RICH INTERVIEWS: Cleopatria Peterson Artist “Yonge At Heart”

First Comics News: Why did you decide you wanted to be an artist?

Cleopatria Peterson: I wouldn’t say I made a conscious decision it just kind of happened. I taught myself how to draw when I was younger and just kept working at it til that was the thing I as good at. Now it’s my only skill so I gotta use it how I can haha.

1st: How did you first join Toronto Comics?

Cleopatria: I was a part of volume three. Jeff Estrella, a friend of mine and my writer for volume four had told me about the project and encourage me to submit my artwork.

1st: What was your comic “Buried, Not Forgotten” about from Volume three of Toronto Comics?

Cleopatria: Buried, Not Forgotten was written by Corey Reid and was a story featuring the Crawford Street Bridge that was simply buried over and now sits underground in Trinity Bellwoods Park. It’s told through the perspective of Ron who murders his brother and buries him in the structure of the bridge.

1st: In “Yonge At Heart” what story do you contribute to it?

Cleopatria: In Yonge At Heart, I collaborated with writer Jeff Estrella on Caddy’s which is a coming of age and coming out story about two Scarborough teenagers who make an attempt to steal the Cadillac that sits atop the entrance to the adult entertainment bar in Scarborough called Caddy’s.

1st: How would you describe your art style?

Cleopatria: Lots of lines and fine details.

1st: At you have some online comics can you tell us about them?

Cleopatria: Sure. The woods and Sleep Paralysis were done for my continuing studies comic class at OCAD so that was me trying to learn how to make comics. They’re pretty short and are just me trying to figure out comics composition. Survivor is more of a graphic novel but I wrote and illustrated it in university for a class dealing with mental illness and psychiatric institutions. It’s a critique on the violence done to people who were mentally ill and institutionalized. Lastly, Pact was my first attempt at making my own comic and I just wanted to push myself to finish a big personal project.

1st: What is “Froze Solid” all about?

Cleopatria: Froze Solid was written by Corey Reid, who I worked with on volume three of Toronto Comics with Buried, Not Forgotten. He kindly asked me to illustrate this comic for the Hogtown Horror anthology. It’s a short horror comic about a girl basically freezing to death after she misses her bus. Ivan Barnum did the colours for me and he did a superb job.

1st: Do you prefer drawing females to males if so why?

Cleopatria: I don’t have a preference, I draw whatever the piece is going to call for.

1st: What makes an artist and or writer great?

Cleopatria: Having a unique voice and creating work that is diverse and full of meaning.

1st: Where do you see your career in five years from now?

Cleopatria: Haha I can’t think that far I don’t even know where I’m going to be in a year from now.

1st: Which comics and books would you recommend?

Cleopatria: Anything by Junji Ito, Pretty Deadly, Y the Last Man and the Abhorsen book series.

1st: What are microns and how do you use them?

Cleopatria: They’re just ink pens with different line widths, I use the Sakura brand. I just draw with them but I guess determining what linewidth a certain piece of art is going to need tells me if I’m working with a 0.8 opposed to a 0.1 pen. They give you good control over your lines and they’re good if you’re afraid of using real bottles of ink to draw which I am haha.

1st: Do you enjoy a cup of coffee and how do you take it?

Cleopatria: I enjoy coffee too much probably. I like it really sweet but I recently discovered if I use condensed milk I don’t have to put sugar in, so that’s my new trick.

1st: Do you enjoy having people appreciate your art?

Cleopatria: Yeah of course. Being validated for creating something is a pretty great feeling, and it just pushes me to be a better artist.

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