Smash Pages Q&A: Alejandra Gutiérrez on ‘Twisted Romance’

The comics creator and designer discusses her work with Alex de Campi on the Image Comics anthology, how she came into comics and more.

Alejandra Gutiérrez has been posting comics and illustrations online for a while now on Twitter and Instagram in addition to her published art and covers. She’s shown a sense of design and fashion, a willingness to play with layout. Some of that may come from her background in design, but she’s clearly interested in multimedia, in playing with how people read the page and finding ways to tweak that.

Gutiérrez may wear her influences on her sleeve, but she’s also moved past simply imitating them and is clearly coming into her own. She’s drawing “Twinkle and Star” in Twisted Romance #2 written by Alex de Campi and so I asked her about how she came to comics and why she signed on to draw romance.

I like to ask people especially when I talk to them early in their career, what is it that brought you to comics?

Comics kind of fell on my lap. I only ever started drawing in my mid teens, and I discovered superhero comics around the same time. I was super discouraged by them and their stories after a while and I didn’t know anything else so I kind of left comics behind. I kept drawing and started working as a make up artist, it wasn’t until a couple years ago that I found some comics that really got me excited about the medium and I fell back in love (Multiple Warheads by Brandon Graham, She-Wolf by Rich Tommaso, Snotgirl by Leslie Hung and Bryan Lee O’Malley in case you were wondering). After that I started doing some auto-bio stuff, and putting my work out there and things just started happening, I guess.

How did you get involved in Twisted Romance and what made you say yes?

Alex and I were twitter buddies for some time, talking about fashion constantly and one day she hit me up asking if I’d wanna work in a project with her and I was like “hell yes”.

Tell me about Twinkle and the Star.

It’s the best written and prettiest comic you’ll ever see in your life. Also, it’s a really relatable story at it’s core. It’s really earnest and I like that.

A lot of the work I’ve seen from you has been covers and short comics. And i know you have a background in graphic design and I’m curious how that background and training helps – or doesn’t – in terms of working as a cartoonist

I learned a lot from my time in graphic design school and about what things do visually to an audience and different schools of design that I take inspiration from. I wouldn’t say it helps me make better comics, but it also doesn’t not help. It definitely informs my layout and design choices in my work, and how I approach my own comics as a full experience rather than just a story. My boyfriend was reading a 90s interview of Paul Pope on a Comics Journal mag recently and I really like this thing Pope said about experimenting with comics’ format so that they’re treated more like objects. That really resonates with me as far as making comics goes.

Before this if someone mentioned romance comics, what did you think, and how has that changed as a result of working on this project?

I’m not sure that I thought anything, to be honest. I had been interested in doing a sad romance story, I thought it’d be the only type of romance I’d be into but now I guess happy ones are cool too.

So what’s next for you?

I’m currently working on my own comic inspired by the trash skate magazine from the 90s Big Brother, and I have plans for some longer auto-bio stuff in the future.

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