Creator of the very popular Moonlight Dawn: A Mythical Tale series comes Alethea Van Holland to answer my Indie Eleven questions.
1. Are you currently working on any projects and what can we see?
Oh boy! You asked for it! Let's see, I'm working on several projects at the moment.
My main project is my dark fantasy comic series that I write/illustrate "Moonlit Dawn: A Mythical Tale" currently ongoing and published by Insane Comics, LLC .
Anyone can visit the official website for updates, artwork, convention announcements, fan-art and more: Moonlitdawncomic.com
I'm also the artist to the kid-friendly, all ages fantasy series "The Diamond Star" published by Tenacious Comics. We're in developments for Issue 2 and we're currently holding a Kickstarter for the production of Issue 1 with lots of nifty rewards! Diamond Star Kickstarter
Aside from these main projects, I'm one of the colorists to "Stars End" which will be released by Insane Comics, LLC in June 2017.
And I'm also a freelance illustrator/comic artist to the horror indie film studio MAD Z Productions where we're currently in the process of developing "Koko Blayze: Undead Killer," a half-live action, half comic webseries. It's along the same vein as Buffy the Vampire Slayer except throw in some campy tropes with lots of dark elements and gore!
2. Is there a particular concept or piece you are most proud of in your work and why?
As cheesy as it sounds, I'm proud of getting "Moonlit Dawn: A Mythical Tale" published. It started out as nothing more than a poorly scribbled comic on deviantART back in the day. I had dreams to publish it (as does any comic creator) but I was nervous if anyone would be willing to take a chance with it. After improving my art style and refining the story, I sent it to over a dozen publishers all of which rejected it. When Insane Comics, LLC accepted it I was in disbelief and even more so when people started buying the series and contacting me about it. Every convention I go to now I have supporters chat with me for minutes on end about what they liked, their favorite character, and their theories on where it will head. Every bit of attention the comic gets warms my heart and motivates me more to raise the stakes and see the series to its completion.
3. Do you have any formal training? Do you even think it's necessary?
I never went to art school, though I try to encourage aspiring comic artists and illustrators to go art school if they can. In retrospect I wish I had, since it opens up a lot of connections and pushes an artist's limits with improving techniques and marketing strategies. Though I don't believe it's necessary to go to school for being a creator, I don't think it would hurt either.
4. Analog(traditional) or Digital, or a combination of both? What tools do you use and why?
Every artist has different preferences, but personally I use both. I sketch my comics traditionally on comic paper, than I do the inking/coloring on Photoshop. Digital art is another variation of a tool, and it doesn't make the artist. The passion and drive already has to be there, and that's what makes a true artist in my opinion.
5. How did you stumble into the Indie Comics scene?
Aside from Image, I never really knew much about indie comics. Most of my knowledge was centered on manga, manga publishers, and webcomics, since that's where my true love of comics lies. My father introduced me to some western comics at a young age, but I didn't get into it until I was in middle school when I learned of manga. For a long time, I wasn't interested in western comics simply because I thought most of the story formulas are all the same and I thought the majority of the western comic market was superhero oriented, which unfortunately, I'm not interested in. So, I sought more engaging, strange, bizarre, and risky stories with manga and webcomics. When I was accepted by Insane Comics I decided it was time to expand my horizons and started reading a few western indie comics here and there, which I found some that were completely original and blew my expectations away! Now, I know better, and have a healthy respect for western comics.
6. There can only be one survivor! Penciler, Colorist, Letterer, Writer. Why'd you pick that one? Please Explain.
Penciler. Sketching is still a large passion I have and if you're a penciler to a comic book you get to have the honor of putting the script's text onto paper and bring it to life! While still adhering to the instructions of the script, depending on the leniency of the writer, you can sketch the characters jumping out of the panels, or have dynamic angles in certain panels, and maybe you get to also do the initial concept sketches for creatures/villains. There's a lot of freedom in being the penciler that's too addicting to give up.
7. Who's your hero? Athlete? Family member? Teacher? Caped Crusader?
I don't really have a singular hero, more like a group of artists/creators that have inspired me over the years. Jim Henson, Hayao Miyazaki, Jhonen Vasquez, Naoko Takeuchi, and even Walt Disney. These are all amazing artists and creators who started from nothing, and after a lot of persistence, were able to make a living with their dream. They inspire me that maybe one day, one of my works will find its place, which will enable me to continue doing what I love.
8. Do you even read comics, bro? If so which ones, if not...why not?
Totally, bruh! I don't read as much as I used to because I spend so much of my time making and illustrating comics. But I'm in the process of reading some Insane Comics titles such as Death-Rattler, Godlikes, and Sineater (Hollow Girl, Wunderfolk, and Demons are next on my list). And aside from western comics, I mainly read manga since I enjoy their form of storytelling more. Right now, the manga series I'm currently obsessing over is Magi: Labyrinth of Magic by Shinobu Ohtaka.
9. You can earn a comfortable living doing ANYTHING. What is it? Feel free to explain why.
Comics, comics, and comics! But I'd also be more than happy being a commercial illustrator for any genre/theme. Drawing has always been a passion of mine, ever since I was in diapers. Seeing how people react ( good or bad) to my art means more than anyone could ever imagine, and it's what makes me more addicted to illustrating and it makes me want keep putting more out there.
10. Where can people see more of your work or find out more about you?
11. Anything else you'd like to share with us? Political view. Religious view. Baby on the way? Your first job? Email address? Favorite sports team?
In my free time I write/illustrate a weekly webcomic called "Between the Realms." It's currently on Tapastic where it can be read for free. It's a romance/fantasy about a feisty red-head who gets whisked away to a parallel dimension where humans don't exist! As she rises to meet her doomed fate, the series touches on friendship, danger, forgiveness, death, and of course lots of romance.
Between the Realms