A Toast to Sorah Suhng
This may be the most excited I’ve ever been intro-ing a post. Not just because Katie and I met Sorah Suhng at Fan Expo Dallas a few weeks ago and now have a new friend, but because this is the introductory post in what we hope will be a regular series.
For a while now, we’ve wanted to feature awesome geeky women (and men) from today and history that have inspired us or that we have learned something from. Today, we are finally doing just that. Our Q&A with Sorah is the first in our #TipsyToast series. Our hope is that we can let the world know about the awesome people that are making waves and kicking ass (or have done so in the past)!
Obligatory: What or who made you want to be an artist?
This is kind of a convoluted answer for a normally simple question. Immediately, I want to say my mother, because she’s an artist herself, but I never wanted to make it into a career until I was out of my teens. I was playing a video game called City of Heroes/Villains and I began to draw my characters for fun, then people asked if I could draw their characters and they paid me. I thought it was cool, but I still didn’t think of making it my career. The game at the time had a comic book that was being published by Top Cow and so inevitably, I was lead to their website in which I discovered the beautiful artwork of Michael Turner and Marc Silvestri. I just remember staring at their covers and pages and thinking, “I want to draw like that.” I grew out of trying to mimic that stylization a few years into my career, but I still strive for their artistry.
What formal training do you have, if any, or are you self taught?
I have no “formal” training, but I did have a couple of mentors during my very early years who taught me the ropes, the most direct one being Bob Layton. I spent a couple of years as an art assistant and then moved on tentatively on my own.
How did you get into comics?
I had previously read a bunch of comics, primarily Marvel, because my older sister and brother were both huge nerds (I say that with nothing but affection!). During my more formative childhood years I was addicted to the X-men cartoon show, in fact the opening theme to that has on and off been my ringtone’s staple tone. I developed a deep love of comics and science fiction. But in terms of the work itself, it’s SUPER cliché how I got into comics. I was 20, and just broken up with my first long time boyfriend, moved out, and was intending to go back to University but I missed the Fall matriculation. I decided I didn’t want to hang around the house doing nothing, so I got a job at Starbucks where my ex-mentor Bob used to frequent. I didn’t even know who he was until my manager told me he was some “comic book guy”. I had to google him, it was tragic! Anyway, so I tried to build the nerve to talk to him for a month and upon failing that miserably, god bless my manager, because she broke the ice for me and after a couple of portfolio reviews and meetings, he decided to bring me on as his art assistant. So I worked with him while taking classes that Spring. The rest is history – there, now we can end that cliché ON a cliché!
Who is your favorite comic book character (personally, not necessarily to draw)?
Mainstream wise, I would say Captain America, hands down. I prefer him over any other character, male or female, simply due to the goodness and authenticity in which he lives and stands for. As I’ve grown both personally and creatively, I’ve definitely steered further away from anti-heroes and bad boys/girls. Now I have a deep appreciation for complex, values-driven heroes who risk it all because it’s the right thing to do. But if we aren’t going mainstream, then it’d have to be my and writer Ryan O’Sullivan’s creations we made back when we were freshmen in college and who my more hardcore, old-school fans will appreciate: Karnal Sin and Xanatos. I’m a sucker for love stories and their’s is one of my favorites. More on that to come within the next couple of years!
Which character would you say you get the most commission requests for?
Normally, it was a lot of random properties across the mainstream spectrum. A Black Widow here, a Batman there. But ever since I drew a Harley Quinn a year ago, it’s been non-stop Harley requests. She’s immensely popular, and I love drawing her because I love drawing crazy.
Marvel or DC? And, why?
I cut my teeth at Marvel on Iron Man, and I was mentored primarily by a Marvel artist, and as said I grew up loving the X-men universe, so I know I have a penchant for Marvel. I’ve always liked how the majority of Marvel is science fiction based, versus outright fantasy, and I’m a massive sci-fi nerd, so it jams with me easily. With that said, I do like DC Comics, I’ve just had less exposure to them “behind the scenes”. AND, one of my all time favorite characters is Catwoman, probably only bested by Captain America, so my adoration of superheroes and their universes is globally accepting. Hell, I ended up reading a LOT of Valiant comics from the 90s and I love their superhero universe too. I just like superheroes, let’s be honest.
Who is your ultimate superhero (or super-villain) crush?
Captain America. I was literally seduced via wholesomeness with him. And understand, I’m not talking Chris Evans. I quite literally mean Captain America, Steve Rogers, boy from Brooklyn. It’s crazy because I’m not even that into blondes – my normal M.O. would be the “very tall, dark and handsome” types. But Steve’s genuineness is something I appreciate in a world where everyone is putting up fronts to who they are, fictional or otherwise. That man is loyal to a fault, constantly encouraging others around him to be better, pushes himself, and is rocking the best butt at Marvel (I got to specify universes, because I think Dick Grayson just perked up ready to be offended…but THAT is a championship title I’d pay to watch hahaha).
From Michelle – Do you also ship Captain America and Black Widow, because I thought I was alone and then I saw a drawing of them together on your site?
Yes. Yas. YAS. You are not alone. CapTasha, The Spy and the Soldier, Romangers – whatever you want to call them, is not just my ship, but my FLAGSHIP. I completely blame the movies on this one too – I was pretty neutral in terms of the romantic entanglements of the Avengers until I saw Captain America: Winter Soldier. The chemistry between Evans/Rogers and Johansson/Widow is palpable. Her worldliness against his innocence is an amazing contrast and they philosophically differ enough to make them an interesting couple to watch. Likewise, for one of the first women in the MCU, I was 100% behind them hooking her up with someone who actually respects her and treats her as an equal. In a world where Natasha can’t trust anyone, she can always trust Steve – and trust is a sexy, sexy foundation for any romance. I hold hope for the ship in the MCU, but whatever, I’ll take the cartoons and baby James if I can’t have it in the films!
What is your all time favorite fandom?
This is going to sound super ridiculous, but actually it’s my “own”. Of the characters I mentioned earlier, Karnal Sin and Xanatos, the fandom that we worked with was great because of the level of interaction. Creators mingled with the fans, but the fans were also creators in their own right with their own characters, so we were fans of the fans who were also creators! It was years ago and the fandom has since long gone, but when it was happening, it was magical because we got so mutually invested (fans and creators to creators and fans) that I don’t know if I’ll ever experience something like that ever again.
If you could tell your 15 year old self one thing, what would you say?
You should be drawing and writing more – put the phone down and get to work. (These days, when parents come up to me with their little kids, I tell them to draw every day, no matter what, even if they are sick, they should try to doodle. If they do that, they’ll be ahead of the game of everyone. And that their teenage years will be the hardest to draw through. I know it was for me!)
Favorite drink to order at happy hour?
Dirty Belvedere Vodka Martini…then immediately I switch to Pinot Grigio after the first martini.
If you could only celebrate one holiday for the rest of your life, which holiday would you choose? Why?
Thanksgiving. It’s all about family and friends and it’s not been commercialized to hell and beyond. I grew up in the military overseas, always separated from family and to this day my family is scattered (I maybe get to see my parents once a year because they are in Korea). So the idea of family is important to me and in my experience, I’ve developed brothers and sisters not of my blood that I wouldn’t trade for the world.
What would you title your autobiography?
“Beefcake Bakery: A Retrospective.”
How many days do you think you’d survive after a zombie apocalypse?
I can go days without food, so I think quite a while actually. I also have a bug out bag for most emergencies (I used to live in Florida, so having a Hurricane-Ready supply bag was important). So long as I can get my hands on a legitimate weapon, I should be okay. But to be honest, I HATE running, soooo then again maybe not. I’d only be good so long as I had transportation! HA!
What is your actual favorite movie, not the one you tell people to sound like you have a great taste in film?
Oh I’m shameless with my taste in films, but I don’t really have an absolute favorite I have like a top three depending on my mood: Moulin Rouge, Captain America: Winter Solider, Secretary. Interpret that as you will.
What cartoon character do you most identify with, and why?
Tina Belcher. Because I am a strong, sensual woman who has experienced unrequited love, and I am super into men rocking some great glutes.
What is your favorite board game?
I’m not that into board games – but I LOVE Cards Against Humanity (great way to get to know people in a fun manner) and card games. My manager Brett and I are constantly playing card games on our flights to conventions haha.
Board Games or Video games? Why?
Video games – because I’m 100% about immersion. And I can tell you, with a good game, and good people, you can play for an insane amount of time (safely!). One time, when I was 19, I played the game I was on for 16 hours straight. Oh to be in college again! But really, that means you are so engaged in the creative world presented to you that you can lose yourself in it. That’s just impressive.
What is your favorite crayon color?
Hahahaha, purple. I would say red, because that’s my favorite color, but purple as a coloring tool is just amazing, especially on skin.
Library of Congress or Dewey Decimal?
WAT? I suppose Library of Congress? Isn’t the Dewey Decimal system obsolete now?
Where you can fin Sorah and her awesome work! What are you waiting for, go follow her!
If you are interested in purchasing Sorah’s art you can contact her or her manager directly via her Facebook art page or the email interface on my website.
Cheers Sorah! Thanks for letting us pick your brain!