We spoke with artist Carla Wyzgala and got into her skull about all things art, geek, and pin-ups. Her amazing style led to a successful collaboration with her sister and Hidden Door Comics. “Blue Eyes and the Beastling” is a 160 page graphic novel in beautiful watercolor, which will be available at her con table or on her online shop.
Were you into superheroes and geeky culture as a child?
If wanting to go to New Zealand since I was 9 because that’s where they filmed Xena: Warrior Princess isn’t being into geeky culture as a kid, then I don’t know what is! I still view Xena as my role model in daily activities. I was also introduced to Sailor Moon as a kid and still watch it, actually re-watching it in Japanese currently. There may not have been as much female badassery in the 90’s as male badassery, but I definitely found them all. The ladies of Mortal Kombat and the Spice Girls taught me so much about designing outfits as a kid, and I think it shows.
Is there a character you never get tired of painting?
It would have to be all things Sailor Moon. I can’t stop. Sailor Moon is how I learned to draw the female form as a kid and I’m still inspired by the cutesy mixed with warrior thing she has going on. I love seeing different versions of her in other artwork and cosplay and I can’t help but be a part of that!
When did you realize you could sell your art?
I had no idea that artist alley existed until I was about to graduate college and really had no idea what direction to go with an art career. I was still figuring out what to charge for doing odd jobs like dog portraits and caricatures at events when I realized for some reason people liked them and wanted to pay me more for them than what I thought they were worth. The first few years of selling in artist alley I was totally underselling myself but gaining so much self awareness in the industry that I eventually figured it out.
What is something you love about cons and something you hate?
Hands down the best thing about doing cons is the instant gratification that I’m putting something out into the universe that makes other people happy. The attendees that come to artist alley because they love finding new art and visiting favorite artists seems to be growing every year and their loyalty is simply amazing! That I can even compete with Batman bobble heads is a triumph in itself!
As for the second part of the question, I’ve slowly weeded out cons that have elements that I dislike and without going into any depth on that, I’ll leave it at; bad music. Nothing bothers me more at my table than if a con plays bad music all weekend….
Do you want to stay in watercolor or have you ventured out into other mediums?
My heart lies with watercolor. I have no desire for another medium. It does so many amazing things on its own that it is truly a joy for me. I am part of that generation that is obsessed with the IPad Pro but has also died immeasurable times on the Oregon Trail, and somewhere in between I just really dislike being on a computer. I proudly stick to a medium that has no “undo” button.
Where did your inspiration for skulls come from? and do you secretly wish you could wear a skull?
I frequented the Field Museum when I lived in Chicago and there is something about a room full of bones that makes me want to draw. It’s almost therapeutic to study the cracks and dimensions of the skulls. Since my art is all things pretty ladies, I had to figure out a way to put a girl in there, so I literally just put a girl in there. I’ve always loved masquerades as well as designing dresses, so it all came together. Thank The Labyrinths’ “As the World Falls Down” for putting images in my head! And they are extremely uncomfortable to wear, so I’ll stick to just designing them.
Staying on skulls… you’ve combined pinups and pop culture, then pinups and skulls… what’s next?
Currently expanding on a Pin Up Mermaid collection. Who cares if lace and corsets would be extremely impractical underwater when it looks so good…
What’s the strangest commission request you’ve had? And did you end up doing it?
Since I do dabble in the risque from time to time, I’ve had all sorts of strange requests that I should not have even attempted but it was before I knew how to politely decline. But by far the strangest one that turned out AMAZING was a request for a sexy lingerie pin up version of the Golden Girls. It is everything you never wanted to imagine and more.