I recently released a new book, Flatiron Death Grip, through Airship 27 Productions. It is in the pulp fiction genre and the publisher always pairs the writer with an artist to bring the story to life. The color cover is painted by Ted Hammond and the inside black and white illustrations were done by a relative newcomer, Gabriella Saenz (Gabs). Rob Fortier, one of the owners of the publishing company, teaches a class on comic book writing and met 16-year-old Gabs in his class. He immediately saw a world of talent in her and asked her to do the inside illustrations for my book. Now that the book has been released for sale, I wanted to introduce her to you. So, I asked her a few questions. Here are her answers. And when I asked for a headshot so you would know what she looks like, she sent me a self-portrait of the artist. Beautiful!
Here is an inside illustration created by Gabs for the book.
I give you the artist (drum roll!) Gabriella Saenz!
1. What drives you to draw/paint? My art reflects my emotions and what is happening around me and in the world. For me, drawing and painting is my outlet, my motivation, and my voice. Seeing people enjoy my creations and it’s story is the best motivator!
2. What type of art do you draw/paint and why? My focus at the moment is comic book art and illustrations. I love to tell stories and pairing that with art in a complete book is golden! I have started to dabble in Animation, which brings my story art to life! Honestly, pen, markers, inks, acrylics, watercolor, or digitally, all are my favorites! I’ve even painted with coffee and chocolate… because why not! You can create with anything!
3. What type of art do you most admire? I’m pretty eclectic when it comes to types of art I admire. If the art moves me and grabs my attention, that’s the best!
4. Who is your favorite artist? My top three favorite artists are Steph Luna @lunarjokster, Laylie @ukelaylie and Frida Kahlo.
5. What’s your drawing schedule? Do you draw everyday? There is almost never a moment, I am not drawing, thinking about a character design, or itching to grab a pen to create. So, yes, I draw every day, no surface is safe! Ha!
6. Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you create. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table? My bedroom is my art haven! Thankfully, it is big enough that I keep half of my room dedicated to art and creating. I have a big art desk that is right next to a large sliding window for plenty of sunlight. Along with my desktop computer and my Surface laptop are piles of markers, pens, inks, paints, watercolors, canvases, and sketch pads. My happy piles of artwork add to the chaos! A lighted architect’s table rounds out my art tools!
7. Are you the kind of artist who needs total quiet to compose, or are you able to filter out the typical sounds of the day and use your tunnel vision? I have a habit of immersing myself in my art. I put in my earbuds, and I do my art. I don’t notice the time passing. There is always sound in my background, whether it be movies, anime, or music.
8. Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? If not, why not? When I write, I have specific music playlists for each mood I’m feeling at the time. The kind of music I like ranges from K-pop, indie, and R&B.
9. How did you come up with the ideas for my manuscript, Flatiron Death Grip? Flatiron Death Grip gave me an urban legend meets vigilante superhero vibe. The characters were born out of their personalities from the book. I made the decision of drawing the illustrations in black and white to have the “look” of a newsprint comic.
10. What 3 words describes you, the artist? Expressive, curious, impulsive.
11. Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to art! Not only do I do art, but I have been training in Taekwondo for about the same amount of time. Currently I’m working on a weapons form as a 2nd degree Black belt!
12. If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be? Eyeliner
13. What three words describe you, the person? Strong, Loyal, Kind
14. If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be? POM POM by Baby Storme
15. Favorite sound– Rain
16. Least favorite sound- Chewing noises
17. Best song every written– Immigrants (We get the job done) by K’naan, Snow Tha Product, Riz MC, Residente
18. Worst song ever written– Yummy by Justin Beiber
19. Favorite actor and actress– Simu Liu and Angela Bassett
20. Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? (It can be anyone living or dead) Batman, Because he is rich and cool.
21. What’s your version of a perfect day? If I could draw all day and no interruptions.
Where can we find you on social media? @brushstroke80 on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tik Tok
These are some more examples of her work:
Flatiron Death Grip is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle version at Flatiron Death Grip – Kindle edition by Chambers, Peggy, Saenz, Gabriella. Literature & Fiction Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com. Check it out and leave us a review!
What are you reading this week?