Hire This Woman: Penciller Delicia Williams
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.”
Today we’re featuring penciller Delicia Williams. Williams is both an artist and a comics scholar, and is currently working on a graphic novel adaptation of author Stephen Graham Jones’ Demon Theory.
ComicsAlliance: Do you work on paper or digitally? Why?
Delicia Williams: Old school pencils and paper. It’s the way I’ve always drawn, it’s familiar to me…and I’m stubborn. I never made the leap to digital because of the re-training eye factor: shifting focus from hands to monitor. I will eventually figure out some sort of hybrid method, I think because I’d like to add the crispness of inking without fear of smudging (lefty).
CA: What’s your background/training?
DW: The standard art classes in elementary, middle and high school. I read a lot of mythology and fairy tales as a kid (the uncensored, bloody versions) and over the years it seemlessly flowed into collecting comics. Training-wise, I taught myself dynamic anatomy by tracing over Andy Kubert’s work when he was pencilling X-Men in 1993 and once I felt I could take off the training wheels, I started creating my own characters and drawing those. When I attended university as an English major, I fell into drawing comic books again, which caught the eye of my English professor, who helped me get in contact with an author and led me to pursue research into comic book adaptations. *whew*
CA: How would you describe your creative style?
DW: Cartoonish-realism. I like my reality to be rubbery and slightly off, either through character facial features or by playing with the panels that keep the beat. If there is an emotion to cultivate, the first place I draw it is eyes and the spine, and everything else ripples out from there.
I also have a habit of leaving visual hints in drawings that the eye can zip to and piece together in it’s entirety after a read through, or two.
CA: What are you currently working on?
DW: Currently, I am working with author Stephen Graham Jones (Least of My Scars, Ledfeather, The Last Final Girl, Growing Up Dead in Texas, etc.) on a graphic novel adaptation of his 2006 novel Demon Theory.
CA: Approximately how long does it take you to pencil a 20-page issue?
DW: Depending on the level of detail, I can pencil a page per day.
CA: What is your dream project?
DW: I’m in it now. It seems like adapting novels into graphic novels sets my brain alight. It also helps that Stephen is fun to work with; he’s a pretty twisted writer- in a good way, fast with feedback, and soooo flexible with his novel. Working on Demon Theory has definitely brought out my macabre side. Now, I can draw a mangled corpse, severed limbs and blood splatter — no problem.
My dream project would involve adapting a novel or script using fantastical/grotesque elements. Side note: working on the same project with/occupying the personal bubble space of anyone from list in the next question would also be a dream…
CA: Who are some comic creators that inspire you?
DW: Andy Kubert (he was the first), Chris Bachalo, Amanda Conner, Emily Carroll, Sam Kieth, Gabriel Bá.
CA: What are some comics that have inspired you either growing up or as an adult?
DW: I’ve got long and short boxes filling up my closet, but the comics that, after reading, made me immediately pick up a pencil and try to become better: X-Men #21, Phalanx Covenant event, Age of Apocalypse event, Betty and Veronica (I was so very young), A Contract with God, Courtney Crumrin, The Pro, The Maxx.
CA: What’s your ideal professional environment?
DW: I’d prefer to be around other artists, but that doesn’t happen too often. All I need at the moment is natural light and an angled table, otherwise I’m not picky. Sometimes I work better with music, or without. Sometimes an idea bubbles up, I tuck it away for later and am so grateful to be inspired that by the time pencil hits paper, I couldn’t care less where I am. My poor poor spine.
CA: What do you most want our readers and industry professionals to know about your work?
DW: Comic books and graphic novels have been a part of my life since I was 13. The artists, inkers, and writers of these stories kept me sane through my formative years, and functionally odd for the rest of it. I have no regrets.
I also recently wrote a research presentation for the USC Aiken and Columbia campuses on “Creating Intertextuality with Visual Rhetoric: Adapting a Novel into a Graphic Novel” that won first place, and a gold medal. That’s how much I nerdcrave comics. I am happiest and most sure of my career direction when I can look at a finished, pencilled comic page and everything clicks into place.
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.