Interview With Jo Chen: Illustrator and Comic Artist
01 Dec, 2009
Recently at Anime USA, Elder-Geek.com had a few brief moments to chat with Jo Chen. Here’s what she had to say!
Jo Chen: It’s nice meeting you! I’m happy to be at Anime USA and I’m glad to participate!
Elder-Geek.com: Nice to meet you too! For our readers who don’t know your work, why don’t you tell us what you do for a living.
JC: Draw comics! Originally I started off in Asia doing interior art only, doing mostly Manga in black and white. My whole family immigrated to the United States from Taipei, Taiwan when I was 19. At that time I just graduated from high school and signed my first contract with a publisher in Taiwan. In the beginning I was going to school , trying to learn how to speak English and at the same time I was still working for the publisher in Taiwan. It wasn’t until about 1999 that I started to put my portfolio online. That when I was asked to do a spinoff series for Speed Racer (Racer X) and that’s actually how I started working in the United States.
EG: What projects are you working on right now?
JC: Well, a lot of people know me from the Buffy The Vampire Slayer comic series. I’ve been doing the Buffy covers continuously. I’m also working on some Star Wars titles called Invasion for Dark Horse Comics. I’m also working on a video game project: Fable.
EG: You’re working on Fable III?
JC: Yes. I’m also working on trade cover for Incarnate written by Nick Simmons and published through Radical comics. I’ve done a series of covers for them.
EG: So you worked on the cover of Fable II as well?
JC: Yes and Fable I.
EG: Are you finished with your work or Fable III?
JC: No. We’re still working on it. It’s not like comics. Art for video games is a lot more complicated and take longer than doing comics. In comics, general the editor comes to you with what they’d like to see on the cover. Often times they’ll ask me about suggestions as to what I’d like to put on the cover. The covers are based on some idea that’s already there. For video games and their packaging, I have to create the thumbnails. And then there’s meetings. And then I do the pencil work. And then more meetings (smiles). Basically, we have to evolve through many steps. So the process takes a little bit longer.
EG: Have you had to work directly with Peter Molyneux on these?
JC: As a matter of fact I’ve only a conference with Lionhead studios once. But most of the time, I work with the marketing directors. Basically we work back and forth to let me know what Lionhead studios wants and what Microsoft wants.
EG: Anything else you want to talk about any other projects you’d like people to know about?
JC: Right now I should really update my website! I used to be better at letting people know what I’m working on. I use it quite a bit to let people know what’s going on. I’m all over the place! But right now I’m also working some Street Fighter illustrations.
JC: I’m not sure what they’ll do with the art. They might be using it for an art book or something like that. I’m not certain which version of the game it’s for.