RICH INTERVIEWS: Brenna Baines Artist “Yonge At Heart”

First Comics News: Why did you decide to take animation at Seneca College?

Brenna: It was actually my back-up school after I spent three years trying to get into Sheridan. As soon as I got there and realized the quality of facilities, and how few people actually get to be there, I wasn’t apprehensive at all about being there instead.

1st: In “Yonge At Heart” what is the story you illustrate and what is it about?

Brenna: Housing Challenge is about a future Toronto, where a place to live is so scarce that people build giant mecha and fight with them on reality TV to win a condo. It follows a young woman named Fahima and her attempt to do so, but it’s also a look at the kind of mindset that might bring about such an idea and the kind of person who claims this is social assistance. The writer is BC Holmes, who’s been fantastic.

1st: Is this your first published work?

Brenna: My first comic work, yes. I’ve had a couple of illustrations in zines or festival books.

1st: Are you excited to hold this comic in your hands?

Brenna: Thrilled! Stoked! Razzed! It’s gonna be cool.

1st: Why are anthologies as good or better than a regular comic book?

Brenna: They’re super great because you can get all kinds of styles and ideas coming up in one. They’re a cool way to find out about new creators and have a taste of their work.

1st: What is next for you after “Yonge At Heart”?

Brenna: Get a job in my industry. I plan to keep making comics and finding more opportunities, but as well as that I want to animate and work on some cool projects there.

1st: How do you feel about others looking at your work and judging it?

Brenna: It’s not a huge deal. I hope people like it, but it’s not worth it to be upset if people judge it harshly. Just try and keep being better!

1st: Would you like to write and draw a story about giant robots in the ocean?

Brenna: That sounds like the gold standard of “stories Brenna would want to be a part of.”

1st: What type of animation would you like to get into doing as a career?

Brenna: Hand-drawn, for sure. As an industry, it’s pretty dormant in North America, but it’s the most satisfying to me to do! I’m very comfortable doing 2D puppeting as well, but hand-drawn is my true love.

1st: Do you watch any animated series or read any comic books if so which ones?

Brenna: Bob’s Burgers and Rick and Morty, for things on air, and I always come back to TMNT and Transformers. I don’t spend a lot on comics right now, but the IDW Transformers runs are genuinely outstanding–people reading should check out More than Meets the Eye and Lost Light! Usagi Yojimbo is my other big favourite, it’s always a treat.

1st: If you could have one super power what would it be and why?

Brenna: If you’ve ever played Earthbound, that game’s psychic powers. Ness’s fuel is burgers, and so is mine, so it’s really a great fit.

1st: Who has encouraged you in your career the most?

Brenna: My family always made an effort to get me into art classes and into a school that would help me best cultivate those skills. And my friends, because it’s so great to be excited about each other’s successes!

1st: Any words for those who enjoy seeing your work?

Brenna: I’m glad you guys like robots as much as I do! People telling you you’re making cool stuff is one of the best motivators there is.

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