Italian artist Katia Vecchio is quickly laying down a signature style in the world of indie comics. 2019 saw several of her works enter the market; the collected edition of the YA feminist drama four-issue series Warpaint, written by Kev Sherry, and the supernatural crime drama one-shot Wild Strawberries at the World’s End with Bruce Kim.
Throughout our reviews of Warpaint and Wild Strawberries at the World’s End, we’ve been finding plenty of great stuff about Vecchio’s slick, humanist style of art and colour. We caught up with Vecchio to discover more about her background as an artist, how working on the two comics compare and contrast and what’s in store for her in the future.
A Place To Hang Your Cape: Why did you want to become a comic book artist?
Katia Vecchio: Ever since I was a child I loved drawing, scribbling and playing with colours. I used to divide the sheets of paper into four parts to draw in a mini comic story without balloons, because I spoke out loud what the characters said to each other. I loved watching anime and cartoons not only for the story itself but above all because I liked looking at the art. My older sister, in addition to having my same passion for drawing, also had a passion for comics, and she was the one who brought me closer to them, first to manga and then to American and European comics. I thought that one day I wanted to draw comics too, so I joined the comics school in Rome.
AP2HYC: Who might your artistic inspirations be?
Vecchio: I have several artists who inspire me. I love the heavy inks of John Paul Leon and Paul Azaceta, the digital color of Elizabeth Breitweiser, the line art of Rosemary Valero-O’Connell, and I love Gigi Cavenago as a complete artist.
AP2HYC: How did you join Wild Strawberries at the World’s End?
Vecchio: It all started when Bruce first discovered my artwork when I applied for the annual Millarworld contest. Art submissions were posted on the open forum and, scrolling through the samples, Bruce had noticed me. Then he contacted me saying that he would love it if I joined as an artist for a comic story he had written, so we started working together. It was great!
AP2HYC: What kind of style would you say you bring to this comic?
Vecchio: I would say a realistic style with noir influences. Outcast by Robert Kirkman and Paul Azaceta and Velvet by Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting were a great stylistic reference point for me.
AP2HYC: Wild Strawberries at the World’s End features a distinct use of colour to evoke the comic’s mood-driven narrative. Would you agree or disagree?
Vecchio: Absolutely agree! I think that colour in general helps precisely in this, to emphasize the mood and atmosphere and not just to give an aesthetic sense. Choosing the shades and contrasts was one of the parts I enjoyed most during the Wild Strawberries‘ creative process. Also, Memories of Murder and The Wailing, movies that Bruce recommended to me as a references, were very useful for the colouring process, as well as the visual one.
AP2HYC: How might working on Wild Strawberries compare/contrast with Warpaint, the ongoing series you’ve been working on?
Vecchio: Being a comic about a murder mystery, I preferred to give Wild Strawberries at the World’s End a heavier inking. Warpaint instead, being a dramatic comic but with teenagers as protagonist, has a fine and more cartoon line art and the colour does most of the work. I like to adapt somewhat different styles based on the genre and the mood that a comic book gives me. They are two completely different comics and they both have tested me.
AP2HYC: Has working on either comic advanced your artistic skills?
Vecchio: A lot! It has also improved the time I use to make a page and I’m more familiar with choosing a more interesting shot.
AP2HYC: Do you have any future comics you’re working on?
Vecchio: I am currently working on a comic series set in the 18th century England and during my free time I work on a personal project. It’s the first time that I’ll be working on a comic book where the story is also written by me. The goal is to complete it within this year, hopefully!