What comes to mind when the holidays creep up? Is it the snow, the lights, or the gifts? How about the Brooklyn Bridge? As we wrap up 2022 and the holiday season, GKIDS is happy to highlight talented illustrators like Winona Powers. This #GKIDSHighlights artist is spreading the cheer with a lovely commissioned GKIDS holiday card!
How did you first get started as an artist?
I spent a lot of time growing up with my grandmother. She was a watercolor artist with an excess of supplies, but no TV! I started drawing my own cartoons and comics to stay entertained, and I guess I just never stopped!
Where do you find your inspiration from?
Everything! I’m partial to reading lots of comics but I’ve been taking more and more pictures while I’m out walking around. If there’s something that’s a unique color, or I see some fun lighting, I take a picture to come back to later. A lot of my color palettes come from these pictures or even screenshots of things I’ve been watching.
What do you do if you ever have artist’s block?
I try to read a lot of comics, since that’s my usual field. Art is like a puzzle, and seeing how others visually solved a scene or story can really get the gears moving again. Sometimes I’ll reread a novel and think “how would I solve this if I had to adapt it to a comic, or a movie?” There’s no wrong answers, so it’s fun to break the mold!
How did you develop your own personal/signature artistic style/voice?
Lots of trial and error! I feel like a keen eye could tell what I’ve been reading or watching from my style choices. Growing up I would see an interesting technique and say “hey I wanna try that!” and well. Then I did! I feel like only recently have I started asking “why does someone do this” before adapting it myself – and more and more I’m getting closer to “solving” my personal art puzzle.
For your illustration with GKIDS, please describe the process. Did you immediately know what you wanted to do? Did you try out a few different drafts?
I immediately knew I wanted to draw the Brooklyn Bridge. I was tasked with representing NYC in some way, and figured it was the perfect fit with how close it is to the GKIDS office. Also – my mom loves it. I guess the scale of it just blew that country girl’s mind! She’ll be happy I drew it.
What have you been currently watching, reading, listening to?
Been making my way through all the original GUNDAM series, as well as reading Hitoshi Ashinano’s YOKOHAMA KAIDASHI KIKOU and Masakazu Ishiguro’s HEAVENLY DELUSION. I really like stories about robots and artificial humans, and want to draw one myself someday. GKIDS knows I love what they’re putting out too – I saw INU-OH several times in theaters! My favorite movie of the year!
What is one thing that you wish you were told when you were just starting out as an artist?
Be curious! When I was a teenager I drew a lot of tough guys with cool weapons and not much else. I have a real curiosity for even mundane things now, and I wish I had unlocked that sooner. But, I still treasure old sketchbooks full of weird looking swords.
Are there any illustrators in particular that inspire you?
I mostly look to other comic artists for inspiration. I mentioned two above but there’s also my friend Cam Marshall (@littlegoodfrog) who makes the wonderful and fun comic MATCHMAKER, without which I wouldn’t have had the foundation for my own comics.
What is one of your favorite moments in animation?
It’s a spoiler but, the ending of LU OVER THE WALL where all the merfolk help to try and push the flood away from Hinashi Town. Kai’s grandfather coming in with the umbrellas brings me to tears no matter how many times I watch it!
Please let us know your top 3 GKIDS title recommendations, and one sentence why?
- PROMARE – Hot-blooded non-stop action with some incredibly creative camera work in a film that looks like nothing else!
- SUMMER GHOST – A touching and surprisingly grounded short film that really hit me hard with how it reasoned life and relationships.
- LU OVER THE WALL – Colorful and sincere with a unique mesh of animation styles that weaves a chaotic tale about childhood creatives struggling between their familial roots and their need for liberation – my favorite movie ever!