At Glasgow Comic-Con 2014 last month, I was fortunate enough to talk to a few artists and writers about their work. However, as a Star Wars hyper-fan, my socks were primarily rocked by the few minutes chat I had with Tanya Roberts.
Based in Edinburgh, Tanya has worked her magic on some giant titles, from Star Wars: The Clone Wars, to her current work on How to Train Your Dragon and Plagued: The Miranda Chronicles.
We at BCP spoke to her at GCC2013 last year, and a lot has happened since so it’s time for a long overdue catch up!
Big Comic Page: How did you enjoy your visit to the GCC2014? Any standout impressions of the event?
Tanya Roberts: I love this convention! The BHP guys do such a great job to make sure that every guest and exhibitor is taken very good care of. Unfortunately it’s that successful that I actually don’t tend to move from my seat until everyone has left. So I always gave the greatest of intentions of going round and visiting everyone but some conventions -like this one- it doesn’t work out like that.
I always get to hang out after the event though.
BCP: Regarding the Scottish comic scene, have any titles or artists piqued your interest? Who in the comic scene generally is interesting you just now?
TR: I would say, due to the SIBCA I would say Colin Bell and Neil Slorance of Dungeon Fun. I’ve worked with Colin before and he is honestly SUCH an amazing writer and he’s also the letterer on my new project, Plagued. Neil is an awesome artist and is such a sweet guy. They are two examples. But really the Scottish comics industry is just choc-a-block with crazy talent.
I’ve recently joined up with a group of artists on Tumblr and we post once a week and give a glimpse into what we’ve been getting up to week by week. It’s called ‘Scotch Corner’ and it’s me and 6 other artists. So I’ve had to get used to using Tumblr.
BCP: What projects are you currently working on?
TR: Currently I’m pretty busy which is great because my husband is about to go of to police academy. So that would have sucked even more if I wasn’t keeping myself busy.
I’m currently one of the artists on HTTYD with Titan. Something I’ve been trying to work on since I saw the first movie. So, some might say I’ve been…chasing the dragon…*slow clap*. Honestly though it’s thrilling to have DreamWorks be cool with your stuff, especially with the way I draw Toothless, as he’s pretty tricky.
I’m also releasing a comic with my writer Anthony Jones called Hamster Punk at the Leeds Thought Bubble which is where we initially met, so that’s going to be fun.
Also, I’ve promised to produce at the least, the next issue of my comic: Forgotten Muse.
BCP: You’re most widely known for your excellent work on the Clone Wars, are you still happy to be recognised for this first and foremost, or is there an element of “don’t typecast me” about it?
TR: I’m still extremely happy to be known for Star Wars. What a license to be recognised for. Especially because I’m pretty sure Star Wars will go on longer than I’m on this planet for.
I also get to travel a lot because of it and meet loads of interesting people. So, it’s not so bad. At conventions people may come to me for Star Wars, but if they like my work I tell them where they will otherwise find me.
BCP: You originally trained in animation I believe? Now that you’ve worked with some pretty big publishers and companies, from BOOM! Studios to Lucasarts, do you ever feel tempted to return to animation, armed with these credentials, or are comics your home for good?
TR: Not in the same way as I originally intended. When I was growing up it was my ultimate ambition to be an animator. However, since animation college and trying to go for animation jobs my ambitions have changed. I think I’m better suited to the story telling that comes with comics.
I would like to get into the story boarding aspect in the animation industry. Something I am actively pursuing. I would love to learn more about storytelling and I think that would be an excellent way to learn.
BCP: What ambitions do you have for your future in comics?
TR: Draw more comics! My current partnership with my writer Anthony Jones is something that we both see going into the future as we’re talking about multiple, different projects after Hamster Punk.
I create worlds better when I’m doing it with other people and I am lucky to have a few people whom I can do that with!
BCP: As an artist, is there a greater sense of pride & achievement working on something as big as Clone Wars/Toy Story/TMNT or creating your own characters and seeing them published, for example Forgotten Muse? Would you pick one over the other or happily mix both kinds?
TR: I think it’s a mix of both. If I REALLY love the franchise it’s such a thrill to draw the characters that I am a fan of myself.
There is something really awesome about your own stuff though. I’m really just messing around and playing with characters that I’ve just made up. If other people like it that’s great too, and if someone would cosplay as one of my characters at a convention that would be sooo cool! (Hint hint)
I have daydreamed for years about my little stories getting turned into films, but it would have to be a 2d animated movie; and it would probably be directed by Brad Bird, absolutely NO deviations on that plan!…Well, maybe a little deviation, a student film would do *cough cough*.
BCP: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Tanya.
You can check out more of Tanya’s work over at her DeviantArt Page.
The writer of this piece was: Lewis “Daft Vader” Campbell
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