In our new weekly feature, KomiX asks those working right in amongst all the goings-on in the comic book and pop culture industry to answer the same set of questions – giving you all an insight into the real lives of those who are living the dream!
For Week Two, our awesome Featured Guest is Jess Bradley!
1. What exactly is your job?
I’m an illustrator specialising mainly in children’s books and I’m also a comic writer and artist.
2. How did you get into it?
I graduated from university waaaaaaay back in 2003 and pretty much got straight into the kid’s book illustration side of things. Then I worked in a comic shop and started to get into self-publishing. I built my work up over the years and sent it to whoever I thought would be interested and managed to build up a decent client base of publishers who I work with regularly. As for the comics, I started drawing a lot for myself and eventually submitted them to The Phoenix. I’ve been writing and drawing my strip, Squid Bits, with them for over a year now!
3. How long have you been doing it?
For about 7 years now, 3 of which have been completely freelance (I worked a lot of part-time jobs whilst drawing before I could totally work for myself)
4. What’s your favourite colour?
5. If you could only read one comic book for the next year, which one would it be?
Ooh, that’s tough. 1602 is one I go back to a lot but then I’m really into Hawkeye at the moment. But then Usagi Yojimbo is constantly good too…
6. Whose work do you admire the most, or are inspired by, and why?
Egads, where to start on that one…I’m a big fan of Scott C. He has such a unique style and his output is insane. I tend to admire artists who have their own thing going on and a strong work ethic – probably because I want to have it too!
7. Are you right or left handed?
Right handed although I do enjoy drawing left handed to see how wonky everything looks.
8. What’s your ultimate, pick-me-up, feel-good song?
I have a whole playlist but I do like Hold Me Now by The Thompson Twins.
9. What are you working on right now?
I’m writing and drawing my stuff for The Phoenix which is always a blast as well as working on a kid’s activity book which is fun but tiring (it’s a LOT of drawing). I’m trying to work on my own self-published stuff in-between and also have some secret work going on that I can’t talk about!
10. Star Wars or Star Trek?
I might have to say Star Trek, just for Deep Space Nine. I got into Star Wars at a late age so it hasn’t had as much impact on me as it has with other people.
11. What’s your favourite piece of work that you’ve done?
Probably my book May Contain Sharks, purely because it opened a lot of doors for me and it was something I drew just for fun.
12. Did you cry at the end of Toy Story 3?
Like a 34 year-old baby.
13. What comic book/novel/movie/TV show shaped you as you were growing up?
Whizzer and Chips, X-Men, Dungeons&Dragons, Ulysses 31, The Raccoons, Labyrinth, D.A.R.Y.L, The Monster Squad, Aliens, Predator…I’d better stop there. Too many to list.
14. What’s the best thing about the comic book industry?
I think the variety. There’s almost too much to choose from now and so many talented people producing amazing work.
15. What’s the worst?
I think trying to break in is pretty hard. Going to San Diego Comic Con this year for the second time was fun but totally disheartening – the amount of people trying to make it makes you feel very small and kind of useless. You realize that there really is a lot of “it’s who you know” going on; this probably isn’t true of everything but at SDCC it was almost impossible to make any kind of impression. Maybe not the worst thing about the comics industry but certainly one of the things that makes me feel bad!
16. Dogs or cats?
Dogs, come on.
17. Why should comic fans support independent comic shops?
I worked in a comic shop for four years and in that time, I got my own self-published comic up and running, made some of my best friends and met my now-husband. Comics shops are amazing places not just to buy comics but to talk to like-minded people and support the local community. It’s all too easy to buy comics from the internet (guilty) but walking into a local comic shop and buying them and chatting to people is so much nicer.
18. Imagine it’s 20 years in the future. What do you think will be the planet’s greatest achievement in the last two decades?
I think the advances in space exploration. Or Netflix.
19. If you’re able to tell us, what are you excited about working on in the next 12 months?
I’ve got some new personal projects waiting in the wings but I’m still excited about my work with The Phoenix and where that is headed. I’ve been chatting with the publisher of my kid’s book about my possible next book too 😛
20. And finally, how do you take your tea/coffee?
Tea – black with the teabag left in
Coffee – white, no sugar
BECOME A FAN OF JESS!
Check out Jess’ website here – www.jessbradley.com
And follow her on Twitter here – www.twitter.com/VenkmanProject