I recently interviewed Gwynn Tavares, the amazing artist who drew the cover of Time Sailors. Hope you enjoy getting to know her more!
Thank you for doing this interview with me! You drew the beautiful cover for my new book Time Sailors and I thought I would let the readers get to know the person behind the art.
1. How long have you been drawing?
Forever. Actually, I just came across some little kid letters from when I was in elementary school, there must have been a writing assignment where you had to write a short letter to all the other kids in your class. Everyone of them said I was an amazing artist... they also said I was really good at P.E. So, I'm not sure how trustworthy those letters are.
2. Did you go to college for drawing?
I did, though it was a pretty hard internal debate. I started out just doing apprenticeships with some really great artists because it was hard to find a school that taught traditional art. I wanted the school I went to, to be hard. Impossibly hard and over demanding in a technical way. I finally found it and I am grateful I went there but their 5% graduation rate was apparently based on the overly expensive tuition and not their overly challenging classes.
3. You have several published comic books under your belt. What is your favorite genre to draw?
That is a rough question. Man, I love whatever genre I am drawing when I am drawing it. I love horror though it really messes me up emotionally drawing drawing suicide scenes and war and other things that really focus on the human condition. When I draw characters even if their moment in the comic book is just a brief panel I like to really figure out who they were. No one is really just a nobody so when I draw a character I want them to have a history, to be real, that's what makes horror so emotionally taxing to draw. I also draw science fiction and fantasy. I guess if I were to really shut up and pick one I would have to say comedy. I think it is peoples reactions that really guides that decision. Unfortunately, my comedy is the rarest at this moment, I kind of just post those to Facebook.
4. Any new work coming up the readers should check out?
Yes! I have something of my own that I am working on, its top secret right now 'cus it is still in the baby stages and I don’t want to jeopardize it, but, if you go onto my Patreon you can find it along with a bunch of my non-work related art and sneak peaks to the next issue of Amelia Sky. Amelia Sky, a horror sci/fi, will be getting drawn this fall along with another issue of Boston Metaphysical Society, a Steampunk detective mystery. They both drop at the same time so I will be drawing my brains out.
(Note from Shelli. Find Amelia Sky here!)
5. What are your top 5 science fiction graphic novels?
This is where I become a bad comic book artist. I dont get around to much comic reading especially of late. Maglev and Origin House both drawn by Adam Cahoon is the some of the greatest stuff I have come across, his artwork is insane think Calvin and Hobbs' Spaceman Spiff panels. Cahoon is perfection when it comes to colors and storytelling and he is just getting started.
6. Perfect sandwich?
Its all about the bread, you can put anything between two slices of amazing bread and it will be awesome. But right now its some sort of funky cheese with fig jam and arugula.
7. How do you get over writers block?
This is the true work of being an artist. Busting out stuff people can enjoy is one thing but conquering procrastination and blocks are where the real fight is. Basically, what I do is whenever I think about working I sit down for two minutes right then and there and start working. I drop everything and sit down in front of the computer and put in time. Also, fear of disappointing my writers and readers really helps.
8. What does your ideal work station look like?
Now that I am all digital everything has to be ergonomic. Putting in 10-14 hour days can be brutal on your body in just a few weeks.
9. What do you use to draw? Pencil and ink? Or a tablet?
I have a big beautiful tablet. Its the best thing I have ever gotten. The important things about comic books is drawing fast and drawing well. This thing is the hero of my story as an artist, there is no time spent washing brushes or going to art stores to plunk down tons of cash. Its just here, always ready to work as hard as I do.
10. Where can the readers find more information about you online?
Patreon at Gwynn Tavares. Also, Artstation will have some finished work on it that isn't “top secret” and available for all to see for free and, of course, Instagram.
My first book, Time Sailors, is now up for pre-order! Books will ship in October! Get signed up at my author mailing list to stay abreast of possible giveaways and author meet and greet events!
Pre-order your copy here:
I thought a little about me blog was in order and have collected some questions from some of you, intrepid readers. Enjoy!
1. How long have you been writing?
About 4 years, not including all the writing I did while in school. I wrote Time Sailors originally as a short story and some housemates encouraged me to expand on it.
2. What's your favorite subject matter or genre?
Science fiction is my main focus. It feels friendly and comfortable to me and I enjoy speculating on how the future of technology will unfold. I also enjoy writing stories with some scary or horror elements. Writing about non-blood related families and how we as humans form those bonds with each other is also an interest of mine.
3. Do you ever use your own personal experiences as an inspiration?
A bit. Time Sailors in part got inspired by the year and a half I lived at a backpackers hostel. It's a very surreal experience, with a constantly rotating group of people moving in and out. Different languages and backgrounds provide a weird mesh of lived experiences but somehow everyone still tends to end up as friends in that environment.
4. What inspired you to write Time Sailors?
The first Halloween I was at the hostel I dressed up as a generic time traveler. The character of Virginia has the look of that costume. I thought a time traveler with an abundance of wrist watches was a very funny visual that I hadn't seen before, so I decided to write a story about character with the look. The book grew organically from there.
5. What made you want to start writing?
It was a whim honestly. I was bored and wrote a chapter. I enjoyed the process and continued. Writing feels like a good creative outlet for me. I don't need much to do it, just my laptop or a pen and paper and my brain. Maybe a cup of tea as well.
6. Why would you choose to put yourself through this torture and are you a masochist? Maybe I'm crazy but I actually enjoy writing. I do hate correcting my spelling, I'm an atrocious speller and sometimes the spelling feature on my computer can't figure out what I'm trying to write. But on some level I think all artistic people are a tiny bit masochistic at least.
7. Describe your perfect sandwich.
Sourdough bread, cheddar and feta cheese, avocado, leafy greens, dill pickles, mustard, teriyaki tofu.
8. How did you keep going when you didn't feel like it?
Timers. I like to set timers when I'm not in the mood to write, it helps me focus. And having a good playlist to listen to while writing.
9. Did you combat impostor syndrome & if yes, how?
Still combating it! Actually I feel it a lot in life in general. I'm a performer as well and constantly second guessing myself. I think it's a pretty normal, healthy feeling for one to have. One of the best ways I have of ignoring that annoying voice telling me I'm not good enough or don't deserve it is to remind myself that getting jobs isn't pity praise. If you've been hired for a show or had a book signed, it means the person in charge likes what you create.
10. Do you think writers see the world differently? How does that apply to you?
Probably. But then everyone sees the world differently than everyone else. Maybe writers have a particular type of observational sense? I do often look at people, the way they dress or talk, and think about what kind of story they would fit into. I've always got my eye out for interesting names. And I love hearing people talk about their different lived experiences, which I think in turn helps me to write from different perspectives.
That's all for now readers!