Covers from Dawn's DiVinica series
Comic book artist Dawn McTeigue is known for her beautiful and detailed renditions of gorgeous, eye-catching characters. Hailing from Calgary, Canada, Dawn has done work for DC Comics, Zenescope, Lady Death, and Rothic, to name a few. She began working on comics when her childhood friend, JP Roth (the creator of Rothic), approached her about converting some of Roth’s books into comics and asked Dawn to draw them for her. I’ll stop here though and let Dawn tell the rest of her tale in the interview down below.
I was lucky enough to meet Dawn at Seattle’s Emerald City Comic Con in 2014. At the time, she was drawing an amazing sketch of my all-time favorite comic book character, Harley Quinn. We chatted for a bit and Dawn’s kindness and genuineness immediately came through to me. I ended up purchasing a few of the Rothic comics that she had worked on because I was so captivated by her art style.
In 2015, I attended Emerald City Comic Con again, and I happened to come across Dawn’s booth again, where she immediately remembered me from the previous year (even though in 2015 I was cosplaying as a completely different character than I had been when she had met me the previous year!). I was shocked that she remembered me given how many people artists must meet at cons, but she greeted me warmly by name and that, honestly, was one of the most amazing con moments that I’ve ever had (which is why I’m excited to share it with you, dear reader!). Also, I was able to purchase a print of the same Harley sketch that she had been working on the previous year, and it’s proudly hung on my wall ever since.
Dawn and I in 2015 & again in 2019 with a commission I had done by her
When I found out that Frankie’s had hired me to be a blogger, I reached out to Dawn to ask about doing an interview with her at some point, and she enthusiastically agreed, despite having what I know is an incredibly busy schedule. So, without further ado, and to round out Women’s History Month, I present to you this interview with one of my personal favorite comic book artists:
Did you always know that you wanted to be a professional artist, and can you tell us a bit about your journey to becoming a professional artist? Did you always want to draw comic books, specifically?
Yes, I always wanted to draw and it’s just one of those things that I was always doing. My schoolbooks were covered in doodles and I had at least one art project going at any given time. Usually more than one.
I found comic books in my late teens and just lost my mind over the artwork. I never considered that I could become a comic book artist but sure, it was a fun dream to have. :)
What was the first comic that you worked on?
Ancient Dreams #1 (published in 2012 by Rothic). I was the interior inker & cover penciller.
Ancient Dreams #1 cover
Is there a comic/superhero that you would love to work on? What would be your dream comic to work on?
My dream comic right now is the one I’m working on! It’s called DiVinca, co-created by JP Roth & I, written by Roth, drawn and painted by me. It’s about goddesses from all different pantheons of mythology, whose tales are woven together with our lead character, DiVinica.
I absolutely love being able to draw many different characters from all around the world, so this book is literally PERFECT for me! It’s a ton of work to be the penciller, inker and actually physically painting the book cover-to-cover, but it’s an absolute joy to work on!
DiVinica #5 cover B
Who are a few of your favorite artists, and do any other artists inspire your work?
I follow thousands of artists, but the stand-out ones that have had the biggest impact on my career as an artist are Eric Basaldua (eBas) and J.Scott Campbell.
Back in the day when Marvel and DC were first starting out, most female comic book artists weren’t credited for their work, or at least it wasn’t well known that some of the artists were female, and the comic industry was more of a “man’s world”. Now, of course, female creators play a huge role in comics, which is awesome. As a woman, have you ever experienced or seen any gender disparity in the comic industry, or can you comment on women’s equality in comics?
I always consider myself a newcomer to comics which, in truth, I am, but seeing as it’s been 10 years now since I started actively working toward being in comics (I just hit my 10 year anniversary in February!) I can think back to a time where there were FAR fewer women around “behind the table” at cons etc. - especially as artists.
From day one we (the Rothic crew of JP Roth, Sabine Rich, Mike Krome and I) got SO much help from established male artists in the industry. We literally did everything wrong as far as actually making a comic: printed wrong, drawn on the wrong paper, my art was in need of major improvements...I was literally just running around with lofty dreams and not much landing gear! Hehehe.
Instead of being met with sideline mocking or a “there there little girl” attitude, I feel that from the get-go the attitude we were met with was a genuine hope to see me and the rest of Rothic succeed.
Artists that I’d admired for years actually took their time to teach me, give constructive criticism on my work, and encouragement when I improved.
In return for all that help, I was only told to “pay it forward” — which I actively try to do via livestreaming the process of creating comic art, a Facebook group I run for artists to show off their work, and mentoring at least one artist at any given time.
Punchline #1 colors and Punchline #1 inks
Do you have any advice for aspiring comic book artists who are hoping to “break into” the comic industry?
What breaking into comics was at any other time isn’t the same as what it’ll look like today. The world is changing SO fast, publishing is always adjusting, but I think the main thing that applies from the Golden Age to now is persistence.
This is literally the best time in history to be an artist. The only thing standing between you and your goals is setting up a social media account and posting your art. Get your own following, get your own art out there, build your own fan base. From there, it’s much easier to transition into comics because you’ll have a following and an online portfolio via your art posts.
Do you have any funny or touching stories to share from comic cons or meet and greets that you’ve attended?
At San Diego Comic Con 2016, a full can of an energy drink fell into my stock of prints and a commission I was drawing on opening day. Effectively, my show seemed ruined. JP Roth wanted to encourage me, so she went to Campbell’s table to get an art book of his that I was hoping to buy. She told him what happened, and he wrote a very encouraging dedication in the front of the book. It says, “For Dawn, Feel better, this too will pass. You’ll bounce back even better!”
I had managed to keep myself composed about all my stuff being ruined until I got that note. It was so kind and encouraging, I burst into tears. They were happy tears, and I was determined to bounce back, which I did, and the show was great anyway!
What are you currently working on, and where can fans find your work?
Starting April 1st (no joke!) JP Roth and I are launching our very first Kickstarter for a DiVinica Artbook! It’ll feature artwork from the first 4 issues of DiVinica along with sketches, concept art, and some new paintings I’ve done of the first 4 goddesses we’ve featured in DiVinica: Aphrodite, Nokomis, Isis, and Magu! There’s also new prose and poems about the goddesses from JP Roth!
New DiVinica artbook cover
In between cover art deadlines, I’m working on DiVinica #6 and will be livestreaming the process on my Facebook and Twitch pages! (Her livestreams are always fun to watch because Dawn is very interactive with replying to comments and answering questions!)
I send out a weekly email with updates on projects in the works and a bit more of a behind-the-scenes look at the life of a comic artist. It’s free to join!
Dawn's social accounts:
Twitch & Instagram: Dawn McTeigue
Facebook: Art of Dawn McTeigue
Angela “LaLa” Rairden is an avid fan of comic books, Star Wars, and most things nerdy. A cosplayer, she loves to attend comic cons dressed as her favorite fictional characters, particularly Harley Quinn. Although her day job is at a grocery store, writing has always been her true calling. She lives in the Pacific Northwest, where she is currently writing her first novel.