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Anthea Wright talks Drawing Comics & Tabletop Games
Wear It Purple Day is a fantastic Not For Profit Initiative that promotes inclusion and awareness around sexuality and gender equality, specifically amongst LGBTQIA+ Australians. In celebration of Wear It Purple Day, I spoke with LBGQIA+ Comic Book Artist, Anthea Wright, about working on Comics, Tabletop Games and her advice on Work/Life balance.
I hope you enjoy reading this interview as much as I did talking with Anthea.
Anthony Pollock: Thank you for taking the time to chat with me this week. Please tell the readers a bit about yourself and the work you do.
Anthea Wright: I’m a freelance illustrator based in Adelaide, South Australia. I have done work on a large variety of projects from comics, tabletop games, animation and illustration. I’m pansexual and polyamorous. I live with my two partners and we are raising our 1 year old. I’m massively into dungeons and dragons.
Anthony Pollock: When did you start getting into comics?
Anthea Wright: As a reader when I started university. I always liked the idea but had no idea where to start. Then i got given The Sandman and it was downhill from there. As an illustrator it wasn’t long after that I start working with a few independent writers on how to turn their scripts into comics.
Anthony Pollock: As an LGBTQIA+ creator, what are your biggest obstacles when it comes to your work? How do you overcome them?
Anthea Wright: So far I’ve not hit too many but (then, sic) I’ve also only worked with small companies and independent clients who have been open to my own interpretation of content. I try to be mindful to include or suggest content that can be more diverse where I can to my clients. But sometimes that’s not the story they have in mind. I’ve been lucky that they usually are interested in this.
Anthony Pollock: Can you walk us through your Comic Book creative process? How has it changed since you first started?
Andrea Wright: Generally i am sketching out a thumbnail of a page based on the script and how many panels is required to make sure it can flow. Then i polished up the sketch, ink the lines. Block in flat colours and then go over for a final detail pass on painting.
I’ve learnt a lot about how to spend less time on certain elements that clutters a frame and focus more on key features. Colour is hard as i wanna put so much in but in the end its counter-productive so i try to simplify. I do all this in photoshop.
Anthony Pollock: Wear It Purple Day is a day that for sexual inclusivity and positivity, however, it hasn’t always been this way. What are some of your insights as an LGBTQIA+ creator?
Do you feel we’re on the right track?
Andrea Wright: I love how Wear It Purple Day tries to raise awareness for queer youth and the risks they face with mental health issues and suicide due to marginalisation. I think the more we as a community celebrate, discuss and support our queer people and especially our queer kids the more it becomes normalised.
I think we are on the right track. Id love to see more stories that have queer narrative. Its something id like to contribute to.
Anthony Pollock: How would you describe your work to those unfamiliar with you and with comic books as a whole?
Andrea Wright: My work is primarily digital painting (using Photoshop and a Wacom tablet) I do a lot of bright coloured fantasy character driven work. The comics I’ve been involved in generally exist in a realm of fairies, steampunk or other fantasy themes. I particularly love with comics the art of telling a progressive story through panels as they change frame, mood, pace. Its movies in book form.
Anthony Pollock: Many of us creators work on projects outside of our 9-5 jobs. Do you have any advice for balancing careers with passion projects/side hustles?
Andrea Wright: This has been the story of my life! The biggest advice I have is don’t be ashamed of it! I struggled a lot. I felt like I had to make it work full time or I hadn’t ‘made’ it. But my other job takes so much pressure off to cover the bills that i can pick and choose the work i really love to do and put the most in.
Also, PLEASE do the basics. Walk, sleep, eat. Its not worth it to miss those things, it doesn’t make you more productive. And lastly, follow your curiosity. Create what is interesting to you. I still struggle with this worrying people won’t like what i wanna do. The audience will find you.
Anthony Pollock: Do you feel the Australian Comic Book Industry needs an inclusivity day like Wear It Purple?
Andrea Wright: Yeah! I think that would be cool. I mean it doesn’t have to be ‘a day’ but some kind of event highlighting a variety of minorities within comics would be wonderful. A chance to let those voice get a spotlight and encourage others that its not just a straight white world. Queer/POC can exist here.
Anthony Pollock: Do you have any upcoming events/projects/releases you would like to discuss?
Andrea Wright: I do! Its not a comic but my work is currently a part of a really cool tabletop boardgame on kickstarter right now called “Werewolf of Rivers End.” If people could check it out and back it if it interests them that would be awesome! I put a lot of love into the art there.
Otherwise I’m hoping to take some time to work on an autobiographic comic about my queer parenting experience but that’s still very much a ‘mind baby’ that’s been brewing for a long time
Anthony Pollock: Thank you for taking the time to do this! Where can readers find you and your work?