Between the Panels: Artist Eva Cabrera on Working Internationally, Being Inspired by ‘Archie,' and Starting Her Own Publishing Label

“Between the Panels” is a bi-weekly interview series focusing on comic book creators of all experience levels, seeking to examine not just what each individual creates, but how they go about creating it.

In Eva Cabrera’s own words, she’s a “vegan witch and Mexican comic book artist.” But that description doesn’t tell the story of her full resume, which includes work for Archie Comics, Black Mask, Oni Press, and BOOM! Studios — not to mention being nominated for both Eisner and GLAAD awards. As if all of that weren’t an impressive enough list of credits, Eva is also the co-founder of the Mexican studio, Boudika Comics.

First off, the basics…

Your specialties (artist/writer/letterer/inker/etc.): Artist

Your home base: Jalisco, México

Website:
www.behance.net/evacabrera
www.boudikacomics.com

Social Media

Facebook: Evacabrera.Art

Instagram: @evacabrera

Twitter: @evacabrera

YouTube:
www.youtube.com/user/evamx [Eva Cabrera Official]
www.youtube.com/user/evainilla [Boudika Comics]





Fanbase Press Contributor Kevin Sharp: I start by asking every guest: Why comics? What is it that makes you want to work in this artform?

Eva Cabrera: Since I was little, I have always liked the idea of telling stories with drawings. At first, I wanted to dedicate myself to animation — I loved Disney movies and cartoons — but I saw it as too complicated to study that in my country, [so] I started drawing comics.

KS: What were the first comic titles and characters you found as childhood favorites?

EC: Archie and Friends were my favorite comics. I liked to read the trouble those teenagers were getting into and their love for music and fashion. They reminded me a lot to my friends. I also read the newspaper comics and Japanese Manga comics.



KS: Fanbase Press launched the #StoriesMatter initiative this year to highlight the impact that stories can have on their audience.  Once you’d read more comics, what types of stories really meant something to you?

EC: When I started reading the European graphic novels, I was very impressed by their well-elaborated narrative and drawing, in addition to the fact that they were stories that I had never read. I liked them a lot and I began to investigate more about authors and works like Barbara Canepa, Juanjo Guarnido, Erik Rubin, etc.

KS: When was the first time you tried actually making a comic of your own?

EC: The first comic that I wrote and drew was in high school. It was a story of more than 100 pages; I never shared it openly, because I was afraid it would be stolen. I really liked it because it was the first I did with my own characters and a story that came out of my head. As at the beginning, I copied the characters and only put the names of my friends (hahaha), but when I was 16 years old, I decided to start making my own stories.

KS: What about your first paid comics job?

EC: It was with the Stone Arch publishing house; they publish graphic novels of classic literature for young people and children. My first title was Romeo and Juliet. I loved drawing a complete book of this type, because I love books. Later, I did more work with them, with titles like Robinson Crusoe and The Three Musketeers. (This was my favorite.)



KS: How did that originally come to you?

EC: A person who knew me and already worked with the publisher recommended me. I think it was a stroke of luck, too, because they had never drawn professionally and the publisher liked my work very much. In Mexico, being a comic artist and being recognized — more as a woman — is very difficult. I think things have improved in recent years, but for now I prefer to work abroad; I am doing very well and they value my job a lot.

KS: Since any career in the arts can be such a gamble, did you have any ideas for a backup plan if illustration didn’t work out?

EC: When I was a teenager, I made my own costumes and I really liked the process. I also loved seeing the behind the scenes of how they made Lord of the Rings costumes and those kinds of movies where they built props and armor. I think if I was not a professional comic artist, I would love to make costumes for cinema or theater; I really like it or for characters like The Dark Crystal series. In the end, always on the path to creative development.

KS: These days, are you a daytime creator or a nighttime creator?

EC: I work almost all day, but I prefer it at night. It is when I least have to attend to my social networks, emails, or the demands of my pets. The night is always better for me — I'm a nocturnal creature, I find a lot of peace and concentration.

KS: Do you listen to music or any other background noise while you draw?

EC: Music is my best lover. I cannot work if it is not with music.

KS: What would we find on the Eva playlist?

EC: It almost always depends on my mood, from Celtic music, to symphonic metal, electro house, movie soundtracks, etc. I like everything. [Some] of my favorite artists are Aviici, Alan Walker, and Gorillaz.

KS: If you look back now at your earlier artwork, what impressions jump out at you?

EC: Of course, it has improved. Seeing my art when it started gives me a lot of shame, but it is part of the growth of an artist, and also a sign that I'm progressing. I still need a lot to improve; there is no day when [I don’t] learn something new. I really like to experiment and I think I would never be totally satisfied.




KS: You run your own publishing label with artist Claudia Aguirre. Tell us how Boudika Comics started.

EC: [It] was born as a result of our first presentation at the Comic-Con in San Diego. As two young Latinas, we didn't attract much attention, so we made the logo and a very beautiful presentation with art and a preview of our first book that we brought as a gift to authors and publishers to introduce ourselves.

KS: Had you and Claudia already worked together before joining up for that?

EC: Claudia and I met before all this began, and each of us made her own comics. We got along well and became great friends, and we decided to advance each with their own stories with the Boudika banner.

KS: For readers not familiar with the label, could you summarize the mission of Boudika?

EC: Boudika Comics exists to promote comic reading and invite young creators (especially girls) to make their own stories, to support and inspire them to believe in themselves as authors, cartoonists, or comic writers.

KS: Thinking over your comics career thus far, is there a particular moment of pride that stands out to you?

EC: I think when I was nominated for an Eisner Award [for Best Limited Series in 2017], I didn't think it would be so soon. It's something I've dreamed of. I know I must keep working hard to earn it, but the moment I was with the Kim and Kim team when they announced our names, it was unforgettable.

Also working for Archie Comics has been great, since those stories inspired me to make comics when I was nine years old and now I work for them. That makes me very happy — I never would have imagined it.




KS: Let’s spread some love. What’s a comic or graphic novel that you look at with admiration?

EC: I admire too many, but I think that one of the ones that have impacted me the most are all of comics by David Rubin, L'île Sans Sourire by Enrique Fernández, Icarus and the Sun by Gabriel Picolo, Sandman by Neil Gaiman, etc...

KS: Finally, tell us what you’re working on now and what we should look for this year.

EC: For Boudika Comics, we are preparing many projects, among them the one for La Roja which will be launched at the Guadalajara International Book Fair in December. (I hope there will be no pandemic by then.) I'm currently working on a Latin superhero comic by Kayden Phoenix, and I occasionally make covers for Archie Comics. There are other projects that I still can't talk about, but I will be announcing them on my social networks.





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