Calle gets the call on Marvel's 'Mekanix'

Back in July CBR News told you about Claremonth, a month long celebration coming this October focusing on the works of legendary comics writer Chris Claremont. As part of that celebration Marvel will be launching the six-issue mini-series "Mekanix," a Kitty Pride story that focuses on her time at school. Continuing the recent trend of pulling on talent from outside the comics world to provide content for comics, the covers to this series will be provided by artist Celia Calle. These covers are Calle's first published comics work.

"My wife was trolling around the Oni message boards, and saw a link to another artist's Web site," series editor Andrew Lis told CBR News on how he found Calle. "She followed the link to another link to another link that led to Celia. She sent me the same links, and I spent probably a good hour looking at her Web site. Thankfully, she's got a handy "contact" button...."

Calle's a life long comics fan, but her background lies elsewhere. She's earned a BFA and won design scholarships awards for outstanding student in fashion design from the Parsons School of Design. Calle has done work for Jean-Paul Gaultier Jeans, Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren's Polo and now she can add Marvel Comics to that impressive list of credentials. And Calle's version of the story of how she landed the job with Marvel is right in line with what Lis described above.

"Honestly, there isn't much I can tell, because it all just happened so fast." Calle told CBR News. "Andrew from Marvel contacted me a few months ago (out of the blue), and asked if I would be interested in doing some covers. Like a pup with milk bones, I jumped to the chair in excitement without questions."

We asked Lis what about her work convinced him he should approach Calle to provide the covers to "Mekanix."

"She draws cute girls, and Kitty Pryde definitely fits that description. Plus, I wanted to do something to set this book apart, and I think her distinctive artwork immediately does that."

For Lis, the act of hiring an artist whom he's had no contact with and one who has no prior history in comics publishing could have presented a number of challenges, but it proved to be an easy affair after all.

"I quickly learned Celia was a big comics fan, so it was pretty painless! She's been a dream to work with," said Lis.

For each "Mekanix" cover Calle uses a combination of good ol' pencil and paper and digital manipulation to complete the task.

"I sketch mainly by hand with pencil first (preferably using 0.5 mechanical and keeping a stack of loose leaf color copy paper near by)," explained Calle. "I then scan a few drafts and email the samples for Andrew to pick and dispose. He'll then make his comments / crit / suggestions / rejections / revisions-- as any good professional editor does...After creating the final draft (+approved) I scan at Hi-Res into Photoshop, using just about any tools to get it visually the way we want it. My favorites right now will probably have to be the paint brush and the selection tools. And the use of layers to keep my options, well optional. Then, when it's all nice and finished, labeled and signed, I send it off (digitally) to Andrew and patiently wait for the next assignment. Repeat."

And what does the future hold for Calle at Marvel? Editor Lis was coy with his answer.

"If I had a magic eightball, it'd say, 'I'M NOT TELLING,' but I hope so!"

Look for "Mekanix" this October from Marvel Comics. For more read our interview with editor Andrew Lis where he discusses "Mekanix" and the other projects that make up Marvel's Claremonth.

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