CHRISSIE ZULLO ANSWERS 15 QUESTIONS WITH JULINDA MORROW
Chrissie Zullo’s work reminds me of both a Manga artist and a children’s book illustrator. She has made an impact working for DC Comics on titles like Madame Xanadu and the Fables spin-off Cinderella.
A gallery of Chrissie’s pleasing art follows this interview.
Julinda Morrow: What path led you to comics and sequential art?
Chrissie Zullo: I went to art school and majored in illustration. I knew I wanted to get involved with comics and built up a portfolio my senior year specifically for comics. I started doing conventions and really got my start during the San Diego Comic Con at a DC Portfolio Review.
JM: What schooling or training did you receive?
CZ: I received a BFA in Illustration at UNC Charlotte.
JM: Who, in your opinion, are the pioneers of sequential art?
CZ: I actually really enjoy looking at really old sequential art from the 1910′s, like Winsor McCay’s Little Nemo series.
JM: How do you define sequential art?
CZ: I suppose it’s telling a story through pictures, but that is really an understatement. You get to create a world and characters all your own, and hopefully allow the reader to fall into it.
JM: Do you find that sequential art provides you with near-limitless possibilities for storytelling or do you experience it as constraining? Please elaborate.
CZ: It does offer great possibilities, like using artwork to tell a story and letting the reader see the world as you see it, but there’s a reason some stories work well as graphic novels and others work better as prose. For example, I think Alan Moore really used the comic medium to its best potential with a book like Watchmen; it just wouldn’t work or be the same in a prose novel.
JM: What qualities or resources do you believe are most important for a sequential storyteller to have?
CZ: Consistency in the artwork, and knowing how to tell a story panel to panel.
JM: How do you approach your work process?
CZ: Always see the bigger picture, start with the basic shapes, and work out the details last.
JM: How many hours a day do you work? Are you uniformly productive on any given day or more productive on some days than others?
CZ: It’s a strange life working from home. I suppose I “work” every day, but because drawing is also my hobby to me it’s hard for me to think of it as “work”.
JM: Was it a struggle, at the start of your career, to find work and make ends meet?
CZ: At first it was, of course. You eventually learn how to make money in different ways with your art. It’s not always going to be what you want to draw, but I think it’s important to find the fun in any piece.
JM: What has been your most valuable professional experience?
CZ: It’s just rewarding to meet other artists, and get to be friends with your heroes. The whole comic book experience has been really rewarding to me, and if it all ends tomorrow, I’d be thankful for everything thus far.
JM: What inspires or informs you creatively?
CZ: Life, and the excitement of getting new art supplies.
JM: What is your position on digital comics? Are they a good thing or a bad thing?
CZ: I don’t think it’s a bad thing, but I’m a collector, so I like something tangible.
JM: If you were to make any changes to the industry or the market what changes would you make?
CZ: I wish the perception of comics wasn’t that it’s just “superheroes”. I think that’s slowly changing thanks to books like The Walking Dead and Fables. I’d like to see more original stories become more popular.
JM: If you could apprentice under any artist at any time in history and anywhere in the world who would it be?
CZ: I have so many favorite artists—that it’s really hard to say. Again, probably Winsor McCay.
JM: What, in the future, would you like to accomplish creatively?
CZ: Ideally, I’d like to have my own graphic novel. But as long as I can draw every day and let it not become “work” I hope to just keep growing and evolving as an artist.