Life Beyond Reed (continued)

Photo by Carlos Quinteros

Angie Wang ’08

Cartoonist, Illustrator, Animator

Angie Wang is an in-demand cartoonist and editorial illustrator. Her day job is working for the animated series Steven Universe on the Cartoon Network in Los Angeles.

Born in Shanghai, Wang grew up in California, where she got hooked on Japanese manga and anime, still a major influence on her work, along with the Pre-Raphaelites and art nouveau.

After graduating from Reed, she decided to try making a living as an artist. One of her first jobs was an assignment for the New Yorker: “That’s when I realized I could make a living.”

Thesis: The Brave and the Boldface: A Study of Prosody in Comic Books. Adviser: Prof. Stephen Hibbard [linguistics]

You majored in linguistics and never took an art class . . . Why? To be honest, I wanted to pick a major that wouldn’t make my parents mad, that would bridge humanities and the sciences. I really loved linguistics. As far as art goes, I’m 100% self-taught.

Was it a struggle to get started? I damaged my wrist typing my senior thesis. The only thing I could do to earn money was draw because it didn’t aggravate my injury. So I researched how to become an illustrator. I drew a massive amount, and I started making connections. It was hard, but I had faith that this path would pan out. I did some work for Dark Horse about a year after graduation. The New Yorker was a game changer.

How would you describe your style? That’s a complicated question. I have alter egos with very different styles. I’m often hired for jobs that require a certain elegance . . . I do a lot of dancers. Also work that carries some emotion, particularly melancholy or mystery. So elegant and moody.

Do you get artist’s block? Not too much. I have a complicated relationship with people who say they’re artists but they don’t draw, or say they’re a writer but don’t write. I believe the more you work at your art, the better you get.

Do you go to the big comics conventions? Oh, yeah. That’s how you network. I just cofounded a one-day festival for independent comics called Comic Arts LA. We’re making it an annual event . . . I’m really interested in encouraging the idea that the making of art is for everybody.

What’s the coolest thing to happen to you at a convention? At LA Zine Fest, I was at a table drawing a picture of a woman with really tall hair, and this guy came up and asked me, “Can I buy this from you?” I said he could just have it, but he said he should give me something in trade. So he started drawing Marge Simpson. I was like, “Who is this drawing me Simpsons fan art?” Then he signed it at the bottom: Matt Groening.