MRUn: You've posted some great figure studies on deviantART. How much do you rely on the natural world for artistic inspiration?
RB: The natural world is a great inspiration! Watching what lighting does to objects, trees, how fur lays and moves on animals as they move, the human body in motion as well; looking at different things in nature can even inspire new textures to try out in inking.
MR: You seem responsible. Very responsible. Perhaps… too responsible. Are you in truth a super-villain with a day job drawing comics?
RB: We’re all human, just like everyone else. Sure we try to be responsible but sometimes we make mistakes and screw up. It happens. Anyone who says they are perfect is not being honest with themselves.
MR: Mmmhmm. So what kind of de-stressing exercises do you enjoy? I mean, besides robbing banks and holding people hostage.
RB: I do a few activities. I have a motorcycle and will take it out for a ride—nothing like the wind and a nice open road. Other activities include mountain biking, kayaking, and dog training with my German Shepherds on Saturdays in Schutzhund at the club of the Greater Atlanta Schutzhund Association; Schutzhund is a sport where you compete for points in tracking, obedience and protection work.
MR: Not everyone in the comics industry grew up with their nose stuffed in an issue of Speedball; many discover their passion for comics later in life. As a student of the Sequential Arts, what advice do you have for the average Fine Arts student who wants to draw comics, but isn’t quite sure where to start?
RB: First of all realize it is not easy. Second, you must have a lot of passion for it! Comics is not an easy road financially and you have to know how to promote yourself, get out to conventions, as drawing is only about 1/3 of the work. Promoting yourself, talking to artists, editors, companies, is the other 2/3. Of course you have to be talented. If it is your dream though, never stop drawing, draw everyday and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t. Get to know good people, and be able to take critiques. Some may be harsh but that is how you LEARN. I would also recommend getting to know Photoshop and Illustrator, InDesign, etc. Comics are so hard to get into that if you want to depend on it as a sole source of income it is very hard. Knowing these other programs can get you side jobs to help along the way.
MR: On a scale of one to ten – one being Yellowbrick Road, ten being Mirkwood Forest – how challenging would you say your chosen career-path has been?
RB: I would have to say a five. Five because, no, it was not easy and it required a lot of work, but I've had it a lot better than most young people trying to break into this business. People have been very good to me in the comic book world. From Dexter Vines, my mentor who taught me everything, answered any questions, and to whom I owe a lot; to DC and Marvel comics, who gave me work at a very young age, even though I had to fight to get it; also editor Tony Cade at Terminus Media here in Atlanta. Both Tony and penciller Mario Gully were very inviting about joining them on a story called Geist.
MR: Right on. I love Bernie for co-creating Swamp Thing. Would you say that it’s important to follow the respective story-lines from the comics you draw? I would like to think that it is good for art when an artist is somehow invested in the writer’s story, but then again, I can’t even draw a straight line so what the heck do I know?
BR: Of course. You are not going to use a toony style of pencilling or inking with thick bold lines on the outside for a serious war story; different techniques and styles may be used to help show the emotion and mood the writer wants. It is the artist’s job to bring to life the story the writer wants to tell.
MRun: Do you think girls in comics should stick together?
RB: Of course! I think all artists should stick together though—it’s how we learn, from each other.
MR: Which computer programs do you find most useful?
RB: Photoshop. Photoshop is a MUST. I also have recently learned Dreamweaver for building websites. It has been very useful in building my website for my side business.
MRun: All else being equal, do you prefer to work with digital or traditional media?
RB: I love traditional. There’s nothing better than having a brush in your hand and creating it right on paper in front of your desk. Digital is very useful for repairing mistakes or adding effects here and there though!
MR: Have you ever produced a tutorial, or otherwise been involved in the teaching aspect of your field?
RB: I’ve done a panel at a convention about inking. Also, I got together with some students who wanted to learn some of the techiques I was taught. I’ve been more than happy to share with those who ask me at shows.
MR: You’re proficient in a number of artistic mediums. How important has that flexibility been to your career?
RB: Flexibility is very important, even when just talking about inking! Every penciller you ink over has a different style and different things they like or don’t like, and every story has different objects, textures, people.You have to be able to adapt. If you only do one thing or one style then you can run into walls. The most important thing is to be open to learning all the time. Once you think you know everything you stop learning and stop bettering yourself.
MR: Where do you see yourself five years from now? Any dream projects in mind?
RB: I hope still in comics! Work is hard to get and even harder to keep. I have a few projects I’ve been thinking of doing on the side, outside of comics, but nothing on paper yet.
MR: What is your greatest joy?
RB: Completing a project and seeing it published. It’s a great feeling of accomplishment being a part of the whole publishing process.
MR: Best of luck Rebecca. Keep the pretty pictures coming and thank you so much for your time.
MR: How much time do you spend story-boarding? And to what degree do you consider yourself a storyteller?
RB: Not much—I ink! I will however do samples on a separate sheet of paper in various areas that are in question. As for my own stuff, I have some layouts ready and drawn out to describe how my own stories will be told.
MR: Do you have a favorite non-sequential work or “book” as they’re sometimes known?
RB: I am a big fan of anything ink, anything art, whether it be comics or realistic paintings and inkings. I am a big Bernie Wrightson fan. I just love his style of inks.
© 2016 Images & Artwork from DC & the artist. All rights reserved.
Rebecca's Artwork: check it out
INTERVIEW: Ink This!
© 2016 Images & Artwork from DC & the artist. All rights reserved.