Tess Fowler is a California-based comic book illustrator. Her work includes a handful of books for Zenescope, including issues of the Charmed series, and a number of sketch card jobs for properties such as Marvel, Lord of the Rings, and Indiana Jones. In addition she publishes a web comic at www.borisandcharlie.com, and creates portrait and pin up commissions in Copic marker and ink.
Tell us about yourself!
I was born and raised in Northern California’s Silicon Valley. I have no formal art training. They tried to put me in art classes in junior high and high school but I either flunked out of them for disobeying directions, or begged until they switched me to drama classes.
Are you self taught?
The comic book community is small and close knit. There is always someone to offer tips or tricks for improvement. I’ve been tutored by some very lovely pros along the way.
When did you first become interested in creating comics?
From the time I was very small I made my own comics. I folded up stacks of paper and bound them with the traditional three staples. I had my own system for this where I tore apart a cardboard box and laid out my books flat, then opened the stapler and placed it over the fold line, followed by slamming my hand down to make the staple puncture the entire stack. Then I folded all the staples down with a butter knife. While other kids were outside enjoying the sunshine, or playing video games with their friends, I was sitting alone with a pile of markers making picture stories. I took my art very seriously even as a kid because I always felt like I had to be ready for the day I’d make real comics.
What’s the most challenging thing about working on a comic series?
Definitely deadlines. I like to add a lot of detail into my work and that’s just not feasible when a book needs to hit the shelves by a certain date. That’s why I started my own web comic, so I could have an outlet for my love of detail. It’s made me ten times faster.
And the best thing about working on comics?
The best part of working on comics will always be the work itself, for me. The act of creating a visual story onto a once blank sheet of paper is a magical experience that is hard to describe. But aside from that I have to say I really adore the fans. I’ve met such unbelievably wonderful people in this line of work.
Do you prefer traditional or digital media?
I do everything traditionally, except for scanning of course. All of my commissions and pin ups are done in Copic markers and Multiliners. For me there is nothing that can replace the feeling of paper beneath my fingers as I create my art.
What are you working on right now? Any personal projects?
I’m currently working on Charmed for Zenescope Entertainment, which is my fifth project for the company. And I’m inking the entire book in Copic multiliners. I also have my own web comic called Boris and Charlie which is also inked with multiliners. It’s about a little eight year old girl who lives with a giant closet monster and a talking cat.
How long have you been using Copic products? How did you first learn about them?
I first discovered Copic products back in 2006 when I was working a comic book convention and saw them on another artist’s table. After experimenting with them myself that following winter I never turned back. They replaced every other product for me because of their versatility.
What’s your favorite Copic product and why?
I can’t live without my Copic sketch markers. The brush tip and square tip in the same marker give me a greater ability to play with effects, especially in portraiture. Blending and layering is made easy because the color flow is so smooth.
What advice would you give to girls interested in pursuing a career in the comic book industry?
Follow your heart, listen to your gut…and carry a really big stick.