I noticed Mary Jane Works from some of the great artwork that was posted to my facebook group for science fiction and fantasy artists. Here is an interview with Mary Jane and hope you all enjoy her artwork as she is very talented!
Mary Jane Works
Feel free to tell us about yourself in your own words.
I’m Marie Jane Works, but people refer to me as MJ. I am a self taught freelance comic artist and illustrator. I’ve been working professionally for 5 years but been drawing since forever! I have organized art shows, taught students, drew comics live at the Art Gallery of Ontario and my credibility as a skilled creator was recognized by former DC comics editor, Ellie Pyle, Tosca Lee from The New York Times, and many others.
How did you get into art and what drew you into wanting to become an artist?
I got into art as a child from my biggest creative inspirations, Disney and Japanese Animation, specifically the Little Mermaid and Inu-Yasha. I was an out going kid, but I always preferred to be by myself drawing at a desk. My parents say that since I was a toddler, I would demand crayons to play with, even at the Beach. And because I loved to draw so young, when I recognized I was developing a superior skill to my peers, it made me feel like I had something special, something no one else had and continued to draw to impress those around me. From there, it became second nature.
What are you hoping to accomplish as an artist as far as career or artistic goals?
I don’t consider it hope, because I have every intention to make my goals a reality and have the utmost confidence that they will be! Those goals include being able to drop freelance work and side jobs so I am able to create my comics full time.
What can you tell us about the style of art you do? How did you settle on this particular style?
People always have a hard time defining my style. It feels familiar because of my Western + Eastern Comics influence, but it also has a unique look to it that it’s so easily recognized as mine. Personally, developing a style was really tough, though before I knew it, it had happened. I settled with it because I love detailed work that’s simple enough to work reasonably quickly.
What are some of your biggest frustrations with being and artist?
The most frustrating thing of all is how time consuming art is and people assume I had done it quickly and that I’m naturally gifted. That bothers me because it comes across as though they think I didn’t have to go through years of training and that I was just lucky to be born with such skills. Like any skill, creating art takes a life time to perfect. I am not talented, I am just incredibly hard working.
Can you give us any thoughts on what you do to get into your “zone” of artistic expression? Do you have any routines or things that you do that help you get into the mood or the zone you need to be in to start creating your artwork?
Yup! One of the most effective tricks is I try not to end a day without something started for the next day. It’s really hard to start working on a blank sheet of paper. But when you return to a desk and see something already started, you sort of fill in the gaps and it’s easier to get into it.
If someone were to start the journey to become an artist what sort of advice would you give them that you wish someone had given you before you started?
I took my academics extremely seriously and always worked above and beyond to me at the top of my classes because I thought that would help me find work in the future. The truth is, in the creative industry, your academics aren’t important. What’s important is your professionalism, your ability to meet deadlines, discipline, and most of all, your skills. If I could go back, I would settle for that C or B, and got a head start perfecting my skills instead of putting down my sketchbook just to fight for that A.
(Marie Jane Works)
What would you like everyone to know about this picture?
This is my Avatar! I designed her after myself. I am pretty bubbly and like to look on the outside as I feel on the inside. I am an artist, but I am also a mermaid in secret<3
(Ana from The Progeny)
What would you like everyone to know about this picture?
This was from a project I did for The New York Times promoting the release of a sequel to one of their Best Sellers by Tosca Lee called The Progeny. I was commissioned to create a deck of 15 cards with all the characters on them. Ana was my favourite!
(One of my biggest Comic Influences)
Why do you admire this piece of artwork?
Obata is one of my idols. His style exactly what I want for mine to grow into. It’s easy to read but detailed enough that you have to look at the illustration for longer than a few seconds. That’s ideal for me.
I would like to promote two pages!
My Webcomic on Webtoon: https://www.webtoons.com/en/challenge/look-what-weve-become/list?title_no=138230 This is my first constant online running series. It’s a Fan Comic because I don’t want to use any of my original ideas on a learning experience, but It’s going extremely well and I hope you’ll subscribe and read! My Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/mariejaneworks My goal is to drop freelance and become self sustaining. Crowdfunding is a great way to get there. If you support my patreon, you help me reach that goal and you also get lot’s of perks in return. Joining is literally only $1. Please consider checking out all the packages and help me reach my full potential as a creator.
What artist do you think has a lot of potential, but has not yet reached mainstream? Feel free to promote someone other than yourself that you feel has a lot of potential and talent and tell us about them.
An artist I’ll shout out is @miyonautica on instagram. She’s very skilled!