Jesca Marisa


Something Wicked Issue 15 - Cover by Jesca Marisa



Can you give us an idea of what goes into creating a cover like this?
A lot of drawing 🙂 I had one or two false starts before I came up with the idea for the cover in its current form.  When designing a cover one should keep in mind that simpler is often better (so I keep telling myself, but so often fail to listen). Whilst my initial pencils were quite detailed – I kept the colouring simple and focused on making the angel stand out from the background. It took me quite a while to finish up this cover as I had to snip time away from a rather impressive (read: scary) workload to complete this. There were various steps to creating this artwork. Firstly there was the consumption of many cups of tea and the days of procrastination, followed by the research into style references as well as taking reference photos. I would then sketch out the drawing in pencil and scan it to Photoshop to clean it up. After this I would lay down some scanned textures to paint onto and begin to fill in the base colouring. Finally I would apply gradients and colour filters to help set the mood.


Am I right in thinking that you’re a full-time artist? How do you make ends-meet?
What do they say in showbiz? Don’t quit your day job yet kid. I still maintain that a steady 9-5 is an artist’s best friend. The kind of job which pays the bills -makes you flip veggie-burgers – yet also give you enough time during the evenings and weekends to practice art. That’s the dream (grazes dreamily into the distance). Jokes aside I am a full-time freelance illustrator and I find I work harder now than I ever have while holding down a day job. The pay is better as a freelance artist, your working conditions are more flexible and every now and again there’s a lull in work – which allows you the time to develop your passion projects. Eventually I would like to become a “full-time” artist, by building up a proper studio and staging regular exhibitions. Also where other people joke about selling a kidney when times are tough, artists have the opportunity to sell to sell their babies – I mean sketches – to help supplement their income.


When working on Something Wicked covers we give you the story to read, but how do you decide which facet or section of the story to base your art on?
Happily SW gives a lot of leeway for cover design. This was the first time I did a cover design based around a specific story. My initial brief from the esteemed editor (Joe) was to draw ” a naked, sexy, angel falling”. That was definitely a starting point, but still a bit vague and it resulted in me drawing a range of artfully falling naked ladies trying to creatively cover up their naughty bits. The drawings were a tad bit frantic and rather humorous. So I put this problem to Joe and he sent me the story in its entirety. Reading the story helped me flesh out the landscape surrounding our bare bottomed angel. Still this not a literal interpretation of the story, but can rather be catalogued under “Inspired By”.

Your character creation is unique and instantly identifiable – are you a comic book artist as well?
The biggest thing for any artist, musician or writer is to develop a style that’s identifiable as one’s own. My most obvious influence is manga and comic book art, but over the years all my references and inspirations have blended together to form a style that’s uniquely my own – or at least that’s the hope :). I am always thrilled when people are able to identify my work just based on style of drawing. By day I work for advertising, but by night I don tights and cape (read: fluffy duvet) to work on my graphic novels. I enjoy the freedom of writing and illustrating my own stories – it feeds a deep emotional need to create. Even though I write my stories for myself – I make an effort to publish my work every once in a while. Thus far I’ve published Awakenings 1 and 2, which are two collections of my comics. Actually the books are more art than comic -with no capes in sight. I love to see the day when people appreciate comics for the beautiful art form that it is, rather than just entertainment for kids. Viva Comics! 😀

How long does it take you to create one of your comic books?
Well the first Awakenings took me 4 months, the next one 4 years and by that logic the 3rd Awakenings book is going to take 4 decades- no? Hopefully that’s not the case. Whilst the writing goes fairly quickly the drawing part takes ages. The length of time it takes me to produce a book is dependant on how much free time I have – also Awakenings 2 ended up being a hefty 112 pages.

What mediums do you work in? What is your favourite?
Could a computer be called a medium? 🙂 I started out as a very traditionally orientated artist working in acrylics and inks, but the day I got my first pentablet I very quickly migrated to working digitally. Photoshop is and will always be my most versatile tool, but I’ve fallen in love with Corel’s Painter recently, because of it’s beautiful, real looking digital brushes. It’s the software I use when I have a little more time to spend on an artwork. Still nothing beats breaking out a fresh set of pencils and taking them for a drive over a crisp white sheet of paper.

Do you have a favourite subject?
I have a soft spot for steampunk (and it distresses me that it seems to be going mainstream lately). In my comic book writing my themes are often science versus nature and this translates into my drawings as well. I love to portray opposites such as grunge and cool machinery versus delicate and feminine drawings.

What are you working on now?
At the moment I am doing a double page spread artwork for Velocity Comic Anthology – which is not as R-rated as it sounds. 😀

But that’s biding time until I decide what the next big project is going to be. I am tempted to animate another short film – I love any medium that allows me to tell a story. I am going to start on another Awakenings book, but I am going to change the format a bit. The next book will be more of an illustrated novel. I am going to create and exhibit a range of paintings and eventually build it into another book.

Where can we find more of your work? And do you have prints for sale?
Well there’s my old faithful website – which I am finally getting around to updating, so stick around for that. In the meantime I have a new behance profile to check out.

My Awakenings books are available from Readers Den and Outer Limits. And basically all the original artwork and prints from Awakenings are for sale (I am the artpimp deluxe) – just contact me through my website.

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