Hire This Woman: Cartoonist Sloane Leong
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.”
Our subject this week, Sloane Leong, is a talented colorist who has worked on comics for publishers like Boom!, Dark Horse, and Image, but she is also a cartoonist who has created many comics of her own from start to finish.
ComicsAlliance: What is your preferred form of creative output?
Sloane Leong: I like working with sumi ink, nibs and brushes and enjoy painting with acrylic and watercolor, sometimes mashing them all together digitally. I also recently got into screenprinting which has been fun.
CA: If you’re an artist, do you work on paper or digitally? Why?
SL: It depends on the look I want for the comic or sometimes the speed at which it needs to get done. Most of the time I'm combining traditionally inked images with digital colors. I like working traditionally because I find its easier to let the medium talk that way. The ink interacts with you, you make mistakes, you manipulate the medium with other elements (salt, plastic wrap, etc) and receive unexpected results that will surprise you. That experimentation and unpredictability helps with collecting a cache of illustrative problem-solving tools that may be harder to attain or achieve digitally at times. Working digitally allows me a quicker route in reaching the end result I'm after, especially if it's something for print (scanning, ugh) or something that needs to be executed quickly.
CA: What’s your background/training?
SL: Self taught.
CA: How would you describe your creative style?
SL: My work is first and foremost exploratory. I know I have a stylistic fingerprint but I don't consciously attempt to be consistent. I don't get compared to many other artists and have only received vague qualifiers like oneiric, 'manga-esqe' or 'alt' when my work is spoken about. So exploratory and ambiguous I suppose.
CA: What projects have you worked on in the past? What are you currently working on?
SL: I published several short comics, online and in print. I colored my friend's mini series Change and have comics in two other Image series, Glory and Prophet. I have a lot of fun collaborating with my friends on self-published ventures, anthologies and art books. I've also drawn and colored for DC/Vertigo, Dark Horse, Boom! and Top Cow. Right now I'm working on a secret comic project with a publisher and chipping away at my personal project called Prism Stalker, a scifi magical girl comic. I also have a handful of short stories I'm working on, one of which is for this African Folktale anthology.
CA: Approximately how long does it take you to create a 20-page issue?
SL: Two to four weeks, depending on how much time needs to be crunched.
CA: What is your dream project?
SL: Everything is a dream until I draw it so I'm not sure I have a penultimate singular project that stands out. Prism Stalker is definitely a story I'm excited to draw but I have several other stories I want to tell in different genres and with different goals.
CA: Who are some comic creators that inspire you?
SL: Currently I'm on a blend of Irie Aki, Keiko Takemiya, Daisuke Igarashi and Koike Keiichi. However my friends are a constant source of inspiration like Morgan Jeske, Sarah Horrocks, Brandon Graham, Marian Churchland, Emily Carroll, Mare Odomo, Andrew White, Jayd Aït-Kaci, Emma Ríos, Rebecca Mock, Hope Larson, Alison Sampson, Ian MacEwan, Amei Zhao, Hwei Lim ...and now I'm gonna feel so guilty because I can't name everyone I adore!
CA: What are some comics that have inspired you either growing up or as an adult?
SL: Growing up I was blown away by Battle Angel Alita, Blame!, Stray Toasters, Akira, Nijigahara Holograph and copious amounts of shoujo (so much that I only barely recall the titles). As an adult I was able to better explore Euro and South American comic artists like Caza, Battaglia, Blutch, Fior and Bilal to name a few.
CA: What’s your ideal professional environment?
SL: Maybe somewhere tropical? An island? Right now I work at home and in my garage which is comfortable enough. Eventually I'd like to work in a studio with other comic artists because its fun to work with like-minded individuals and easier to remember to chill out and be a person when you have cool people around you.
CA: What do you most want our readers and industry professionals to know about your work?
SL: Nothing that the work itself hasn't already told them (which you can read most of on my website). Professionally speaking I'm obsessively driven when it comes to creating comics, art and stories that are unique, dynamic and engaging. Who needs work ethic when you have compulsion?
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.