As good graphic novels go, fascinating story-telling and beautiful illustrations go hand-in-hand. It is what makes a graphic novel different from the usual fiction or non-fiction book.
For Archaia-Before The Door's first comic release "LUCID", talented and edgy Polish-based female artist Anna Wieszczyk was called to task as artist/ illustrationist.
When I saw the previews of the artwork for "LUCID" and began researching about Anna, I fell in love with her art almost immediately. Perhaps because I could see that it was influenced largely by Japanese manga, and being an Asian in Asia, her style resounded strongly in my soul.
Here is a special interview with Anna, in anticipation of the premiere of "LUCID" #1 during this year's Comic Con.
Q: When did you first discover your love and talent for drawing?
ANNA WIESZCZYK: I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember. At an early age, I was influenced by my grandfather, who was an architect and a great graphic artist. He encouraged me to learn how to draw.
Q: How did you get involved in comics? Were you a comic lover at a young age?
WIESZCZYK: When I was very young, Sailor Moon was very popular in my country and that’s probably how I got hooked on manga.
Q: How did you get to work with Before the Door/ Michael McMillian/ Archaia for “LUCID”?
WIESZCZYK: Archaia contacted me and it just started that way. I guess I’m lucky.
Q: What is the most challenging part of working on “LUCID”? Tell us a bit about the process in creating a comic panel, e.g. is it first initiated by Michael’s story/text? Do you discuss ideas with Michael before putting ‘pen to paper’? (Most of my readers are not hardcore comic fans but are curious and interested in the process.)
WIESZCZYK: For me, every part of working on Lucid is challenging. I’d really like to give my best, but sometimes I’m just lacking experience. The fact is, I’m still a rookie. I try to consult Michael as much as I can; he obviously has a wider sense of setting of the story and I’m really grateful I can rely on his experience while working on Lucid. I’m really learning a lot.
Q: How has it been like working with Before the Door/ Michael McMillian/Archaia?
Q: What lessons will you take with you from working for the “LUCID” comics?
WIESZCZYK: I think we will see when the final issue will come up. I believe there will be really amazing.
Q: Who are your comic graphic artist heroes? Did any of them have a strong influence in your work?
WIESZCZYK: I love indie manga. My biggest hero is Suehiro Maruo. It’s hard to tell what influences me because I think inspiration can be found everywhere. I love pop culture and I’m happy to work in a field that has such a wide audience.
Q: I enjoyed your various art posted on Deviantart. They have bold, contrasting colors with a favoring toward the use of red. Your art also tends to be rather gothic in nature. If a different feel or vision is required for a project, will you be able to portray these convincingly?
WIESZCZYK: I’m a student of the Fine Arts Academy (Katowice, Poland), and one of the most important things that I learn here is flexibility. I’m trying to be as convincing as I can be, but I guess it is the reader’s call to decide if I pass this test.
Q: Did you receive many personal comments/or feedback from fans on your work on the “Godkiller: Walk Among Us” illustrated animation? How did you feel about that?
WIESZCZYK: I’m very happy to be part of the Godkiller crew and I’m happy with every good reviews we’re getting. Godkiller was brought to life with the collective effort of many great people and I’m really lucky to be on this team. I could never do this alone.
Q: What steps should aspiring artists take to do what you do? What should they not do?
WIESZCZYK: Well, honestly, I don’t think I’m in a position to give any advice. I think the most important thing for a young artist is hard work, being true to yourself always and strong belief in the work you’re doing. The rest is a bit of luck.
Q: Tell us about your upcoming projects.
WIESZCZYK: Currently I’m at a point in my life where in five years I’m graduating from Fine Arts School, so I guess my whole life will change then. The Academy is a safe, encouraging environment where you can engage yourself in a whole lot of independent projects, Ahead of me is a world where you have to struggle to make your living as an artist.
I have some things planned, but I can’t tell at this point if they will come to life. The biggest project ahead of me is an exhibition I’m working on with my friends –the theme is going to be “Jungle” as we want to explore chthonic, primeval aspects of human nature using our art.
And, of course, I’m really looking forward to finishing Lucid.
Q: Fun question: Do you have any online diversions? What websites do you like to visit?
WIESZCZYK: I’m addicted to fashion blogs.
Q: Another Fun question: If you could be a comic book villain, what would you name yourself?
WIESZCZYK: My friends already made up a super-villain name for me, so this one is easy. It would be: Tokyo Toxic.
Q: Could you please us a message to the fans out there who are interested in the LUCID comics and your various projects?
WIESZCZYK: Lucid is on the way. Stay tuned for more!
Warm and Special Thanks to Anna for taking the time to do this interview. And to Archaia's robust and beefy Mel Caylo for making it all possible!
For more previews of Anna's work, check out MTV.com's exclusive article on "LUCID"!
Hopefully, I will have more articles to come... I'll know better once I'm actually at Comic Con ;)
Pic Credits: Before The Door