TRE-INTERVIEWS: Camilla d'Errico (STGCC 2009 / Booth C14)

Illustrator / comicbook artist / artist / character creator - the multi-hypenated talent named Camilla d’Errico [www] hails from Canada, and is poised to take on and over the world (if she hasn't yet already, that is!). Fresh from her San Diego Comic Con appearance (peep pic below), Camilla will be coming to Singapore this coming August 13-16th, and ready to meet her fans at the Singapore Toy, Games and Comic Con! I had the opportunity to conduct an indepth interview with her - which you can CLICK THRU to read in it's entirety!
CAMILLA-SDCC

Meanwhile, here's a quick list of what Camilla has in-store for fans dropping by Booth C14 @ STGCC:

- Launch of the self published book, Tanpopo: Issue 1 and brand new Issue 2.
- Camilla's first ever plushie character, Kuro, from the Tanpopo series will be on sale PLUS the worldwide debut of "Specter Kuro".
- Special raffle! Win the GIANT Buddha Kuro plush 60 cm prototype! (Exclusive sneak-peek within)
- One of a kind custom, hand painted toys will be available, plush samples from soon to be announced toy series.
- Camilla will have her 6-issue comic mini series, BURN in Asia for the first time, as well as pre- issues of the new comic project she is working on, Billy Boom Boom and a chance to play the Nintendo DS Game of Billy Boom Boom.
- Various art products, including special edition STGCC posters, Helmetgirls artbook, Sparrow artbook, postcards, prints, and wallpapers!


TOYSREVIL: First off, please do share with us - WHO IS CAMILLA D'ERRICO?

CAMILLA D'ERRICO: I’d say that I am manga/anime fanatic and it has shaped my life immensely. So many people advised against it and I think I’ve proven them wrong. I am glad I stuck to my guns and I feel grateful to the people who’ve supported me, especially my fans. I don’t like to be pigeon-holed as any one type of artist, because I don’t feel that I am a painter or an illustrator or a designer. I’ve got girly sensitivity and Italian fire; I can really blow up at times but deep down I’m actually very timid. I love a good party (wooot!) and I enjoy myself in small intimate settings like girl only nights or nice dinners (I’m a total foodie!). I’m very social, yet at the same time I am a hopeless romantic that watches Korean anime because it makes me cry. I was surprised when the world reacted so well to my paintings because it was never an avenue I thought I’d go down.

CAMILLA-GIRLS

CAMILLA: But they are another form of self-expression that I appreciate so much more now. My #1 career choice is as a comic artist (my dream is to work for a Japanese editor), but I’ve also got ambitions to spread my art widely through licensing; I am a collector and a ‘stuff’ enthusiast, and I get a rush out of seeing my artwork translated into various media -- I am on a mission to bring my art to as many people and places as possible.

CAMILLA-CUSTOM-TOYS

TOYSREVIL: With your multi-faceted products and creations - Which comes first: Artist? Comic Book Illustrator? or Toy Designer and Customizer? And does there need to be a difference?

CAMILLA: I actually recently got to the point where I was overwhelmed and overworked; I was doing too much and trying to be too many things to too many parties. It is time for me now to focus on my career as a comic artist, because I’ve worked so hard for it. I will still paint and I am definitely embarking on some new toy work, so that is very exciting for me. I can never do only one thing at a time! I think the comics and the toys go nicely together, and I’m hoping to make some good contacts in Singapore to make that a reality.

TOYSREVIL: That would truly be awesome, Camilla! (Read that folks?). How did you get started down the current path you tread. Was it what you always wanted to do?

CAMILLA: I’ve always known I wanted to be an artist. From about when I was 16 I also knew I wanted to draw comics. When I went to SDCC for the first time when I was 18 that was the shining light that told me – DO THIS. And I’ve been working hard ever since, to make a career in comics. It is really tough to break into, and not a ‘normal’ type of job that can give you steady income, but I never gave up, and I had the fortune of getting into the painting scene, which has been a fun deviation and helped me grow as an artist. Yet there is something so special about seeing your art, your characters come to life through storytelling in comics; it is a feeling that nothing else in the world gives me!

CAMILLA-GIRLS2

TOYSREVIL: What are your influences? Who are your style and design heroes?

CAMILLA: My influences are manga/anime for sure! I am also influenced by Mother Nature. My heroes are so many .. Terada Katsuya, Range Murata, CLAMP, Tsunomo Nihei for starters. Ashley Wood, Celia Calle, John Buscema and FSC, Yoshitomo Nara, oh I could go on and on!

TOYSREVIL: How would you (yourself) describe the Camilla D'Errico-style? Do you find yourself evolving since you started? Comfortable with your style now?

CAMILLA: I am very comfortable with my style now. In fact for a long time I hadn’t drawn any comics and had been doing a lot of painting, and now I am doing a lot of comics, and I was worried that I might not be so good at comic drawing anymore. Then I surprised myself because I had actually improved! It is hard to describe my style because it depends on the medium, but in general I get a lot of people saying that I have a great use of color and ‘mastery’ of the female form ;) I’m even doing a live drawing Master Class at SDCC! I can say that I combine emotion into all my artwork, and that is my hallmark.

TOYSREVIL: How do you approach a piece / project? From lush 2D-drawings to 3D-customs. Do share with us your creative process and process of creation.

CAMILLA: Each project is different, but they all require a lot of concentration and a clear, relaxed state of mind. This is why I paint or draw mostly at night when the phone doesn’t ring and no one is sending emails. For paintings, I need to completely go into seclusion. I call it my ‘artist’s cave’. I disappear and paint. No one is allowed to bug me!

Gaiman-piece-WIP
[Camilla working on adapting Neil Gaiman's "How To Talk To Girls At Parties" / finished artwork below]
HOW-TO-TALK-TO-GIRLS

CAMILLA D'ERRICO: For comic art, this is something that I could do forever, 24 hours a day! I get right into it, watching the characters come to life on the pages and telling their story. It is very satisfying. With 3D customs, I’ve gotten better at this because I found them awkward in the beginning. Now I see them as another canvas, a challenge and a way to stretch my imagination. I don’t have any rituals or special preparation for the artwork; I just go at ‘er!

TOYSREVIL: Any preferred or favourite mediums? (Of expression, or tools of the trade). For both print related to custom toys. What have you grown to like/love? And any particular mediums you've yet to try but would love to?

CAMILLA: The BIC pen. It is my all time classic tool for drawing and sketching. I find that it is seriously the best tool for drawing! For painting, I use water soluble oils; since discovering these, my painting life has changed forever! They are amazing paints, even for custom toys. One day (who knows when) I will sculpt again. I had done some sculptures a few years ago and I enjoyed that a lot.

TOYSREVIL: Tell us about Tanpopo the comic, and the creation of KURO as a plush toy. Was it something you've had brewing in your mind for a while?

CAMILLA: Tanpopo is becoming a recognized brand now, and it is one of the most exciting things going on for me now. Tanpoopo is my self-published storybook about a girl who makes a deal with the devil so that she can experience love and happiness. She is almost inhuman in her lack of emotion but deep down she is fragile, soft and naïve. The devil, called Kuro, takes many forms, but we discover him as 'poodle'. He is cute, looks innocent, but is a real jerk! He wants to take Tanpopo's soul in exchange for taking her on this life adventure. He’s evil and scheming … I love his boy form too. I’m weaving the story to be intricate and complex with a tragic ending at the end of the 10 book series. The second chapter of the series was released at San Diego Comic Con. Each book, for now, has classic literary text in it, so the images go with the beautiful language. I’d like to publish it in prose when it is all done, with today’s modern language.

TANPOPO-VOL2-COVER

CAMILLA: As for Kuro, that plush is so cute I can’t stand it! I had always wanted my own plush. I have to thank AdaPia, my sister, for making that happen. She coordinated the whole thing. I did the designs and design approval but she took care of the logistics. It took 3 manufacturers to get it right! I have some hilarious photos of the ones that were ‘wrong’. Maybe one day we’ll do a little book on the making of Kuro aka AdaPia’s Nightmare! :D

KURO-SDCC

TOYSREVIL: Any more characters (besides Kuro) waiting in the wings to be made into toy? (Thinly veiled nudging ;p).

CAMILLA: Ha ha! Peter Parker strikes again! Now that we have Kuro, we’re already planning more, like the white version I’m releasing at STGCC. We will also do a Tanpopo doll plush at some point. We have the videogame characters (Sky Pirates of Neo Terra / www.billyboomboom.com) in sample production as plushes too! We’re going all out with the videogame IP I tell ya!

More characters as toys – oh yes, I would LOVE to see some of my painted girls as vinyl or statues. Helmetgirls is perfect for statues, resins, and vinyl toys. I’m discussing this with a few people, but as you know production time is long and in this economic environment companies are less willing to take risks. We’ll see though!

TOYSREVIL: Tell us about your comicbook work with Image Comics. How do you feel about what you're doing. what you've done, and your general impressions of the finished publication.

CAMILLA: The Image work, which is Sky Pirates of Neo Terra, is going really well. I’m drawing issue 2 right now. Image is publishing it, but the team working on it is self-managing it. Image doesn’t edit; we do ϑ . I’m working with an extraordinary team – Josh Wagner, Simon Bork, Ed Brisson and Sean Megaw. I’m very satisfied with the way it is going and Image has been plastering the cover of issue 1 everywhere!

SKY-PIRATES-PANELS-WIP
[Sketches / Final colored page layouts]
SKY-PIRATES-INTERIORS

CAMILLA: BTW – I’ll have a sample of the DS game at STGCC for everyone to try out! And I’ll be at the Image Booth in SDCC signing, and promoting the release of the comic in September.

TOYSREVIL: From creating to collecting - do you collect any toys? Or comicbook titles? Do share with us your favs and any recommendations!

CAMILLA D'ERRICO: I keep my eye out for any cute toys that come out. I'm a huge fan of Gloomy Bear, so whenever I find anything by Morichack I snatch it up immediately! I've also been collecting Moyashimon toys and plushies, and I just love Thumbnailook's line of chibis...I giggle every time I see them.

As for comics that I read, well most of my collection is manga, and i highly recommend Hatsukoi Limited by one of my favourite artists Mizuki Kawashita, and Yotsuba manga is such a great series too, so light hearted an innocent, its very different from my usual tastes but absolutely worth reading.

In the North American line I would recommend reading We3 by Grant Morrison, its my favourite of his titles, and Unknown Soldier by Joshua Dysart is just amazing.

TOYSREVIL: I heart WE3! (last I read, they were making a movie, maybe? wondered what happened with that ...). Anything you secretly collect but don't want the world to know?

CAMILLA: Umm … those small soya sauce packages for sushi … I always find tons of them in my fridge!

TOYSREVIL: With creating and collecting, and generally being a part of the "culture" (as it were) - what do you think of the current toy and/or comics scene? Be it region-focused (like within the US) or global, encompassing many nations...

CAMILLA: That's a great question because (me) being so focused on manga and the Asian scene, and having European blood, while living in Canada, I have a great opportunity to explore a lot of different culture scenes.

There is a definite shift happening in the North American comic scene, the titles that are being produced now are much richer than they were 5 years ago. They are starting to explore a lot of different themes and being taken more seriously by people then they had been before. Which is great, because that is how the Asian culture views the stories and themes of its anime and manga. Just because something is drawn, a cartoon, doesn't mean that its for children and this is something that is very important in developing the culture of manga and toys.

The toy scene is really interesting, there is a definite Asian influence here in NA, and you can tell by the style of the toys being produced. Bridging the distance between the countries of the world is a good thing. Toys are becoming such a great statement for our personalities, and its thrilling to see the public opening up to this cultural phenomenon, point in case, San Diego Comic Con. This convention is the pivotal convention in NA, and a huge part of it now includes designer toys which only a few years ago was absent. Mindstyle and Kidrobot are really expanding this scene and I really hope that more Asian toy companies start to expand in NA too (with my art, hint, hint ;) ).

KURO-PLUSH
[KURO from Tanpopo Vol: 1]

CAMILLA D'ERRICO: I think comics and toys are becoming ever more present in our culture, and for North American's that is something that has been a challenge up until a few years ago. They were still being viewed as something only for kids or for "nerds". I'm excited by what's happening!

The term "designer toy" didn't exist 10 years ago, and its so enriching to see more toy companies and more influences from Asia expanding this culture globally.

Hello Kitty is making a huge comeback here, and let's be honest, who wouldn't want a Hello Kitty toaster?! I have always admired how the Asian world has absorbed and accepted the "cartoon" look and taken it seriously, its not just for kids, but for the big kids too. The interesting differences between even the European market and the North American scene is just how the stories and comics are represented. There are libraries of graphic novels in France and they print their books with hard covers, such bold and beautiful designs. Prada launched James Jean in their spring line and it was a beautiful combination, high fashion and comics. Hopefully in a few years we can see giant toys hitting the runways too!

KURO-PLUSH
[KURO turnarounds / blogged]

TOYSREVIL: At the end of 2008, I had done a series of Year-End Wrap-Ups with various artists, and one of the looming questions was the impending recession. How do you think that has affected the creative process of folks? (Or course the commercial aspect is affected as well... how can it not be?)

CAMILLA: I hope that it didn’t affect anyone’s creative process, because the creative part should always be detached from the economic part. It is tough; even for me in all my fields there is not a lot of certainty – no certainty of selling the paintings, or the customs. And in the comics there is no certainty of projects getting funded or being finished. So I hope other creatives did what I did : head down, work, work, work and take some creative risks! Do something different, maybe a little crazy, mix up the style, expand the horizons and get out of that ‘doing what people expect of you’ because it sells. Now is the time to take risks with the creativity.

TOYSREVIL: There really isn't a "sure-bet" these days, with attention-spans and spending decisions wandering and wavering, it may just well come down to bare "creativity" and sincerity of creation and/or product, IMHO. Do you think there is any sense of dilution in the pop culture market? Where a character goes from 2D, to 3D toy, to merchandize, to clothing and apparel etc? Or is it all part of the evolution? An all-encompassing world domination plan? (heh)

CAMILLA: I’d say it is expansion, rather than dilution. As long as that brand expansion is done right – with a long term vision and not just short term gain and fame. That’s when everyone can ‘smell a rat’; fans and consumers of artwork and all the merchandise that can go with it know and FEEL if it is true to itself and to them. In the end they are who support everything we do.

TOYSREVIL: So what are YOUR plans for world domination, Camilla? muahahahaha

CAMILLA: Ha ha, do I get to put on a funky crown?! ;) Kidding!!

I’m going to unleash Tanpopo & Kuro onto the world to start out with; I think that a lot of people – girls, guys, teens and even adults will love the characters and embrace the story. Then I’m going to roll out Helmetgirls! Helmetgirls is geared for the entertainment industry; graphic novel, movie, etc. so it will take some time to develop. For now I’m really focusing on Tanpopo (and Kuro).

CAMILLA-HELMET-GIRLS
[Helmet Gilrs-prints available via camilla.bigcartel.com]

TOYSREVIL: Ye gawds but I do heart your Helmetgirls, Camilla! LOL - What's up next for Camilla D'Errico? What's happening til the end of 2009? And beyond?

CAMILLA D'ERRICO: Oh many, many things! SDCC with signings at Hi-Fructose and CBLDF for the Neil Gaiman print, plus a live ‘Master Class’ I’m participating in. Sparrow is going to be pre-released at SDCC; Ashley Wood put together the artbook! Then STGCC, which I am so excited about! I hope the Asian crowd will love my work. After STGCC I’m taking a week off to go to Tokyo for a little vacation ϑ Then in September I’m doing a book signing in Vancouver, my Thinkspace Gallery show opens Sept 11th, and on Sept 20th I’ll be in Atlanta for the 2nd year in a row as special guest at Anime Weekend Atlanta. September is also when Sky Pirates of Neo Terra Nintendo DS Game officially launches, and the first issue of the Billy comic book comes out with Image.

CAMILLA-BOOTH-SDCC-01CAMILLA-BOOTH-SDCC-02CAMILLA-SDCC-SIGN
[Camilla D'Errico @ SDCC 2009]
CAMILLA-BOOKS-SDCC

CAMILLA: In October I’ll be at APE Con in San Francisco, Last Gasp will release my postcard set (yay!) and Simon Pulse is publishing my book, BURN (BURN is originally a six issue mini series). Then I’m working to release Tanpopo 3 in time for the holiday season. Somewhere in between there I’ll be organizing another clothing release party in Vancouver, and getting ready for some more craziness in 2010 because I’d like to go to the Hong Kong Toy Fair, plus I’ve got a big installation at the Ayden Gallery in Vancouver in February for the Olympics! Can I stop at February? I’m getting dizzy :D

TOYSREVIL: Oh man, that vacay in Tokyo is gonna be such a treasure, given your intense schedules to come, IMHO! What can folks expect to see of Camilla for STGCC? (You've mentioned booth design = yummy! share please? LOL).

CAMILLA: Oh yes, booth design! Well it is all Tanpopo based, and I’m working on special wallpaper. Do you know how difficult it is to design wallpaper? Let me tell you … it is a lot harder than it looks! So I hope people will like it and will want to buy it (I’m bringing the exacto knife … watch out wall, on Sunday you shall be sacrificed! ;) )

I’m also projecting cut-outs of the Tanpopo characters, so I really hope those work out! So for STGCC, I’ll have the Kuro plush (original) and I’m launching the second variant, which you see in the second book. I’ve also got a HUGE, and I do mean literally HUGE Kuro plush that I will raffle off on Sunday. He’s the size of a human, almost, a small one – but he’s gigantic. You won’t miss him! So he’ll be out there for people to take photos with, buy some tickets and try to win him. I’ve also got super cool giveaways, custom vinyl’s, artbook and art related stuff. I hope it’s enough!

KURO-PLUSHIES
[Special Raffle on Sunday! Win the GIANT Buddha Kuro plush 60 cm prototype]

TOYSREVIL: Totally cool what you're planning for STGCC, Camilla! Can't wait to see them! One of the "fear" is that we (in Singapore) are getting the tail end of everything after TTF and SDCC...

CAMILLA: Well I’m more excited about STGCC than SDCC, so does that count? C’mon! Maybe there will be less new product releases, but you’ve got an amazing hub in Singapore and so many people will go! I’m sure of it. They all want to win Kuro ;)

TOYSREVIL: KURO FTW! Would it be the first time you're heading down to Singapore? How do you feel about that? And what do you hope to see, do or try here? (gawds but my questions read so "touristy", no? LOL)

CAMILLA: Yes, my very first time in Singapore. I’m excited, also because I’m not going alone; my sister is coming with me and she’s been here already. But I also met so many of the guys last year at TTF, so I feel like I already know everyone. I have no idea what the touristy stuff to do is; I’m coming to buy toys! Ha ha!

TOYSREVIL: Then I've got to point you in the direction of China Square Central for their Sunday Flea Market! (Although more likely you'll be in STGCC :p). Describe a typical day in the life of Camilla D'Errico!

CAMILLA: Actually there is no typical day; it is always something different. The only common thread is stressy deadlines and lack of sleep! But generally I will do as much artwork as I can in the morning, then check emails later in the day (otherwise I get too distracted) and run errands, etc. At night is when I can really relax and draw (comics) or paint. As you can imagine, I don’t get to bed early – ever.

new-painting-WIP

TOYSREVIL: And what type of day is it today?

CAMILLA D'ERRICO: A little different because it’s pre-SDCC so I’m running around like a chicken with my head cut-off! I’ve still got to finish issue 2 of the Billy comic and try to finish my Thinkspace paintings, while finalizing that wallpaper AND getting ready for the big Tanpopo clothing release on Saturday. Yes, life is crazy everyday but I love it and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

[NOTE: This interview was conducted pre-SDCC :p]
[Additional images via Camilla's blog & online shop @ camilla.bigcartel.com

Comments

uNhapPy mE said…
Hi, may i know where can i view the result for the winner of your 60cm Kuro from the STGCC?
Salem said…
to Camilla- hey, why didn't you ever continue BURN? I LOVE the story and i wish that it would continue, but it didn't... why didn't you continue BURN? and is Avril Lavigne's Make 5 Wishes going to continue?

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