Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Meet a Local Cartoonist: A Chat with Beth Varni

by Mike Rhode

Beth Varni is new to the comic book world, and has agreed to answer our usual questions about her work and life.

What type of comic work or cartooning do you do? 

I do inking, pencils, and colors.

How do you do it? Traditional pen and ink, computer or a combination? 

Computers, traditional, and combination.

When (within a decade is fine) and where were you born? 


What neighborhood or area do you live in? 

I live in Woodbridge Va

What is your training and/or education in cartooning? 

I have a BFA in Communication Arts from Virginia Commonwealth University

Who are your influences? 

Adam Hughes, Tomm Cooker, Mike Mignola, Paul Azaceta, and far too many others to name. I am actually pretty shitty at names.

If you could, what in your career would you do-over or change? 

Early on I had an internship comic job with a company near George Mason. I'm not going to name them, and it was all around not a great experience. I was used to make logos as an unpaid intern as the ONLY logo designer they had and they advertised it. I was stolen from the company by my art director who more than likely cut my convo with the owner and took me, and then threw fits when I wanted to be paid for my colors. All around terrible.

The Witch art by Paul Moore, colors by Varni
What work are you best-known for? 

Um, I am actually very very new to comics only a year in and I think for The Last Hunt with Amigo Comics I am getting the most inquiries about. I did the colors; Paul Moore did the gorgeous pencils and inks. I also work on colors for The Shepard by Calibur comics which I've gotten positive feedback from.

What work are you most proud of? 

I think it's my non-comic works involving my niece and nephew. I do regular art, paintings, sculptures- I think what I love the most are the paintings of my family. They mean something to me. A birth, a quiet moment with a nana, a smiling baby for the first time. Those I love.

What would you like to do or work on in the future? 

Varni colors over Paul Moore art
Character design and colors are what I love in the realm of comics and games. I really want to work with my co-artist Paul Moore on some more stuff. I'd like to do colors for an Image series and of course for Marvel. A big dream of mine is doing concept art for a Bioware game. (Mass Effect lover here).

What do you do when you're in a rut or have writer's block? 

Play video games. Go out with my friends. Cuddle with my dogs.

What do you think will be the future of your field? 

It looks like it's headed into big growth right now. My generation's moving into the creation and profit fields- they like comics and games and movies. Of course we have different opinions than the old school creators so the art styles, panels, covers, even methods of story telling are being tested and changed. I hate when people say "this is the way we do this" well yeah, it's YOUR way to do it. Not the only way. It's fun to see what new paths comics and art in general will take in the future.

What local cons do you attend? The Small Press Expo, Intervention, or others? Any comments about attending them?
McKinnon Chronicles art by Matt Trinh, colors by Varni

Haha. I've actually NEVER gone to a con as an artist. I went to Otakon a long time ago with my friends... Tiki and the Revolution? Took home the best sketch trophy. Martial artists and Streetfighter work well together.

What's your favorite thing about DC? 

I love all the restaurants and the shows at the Verizon center. Initial reaction was I love the Cherry Blossom Festival - and the Beer festivals nearby at the Washington Harbor are very fun as well.

Least favorite? 

Traffic. I travel a TOOON so I can say we have some of the worst traffic in the world sometimes. Istanbul has us beat from what I've experienced but still DC traffic sucks.

What monument or museum do you like to take visitors to? 

I love to take them to the Mall and show them all the museums. Native American, Art, Natural History, Space! All so fun and fantastic.

How about a favorite local restaurant? 

In DC it's Zaytinya over by the Verizon Center. Took my dad there for his 60th bday- he loved it and so did my whole family. Great place; I cannot recommend it enough. 

Cunning Folk by Varni
Do you have a website or blog?

I have a website, it's my online portfolio. It has comic art, video game art, and just regular art for the sake of art- www.bethvarni.com

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