EXCLUSIVE: DKN Speaks with Artist Dawn McTeigue

by Eric Joseph
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Credit: Kelvin Koh, Lightedpixels Photography

Credit: Kelvin Koh, Lightedpixels Photography

Whenever I attend a comic book convention, regardless of whether or not I’m covering it, the first thing I do is get some books signed by my favorite authors and artists in attendance. While doing so at Motor City Comic Con last month, I observed the back cover of the event’s program and it blew me away.

Discovering that the person responsible for said image featuring Harley Quinn and Wonder Woman – which I fully intend to get framed – was somewhere on the show floor, I decided to get it signed. Not only was Dawn McTeigue kind enough to provide her autograph, she thankfully agreed to an interview.

If you aren’t already familiar with her work with Zenescope, Aspen, or Lady Death cover art, you will certainly know her now. I fully believe she will eventually find work with the Big Two and hopefully you will agree after viewing a few samples of her work peppered throughout our conversation which can be read below.

Zenescope Grimm Fairy Tales Cover Pencils: Dawn McTeigue Colors: Ula Mos

Zenescope Grimm Fairy Tales Cover
Pencils: Dawn McTeigue
Colors: Ula Mos

DKN: How did you get started in the comic book industry?

Dawn McTeigue: A good friend of mine from childhood contacted me about helping her with artwork for some novels she had written. My response was that I wasn’t drawing anymore and definitely wasn’t good enough to work in comics. However, she is a persistent woman and does not take no for an answer if she believes in what she’s doing, which is a quality I’ll always admire in her. That friend was JP Roth, who is the author of and owner of Rothic. We started out in comics together, blundering our way through, pretty much doing everything wrong at the beginning, but in the end, it all turned out right and we’ve been working together for five years now, four years officially in comics.

DKN: What have been some of your most memorable projects to date at Zenescope, Aspen, or elsewhere?

DM: There are two pieces that I had the honor of collaborating on with two artists that I’ve admired for years. Both were major “fan-girl” moments for me as these two men had been my idols for so many years. When they both agreed to work with me, I was VERY new to the industry and clearly had a lot to learn, but they still went ahead and gave me the chance, which meant a lot to me and is something I’ll be eternally grateful to them for.

Aspen Kiani Cover Pencils: Dawn McTeigue Colors: Sabine Rich

Aspen Kiani Cover
Pencils: Dawn McTeigue
Colors: Sabine Rich

The first one was for JP Roth’s Southern Nightgown, a connecting cover by myself and J Scott Campbell, drawn in 2013. The second was a connecting and somewhat entwined cover by e.Bas and myself, for JP Roth’s Ancient Dreams, drawn in 2014.

Being able to work for Rothic, Zenescope, Aspen, Lady Death and exclusive covers for Red Sonja and Conan, Lady Mechanika etc., have all been memorable and I truly love what I do! So by highlighting the two collaborations, I don’t in any way mean to say that the others are overshadowed. I just started following comics for the art – J. Scott Campbell and e.Bas specifically, so being able to work with them is an experience I’ll always treasure!

DKN: You provided some impressive artwork for the back cover of the program for Motor City Comic Con 2016 featuring Wonder Woman and Harley Quinn. How were you approached for this honor? Would you also mind letting us know how you arrived at the decision of using those two characters specifically?

DM: Thank you! I’m so glad that you liked it! My agent, Mike Alexandropoulos (MGA) was approached about it initially as he worked out my appearance at the show. When he told me, I was soooo thrilled and excited for the chance! The suggestion by the show organizers was that I draw Wonder Woman or Harley Quinn, so I think I was the crazy person that said, “Why not both?” Of course, once I put pencil to paper, I realized that getting these two women into one scene together was harder than I had anticipated, seeing as their personalities are so different from one another. So what I did was draw a bunch of sketches of them separately and then put them together in small layouts to see how they could fit, do my best to stay true to their characters and personalities, while still being fun and playful, and hopefully something that people would like.

Pencils: Dawn McTeigue Colors: Sabine Rich

Pencils: Dawn McTeigue
Colors: Sabine Rich

DKN: Did you feel taking on that project made you quite a few new fans in Detroit? I think your booth may have had more traffic than even some artists who work for the Big Two.

DM: Every project helps, for sure! And being able to draw the back cover for a convention was HUGE for me! Because I’m somewhat new to the comic scene and definitely new in Detroit, I don’t think many folks made the connection that I drew the back cover until they saw it displayed at my table. But it was great because it started conversations, I could show my process in coming up with the cover idea, and talk art! Everyone at the show was so nice and it was great to meet those that came by! Being able to work on the back cover was a huge honor and I’m so grateful to the Motor City crew, the volunteers and everyone that made being a part of the show so awesome.

DKN: Speaking of the Big Two, you have been creating a lot of Harley Quinn art lately and I can’t blame you for doing so. What is the motivation behind this?

DM: What can I say, I love drawing Harley! She is by far my most commissioned character to draw. I love her personality, her impish side and the fact that she’s such a rich character with so many moods and outfits to choose from. It makes her a delight to draw!

Ancient Dreams image Credits: Left side pencils: EBAS Right Side pencils: Dawn McTeigue Colors: Nei Ruffino

Ancient Dreams image Credits:
Left side pencils: EBAS
Right Side pencils: Dawn McTeigue
Colors: Nei Ruffino

Featured image credits: 

Lady Death Cover

Pencils: Dawn McTeigue

Colors: Ula Mos

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