A Toast to Emily Rose
Who is surprised that we are back for the third week with a Tipsy Toast? Yeah, us too! We are loving this opportunity to feature awesome, inspiring women! This week we are super excited to share a Q&A with artist Emily Rose.
We didn’t get a chance to talk to Emily much at Fan Expo Dallas, but Katie and I were both immediately drawn to her art. So, naturally we emailed her post-con to see if we could feature her on the blog. Fortunately for us (and you) she said yes!
Obligatory: What or who made you want to be an artist?
Growing up, my grandmother used to paint and my mother was an illustrator, so I guess it just always felt natural to me to be creating. Grandma Bernie painted a lot of landscapes and my mom used to work doing scientific illustration and was an avid photographer. She had (and still has) this giant skull collection in our living room, and I loved all her super realistic pen drawings of them and of animals. Both my parents always encouraged me to be super creative – I think there’s a brick or paving stone somewhere that my dad donated and on it he had written “Paint, Emily, Paint!”
I’d say there were two big influences outside of family. The first was books. I read SO MANY books! Science fiction and fantasy were my favorites and whenever there were book reports due at school, that was my time to shine! I loved drawing my own illustrations for all the worlds I read about and daydreamed about being a cover artist. The second influence was videogames, and as a byproduct, anime. For a while there my ultimate goal in life was to learn Japanese, move to Japan, and work for Squaresoft making the next Final Fantasy game. So I started watching anime because I figured that’s how I could learn Japanese. I used to draw Shinji Ikari from Neon Genesis Evangelion. I think that’s the first thing I remember drawing other than my “kid doodles” of family, fish and cats. The first thing I used any shading techniques on anyway. (I never did learn Japanese or go to Japan – at the time, neither I nor my parents thought going to school to make videogames was a career path I could really pursue, but I guess I’ll talk more about that on the next question!)
Anyway, once I realized that people enjoyed looking at my artwork and that it brought smiles to people’s faces, that pretty much sealed the deal. I wanted to do what I loved and made other people happy too!
What formal training do you have, if any, or are you self taught?
When it was time to think about college and I realized I could actually go to school FOR art, I applied to RISD (Rhode Island School of Design) and MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art) with my illustration portfolio. I got into both and decided MICA seemed like a better fit. Freshman year they have introductory classes in everything, so I took drawing and painting then, but when I declared majors I went with Graphic Design since that seemed the most viable as far as a career (or so I thought at the time). I think I lasted one or two semesters before switching to Photography (I blame my photography teachers for flattering me into it!!). So, I have a BFA in Photography, which led to a job as a photographer and video editor for a number of years. Very different than what I do now, but I think it definitely helped with composition and story telling – all art fields kind of meld into each other when you think about it.
As far as the work I currently do, I guess in effect it’s mostly self-taught since then. There was a large gap of about 8 or 9 years where I hardly drew at all, but once I started back at it I really threw myself into it! Fast forward several years and I’m still teaching myself new things. It’s been a long time since art school so I’m giving myself a refresher on anatomy and color theory as best I can through my home library (did I mention how much I love books?!) and as of a few weekends ago I’m starting to use more watercolors. I feel like every convention I do and every conversation I have with another artist opens up new ideas for me that I like to follow.
My fiancé is a comic book artist so he’s also been really helpful. We each have our strong points and help each other – it’s nice to have a second artistic eye at home who can critique and offer suggestions when I’m feeling stuck. Our styles are very different, but I like to think we’ve both learned a thing or two from each other! I never want to stop learning new things. I think getting into digital painting is my next hurdle. I’ve always been intrigued. I don’t think it would ever replace my physical drawing and painting, but would just be another weapon in my toolbox.
How did you get into comics?
So, I’m originally from the East Coast. At a certain point, I left my current job and was kind of floundering not knowing what I wanted to do with my life. My then-boyfriend invited me to come live in San Antonio, and I figured I was young enough that it was a good time to take risks and move halfway across the country. (The going into debt to do it was probably not the smartest idea, in retrospect, but I’m glad I did – because otherwise I wouldn’t be where I am now!)
So, I moved to Texas without a job lined up, and started drawing and painting again. I think a month after I moved someone invited me to show my artwork in the parking lot of a hair salon. It was July in San Antonio and I didn’t know to bring a tent to protect me from the sun. I thought I was going to die! But I made $10 (I still have it, somewhere, as a memento) and started doing more local San Antonio shows.
ARTSLAM! was how things really got rolling – they did the show a few times a year and I made sure I went to every single one to show and sell my work. It was at one of the first shows I did there that I met and introduced myself to artist Cody Schibi (if you haven’t seen his work, google him, it’s great and creepy!). When I went to Wizard World Austin a few months later he was there and asked me, “Why aren’t you doing conventions? Check out STAPLE Independent Media Expo in Austin!” So that’s what I did. It’s all Cody’s fault!
Chris Nicholas, who runs STAPLE, is great and he made my first convention experience not totally terrifying! And then I just kept pushing myself from there. Doing more conventions, networking, and constantly drawing. The leaps and bounds I made over the next few years was crazy. Now I want to hide all the work I did those first few years! I’m so much better than I used to be! I kind of hope I’m saying the same thing about my current work in another few years – I hope it’s that much better again!
Who is your favorite comic book character (personally, not necessarily to draw)?
Which character would you say you get the most commission requests for?
Marvel or DC? And, why?
If someone can’t make it to a convention, where can they buy your work?
What is your favorite medium to work with?
We noticed that you have photography on your site. What inspires your photography?
If you could tell your 15 year old self one thing, what would you say?
If you could only celebrate one holiday for the rest of your life, which holiday would you choose? Why?
What would you title your autobiography?
How many days do you think you’d survive after a zombie apocalypse?
What is your actual favorite movie, not the one you tell people to sound like you have a great taste in film?
What is your favorite board game?
Board Games or Video games? Why?
What is your favorite crayon color?
Blue. You can color so many skies that way!
I mean, how incredibly awesome is Emily Rose?!?! A fun face about our blog that I’m sure we’ve shared before, but we started The Tipsy Verse because we all kind of felt out of place in some way or another. So, we decided to create our own happy place on the internet. Of the many things we’ve learned is that we are definitely not alone, and it is awesome, geeky women like Emily that remind us just how not-alone we truly are!