Interview: Comic Artist Agnes Garbowska's Super Friendship
Agnes Garbowska provides bright and impossibly cute illustrations for IDW’s My Little Pony and Jem and the Holograms, DC’s DC Super Hero Girls, and many others. In anticipation of her appearance at Wizard World New Orleans, we spoke to her about her work, her influences, and which pony is the best.
A longtime My Little Pony fan, Ms. Garbowska came to acquire her dream job the only way most any dream is achieved: "Persistence, and not giving up. It took a few tries and finally having the right portfolio. I was looking for comic work and heard IDW had the rights to My Little Pony. I handed my published book to a wonderful editor named Denton, and he believed enough in me to hand my book over to the Pony editor. The rest is history!
"I have been a fan of My Little Pony since I was a kid collecting the original toys. I am still a fan, and I even have a collection of Pony toys and other things as an adult! Actually, today a My Little Pony makeup set came in since a company got the rights to make some cool makeup items."
Rarity is the best pony, and is also prominently featured on the wallpaper of her Tumblr page, but Ms. Garbowska assures us that’s just a coincidence. “Actually, Pinkie Pie is my favorite pony! Though that cover is one of the first I ever did, and holds a close place in my heart.”
One of the pitfalls of being creative in a professional context, especially for established properties like My Little Pony or even the newer DC Super Hero Girls, is the difficulty of bringing your personal vision to the work while maintaining the house style, but Ms. Garbowska has been able to find a balance. “I have been on My Little Pony for over four years now, and I have earned a trust with my editor that I am able to rather freely incorporate my own style and storytelling into my issues. I have really grown with the series, and I hope to continue to grow with it -- each year I can see my art improving. DC Super Hero Girls does follow the house style more closely, but I am able to add my add parts of myself into how I tell the stories.”
Of course, nobody works in a vacuum, and there were certain artists who made her realize that illustrating comics was she something she could do for a living. “Joe Mad, Humberto Ramos, Michael Turner fall at the top for sure. Their art really influenced me early on and made me want to be an artist. I remember trying to redraw all their images from the comics. I actually did not think I could have a career in comics till about 19 years old when I realized animation was not for me. Remember, kids, you can always change your mind on what you want to do! I was attending comic conventions in my teens and one day I went, ‘Comics! Why not comics?’ I picked one of the hardest jobs you can have, but I love it.”
Graphic novels are always among the most popular shelves of the children’s room at a public library, so we asked her for suggestions about series every children’s librarian should be sure to order. The answer may not surprise you. “Well, I do work on two amazing all-ages properties, so My Little Pony and DC Super Hero Girls for sure! Hopefully being completed in the near future -– I’m slowly trucking away on completing the artwork so I’m not sure on finishing date yet for this one, but it will be super cool -- is Peach and the Isle of Monsters from writer and artist extraordinaire Franco Aureliani and myself, coming out through Action Lab.” Done and done!
Images: Ryu Miki, IDW, DC