The wonderful Apex Book Company is known for their “outside the box” approach to publishing, and their latest book is no exception. Kentucky Kaiju is an artistic delight, a combination of art and prose in a field guide format, introducing the reader to the “kaiju” (monsters) of Kentucky with such names as “Mini-Mainframe” and “Chelonian Maximus.” I had a blast spending an afternoon reading about the strange creations of writer and illustrators Justin Stewart, Tressina Bowling and Shawn Pryor (you can read my review here if you missed it).
Today I’m happy to host artist Tressina Bowling! And as a special bonus, Apex Books has been kind enough to offer a copy of Kentucky Kaiju to one U.S. reader, so don’t forget to check out the giveaway at the end of this post.
Without further ado, please help me welcome Tressina to the blog!
BB&B: Many of the Kaiju in this book are twists on familiar animals. Can you tell me how the idea of creating this book came about?
TB: When we first started the conversation about the book and what it would entail, Justin Stewart and I agreed that we love the tiny little towns and cities throughout the state that have funny names (e.i. Dear Lick or Possum Trot). We compiled a list of all the names we could find and once we brought Shawn Prior into the project to create the Kaiju names and backgrounds for each, he really ran with it. It’s clear he took the “have fun with it” to heart. Many of the monsters have roots in real creatures, so it was easy for Justin and I to build off those and create new hybrids.
What was it about Kentucky that sparked the idea for the book?
The idea was first sparked when Justin Stewart was looking through the book The Art of Big Hero 6 and saw a concept poster with a giant eye on it that said “Kentucky Kaiju” across the top. He immediately thought “why isn’t this a real thing?!” Naturally, since we all reside in Kentucky, the idea was a no-brainer to keep it there. It also just rolls off the tongue so nicely doesn’t it?
What was your experience collaborating with another artist and writer?
This is honestly one of the easiest and most organic processes I’ve ever experienced with other creators. It helps that all three of us know each other well, and we get each other’s brand of humor. Justin and I simply chose each Kaiju that spoke to us, based of Shawn’s writing, to draw as the deadline drew closer. If we hit a bit of a wall creatively we would bounce ideas off each other through text and that would always do the trick. The Apex Book Company was incredibly trusting in our creation and process, and we’re all greatly appreciative of that fact.
And finally, which of your Kaiju is your favorite, and why?
My favorite Kaiju I created would have to be Rhinocerrock. My love of that one ultimately comes down to composition and overall satisfaction I felt with the finished piece. I didn’t fret over background and the movement in the Kaiju seemed to flow naturally within the ink wash. As an artist, I’m constantly over analyzing my final product and I couldn’t be more pleased with how Rhinocerrock turned out.
I have to agree, there is wonderful movement in that piece, but sorry folks! If you want to see Rhinocerrock in action, you’ll just have to get a copy of the book for yourself:-)
Thank you Tressina for joining me today!
About the artist:
TRESSINA BOWLING is a Lexington native artist who specializes in pencil, ink and Copic marker creations. She’s had work published through Action Lab Comics, Aw Yeah Comics and several Topps and Upperdeck trading card sets. You can find her on most social media sites, @tressabowling and her website www.TressinaArt.blogspot.com.
And now for the giveaway! One lucky U.S. winner will receive a paperback copy of Kentucky Kaiju. Simply fill in the Rafflecopter below. Good luck!