DPH asked Anna Giovannini to answer questions about what triggered her passion and persistence to become the talented artist she is today.
1. Where did you go to art school?
I majored in Visual Arts and History of Art and Architecture in Brown University, Rhode Island, mostly for general fine art training. After graduation, I took specialized courses in Animation and Comics at the Quanta School of Art (in São Paulo, Brazil) and at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York City for a few months.
2. What got you interested in art?
I started watching cartoons and 90’s Anime when I was little, and loved to try and re-draw the characters and produce something. I felt happy when I was able to create something of my own, even if the art itself still had a long way to go, and what pushed me to pursue making comics further was during my first New York ComicCon, when I first saw an Artist Alley. I’ve liked producing art since childhood and during college, but was unsure if I would be able to make it as a professional; however, after trying out other things and seeing the hard work of other artists, I decided to give it a try and jump in.
3. Who inspires you?
Other artists and creators, works I like and admire, and the support of family, friends and the public, no matter how few. I’ve started with manga artists I had access to at the bookstores when I was in middle school, then online artists, and finally teachers, other professionals and everyone who’s been cheering me up ever since I started this.
A few names I go for when looking for inspiration in order to produce are Juanjo Guarnido, Todd Lockwood, Aaron Blaise, Glen Keane, Rei Hiroe, Hayao Miyazaki, Shilin Huang, Tracy Butler, and many others. I also love to see video game and movies concept art such as from the Last of Us, Silent Hill, the Fate Series (Fate/Grand Order, Fate/Prototype, etc), Persona 4 and 5, Beauty and the Beast, Howl’s Moving Castle, Wolf Children, and all that good stuff!
4. Do you have a favorite ComicCon that you participate in?
So far, it has been the Rhode Island ComicCon, San Diego ComicCon (with Kymera Press), and the ComicCon Experience in São Paulo, Brazil. I also liked taking part in the East Coast ComicCon and the Hudson Valley ComicCon. I have a few coming up such as Baltimore ComicCon and I’m sure I’ll enjoy them as well, though!
5. Are you self-taught or school-taught?
I’ve been school taught in college for fine arts in general (photography, oil painting, drawing), but started drawing comics as a self-taught artist in that field to later take more specific courses in comics, digital art, and animation. I still feel I lack a lot of things though, so I am always looking for tutorials and trying out new stuff whenever I can.
6. What is your passion?
To tell stories and build characters through images. That is what compels me to keep on producing comic pages one after the other; there are few things as satisfying as not only seeing the finished products of months of hard work, but also seeing the story and characters take a more physical shape than what’s in one’s head. I get attached to good storytelling and good, believable characters, and that is what I want to put out there; seeing characters leave the mind of only the author and become able to live in the pages and minds of people who acquire the books.
7. What is your medium?
Mostly digital (Photoshop) for the sake of practicality, but using brushes that imitate traditional mediums (suck as pencils, inks, oil brushes, etc). But I do love to practice with real pencils, watercolor and ink every once in a while when time allows!
8. What do you try to convey with your artwork?
I want to make the characters I draw believable and relatable through their expressions, personalities and views. My wish is that these characters and stories gain the strength to exist by themselves once they reach their public, so that they may live in the memories of people who read about them without depending too much on what exists only in the artist’s head. When I draw for other authors, I want to do my best and convey the idea they have, adding my own thoughts about expressions and movement. For my own work, I want to convey their traits, personalities and life experiences, although fictional, as best as I can. I am also very into historical romances, so most times I want to make the general context believable and accurate.
9. Do you have a story or background?
In a personal sense, my first time trying to make a comic was when I was very young and had a small group of friends who decided to, together, make a comic out of normal A4 paper sheets folded in the middle. It was the first people I knew who had an interest in drawing right at the beginning of middle school, and it was one of them who told me about the first drawing school I ever attended – it was a small studio in a tiny alley with one teacher, one computer, and a few crammed-up drawing tables of which I have fond memories of.
If we’re speaking of a project for a story, I do have a historical war comic I want to finish writing and make it into a full-sized comic someday. The background is Europe between the 1920s and 1950s and characters ranging from a few different places; the project itself is a few years old, but it’s one I hold dearly.
10. What do you like/dislike about the art world?
What I like is the companionship between artists and the ability to make friends while visiting or selling at Artist Alleys. I’ve only managed to start doing what I do thanks to the help and support of friends and colleagues (huge shout out to Joe Prado, who always comes by our table at the ComicCon Experience Artist Alley to check if all’s OK, for all his help and for putting together the first Artist Alley in South America. And to Felipe Watanabe, a former teacher who’s always encouraging students to move forward, and also helped us a lot at our first show – we’d never have done it without you!). It also makes conventions fun to be able to meet new table neighbors, new people, and just being able to speak with artists even when we’re just visiting a show. All the people I’ve met and spoken to so far were extremely welcoming and nice, and that’s what drives me to continue doing this.
With that being said, there are always exceptions, especially online. I very much dislike the fights caused by different views and opinions, and the nasty attitude some people have towards fellow artists who don’t think exactly the same way as they do. What makes the art world so rich is that people have different ways of seeing the world. I believe art might wither if everyone wants to convey the exact same things with the same thoughts, opinions and interests. History shows that trying to limit art to a single point of view can be dangerous, and I believe it needs a fertile, varied and creative ground to flourish.
11. Why art?
Because making something new and seeing ideas take physical shape bring me joy. I like being productive and making something new, never seen before, and just getting something abstract out of my head and seeing it in front of my eyes. I like to see stories take completion little by little and reach the public, to make something that makes people explore a whole new world within the pages, like I felt when I was younger reading through my older comics. It’s like going to a new place just by seeing something new, ludic, and that makes the mind wander. It’s an expression of self that also reaches other people and might bring them good feelings. That’s what I particularly love about art, and what I want to be able to convey.
12. How much of an understanding do you have about printing?
I’ve worked as a photography lab monitor during my College years, so I know how to set up photo files, color balances, printing profiles, handle large format inkjet printers and all those chemicals in traditional photography as well. However, all I know about printing books (such as bleeds, margins, spines and all that stuff) I had to learn by trying and just doing it; now I can set up books and print files properly, although I still make mistakes and a lot of it is still a learning process.
13. What is your dream project?
I have that one historical war romance in the writing that I really want to, someday, try to finish it as a book and make it into a comic. Because it’s a personal, independent project, I haven’t been able to focus on the whole research and taking some time off to push it forward, since I want the whole context to be as accurate as possible and explore all the possibilities it gives the characters, but I do want to start out with a smaller, related project that takes place in 1920’s Japan. I love to research about history and different cultures, so although it takes a long of time, I plan to go forward!
14. What is your goal?
My practical goal is to be able to make enough of a living through publishing and drawing comics in order to not worry about general life expenses and be able to buy something nice here and there, and maybe travel once a year or so; I like seeing new places and it also inspires me to produce. My goal as an artist is to be able to make all my personal projects real, to have my characters and their stories known to the public and live within people’s memories, and, of course, be able to travel around for more shows, get to meet more and more artists and comic readers and find new goals!
15. Who are your idols and who do you look up to in the art world?
Juanjo Guarnido, Todd Lockwood, Joe Prado, Aaron Blaise, Glen Keane, Felipe Watanabe, Rei Hiroe, Hayao Miyazaki, Mika Takahashi, Shilin Huang, Tracy Butler, Ig Guara, Orpheelin, Fuwa, Qinni, Masahiro Ito, Imai Kira, Laica Chrose, and that’s just naming a few!
The Bio on Anna Giovannini
Born in South America, Anna graduated in Visual Arts from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island and currently works from New Jersey, as a comic artist and free lance illustrator. Ever since she was little, she has been drawing characters from her childhood until a few years back, when she joined with author and friend Fran Briggs and started self-publishing at the same time that she joined an artist agency. Anna is the penciller for the title ‘Pet Noir’ by Kymera Press in Nevada, and also published the on-going title ‘Mercenarie$’ and ‘Anima’ along with Fran Briggs through Jambô Editora in Brazil, and her own small publisher Immagina Press in the United States, among other smaller works.
Working mostly with digital media, she expects to be collaborating with other overseas artists in the near future through Immagina Press, and has a few personal projects for the near future.
Anna’s upcoming 2017 schedule!
• San Diego Comiccon (June 20-23rd) in San Diego, CA at Kymera Press’ Small Press Table
• Roccon (September 15-17th) in Rochester, NY
• Baltimore Comiccon (September 22-24th) in Baltimore, MD
Anna is also waiting on a few confirmations for August in October. She’ll also be in the 2017 ComicCon Experience in São Paulo, Brazil with her author.