Name: Micheline HessMichelineHess

 

Company: Kuronekko Creative

 

Job Title & Description: By day, I work as the Senior Designer at an ad agency called Publicis North America and at night I work on comics for Rosarium Publishing as well as for my own brand that I created myself, Kuronekko Creative.

 

Jamie: How long have you been working in the comics industry?

 

Micheline: I’ve been drawing characters and making up stories since I was a child, but only have been making comics for about 5 years now. At one time, I also worked as a colorist for Milestone Comics.

 

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Jamie: Describe why you chose the industry and the path you took to get there (education, internships, etc.) 

Micheline: I began investing myself in making comics for kids, because I was tired of not seeing enough characters that looked like me. The delay came in my tendency to doubt my own ability to tell good stories using visual narrative, but I didn’t want to look back years from now and regret not having ever given it a real chance. So back around 2010, I decided to dive in with both feet.

Jamie: What are some of the highlights of your career/current job or project so far?

Micheline: One of the first highlights was meeting a woman named Regine Sawyer; founder of Lockett Down Productions and the creator and writer behind the comic Ice Witch. Her fiery, never-say-die attitude really inspired me to keep going on my current path.

Of course, Id never have gotten on board with Rosarium if it weren’t for the founder himself, Bill Campbell.

Because of my involvement with Rosarium, and working in a deadline oriented structure, it forced me to be really disciplined about how I focus my efforts. Now I have 3 issues under my belt for Malice in Ovenland, as well as a separate comic I did on my iPad called The Anansi Kids and The All Saints’ Day Adventure. Learning how to stick with the commitment of seeing these projects through has helped me to be more productive.

I’ve also had a chance to be on some great panels like the ones hosted by Women in Comics International and Bronx Heroes, as well as shows and festivals where I’ve continued to meet some extremely talented and all around awesome people.

 

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Jamie: Tell us about your comic Malice In Ovenland and what inspired you to launch it?

Micheline: Malice in Ovenland is a fantasy adventure story that stars the character Lilly Brown.  One Summer she ends up getting stuck at home while all her friends are off doing cool stuff, with a monster chores list. While cleaning the oven, she finds a secret tunnel that takes her down into a strange world populated by even stranger creatures that try to make her their hostage. Lilly has to use her wits and bravery to escape from their clutches and make it back home before her Mom gets back. Its a story that is mainly focused toward young girls in their tweens and teaches messages about the importance of friendship, doing the right thing and the value of being open to trying new things.

I was inspired to do fantasy adventure because as a kid, I almost never saw that type of comic with characters that I could relate to.  Also, as a young girl, my Mom often gave me chores to do around the house, and as much as I hated it, I think it actually helped make me a more responsible person.

 

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Jamie: Any lessons learned you like to share about your time in the business so far?

Micheline:  The most important lesson Ive learned so far is that it’s super important to try and be consistent. Always do a little work on your comic every day — whether its story, character design, script or laying out panels. For me the extra challenge lies in the fact that I already work a fulltime job, so its important when I get home, that I always make sure to accomplish something…even if its something small like simply organizing reference files or notes.

Jamie: Any links to past/upcoming projects or a portfolio you’d like to share?

Micheline: Im in the middle of revamping my website now, but my about.me page will give a nice overview of what I have going on these days. https://about.me/kuronekko

And here is the link for Rosarium Publishing.

http://www.rosariumpublishing.com/

Jamie: Since this series does revolve around comics, what comic books are you currently reading?

Micheline: Presently I’m reading Blacksad, Princeless and Chew

Jamie: Any advice you’d like to pass along to someone interested in the comics industry?

Micheline: Don’t get into it for the money and don’t ever let your doubts talk you out of telling your story. Do what you have to do to make it work. That might mean taking a writing class online, doing figure studies on your own or teaming up with someone who can help you bring your project to life.  Have faith in your concept and work hard to see it through. Youll never know if your story resonates with your audience until you give it a shot.

Jamie: Are you attending any events or participating in any panels in Spring/Summer 2016?

Micheline: On September 5th, I will be on a panel called – Black Comix: Forging New Possibilities Through Social Activism and after that, I will be doing a signing for my first issue of Malice in Ovenland as well as attending the Decatur Book Festival.  After that, I will have four pieces on display at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture called, Unveiling Visions – The Alchemy of the Black Imagination starting September 25th.  In October 4-5, I will be at the MICE convention in Boston selling more copies of Malice as well as doing another panel.

 

 

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