Panel One Comic Creator Festival 2016: Artist Elisa Friesen Talks Black As Hell

I recently sat down with Calgary area artist, Elisa Friesen. You see, she was kind enough to back the successfully funded Kickstarter campaign for the inaugural Panel One Comic Creator Festival, which takes place today - June 4 - at the Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association from noon to 7 p.m. Her reward: an interview with our site to talk about her current comic project and other works that she has on-the-go. Here's our little Q & A. Enjoy, and feel free to share with your friends.

GNN: Tell us about the comic that you're currently working on.

Elisa: The book is Black as Hell. It's a noir detective thriller, a grungy crime thriller with a nameless detective and a whole series of really gross, horrific mysteries and murders that are happening around him. The book is written by Michael Sherwood, and I am just one of many artists collaborating on the book, including Axel Bernal-Bladh, Reid Bruce and Derek Mah. I'm really excited about it and happy to be working with such a talented group. 

GNN: This being your first comic book, how did you get involved?

Elisa: Well, I'm a freelance commission artist, and I do a lot of family-friendly, cartoony work. But knowing I want to get into comics one day, I set myself a goal for 2016 - 366 project - to draw one landscape every day, to challenge myself because i don't really like drawing backgrounds. They make me super uncomfortable. I actually just met Michael Sherwood a couple months ago when he reached out to me after seeing my 366 project, and asked if I'd like to be involved in drawing Black as Hell. The comic is a great kick in the butt to get me into drawing a scripted story right away. Plus, all the gross and horrific scenes in this book are perfect because I love drawing gory things. 

GNN: The funny thing about you doing the 366 project is how you started doing sit because it's something completely out of your comfort zone. Then it rewards you just four months into the year with a spot working on a comic book. 

Elisa: You know, you can't grow as an artist if you're not making yourself uncomfortable. I see a lot of artists who do work that is challenging to them, and really, if you want to draw comics, you pretty much have to be able to draw everything. And with Black as Hell, the story is so compelling, I can't wait until it's done. And eventually, we'll be launching a Kickstarter for the book, so please keep an eye out for it.

There you have it, artist Elisa Friesen. You can find her all over the interwebs under her name: Elisa Friesen, on almost every social media channel. Go ahead, search for her. And you can also go to ElisaFriesen.com right now. Also, check out a gallery featuring some of Elisa's 366 project work.

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This interview was conducted and written by Chris Doucher, managing Editor for GeekNerdNet.