Amanda Conner : biography
Amanda Conner is an American comic book artist and commercial art illustrator. She began her career in the late 1980s for Archie Comics and Marvel Comics, before moving on to contribute work for Claypool Comics' Soulsearchers and Company and Harris Comics' Vampirella in the 1990s. Her 2000s work includes Mad magazine, and such DC Comics characters as Power Girl and Atlee.
Her other published work includes illustrations for The New York Times and Revolver magazine, advertising work for products such as Arm & Hammer, Playskool, and design work for ABC's Nightline, commercials for A&E.'s Biography magazine.
Technique and materials
While reading each page of a script, Conner does tiny thumbnail sketches with stick figures corresponding to the story indicated on each page, in order to help her design the page's layout. She then does tighter, more elaborate sketches, though still fairly small compared with the finished artwork, approximately 4" x 6", and then blows those up on a photocopier to the proper original comic art size, which is 10 inches x 15 inches. She then uses "very tight pencils" to light-box it onto Bristol board, if she intends to have it inked by her husband and collaborator, Jimmy Palmiotti, but will do the pencils "lighter and looser" if she intends to ink it herself, as she already knows how she wants the artwork rendered.
Conner has created her own paper stock and blue line format on her drawing paper, because, she explains, she likes having those configurations pre-printed on the page, and feels that "sometimes the rough is too toothy and the smooth is too slick." The stock she uses is the 10" x 15" Strathmore 500 series, but she also orders a custom 8" x 12" stock because she sometimes finds those dimensions more comfortable and easier to work on more quickly. She also finds the Strathmore 300 series "pretty good" likes its nice texture and greater affordability, but says that must occasionally content with getting a "bleedy batch".
Conner uses mechanical pencils with .03 lead because she found it easier to use than regular pencils that require her to stop and sharpen them frequently. When working on one of her own projects, such as The Pro, she prefers to letter the art herself, before the inking stage, as she appreciates the handmade, organic look and feel of hand lettering, in contrast to the computer lettering with which most books are currently produced. To ink her own artwork, she uses Staedtler .03, .01 and .005 technical pen, and will sometimes use a Copic .005 for extremely fine work, as these implements feel better in her hands than crowquills and brushes. As her artwork is open and lacks much shading, Conner feels that Paul Mounts is a compatible colorist for her work, as he achieves "the right amount of bounciness or moodiness, depending on what's needed." Conner has stated that her favorite things to draw are facial expressions and body language.
Conner worked at a color separation company, which handled comics coloring prior to the industry adoption of computer programs such as Photoshop. She subsequently worked in a comic book store. At the time she lived a little over an hour from New York City, and on her days off, would travel to New York City with her father, and use his office at the advertising industry where he worked as a home base from which to call editors at Marvel Comics and DC Comics to request a portfolio review. When granted these interviews, she was told that she had potential, but needed to work on her art more. At this same time she became acquainted with professional artists through her work at the comic shop, and answered an ad by artist Bill Sienkiewicz, who was seeking an assistant. She took the job, which became her first comics work, while continuing to show her portfolio to editors at Marvel and DC. She also illustrated storyboards for the advertising industry.Salavetz, Judith; Drate, Spencer. Creating Comics!, 2010, Rockport Publishers, pp, 34 and 35 After about her sixth or seventh time showing her portfolio, Marvel editor Greg Wright gave Conner her first illustration assignment, an 11-page Yellowjacket back-up story in Solo Avengers #12 (November 1988).
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