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"The Professionals: Interview with toherrys (Unknown Lands)", 14th Mar 2018, 12:37 AM #1
Chippewa Ghost
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Many will play, few will win: comics have a notoriously small cadre of professional creators. Seeking to reveal what it takes to join those storied ranks, I sent out a few solicitations for interviews to some "local" pros. I hope you enjoy the results.

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The artist known as toherrys is the genius behind the dark fantasy epic Unknown Lands. Today she bestows upon us a few of her secrets and sources.

What name do you want to be referred to by?
I'm usually credited as Rosi Kämpe/Kampe, so Rosi. "Toherrys" is an internationally unpronouncable placeholder handle I'm too lazy to change at this point x)

I read on your Tumblr that you’re from Finland. Is there a big comics culture in Finland, and how did it influence how you gained your skills?
Yes and no, as in relative to our small population there are pretty many comic creators and enthusiasts, but it's all mostly very very indie comics. As in, art house indie. There's no proper living made from them without residencies and grants. So if anything Finnish comics influenced me to aim straight to the American mainstream market.

What’s on the top of your all-time “must read/must watch/must listen” list of media you’ve enjoyed?
I just read Steven Pressfield's "War of Art" book, which I'd recommend any professional/aspiring creative to read if they haven't already. It talks about the realities of being a professional creative and the frame of mind you have to settle into. My favorite chapter was "How To Be Miserable" 8D

What are you reading (comics or otherwise) right now?
About a billion things, new ones appearing each week. Anything that sounds interesting and looks nice. I just get excited every time a favorite artist has a new comic out.

I also read somewhere that you got your first pro gig through a convention. Any advice on how to best utilize comic conventions?
I love comic conventions so much, they're exhausting but endless fun. Basically every creative is there to network and let their talents be known, so no need to pretend that's not what you're doing. People and companies come there to sell their work but also to find new talent and collaborators. So just bring copies of your work and/or a portfolio, business cards with your contact info, and know how to talk to other people x)

I started by going up to my favorite artists and asking if they had time to give me feedback, so I could get better. Realize though that not all will have time, since cons are hectic and they might have a lot of people lining up at their table. Many are really nice though and will schedule a specific time with you later. It would also be polite to buy something from them, since they gave their time to help you.

You might not get a job at the convention, but the people you meet might remember you later or recommend you to others. That's how it happened for me.

Bonus: find out where people are hanging out after the convention day closes (hint: it's usually the closest hotel bar, whether they drink or not :D). It's a nice way to make friends. Everyone's exactly as big of a nerd as you.

What’s a common misconception about the comics industry that you’ve encountered?
Maybe that creatives compete against each other in a finite, cutthroat environment and everyone's trying to make their own way.
I keep getting surprised by how nice and supportive everyone is. Big name artists are excited by new talent and want to help them succeed. Really there's so much work available, especially for artists, that many have to start delegating it to their friends.

Can you give an elevator pitch for what you’re currently working on and why someone should read it?
My current project is Volume 2 for Pat Shand's "Destiny, NY". It's an urban fantasy story set around Logan, a 30-year-old ex-magical girl who has already fulfilled her destiny, and her girlfriend Lilith, the only survivor of a mystical crime family.

If you loved Buffy or Sailor Moon but are not 18 anymore or enjoy adult fantasy and LGBT romance, this is the story for you.

There’s a thousand and one “fantasy” comics that draw on the generic Tolkien/Medieval Northern European character set. Yours stands out for some distinctly out there characters. Could you briefly describe your process for designing such memorable characters?
Well thank you!
For characters in general I try to make sure they can be recognized even from their silhouettes. And I try to keep them simple, for my drawing hand's sake and so the designs would stay memorable.
In Unknown Lands the characters are basically modern fashions mixed with ancient norse/finnic designs, so I either alter historical outfits to fit modern clothing cuts and silhouettes or add historical details to modern outfits. The more important characters also tend to have some outstanding curiosities to capture a viewer's interest.

What’s your weapon of choice (computer software, tablets, traditional materials, etc.)?
Photoshop forever for me and I'll bleed for my Cintiq 27QHD.

What’s your favorite tattoo and why?
Possibly my dreamer combo of Tolkien's "Not all those who wander are lost" in elvish and Doctor Who's "Hoper of far-flung hopes, dreamer of improbable dreams" in circuler Gallifreyan.

If you could ask any living artist a question, who would it be and what’s the question?
I've asked so many artists so many questions already I don't think I have an answer for this one. I think I'd rather just sit and watch an idol like Olivier Coipel draw rather than have one question for them.

What's one piece of advice you think any aspiring comics creator should follow?
Build one hell of a drawing stamina.

Please supply links to your current and past work, ideally including links to where it can be purchased or otherwise supported (Amazon, Patreon, etc.)
My Patreon
My published comics can be found on Amazon, Comixology and some from you local comic book stores x)

(editor's note: Unknown Lands can be found at at Comic Fury and Tapas, and the author's tumblr is here. Thank you toherrys!!!)

(ed part 2: The previous interview in this series is here: AmeliaP/Kings Club.)
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14th Mar 2018, 12:48 AM #2
Text
You should see my other booty
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This isn't directly related to the interview, but I just wanted to say thanks for taking the time to conduct and share these interviews. It's a pretty nice look at things and I'm glad for it.
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14th Mar 2018, 12:55 AM #3
Chippewa Ghost
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@Text: Probably a topic for another thread, but the CF is only as good as we make it. The Tapas forums are crushing this place as far as activity. I don't want to see this place go the way of Webcomic Underdogs or other comics forums. Having the "weird-ass genres" (if you have to ask, you're drawing them) locked down will only go so far in keeping the CF viable. There's got to be another pull.

@everyone: post up or shoot me a PM, I'm totally shameless and though it may take me a while, I am willing to reach out and interview anyone... give me some suggestions + contact information.
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14th Mar 2018, 5:10 AM #4
toherrys

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Thanks for including me in this x) I hope someone finds this interesting or maybe even helpful.

I was half asleep when I answered this so I probably should've said that yes you can find my published stuff on Amazon and the like, but also:

Top Cow

Marvel

[/self promo]
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14th Mar 2018, 6:43 AM #5
dpat57
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Not bad for half asleep! Interesting read, good Q/A.
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14th Mar 2018, 8:04 PM #6
DeadFish

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Yep, Toherrys' artwork is awesome! No questions about it. And the fact that her work has been published by two big deal publishers - TopCow and Marvel - is testament to the quality of her professional work.

She also has a good eye for catching designs; Mischief is easily one of the coolest looking characters out there on the interwebs.

Keep up the great work and continue to be an inspiration for the rest of us, miss! You have a great future ahead as a professional comic book artist!!

CG: I'm *loving* this series. I am looking forward for further installments...
15th Mar 2018, 1:10 AM #7
junoro
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Heck yeah this was a great read! :D Looking forward to more!
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Forum > Webcomic & Art discussion > The Professionals: Interview with toherrys (Unknown Lands)
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