“Harley Quinn” co-writer and cover artist Amanda Conner, “Batgirl” artist Babs Tarr, and “Wonder Woman” artist David Finch all drew portraits during their New York Comic Con panel, spotlighting their work and discussing the ins and outs of the creative process. “This is the first time we’ve ever had an art panel where all of the artists are currently drawing titles that feature female lead characters,” the panel’s moderator, DC Comics Talent Relations VP Larry Ganem, said to open the discussion.
Tarr explained how she had gotten involved with “Batgirl,” her first comic with a major publisher. “Cameron Stewart emailed me out of the blue and asked if I’d be interested in doing a book for DC.” Tarr said that she was surprised at the request: “I had never done a comic before, and my style doesn’t look like anything DC was publishing at the time.”
Stewart had found Tarr through her Instagram account and was willing to take a risk on the young artist. The first issue of “Batgirl” featuring the new creative team hit stores in early October to critical acclaim and positive fan reaction. Explaining that her collaboration with Stewart has been essential to her success so far, Tarr said, “I’m learning as I go, and I’m nervous for the day that he’s like, ‘Alright baby bird, fly!'”
Conner said she landed her first job in comics by visiting the Marvel offices, an option no longer available to aspiring artists. Today, she recommends, “Post yourself online, make some noise, and get yourself out there.” She also said that demonstrating familiarity with the medium is key. “Instead of just pinups and covers, do storytelling work.”
Conner’s run on “Harley Quinn” started in November 2013; a hardcover collection of issues #0-8 is coming out October 22. Conner said that the key to drawing Harley Quinn is depicting the character’s “big, giant, crazy eyes.” Her biggest challenge in drawing the character, she admitted, is that she has a hard time remembering “which parts are red, and which parts are black,” on Harley’s costume.
A self-taught artist, Finch said he finds inspiration in looking at other artists’ work. “I always look at what else is out there. There’s always great new stuff.” He got his start by visiting conventions and soliciting feedback from editors and other artists. About drawing “Wonder Woman,” he said: “She’s a very feminine and beautiful character, but she’s also a very powerful character. I try to make sure she’s in an upright pose and more of a dominant position, because I think that’s who she is as a character.” Finch’s run on “Wonder Woman” will begin with November’s Issue #36.
By the end of the panel, each artist had drawn a portrait of their current character, distributed by Ganem to audience members who answered DC trivia questions.
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