Today is an exciting day for Tess Fowler! With the publication of Rat Queens #11 Tess steps into the role of series artist in one of the coolest fantasy book on the stands. Fowler’s work has been featured in Rat Queens Special: Braga, Charmed, Broken Bones and her webcomic The Rascals.
Major Spoilers was fortunate to get the time to ask Tess Fowler some questions about working with writer and series creator Kurtis J. Wiebe, drawing the amazing ladies of Rat Queens and breaking into the industry.
MAJOR SPOILERS: Your work first appeared in the Rat Queens Special: Braga issue – can we expect to see more of her in coming issues?
TESS FOWLER: No idea. I really hope so.
Is there a character that you are looking to explore more and tell more stories about?
TF: Braga. She’s my girl.
MS: How is working on Rat Queens different from some of your other comics work? How does it differ from The Rascals that you are 100% in charge of?
TF: Well it’s monthly, for one thing. So I’m immersed in it up to my eyeballs all day every day. I’ve never dealt with that before. It’s just balls to the wall all the time on an adventure book that’s always moving. My other work in the past has been I’m in and I’m out. Simple stories. Nothing that requires this much of my brain and heart at this break neck pace.
The Rascals is slow. A gentle building of force that will take ages to explore. It’s leisurely. The Rascals and Rat Queens are polar opposites. In the Rascals I’m driving and I have my own glove compartment of maps. No ticking clock. The world is my oyster. With Rat Queens Kurtis throws me in a souped up muscle car in the middle of the night and just takes off, telling me once the car hits 100 MPH that there’s a bomb in the trunk. lol
Where do you go to get the majority of your drawing work done? What inspires you when you draw Rat Queens
TF: Lately I’ve been drawing in bed because my cat steals my work chair. Tom Waits and Violent Femmes music is my big inspiration while working on the book. Except most recently: I’ve been watching Mob Wives during the book’s fight scenes. lol
MS: Who is your favourite character to draw in the book? Who is the most challenging?
TF: Betty is my favorite to draw. She’s the emotional glue between the girls, as far as I’m concerned. You can see it in the way she physically relates to all of them, and vice versa. We all know that one person who by their very nature brings people together. That’s Betty, for me.
I have a hard time drawing Hannah. She walks this weird line between Neil Gaiman’s Death and Bettie Page. I don’t think I have her yet. There’s a scene in Issue #11 where she’s smoking and in this one panel I just looked at it and went, “Huh. I think that’s her. Finally.” But time will tell if I can find that panel again in future issues. I’m trying!
Do you have any advice for peoples looking to break into comics or develop their artistic style?
TF: Stay true to your own voice. That’s the most valuable currency you have. And make comics. Now. Don’t wait for some person out there in the comic book verse to give you permission you think you need. You have everything you require to make your own stories. Just do it. Share it with the world. Your audience will find you.
MS: Can you give us some spoilers for upcoming Rat Queens stories?
TF: No. Kurtis would skin me alive. Haha Just know that the stories planned are deeper and more complex than anything that has come before. He’s yanking on your heart strings instead of just tugging. And that makes the usual Rat Queens laughs that much more valuable.