Not that Jenny from the block…
I remember being really affected by a Fisher Price storybook I had one called Wonder Woman: Cheetah on the Prowl. It was illustrated by Ross Andru and Dick Giordano. It was pre-Crisis Wonder Woman and it totally doesn’t count because it was a storybook . . . not a comic. But it definitely began a lifelong love of Wonder Woman . . . which directly influenced my future career choices!
– Jenny Frison
Greetings from the desert fellow CBSI members. With any One Year Later column it is imperative that the information provided brings relevancy, and entertainment to you the reader. The Week of January 25th, 2017 while short sided in overall quality spec books, brought a haunting portrayal of Wonder Woman # 15. Where did the Genesis of this amazing cover and furthermore every cover starting at issue #7 to the present derive their beauty? Well, I thought it was worth a look into Jenny’s life story and professional career to gain a better understanding of what drives her, and more importantly the WHY behind her passion for art and comics. Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?
As a child born in Peoria, Illinois Jenny drew constantly. She describes herself as an awkward kid with very few friends. She was enamored with drawing unicorns and princesses. In addition, she created a comic strip like Calvin & Hobbes only it involved a little girl and her dog. Jenny read a lot of Barbie and Barbie Fashion by Marvel. However, her first true comic love, Wonder Woman was born from a Fischer Price storybook of all things – Please see the introductory quote from her at the top of this article as to the impact. As she grew older, particularly in her high school years her drawing stopped. It was not until her Freshman year of college when she took an art history class on Comics did that fire reignite within her once again. She received her BFA in Illustration from Northern Illinois University, and later attended the Joe Kubert School of Cartooning and Graphic Arts. An interesting note – she still uses her Prismacolor Turquoise lead holder daily that she bought in College. Her inspirations include Alphonse Mucha and the entire art nouveau movement, as well as Victorian decorative art. She is also a big fan of Kevin Nowlan, Adam Hughes, Brian Bolland, and many others. A look at the heart of her work in her words: “Usually, my main focus is to make the image as affecting as possible–whether it be beautiful or disturbing or inspiring or whatever. And I want it to say something about the comic within. I struggle trying to create an image that stirs the viewer. I want people to notice it on the shelf and want to see what the book is about, but I have to figure out how to do it in one image.” In reading that, you can see how her art speaks to all of us as fans!
Her unique style is captured by starting with a sketch. Often it is just a quick layout to get the general idea across to an editor. Then she will have it approved, followed by tightening her sketch up and then move on to final pencils to focus on movement and keep the line clean. Those pencils act as the final line work for her cover. Next, is the tonal drawing on gray-toned paper with copic marker, graphite, and white pastel. Finally, she will color the cover in Photoshop. Here is an example of the process as reference:
So we have got some backstory with Jenny. Let’s move onto some of her work. This includes early covers of Buffy and Angel for IDW. House of Night at Dark Horse Comics. In addition Revival at Image, and Vampirella and Red Sonja at Dynamite. Finally, she lends her talent to Marvel and current/future DC projects as well.
|Early Angel Cover circa 2009||Vampirella|
|Hack / Slash||Ms Marvel|
Coming March 2018 – Harley and Ivy meet Betty and Veronica
That is just a small taste of Jenny’s amazing talent. She has gained an all-new legion of fans with her current Wonder Woman work, but as you can see many amazing covers that arrived before this run. It’s always fascinating to see what artists deem as their favorite cover they created. The below really speaks to all the aforementioned and encapsulates her artistry:
Here is Jenny in her own words:
I worked from a beautiful photograph I had seen and decided to turn it into Cassie Hack. When it turned out pretty nice, I decided to color it. I was trying to come up with some unpublished work that I could use for an art book that I had been invited to contribute to. Anyway, Tim Seeley (A frequent collaborator) really liked it so I had to hunt down the photographers and get their permission to use it for a cover. I think it was so fun because I wasn’t working on a deadline. I was just trying to come up with different ways to solve problems. Usually, my favorite covers are ones that come together fast, because I’ve been lucky enough to have made the right choices quickly and I’m not sweating the deadline. But for this one, I got to play around for as long as I wanted. And it looked exactly how I was intending it to, in the end. That rarely happens.
Pretty cool huh? It’s great to dive into the mind of talent and get a better understanding of their thinking process. Well, that’s all this week, I hope you learned something you had not known before reading this and found it somewhat entertaining. I leave you with one more look at her gorgeous art…
One more of note, you can view all of Jenny Frison’s covers via Inigo’s amazing work on the comicbookinvest main site. It’s a great tool for those collecting or want to see her body of work in totality.
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