act of making the work to transform myself, whether it is overtly investigating my personal history, looking at experiences from different angles, investigating and teaching myself more about communities or connecting with others by telling their stories to new audiences. Hopefully the artefact or evidence of that process is transformative for audiences too!Despite my best efforts, it’s difficult for me to depart from recurring themes of identity – particularly migration, abandonment, rebuilding, inexplicable loss and absence, race and power. These same ideas run under all my stories and art, whether they’re historical recounts or Gothic fiction, but working in different modes lets me grapple with these themes from new perspectives.For example, I did a comic about my parent’s time in a Malaysian refugee camp. Their recounts were always cursory and romanticized, making it difficult to look directly and objectively at a part of history they’ve long left in the past and aren’t eager to revisit, but it let me empathize with them, not least as a very young couple in love and learning to raise a family in extraordinary circumstances.Then I The Boat based on Nam Le’s short story. Having the benefit of another writer’s research and experience into the same moment in history and involving the same locations and even character types, let me look much more directly at a very personal part of my family’s identity with the benefit of being remove with ‘fiction’.
Would you like to do more interactive comics of this nature in the future?
I’d love to explore more with interactive comics, particularly with an original work created specifically for the digital space and this particular medium.The Boat presented such a huge challenge. It is already enough of a dilemma to adapt source material into the comics medium, but on top of that we had to research and design a new online presentation for comics from scratch, and then introduced disciplines beyond comics into the presentation – footage, animation and sound design. This project gave me a chance to explore the greatest boundaries of interactive and then make some choices about how to tell this one, particular story, but there are so many opportunities for story telling left on the table. We didn’t even use color!The opportunity to make work specifically designed for interactive comics itself, and free from source material, whether that’s history or an adaptation from another medium, would expand the possibilities for what a creator could do with interactive comics.I also toy with the idea of another adaptation, to make a work that is more about the transformation of the work itself. Where the point of the adaptation itself is its departure and possibility for change, rather than its similarities which can come across as a bit of a cerebral, tick-box exercise.
I’m currently working on some animation for rock concert projection, illustrating a short story collection, and putting together posters and projection for an arts festival! An exhibition and more writing is further down the pipeline, always being chipped away at.
Thank you to Matt Hyugh for taking the time to answer our questions. It was a huge honor.
Graphic novels and comics are a mainstay here at Sub-C, and we are always looking for the best, most interesting titles to read. Nobrow Press out of Shoreditch, London has, over the years, proved to be one of the best sources for compelling alternative titles and art in both their main line and children’s imprint, Flying Eye Books. We always are excited to see what new projects they have to offer each year and this year is no exception!
There are two fantastic new offerings this summer which are worth your time to check out, and have earned their spots on Sub-Cultured #Goodbooks list: The Spectators, from Victor Hussenot, and Fantasy Sports by Sam Bosma. Both are eye-catching in their own ways and perfect books for two different lovers of comics and illustration.
The Spectators is a bonafide graphic novel, the first English language publication for the French writer and artist Victor Hussenot, who already has three graphic novels to his name in French. The Spectators is, as clued by its name, is all about spectators: about observation, memory, perception and self reflection. Moody but colorful geometric artwork is paired with sparse introspective ruminations about personal recollection and city life.
While the text and book as a whole may not be for everyone due to its level of abstraction, familiar sentiments about human nature make this book relatable enough to keep it from being too obtuse for most introspective readers. You don’t have to be a city dweller either to understand or fully appreciate it, those same elements keep it afloat outside of city life just fine.
What really shines is Hussenot’s use of color. Stylized palettes of particularly blues and purples with shots of red and orange, or strong combinations of primary colors dominate. The striking combos flatter the soft watercolor or gauche artwork. Overall the entire piece is reflective on the transient nature of people and life, but it’s not without its whimsy. The narrator shifts from person to person and takes identities off like a pair of boots or unzips them entirely like a costume. The transference of character is compelling to follow and well worth a read. Great for a quiet night.
Fantasy Sports by Sam Bosma meanwhile, is a starkly different comic with a more friendly all-ages feel. Nobrow’s new edition of this fun fantasy-sports (no pun intended) romp is an expanded and hardbound version of a self published comic
now spruced up in full color.
The one-shot opens with a young mage, Wiz, late to an appointment at the The United and Ancient Order of Mages with the Archmage, where she seeks out a reassignment on her current internship. Turns out her partner, the burly raider, Mug,
The strange marriage between sports manga and magic-dungeon-crawling-treasure-hunters form a fun theme for the series. The title’s #1 indicates a future for further adventures (and we hope so!). It’s important to note that Wiz, the lead, is not only a girl, but also a character of color. Both identities are sorely needed in the comic world (which is getting more and more diverse) and thus her presence is extremely welcomed.
Style wise Bosma has a pleasing, dynamic “post-anime invasion” aesthetic that combines heavy Studio Ghibli influence with western artists like Herge and Jean Giraud through a Bryan Lee O’Malley Scott Pilgrim lens. Energetic coloring is a main draw, it was fun to see the color theme shift from page to page. Visually, it looks like it would adapt well to animation too, and we think it would be more than home alongside Cartoon Network cartoons such as Steven Universe (which means a lot to us) or beside an online series like Bee And Puppycat. This first adventure is more than enough for a solid pilot too (Hey CN call Bosma! We think you probably want him). We can’t wait to see more of this one.
See you guys in August for more #Goodbooks!
Got any #goodbooks we should know about? Tweet your #goodbooks to us on our twitter; @sub-cultured or at my twitter, @maxlikescomics!