At Newcastle Comic Con we ran into Gemma Moody, a comic book artists best known for Gamer Girl & Vixen and Cooney. We had a chat about her work, too! Check it out!

Apologies for some of the sound issues. The Microphone was acting up! We’ve transcribed the interview below.


JC: Today on scififantasynetwork I am talking to Gemma Moody! She is an artist for comic books, paintings and various other works. Could you tell us a little bit about the comic books that you are involved with?

GM: Currently I’m working on two major projects: Gamer Girl & Vixen and Cooney. I also do work for a webcomic called Darkwynd Chronicles, which is updating frequently.

JC: Tell us about Gamer Girl & Vixen!

GM: It’s an LGBT superhero comic about villains! So, it’s your traditional romantic comedy with all the drama and the high stakes, but with the supervillain visage to it. Instead of using their superpowers to rob banks or blow up buildings, they just rob celebrities and brag about it on social media.

It’s very involved in the modern world. Even if it is a newly envisioned world with superheroes being daily life.

Cooney is the real life cases of the actual writer’s great grandfather. Martin Cooney. So, all of the stories I get are newspaper articles. He comes in contact with people like Eliot Ness, and its all authentic 1930s Cleveland.

JC: Presumably a lot of the photos you’re working from are black and white, or sepia. How do you go about interpreting the colours? Is it mostly just by instinct?

GM: Mostly by instinct. I watch a lot of old movies, and I have books about fashion of the time, so I got a nice feel for what the colours would be. But traditionally, I draw in black and white for that one. It’s not too much of an issues, except on the front covers and such.

JC: Is it a very different experience from drawing something more, say, imaginative like Gamer Girl & Vixen?

GM: Absolutely, but then again, that’s how I like it. I like a different styles of things to be able to work towards all the time.

JC: When did you first start becoming an artist? When did you realise this was what you wanted to do?

GM: I’ve always been drawing. My earliest memories are of when I was drawing in my mother’s cook books. I can’t think of a time when I wasn’t drawing. At the end of primary school when I started seeing picture books that really inspired me, that was when I realised ‘hey, wait, I’d like to do that, too!’ I then bought them years later and was like ‘yes, this is my inspiration!’

I’ve always been interesting in writing and drawing, then all of a sudden I discovered that comics are a thing that involves writing and drawing.

JC: You do the webcomic as well, is that a completely different experience, or is it very much the same?

GM: I wouldn’t say it’s completely different, but it is different. It has its own needs. In some of them you need to be much more visually, background oriented, and have striking imagery of a real place, because that’s the selling point. In some of them the characters and the emotions they’re going through. Sometimes you’re allowed to be a bit more exaggerated, and sometimes you have to be realistic.

So, I’d say it falls somewhere in between the two. It’s a bit more realistic, but still expressive.

JC: What’s your relationship like with the writers? How often do they give you notes?

GM: I’m a pretty hands on person, so we have weekly meetings that turn into ‘catch up with me in the weekday’, and I join in on chat sessions, and so on. So far I have been involved in the writing process so much so that I think I’m ready to start writing my own thing, but I always give helpful feedback.

[A picture falls off the wall behind us]

Feedback on the dialogue especially, and pacing, etcetera. I consume a lot of television and fiction, read lots.

JC: What are some of your inspirations? What are the artists that you admire?

GM: Obviously Bruce Timm, because his style has always been something that really struck me and was appealing to me. Darwyn Cooke as well. I’m also a really big fan of the older, American artists like Norman Rockwell, and Albert Dorne. I really liked how expressive they were and realistic-ish.

I try and keep a huge folder of artists that I like and it just keeps getting bigger and bigger. The more inspiration that you have, the more you can draw from, the less you seem like you’re just copying from one person. Because you’re saying ‘I don’t really like the way that person does faces, but I like the way this person faces, and the way that person does fingers’. You end up learning and making your own kind of thing.

JC: You create your own Frankingstein?

GM: You make your own Frankenstein, but at the end of the day, your indelible thumbprint is on there. Everyone will always be able to tell that I’ve drawn something. Whether I try to disguise it or not.

JC: You do drawn thumbprints very well.

GM: [laughs] You don’t know my thumbprints!

JC: Let’s talk about still drawings, as opposed to comics. How do you find drawing a full image rather than a comic; is it a different process mentally? Do you approach it differently to a comic panel?

GM: Regrettably, yes! I say regrettably because I would want to draw things a lot more as if they were a comic panel. But I find that I’m i’m drawing a big print, then everything has got to be full body, and everyone has got to be perfectly visible.

I would really rather just say ‘no, brain, it’s time to draw something that is a cool scene’. Something that would be a cool panel or a splash page. But they end up just being full body, full body, full body.

Find Gemma on social media!

Twitter: @card_qeen