At this year’s Boston Comic Con, which I attended as a fanboy, I hung around artist’s alley looking at all the amazing work by many talented artists. As I was navigating the alley I stopped at an interesting table that had one of the most amazing Harley “pics” I had seen at the show. I assumed it was a touched up cosplay pic, HOWEVER, as Emmanuelle pointed out, it was hand drawn. I was amazed, the detail of it was truly astounding. From there I got to speak to her and her husband about art, comics, the show, etc….
I was so impressed that I had to ask if she wouldn’t mind being interviewed for our new series of interviews on the Comic Crusaders website, Artist to Watch, she thankfully agreed and now you too will get to know Emmanuelle McGowan’s work:
1) How long have you been an artist? What inspired you to get started?
I started drawing when I was very young. I was copying paintings from my mother’s art books in pastels (my favorites were Monet and Modigliani). She thought I was pretty talented for someone without any training, and decided I needed lessons. My father had an artist friend who gave private lessons for a few years until I was old enough to attend a Beaux Arts school, a prestigious / influential division of the famous Paris Fine Arts school in my hometown. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was very lucky to learn there. I am proud to be part of this school.
2) What’s the creative process for your art?
I paint from things that inspire me in my everyday life. It can be an emotion, an interesting encounter with a stranger, or reading a great book / comic book. Once I found the subject matter, I start “sketching” in my head. I am weird that way: I need to see it in my head before I can draw it.
3) How much time does a piece like the Harley Quinn take to do?
With the amount of detail I put in a piece like Harley, I spend on average 20 to 30 hours.
4) How much do your pieces cost?
Depending on the medium and size of the piece, my art goes from $10 (magnets), $40 (8X10 Star Wars or Dr. Who abstract for example), to $500 (for Harley for example).
I try to have options for everyone who wishes to get an original painting from me.
5) Do you take commission work? If so, does the cost rate change? What’s the normal turn around time for a commission?
I most definitely take commission work! I love being able to share my passion with others, and commissions do just that. They sometimes take me out of my comfort zone, which is a very good thing and keep the artistic juices flow. I sometimes do commission at the cons. I am frequently asked to paint specific characters on magnets, or even an original character. I was recently commissioned to paint a birthday portrait of a little girl as a companion of the 10th Doctor. It was pretty nervous doing it: it had to look exactly like her and she needed to see herself in the role. But the mother’s tears of joy when I delivered it made it all worthwhile!
The cost usually stays about the same as my completed work: it will depend on medium (do they want acrylic or oil), size and style (the more details, the more expensive).
I would need at least 2 to 3 weeks to complete an order, and if the work is oil, it will require additional drying time before shipment or delivery.
6) What’s been the hardest piece you’ve ever created and why?
Right after I completed Harley, I started on another painting. I try to push myself for every new painting, so I decided to switch the style and composition of this new piece. I took my husband and myself as models/inspiration for my own rendition of a Marvel couple, Rogue and Gambit. I guess I made it too personal, and started to psych myself out. After a lot of hours put into it, I still didn’t know what direction I should take it, so I improvised. I went very badly! I had to stop and put it away. To this day, I still haven’t touched the canvas and don’t know how to finish it. I call it my “zombie”: not quite “alive”, but not “dead” either. I will complete it, one day.
7) How long have you been a fan of comics?
I have always loved comics! It was a special treat for me as a kid: my parents would only buy them for me when I was really good, and during vacations (school time was for books!). They were a nice escape from everyday life and routine. A few years ago I got myself into an “art funk.” I hadn’t painted anything for nearly two years, there was nothing that inspired me. Then my husband and I tried cosplaying at PAX East. We had a great time and it gave us the cosplay bug, so we decided to attend Boston Comic Con. While at the con, the colors, and images, and cosplayers got my artist brain working again. When I went home I painted Harley. It’s always a struggle but I love that my geekness brought my art back to me. I have mentioned this in my blog, https://sites.google.com/site/
8) Who is your favorite comic book character and why?
In recent years, I have become a big fan of Harley Quinn (as you can tell from my painting). She is just the right amount a crazy to make her lovable, even though she is a villain. I like that about her. Growing up, it was Wonder Woman. She was strong, smart, and not afraid to put the boys in their place. I would pretend to be her, while dressing up in whatever cloth my mom or grandmother had in their sewing closet (my first attempt at cosplay I guess).
9) Where can people go to purchase your creations?
I have an Etsy page (www.etsy.com/shop/emmartist) where they can find most of my art, and can contact me directly for commissions. The Etsy page can also be accessed through my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/emmart).
10) What’s the next convention/show you plan to be at?
There are a lot of conventions that I want to attend in 2016. Most of them have not yet opened their registration. I will definitely be back for Boston for Comic Con in August! I will be posting all shows on my Facebook, Twitter (@OriginalEmmArt) and Etsy pages. Please come see me and share your geekiness.
And there it is folks, stay tuned on her future projects via Facebook.
I’d like to thank Emmanuelle for taking time out of her schedule to speak to us.