SBCF 2023 Interview: Anna Bow

Throughout the month of October, the Cartoonist Cooperative will be sharing interviews with members of the Co-op who have a new comic available at the ShortBox Comics Fair 2023

NOTE: The Cartoonist Cooperative is not affiliated, associated, authorized, endorsed by, or in any way formally connected with ShortBox.

Cartoonist Cooperative: We’d love it if you could introduce yourself and tell us about your background in comics.

Anna Bow: I’m Anna, an American cartoonist living in the UK. I’ve only recently started to try making a “career” out of it, but I’ve been making comics here and there since 2009, mostly self published or micro press. My first major published work is Graveneye (TKO, 2021) for which I created all the art.

CC: Tell us more about your new comic!

AB: “Through the Window” is about a girl chasing after her cat who has run off into the woods during the night. Gradually the woods become more sinister, until she stumbles on an old, buried house. The story is based on a series of vivid dreams. I wanted to try to capture the feelings of unease, abandonment, and fear of the unfamiliar that the dreams had left me with.

CC: Tell us about your creative process; how did you develop this comic and what are the steps you took to bring it to the final stage?

AB: I’ve been trying to tell this story for a little while. First it was a sequential series of wood engravings for my thesis show at my university (a professor had introduced me to Lynd Ward). I tried writing and rewriting a script for it several times after that. I rewrote it again specifically for SBCF.

CC: Can you talk about your visual style? How did you develop it?

AB: I wanted my drawings to be more expressive, without being beholden to rules of anatomy or perspective. So I tried to keep my drawings very loose and push against the instinct to tighten my pencils before inking.

Initially I wanted to try to keep my layouts super simple, and my page count small, so that I could focus on the artwork. Then, a couple of months into my project and having already finished drawing a few pages, I read “No. 5” by Taiyo Matsumoto and was really excited by his artwork–the ways he played with style and tone, and his intricate panelling; how he mixed inking styles and how he squeezed in little details that weren’t strictly important to the plot but helped to liven up the world he was creating. I realised that by trying to ‘slim down’ my project, I was sacrificing a lot of the things that make comics fun to read. So I tweaked my script, added more pages, rearranged and expanded existing layouts, and added back in some of the ‘extra’ stuff I had taken out of previous drafts.

Finally, I wanted to play with texture in the inking stage. I normally stick to one of two nibs–once for text, bubbles, and borders, and one for everything else. This time I used 3 different nibs (1 for panel borders) and a dry brush. I think I could still go much farther out of my comfort zone–maybe next time I will use 4 nibs.

CC: Can you tell us about your newest projects/projects you have in development? Feel free to plug anything here as well eg. socials, website, etc.

AB: I’m working on a humor series called ‘Animaland’ about my childhood stuffed animals being mean to each other and wrecking havoc. I wanted (again) to try a “simpler” style of drawing with basic grid layouts (I do hope to come back to the Horror genre as it is a lot of fun to draw). Anyway, the first short story is up on my Twitter and Bluesky, with sketches up on Patreon. If you’re interested, here’s where you can find me:

Twitter @mopedow

Patreon @mopedcow

Instagram @mopedcow