Collecting comic books and the culture that builds around it has certainly changed over time. The hobby was once considered a “Geeky” hobby. The people who collected comic books were treated as second hand citizens. The tide has changed and pop culture has embraced the comic book world. Movies, T.V., books, politics, you would definitely be hard pressed to find a single aspect of modern life that has not been touched by Comic Books. Many collectors have taken pride in their Geekness and Internet sites have sprung up that allow open discussion and sharing regarding established stories and superstar artists/creators. The new forums have allowed comic work to inspire a new wave of creators and visionaries who hope to use that very same open field to have their work seen beyond just a local environment.
This series will showcase those artists that I have met online and have impressed me. The Worldwide series will hopefully introduce people from all over the world that are interested in creating comics. I will share their stories and showcase some of their work and allow you to visit their respective sites. I hope that it educates us, Unites us, and entertain all at once.
My first Aspiring Artist is Gemma McCulloch( pronounced Jemma)
Originally from Forres Scotland, now living in Edinburgh to pursue a career in art. I met Gemma through the Joe Kubert correspondence course on FaceBook. I saw some of her art and was floored. A highly stylized animation type of art that was full of kinetic energy reminiscent of Disney Animation circa the Beauty and the Beast/ Lion King days. The art seemed alive, vibrant, and at times sarcastic.
Gemma, I love the sense of life and kinetic energy you infuse in your work. Very animation like. Why did you choose that style?
I’ve always loved fantasy stories, fairy tales and of course, animation- I grew up with the Disney Renaissance (the Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, etc) and they just blew my tiny little mind! They were everything I loved in little 90 minute films, and I remember being so amazed that they just started off as drawings! They’re still my favourite movies to this day. I think I’ve watched them so many times that I just couldn’t help have them seep into my own drawings.
How long have you been following an Art career? Do you work currently in the art field? Or like many of us it’s you’re secret passion that you work on in your precious spare time?
I definitely have to have a day job, lol. So by day, I work on a checkout, but by night (or early evening) I draw. To be honest, after I dropped out of art school, my confidence in my skills was so low that I never thought I’d ever even try to pursue an art career. It’s only maybe in the past three years that it’s starting to look like something I can actually start to enjoy again.
After I finished a portfolio course, I was encouraged to study fine art (I had just discovered that not only did I enjoy life drawing and portraits, but I was actually pretty good at doing them). I attended my local college, Moray School of Art. which at the time was trying to make itself a name as a serious contender among the other art schools in Scotland. This meant that it was focusing heavily on conceptual art, and way less on the draughtsmanship that I wanted to hone and base my work on. Basically, I wasn’t a right fit.
Any particular comic books influence your work or that you would like to work on. Are they American Comics or native to Scotland?
I grew up reading the Beano and the Dandy, which are well known British comics- they were what taught me to read, and they definitely made me want to draw my own. Every year at Christmas I’d get the annual, as well as the annual of two Scottish strips; the Broons and Oor Wullie. They’re both strips from the Sunday paper, the Broons being about a large family called the Browns (Broons), and Oor Wullie about a wee boy called Willie. They’ve been around for about 70-odd years now, and they’ve always been a part of my life. One of the reasons I love them is that they speak in a strong Scottish dialect, which means a lot to me, as it just reminds me of my family.
I had never read a graphic novel until I was about 13, and it was around the same time that the first spider-man movie came out. That’s when I fell in love with all things marvel.
No projects yet, but I have contributed to an independent comic in Australia- the wonderfully titled “Wrestlers in Space”, and I’m hoping to start up my own webcomic soon.
I will be opening commissions once I’ve settled into my new place, yes. I haveto work out prices though, but keep an eye out on my Facebook page (the Unfinished Art of Gemma McCulloch) or my Instagram (gemmariemcc)
Thank you Gemma!
All work posted is original artwork by Gemma McCulloch. The characters are copyrighted and licensed to their respective companies and are not meant for sale or commercial use. The Broons is a strip featured in the Scottish Weekly Saturday Post.