Interview with Kamilah
“I want to be like Toki Doki and Hello Kitty, where it’s very much like character and big picture driven. The feeling of it guides the audience more than having a specific storyline that they’re following. I want to create characters and a feeling, and people to follow that. A brand. Illustration with story. “
A fellow Colum Alum (Columbia College Chicago), she discovered Sugar Gamers at an after party at C2E2 in 2013. Her background in education played a huge role in where she is artistically today. Art class in elementary school is where she began drawing.
“ My earliest memory was like first grade, and I was very protective [of my work]. I dedicated a lot of time to it and organized the crayons in rainbow order, put my drawings in a special place so they wouldn’t get messed up. I just gravitated to it early on. Anime—I got into that around seventh/eighth grade. I saw things like Sailor Moon, but I didn’t really know what it was. I started buying Manga and tried to copy the characters. I think that was when I consciously interested in anime.”
Her creative process involves a Pinterest with varying boards, giving spark to inspiration with a collection of different ideas and references. Eventually this path and practice would lead her right to Marvel, where she interned for two summers.
“It was amazing to just be there and see what the work atmosphere was like. It dispelled some myths I had in my head [about Marvel]. It’s not crazy-glamorous; it’s the same as any office job. Except you’re dealing with Marvel characters [and not something ordinary]. We got to see Marvel movies before they came out. Everyone in the office got a couple of tickets for the pre-screening. I got to speak to editors and sit in on round table meetings about different books and things like that. But you didn’t get to meet the artists, as they’re all freelance.”
Today, she doesn’t have a lot of time to read comics. Still, with the little free time she has, she reads Squarriors from Devil’s Due, and is fascinated by its hardcore, post-apocalyptic setting. Additionally, she’s been trying to get into zines, as has recently attended Chicago Zine Fest.
My last few questions were about her process:
J: How do you create your work?
K: I used to draw it on paper, ink it and scan it in and color it in illustrator. But since I don’t have that [the scanner], I now use Surface Pro, which allows you to draw on the screen. Then I transfer that to another program to do the final ink. I feel like I’ve gotten a lot better at inking digitally.
J: What is more important to you—style or idea?
K: Idea. I definitely think conceptually that’s what carries something to success. For example, Adventure Time—they’re style isn’t the most detailed and accurate. It’s not realism, but it’s the idea of this one human boy and his dog traveling through this world where there are funny and ironic things, and that carries it [the show]. Your style has suit the idea you’re trying to bring across.
J: Is a community of artists important to you?
K: Yes, it is. I’m building that right now. I tend to hang out with one other person all the time, but now I’m starting to go to more artist events and try to support more artists. It is important, but I know that I lack in it.
- Favorite Color? Light blue
- Favorite Film? Rock a Doodle Do
- Favorite Character? Pepper Ann
- Favorite Show? Scooby Doo
- Favorite medium? Mechanical Pencil
- Astrology sign? Libra
- Favorite comic? Sky Doll
- Left brain or right brain? Right brain
- Favorite artist? Barbra Canepa
- Favorite song? Superheroes by Daft Punk
To learn more about Kamilah, visit harddecora.com