March 1, 2011 at 9:32 am By:

Stephanie Buscema’s art takes me back to a time when I couldn’t be trusted to handle a book with paper pages. It’s easy to imagine her art right there on those board book pages held together with gold spines. I see the influence of Charley Harper, Mary Blair, Miroslav Sasek, and other greats of the 50’s and 60’s. Stephanie’s art has been appearing on comic shelves lately and it’s been a blast to see her take on some of Marvel Comics’ classic characters. From learning the tools of the trade with her legendary grandfather to editing books for DC Comics to a very promising freelance career, Stephanie has covered a lot of ground, and it looks like she’s just getting started!

Rico Renzi: Were you getting tons of freelance work while you were editing at DC?

Stephanie Buscema: At first, no. I started working up at DC editorial a month after graduating from college. Knowing going completely freelance and being able to pay rent would be near impossible at the beginning, I took a job at DC during the day and took on freelance work at night. About a year in things started moving, more freelance work was coming in. I basically worked both jobs until it became too overwhelming, then I took the leap and finally went freelance after a little under 2 years of working at DC.

RR: I would imagine your art style is a hard sell to most comic editors. Is painting comics for Marvel and DC something you have pursued or has your work in other fields led to these editors seeking you out?

SB: A hard sell? Is it really that bad?? I kid 😉

I think it depends on the editor, their art tastes as well as the project they’d be considering me for. Painted comics is something I’ve always wanted to do. I grew up around/reading comics and from a young age always wanted to work in comics more then anything, in my teens I started learning a lot from my Grandfather, who had been working in comics for years. I knew my work wasn’t like his, and that was ok-I knew this was something I wanted to pursue. I really enjoy the characters, costuming and colors of the traditional superheroes-to be able to paint them by hand is just so much fun.

RR: Is all your comic stuff traditionally painted? How do you deal with editorial corrections?

SB: Yes, I paint everything traditionally. Like most illustration jobs I get, corrections are made in the sketch stage. When everything has been approved I move on to the final. If the editor or art director I’m working with has a certain preference for color/mood, etc, they usually let me know before I move forward. I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked with editors who put their trust in me and let me go to town with color. If something isn’t working, I just repaint it or make a patch.

RR: We saw this SWEET illustration you did of our pal, Steve Niles, over at Robot 6. How did that come about?

SB: Thanks! Steve is a good friend and was kind enough to ask me if I’d be interested in painting a spot illo for his column. Steve came up with the idea of using a piece of Jack Davis art from a cover of CREEPY (Monsters are my most favorite thing to paint, ever!), as the inspiration. We talked about incorporating a variety of comic genres into the piece, I ran with the idea and tried to paint up an image that would best represent the column.

RR: Mood music? Do you adjust your soundtrack when you’re working on something or do you just listen to whatever you happen to be into that week? What is getting the most play right now at Studio Stephanie?

SB: Absolutely! Music has always played a huge part in my life and I can’t work/live without it, to me it goes hand in hand with making art. I’m always changing the music depending on what’s on my drawing board, rhythms and beats guide my hand when I’m working. I’m always playing lots of Early Punk, Jazz, Rockabilly, Surf…lately I’ve been playing lots of Ruth Brown, Roy Orbison, Esquerita, Django Reinhardt, Richard Hell, Nina Hagen…and about 50 others.

RR: What other projects can we be on the lookout for?

SB: I feel really fortunate to have a ton of cool stuff on my drawing table for 2011. I’m currently working on a really exciting creator-owned project with some unexpected partners, that’ll be announced April 30th. I’ve got two picture books I’m wrapping up, one of which is called My First Ghost. It’s probably the first picture book where I felt I could really be “me”. It’s been about 2 years in the works and I’m really thrilled to see it all come together in the final stages. There are some possible comic projects and art books in the works and I’ll be working on a large series of paintings starting this year. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time now and finally feel the time is right to make it happen.

Thanks for taking the time to talk to us Stephanie, we can’t wait to meet you in person at HeroesCon!  You can see more of Stephanie’s fantastic paintings at her site, StephanieBuscema.com.


Filed Under: DISCUSS, Guest List, HeroesCon, Interviews

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