Hire This Woman: Artist Jamie Kinosian
In the overwhelmingly male comic book industry, it has been a challenge for some editors and readers to see the ever growing number of talented women currently trying to make a name for themselves. With that in mind, ComicsAlliance offers Hire This Woman, a recurring feature designed for comics readers as well as editors and other professionals, where we shine the spotlight on a female comics pro on the ascendance. Some of these women will be at the very beginning of their careers, while others will be more experienced but not yet “household names.”
Jamie Kinosian is a comic artist and watercolor illustrator who has worked on character designs, mini-comics, and webcomics. She’s also currently putting together Hot Cakes, an anthology of pornographic illustrations all created by women. Kinosian will be joining me and a handful of other creators for a Hire This Woman panel at Denver ComicCon this Saturday from 5:15-6:05pm in Room 107.
ComicsAlliance: What is your preferred form of creative output?
Jamie Kinosian: Right now illustration is my preferred method since it feels more natural to me. I enjoy effectively molding what I would like to express into a single image.
CA: Do you work on paper or digitally?
JK: I actually do a convoluted mess of both. Often I’ll start with doing thumbnails in my sketchbook and do the drawing on my computer. Then I print it out and use my lightbox to ink it onto watercolor paper and watercolor the piece. Manga Studio 5 plus Frenden’s brushes made digital drawing a joy for me. I like being able to tweak things more easily as I’m working through an image. If there’s a hand that’s just too big I can shrink it a tad or if something would make the composition look better in another place it can be dragged elsewhere. I feel almost as comfortable digitally or traditionally inking these days but watercoloring is what drags me back to traditional. For a long time I struggled to find a coloring method that I felt satisfied with the way it looked and felt, and watercoloring was my savior. The way it works is so exciting to me, mixing the colors I want, all the textures it creates on its own, and how forgiving the medium can be.
CA: What’s your background/training?
JK: Most of my growth in my upbringing as an artist came from surrounding myself with fantastic art and inspiring creators. It always motivated me to try my best to strengthen my weaknesses and learn styles I enjoy. I was also very fortunate that when I first got on the internet when I was thirteen I met this gal that was much older than me that enjoyed helping me push my skills. She taught me the value of being able to accept critiques and decide how I chose to apply them. For my college education I went to Sam Houston State University to get my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in studio art.
CA: How would you describe your creative style?
JK: Expressive, emotive, and a merging of animation and comic book styles.
CA: What projects have you worked on in the past? What are you currently working on?
JK: Recently I did character designs and illustrations for a tabletop RPG/card game called Crone RPG. I also drew some comic pages that’ll be in the movie Real Heroes.
Currently I’m working on a fun sci-fi mini-comic, Coffee Walk, with writer Matt Gordon who is one of the creators of the webcomic Musings. I’m putting together Hot Cakes, an anthology of pornographic illustrations all created by women. It’s a project to show more perspectives and art forms of women creating risqué art.
In the mean time I’m developing my future webcomic series, Gods in New York. It’s a slice-of-life story about two women, Alex and Kara, becoming roommates in the city and how they grow with their experiences together. Alex being the wood spirit of Central Park brings some excitement to Kara’s homebody lifestyle.
CA: Approximately how long does it take you to draw a 20-page issue?
JK: Penciling and inking digitally can take a month, but going to watercolor can take about three days per page.
CA: What is your dream project?
JK: My dream is to create content that helps the comics industry move forward and inspire more to do the same. On a more fun note though I’d love to do an Adventure Time short or cover. I also hope to do concept art for a video game some day since it was my childhood dream.
CA: Who are some comic creators that inspire you?
JK: When I started getting into comics Amanda Conner, Kevin Maguire, and Karl Kerschl were strong inspirations for figuring out my own style. Their characters are expressive and feel so human. I love their styles because they can so effectively go from lighthearted and hilarious emotions to tremendously heartbreaking. Erika Moen inspires me with her confidence and openness. She’s true to herself in her work she creates. The two that sparked me to try out watercolors were Angelica Maria of Solstoria and the artist Ghostbees. I’ve become so much happier as an artist since I’ve picked it up and I have them to thank.
CA: What are some comics that have inspired you either growing up or as an adult?
JK: Through my teenage years I was mostly inspired by video game concept art and manga/anime, but I started more seriously getting into comics when I was was about to graduate high school. It then became an important new outlet of inspiring entertainment for me. One of the first things that really stuck with me was the Justice League International series by Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, and Kevin Maguire. It’s just such a blast and I’m so fond of all the characters. Comics that get me to the core are ones that know how to have fun but can occasionally dance with more serious tones. One of my favorites that does it so artfully is Jeff Smith’s Bone. Slice-of-life comics tend to be where I enjoy comics the most. Some of the most influential comics in the genre for me are Kaoru Mori’s Bride’s Story and Emma, E.K. Weaver’s TJ and Amal, Hikaru Nakamura’s Saint Young Men, and Kiyohiko Azuma’s Yotsuba.
CA: What’s your ideal professional environment?
JK: A nice office room with plenty of storage space and being surrounded by gorgeous displayed artwork.
CA: What do you most want our readers and industry professionals to know about your work?
JK: Character relationships are important to me. It’s what makes my world go ‘round as an artist. I love thinking about the variables in which individuals impact each other. While I enjoy a touch of angst, I have a hard time getting into a project that relies far too much on it. Edginess and cynicism isn’t something I can work with at length.
CA: How can editors and readers keep up with your work and find your contact information?
If there is a woman you’d like to recommend or if you’d like to be included in a future installment of this feature, drop us a line at comicsalliance-at-gmail-dot-com with “Hire This Woman” in the subject line.