Sunday, June 12, 2011

Renae De Liz

The original creator of Womanthology, Renae De Liz got her start in the comic book industry right out of high school. Now she works with her husband, Ray Dillion, on several titles for IDW Publishing.

Despite her hectic schedule, Renae graciously agreed to be our first interview, talking about her training, her art, and Womanthology

Ray Dillon said your style has form, energy, mood, personality, and it's because you were never confined by formal training. Are you completely self-taught? 

Yes, besides high school art classes that were usually more geared towards fine art, I've never had formal art training, or even bought books to help train you the ins and outs of comic work.

Do you ever regret that you don’t have formal training?

Not at all really! Sometimes I wish I knew a bit more about things that more learned artists would know, like all the rules concerning perspective, or the name for every little muscle. At the same time, I think I put too much emphasis on 'the rules of comics' and if I know of one I think I HAVE to follow it. The truth is you don't have to have perfect perspective, or even perfect circles, and muscles don't always have to make sense. What matters most is the final product. If it looks good, then it is good! I personally feel the pros of self teaching outweigh the cons. I could go on and on about that topic!

Not having formal training worked for me but it's not for everyone. My husband Ray taught himself everything from books, tutorials, etc. and he's great! But we definitely see the differences in our work!

Do you have a favorite piece that you’ve done?

There's aspects of some of the things I've done things that I like. I think there's a panel of Shmendrick in an issue of The Last Unicorn I thought had nice perspective. A pin up I did of Amethyst where I liked her cape. But I do not think there's one piece I'm totally happy with. I guess I'm just one of "those" artists. I find not ever being happy with my art keeps me growing as an artist, and to keep trying harder.

Womanthology. Give me a quick rundown.

Womanthology is going to be a large 300 page Graphic Novel Anthology created entirely by women with all proceeds to Charity. The whole book will center around our theme: Heroic. There will be How-To's and interviews with female pros, as well as spotlights on iconic female creators that have passed, such as Nell Brinkley. There will also be a little section talking with girls and teens, showing their work and talking with them. Maybe a few articles talking about a few aspects of creating comics that maybe a male centric book might not mention., like healthy habits with a career that's mainly sitting, or talking about being a mom AND full-time comics creator. Overall, I'd like it to be a positive book spotlighting females in comics.

What charity have you chosen?

We're working with the charity organization, The Global Giving Foundation. This is a site that finds and helps promote small grassroots charities from all over the world that would not normally have the means to find their funding. What we're going to do once the profits come in, is pick one of these charities at a time, and give until they fulfill their goal, then move onto the next, and on and on like that. If the Kickstarter is SUPER successful, I'm going to use some of it to fund another charity book.

What gave you the idea for Womanthology?

I constantly found so many talented female artists on Twitter. And I was surprised how scattered they were, some not even published yet when they totally had the talent to be. Not very many knew each other. I kept tweeting "Man I really want to do a project with all of these great female artists one day" and artist Jessica Hickman proposed that I organize and all female anthology. At first it just seemed too big, and kept it as a 'someday' project. But over time the more she mentioned it, eventually I just asked online about it, and had over 100 women jump on board immediately! It was crazy! So at that point I thought, "I guess I better just go for it".

Has the process been more difficult than you thought? 

It's actually a going smoother than I thought. Of course now that I've said that, disaster is sure to come! But seriously, I have 2 kids that are home all day, 2 cats, a house that constantly needs cleaning, a monthly book that needs to be worked on everyday, as well as a long list of commissions, so I sometimes get a bit overwhelmed handling such a large scale project. But my husband reminds me, one little step at a time will get us there...It can be tough at times, but I now have a few teams of wonderful women helping me with the details so it's a lot easier to handle now. I know all the hard work will be totally worth it.

What has been the biggest surprise?

How many women were up for the idea right at the get go. It was like an tidal wave of over 100 ladies who were just ready to go and get it done. I never dreamed there'd be a response like that!

What are you most looking forward to with Womanthology?

Getting women that have always wanted to be in comics a chance to finally be published. It can be super tough to get into this industry. I am looking forward to giving a chance to those women to shine, and hopefully making furthering their career easier from this point forward.

Will you also be contributing to the book?

I'll be doing a story of some kind. Not sure what about yet! I have ideas brewing. 

Is there anything you’d like to say to all the little girls who would rather stay inside and draw while their classmates are out playing? 

I'd say if that's feels right for them then to keep it up. I remember feeling odd for wanting to spend my summers indoors, creating my own comics. Some made fun saying I was wasting my time. It got to the point where I was sure I must be wasting my time. I felt I hadn't really accomplished anything but a bunch of comics that were never finished. I felt that way  until I really started getting work in comics. Then I realized that all those "wasted" years I spent indoors, redrawing thousands of characters and homemade comics, was in fact building a pretty solid foundation for my career later on.

So if you just have this gut feeling like "This is what I want to be doing" then go for it. Don't worry about everyone else!

In honor of the show that inspired this blog, we'll end with the questionnaire developed by Bernard Pivot:

What is your favorite word?
What is your least favorite word?
What sound or noise do you love?
My baby's laugh?
What sound or noise do you hate?
Loud eating noises! Yuck!
What is your favorite curse word?
Frap! I don't like to cuss, so this is a good alternative!
What profession, other than your own, would you like to attempt?
Costume designing
What profession would you not like to do?
Architecture...all that technical mumbo jumbo!

Can't get enough Renae De Liz? You're not alone! Check out her website

For updates on Womanthology, check out the links section on the home page!


  1. Ooooo... the creator on the first interview. I like it. :-)

    Formal training vs the self-taught... I have experience in both. Personally, I wish I would have just gone the self-taught route 100%. You can save a lot of money and, as Renae pointed out, it's all about the final product. Besides, I'm learning more on my own than I did at school. Then again, it all depends on the individual. Some folks need the formal training and I'm glad it's there for people who want to learn. Some people learn better with grades and assignments.

    Can't wait to see who you interview next.