ThunderCon at the Valhalla Inn last weekend was a great success. Amongst the plethora of activities were young vendors hawking fan art and original designs to comic culture fans. One of the most common ways for young artists get started is to match their skills with professionals in the field and delight in something they love, which can also guide them meaningfully through life. And where imitation is the best form of flattery it’s also a great way to get experience. A few young artist at ThunderCon are already planning excursions into their own original comics and graphic novel creations.
The following are only a few of the artists at ThunderCon. You can Google their names to find their websites. Most are on Facebook as well.
Freelance artist, Kaisa Eila at 21 years of age began drawing anime at the age of 13. She plans on heading out to Vancouver to take animation courses, preferably classic 2D animation. She played with a variety of styles to settle on her own focusing on strong yet feminine women featured in her original designs and fan art sold as originals, prints and bookmarks.
Only fourteen, Jada Ferris is enjoying her first time at ThunderCon. Inspired by anime, particularly Japanese filmmaker, Makoto Shinkai and San Francisco artist, Happy D, Jada is already creating realistic portrait commissions to earn money. Jada is hoping to have her work juried for the next High School art show at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery.
Hailey Dunn says she’s been drawing forever. She minored in Fine Arts at Lakehead University and is studying recreation therapy at Confederation College. Hailey creates mostly fan art and creating a comic with the amazing cosplay expert and costume prize winner, Emma Cavar. Hailey’s experience came from personal requests and creating artwork for birthday presents. She loves her dark brooding characters and big metal masks.
Kaitlin Lebrun studies psychology at the University of Winnipeg. At 23 Kaitlin has been to a number of comic conventions in Canada. She’s a fan of Japanese manga superhero, My Hero Academia. Her unsupportive father who owns a truck company inadvertently supplied the material that inspired Kaitlin to draw, pick up truck calendars. From drawing trucks at the age of 3 Kaitlin is wanting to move to Japan to work with artist, Kohei Horikoshi.
With influence from his mother and grandmother who painted in acrylics Sudbury professional artist Josh Coulter, at 25, creates comic book art and album covers. He sells graphic illustrations, some printed on shirts, and other merchandise worldwide online. He is working towards larger projects and bigger sculptures. For the band Desolate State he was happy to produce an image of a giant cyborg mole digging through the earth.
Randy Monteith is the elder statesman of the group. He took up creating images with Photoshop as a hobby which turned into fourteen years worth of experience. Randy is as an electronics technician for Bombardier who was inspired by an image years ago of a hybrid animal. He tried his hand at reworking imagery and was hooked. He works from his own photos, friend’s photos, and stock photos from online image banks. He does not copy from Google. His imagery often sells like hotcakes, and he’s won awards and takes pride that the CEO of Creative Magazine was following his progress, asking him to do the cover of the magazine.
First time attendee, Gabrielle Cosco began drawing princesses at the age of 8 and her own strip at ten featuring a gang of bank robbing clowns. As a professional artist for the last ten years she studied at Georgian College in Barry and now works for the Kwayaciiwin Education Resource Centre in Sioux Lookout illustrating books for children. Gabrielle was promoting her book, City of Sirens, an ongoing series. Taking her inspiration from Wonder Woman, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and other strong pop-culture female characters Gabrielle is hoping her comic series will be taken up as a television show.
Hopefully these artists and a new crop will join the rest of their flock at next year’s ThunderCon. Special thanks to the organizers.