Hire This Woman: Artist Sara Richard
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.”
Illustrator Sara Richard has drawn covers for My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, created the Eisner-nominated Kitty & Dino, and is currently working on a children's book. She's also recently launched the website Haute PopC, where she illustrates haute couture fashion based on pop culture.
ComicsAlliance: What is your preferred form of creative output?
Sara Richard: Painting. I really like the challenge of being able to tell a story in one image.
CA: Do you work on paper or digitally?
SR: Paper. I love feeling the piece I'm working on. Digital feels too disconnected to me. While I see it's benefits, I have so much more fun trying to figure out how to make mistakes in paint work without the help of a ctrl-z option. I love getting paint on my hands and having a final piece I can hold. I also like to use metallic paints which feels like painting with light and something I feel is unique to traditionally painting something over digital.
CA: What’s your background/training?
SR: I went to Columbus College of Art & Design in Columbus Ohio. I went originally for traditional animation and found i didn't have the patience for it, so I went into video. It was fun but I still felt it wasn't for me. I attended a lot of illustration classes and found that is the direction I wanted to go in.
CA: How would you describe your creative style?
SR: I am heavily inspired by Art deco and Art Nouveau for my line work. In terms of composition, I've always admired the balance that Japanese ink paintings achieved with positive and negative space. I am influenced by movies, TV and books that excite me, too. All my work is painted with acrylics on paper. I use the paint like watercolor and paint in layers. The white lines in my work I like to think illustrates the energy of the subject and metallic accents bring the piece to life.
CA: What projects have you worked on in the past?
SR: I illustrated the book Kitty & Dino published by Yen Press which was nominated for an Eisner Award last year. I have also worked on numerous covers for IDW's My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic series, as well as illustrated a story in issue #5 of Womanthology. I illustrated the upcoming board game Sangoku by Game Salute and contributed paintings to galleries across the country and London as well.
CA: What are you currently working on?
SR: Currently I'm working on multiple pieces for a Sailor Moon tribute gallery coming up in Anaheim at the Rothick Art Haus and also a couple submissions to "The Art of Fighting" Video game tribute show at the Matropolis Comic Art Gallery in Albuquerque. I have a few personal projects planned that I hope to publish soon including a collection of my work in a hardcover book and a new children's book. I am currently working on a new project I've named HautePOP C that will be high fashion costumes based off pop culture icons. I will also have my art featured on the upcoming album for Sarah Donner's album That Is A Pegasus due out later this year or early next.
CA: Approximately how long does it take you to draw a 20-page issue?
SR: I haven't worked on anything that long. My 5 page story for IDW's "Womanthology" took me about a week since I hand paint everything. I am more specialized with cover or illustration work.
CA: What is your dream project?
SR: Jem. Oh my God, I want to work on Jem and the Holograms as that was my childhood in a nutshell. It's truly outrageous. I would also love to do something for Jurassic Park, which is my favorite movie. I am also hoping someday to do posters for movies or bands and more album art. I would also love to do concept work for an animated movie.
CA: Who are some comic creators that inspire you?
SR: I would definitely have to say Eric Canete. His art is not only amazing and full of life but as a person Eric is ace. He really gave me some memorable pointers as a creator (especially when working at conventions) and also some life advice. When someone is a genuinely great person it just makes their art all the more special. I also love Amanda Conner's art, Junji Ito for his horror manga and dark illustrations, and the artwork in Angel Revelations by Adam Pollina is very unique and compositionally wonderful.
CA: What are some comics that have inspired you either growing up or as an adult?
SR: I loved X-Men wehen I was younger and even now, since I always wished I had superpowers (especially flying!). I read a lot of manga when I was younger and I think Sailor Moon might've been one of my favorites. Now I am really interested in the horror manga of Junji Ito including Tomie and Uzumaki. I love his unforgiving creepy and gruesome illustrations that are so unsettling in the way he executes tones and composition.
CA: What’s your ideal professional environment?
SR: I really enjoy freelance. I wish I could have a studio with giant windows in a warm place with a beautiful view. But I wouldn't mind working around other people too. As much as I love the freedom of my own studio it does get a little lonely.
CA: What do you most want our readers and industry professionals to know about your work?
SR: I just want to really keep traditional media prevalent in a world with a lot of digital artwork. As much as I respect the work of great digital artists, I relate more to the traditional media artists who embrace the imperfections caused by the human hand. I also want to prove while I pay homage to past styles and eras, that I bring something of myself through in my pieces for a unique image that has been proven at all the galeries and conventions I've attended over the years is eye catching and engaging. I try in each piece to have the subject connect somehow with the viewer, creating a bond that is respectful and memorable. And lastly, while my work is traditional I work really fast!
CA: How can editors and readers keep up with your work and find your contact information?
SR: My website www.SaraRichard.com has a collection of my work online. [There's also] Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and DeviantArt. There is a contact link on the homepage for any questions or opportunities. I am also on Instagram at SaraRichardArt.
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.