Grace (Gracifer ) Allison like Captain Kirk, born and raised in Iowa. She graduated from SCAD in 2011, majoring in sequential art. Studied abroad in Japan and France. She has worked on projects for IDW, Dark Horse, and Oni Press.
Doug Dorr: What projects are you working on currently?
I'm currently penciling and inking a one-shot by Justin Zimmerman for Bricker-Down Productions, as well as coloring two projects: Memorial, an new IDW series by Chris Roberson and Rich Ellis, and Johnny Zombie, a webcomic created by Karl Kesel.
DD: What is your artistic Process?
I start at my computer desk, which has a dual monitor set-up. I track down any reference material I need and keep it on one screen while I digitally lay things out on the other. I keep things very loose at this point, and fuss around with it until I feel like I've found the best solution for the page or illustration. Then, I either finish the piece with digital inking and colors, or I print out my layout on bond paper. Printed layouts get taped under a sheet of Bristol board, and I use my lightbox (which is attached under a glass drafting table) to draw over it. Illustrating, it is said is essentially storytelling.
I've actually been writing stories for longer than I've been drawing. I have pages from a few of my personal projects on my website, but I don't prefer to write for my own comics. I'm a perfectionist, and having to worry about every aspect of a comic is exhausting!
DD: What Comic/ Trade would you recommend?
I've recently been enjoying All Nighter by David Hahn. It's a five issue series about Kit, a 20 year old art student who is struggling with a dark past and starting to take on the responsibilities of adulthood. While the premise obviously applies directly to my life (except for the dark past part), I think anybody could appreciate the compelling story and slick art.
DD: What Comic/ Trade would you recommend to someone new to comics?
I like to start people off with something that is 1.) based off their taste in movies and books, and 2.) relatively short and self-contained. Banana Sunday by Paul Tobin (under the nom de plume Root Nibot) and Colleen Coover tends to be a good choice. It's a funny and well-executed short series about a high school girl trying to fit in at a new school in spite of being charged with the care of three very unique talking monkeys.
DD: What skill would you like to learn?
I'd like to learn to digitally paint. It'd open up a lot of job opportunities in concept design, which is definitely an interest of mine.
DD: What's the most important thing you've learned?
A strong work ethic is the most important factor in being successful.
DD: Do you have a collection? If so, what is one of the items you're most proud of?
I don't actively think of it as a collection, but I have a bookshelf stuffed with manga, trade paperbacks, a few pieces of original art, and two boxes of late 90s X-Men issues.
My most precious item is probably a 9x12 original drawing of a fire-breathing stegosaurus by Mark Schultz. Other than being wicked cool, it's special to me because I watched him create it as a demo while I was studying in Tokyo.
DD: What is your favorite genre of Comics?
My favorite comics mix genres, but I especially enjoy elements of fantasy, romance, and historical fiction.
DD: Do you have an Ipad? If so what do use it for the most.
Sadly no, but I do have an iPod touch. I use it to check e-mail and play Plants vs. Zombies.
DD: What is your favorite TV show/ movie?
My favorite show on the air right now is Downton Abbey. It's an exceptionally well-made period drama set in the late Edwardian era, and it has Maggie Smith. That's all I've ever wanted in a TV show.
DD: How does the Portland comics culture shapes your work?
I'm greatly influenced by the work of the members of Periscope Studio. I interned for them the summer before my senior year of college, and was fortunate enough to be given dozens of useful tutorials and tips, as well as some very honest critiques. They've also helped me find some of my first freelance work, which made it possible for me to start my art career right out of school! .
DD: What was your first comic convention?
My mom took me to Wizard World Chicago when I was about twelve. I met Chris Claremont and Leinil Yu, and very cheekily told them I was going to take their jobs some day.
DD: What is your favorite part of comic conventions?
Getting a chance to meet people in person! My work can be isolating, so it's great to talk with other creators, fans, or just people with similar nerdy interests face to face.
DD: If you weren’t doing comics what would you do?
I would've been extremely happy as a critic or editor. I became a freelancer to spare the world from my rampant criticism.
DD: Do you have a favorite restaurant that you would recommend?
I really like Paddy's, an Irish bar and grill in downtown Portland. You can watch soccer games while enjoying some delicious food. I recommend the mac n' cheese and, if you're into cocktails, their Lemon Drop.
DD: How long have you lived in Portland, what made you choose Portland?
Just three months so far. I decided on Portland after interning with Periscope Studio. It was already in my top three potential places to move after graduation, and after experiencing the supportive network of comic artists, the nerdy and fun-loving culture, and the food carts on 5th Avenue, I knew it was the place for me.
DD: What is your favorite part of Portland?
Guardian Games. Aside from being a great store, it's also run by people who care about the gaming community and like to organize events for people to get together and play.
DD: Where in Portland/ Oregon would you most like to visit?
I'd love to visit Ashland for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
DD: Would you like to write/Illustrate for another media? Is there a character from popular culture you would like illustrate, for example, Sookie Stackhouse, Dr. Who, James Bond? What would you explore?
I always enjoying doing fan art of properties I like… I've been meaning to draw something for the Guild and Avatar: The Last Airbender.
If I could work with another media, though, I'd most like to adapt young adult novels into comics. Specifically, series by Tamora Pierce and Patricia Wrede that have fantasy settings, adventurous storylines, and strong female characters. I think books like this would have a wide appeal and be a step in the right direction regarding the portrayal of women in comics.