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Q&A with Donya Todd

Painter and comic book illustrator

Hello! My name is Donya and I'm an illustrator, painter and comic book artist. I live on a remote farm in Cornwall with my partner in crime Jack Teagle and our two cats where we work together making tee-shirts and travelling about to conventions. My graphic novel 'Death & the girls' was released by BlankslateBooks last year and I mostly work on self-published comics, prints and paintings whilst also doing freelance commissions for cool people.

Software / hardware

Couldn't live without my base set: Mechanical pencil, Pentel brush pen, floppy sketchbooks (made by riso-kid extraordinaire Benjamin Wright) and a triangular ruler. As for colour I have a kick-ass new set of watercolours which were suggested by the amazing Dan Berry, a big box of Liquitex acrylic paints and a nice collection of thick bumpy paper. Also, at the grand old age of 27 I have finally figured out how to use Photoshop without wanting to tear my hair out so it's a pretty big part of my life now.

Ideal work environment

My ideal work environment used to be the hustle and bustle of a student studio but now I like the privacy of home. I work in my bedroom. Just outside my window are fields and trees and fields. Lambing has just finished on the farm so there are loads of little ones jumping around, as well as rabbits, birds and ducks on the pond. I've got a chest of drawers next to my desk which I keep my pants and best books in to protect them from mould. At the end of my bed are blankets for the cats. If I get fed up with the silence I put the telly on and watch Netflix (or Jeremy Kyle sometimes.)  If I could change it I would have a bigger desk, nay a bigger room as I have more books and pants than space.

Work inspiration

I love it when you've been thinking about an idea for a while, trying to develop mentally, hitting brick walls and then one day, out of blue It'll all fall into place. The drive to create new work will eventually form into a cohesive plan and away you go on a new adventure. The things that facilitate the inspiration process for me can be finding new artists, reading, travelling, watching an interesting documentary, lazing in the bath, bombing it around a roller skating rink, playing with my cats or dreaming in the morningtime. When it all comes together I feel great and get dizzy. I read somewhere that that feeling is down to new links being formed in the brain which releases some happy time chemicals.

Creatives you admire most

I have my big-time faves like Frida Kahlo, Henry Darger, Jillian Tamaki and Dame Darcy but I'm also really lucky to have had the chance to work with some of my favourite contemporary artists! People like Rose Robbins who does the amazing Dog Comics, Philippa Rice, Sarah Burgess and Emma Raby who worked with me on Bimba Issue 1, Mel Stringer, and my lovely boyfriend Jack Teagle who is an amazing artist and person in general. I keep getting the chance to meet and work with new awesome people all the time and it's a really positive part of my job.

© Donya Todd Illustration