Today I have the immense pleasure of hosting visual artist extraordinaire Tania Mignacca. I've known Tania for a few years now and I've had the chance to see her goregous art soar to impressive levels. I'm very grateful that she accepted to be featured on ATUA for she is a source of inspiration for me.
Giveaway information will follow the interview.
Tell us a bit more about what you do.
I'm a freelance illustrator, graphic designer and comic artist based in Montreal. I work with clients and do my own personal projects as well. My inspiration mainly comes from two very different influences: Japanese manga and Montreal's abandoned architectural heritage. Through my work, I hope people will learn to see the beauty in unusual things such as in a decaying building for example and try to look for it in their own surroundings. I'm also the author of Ponto, a weekly webcomic about the adventures of a young signalization cone who comes to work in Montreal.
When did you start drawing?
I started drawing at a very young age. Like many kids from the 80's I grew up with Japanese anime and video games. There was something in the traits of the characters and colours that had a huge impression on me so even though I was just a child I decided that I would draw like this one day. I practiced really hard by copying illustrations and drawing my favourite characters from memory. After a short while, I got fed up and I started creating my own characters and stories. It was important for me to be original and creative.
What medium do you enjoy working with the most?
I usually like to mix different mediums together. I make all my sketches by hand and use different tools such as crayons, acrylic paints, markers and Photoshop to add in colour and textures. I also do photography as a hobby and I often use my photos as part of the coloration process. I find that combining different media helps me give depth and warmth to my artwork.
What was the main difficulty you had to face when you decided to make a living out of your art?
The main difficulty I found is that it requires a lot of discipline and a certain amount of sacrifice. Since I work from home, I get to make my own schedule but I often lose track of time and end up working crazy amounts of hours especially when it comes to personal projects.The sacrifice part is mostly financial. I can't travel as much as I wish and I have to be careful about my spendings even if I have a part-time job that provides me with a basic survival revenue. However, the satisfaction I get from my work is way more gratifying.
What is your next step as an entrepreneur?
It'll sonn be a year since I started publishing my webcomic Ponto. I'm currently thinking about self-publishing a print and ebook version of it later this year. I also want to create more products featuring my art and make them available on my Etsy store. Lastly, I hope to attend more art fairs and conventions because it's always great to be able to meet my readers and fans and meet new people.
Ponto the signalization cone is the hero of your comic strip about Montreal. How did you come up with the idea?
I was going to exhibit my work at an art fair and I was looking for ideas of products to sell. Since Montreal plays such a big part in my artistic process, I thought it would be a great idea to create button designs for people to show off their pride for our city. The orange signalization cone has a special and negative meaning for Montrealers: they're all over the city and they constantly remind us of the aging state of our infrastructures and, let's not forget, the corruption scandals. This gave me the idea to create an adorable cone character that would be too cute to hate. That's how Ponto was born. When I started selling the buttons, the reaction was instant smiles. Montrealers really loved the idea and it triggered their feeling of belonging to their city. Getting so much positive feedback, I started building a whole universe around Ponto. I chose to publish his adventures as a weekly webcomic. I've always dreamed of writing comics and I felt this was the right opportunity to start. Through the story we follow Ponto who decides to leave his hometown to live his dream of working in the big city of Montreal. Optimistic and a bit naive he will do his best to bring the glory back to the city.
Our previous guest, Canadian author Kenneth Radu, would like to ask you: Looking through your online portfolio, I would ask what elements or aspects of Japanese art, traditional or modern, most influence your own work?
Most of the Japanese influences in my work come from Japanese pop culture such as manga an anime. This can mostly be seen in my character designs. As I built Ponto's character, I looked into the Japanese phenomenon of Yurukyara which are cute mascot characters that are designed to promote cities.
Our next will be YA author T.B. Markinson; what would you like to ask her?
I read on your blog that you have self-published your first novel. What advice would you give to writers or comic artists who are looking to self-publish for the first time?
Tania's portfolio http://www.minyaka.com
Etsy store https://www.etsy.com/shop/minyaka
For a chance to win two autographed 8"X10" prints of Tania's illutrations of you choice, leave her a question in the comment section. Giveaway ends on Tuesday January 14th 11:49 ET. The name of the winner as well as the answers will be posted on January 16th.