Jay Fabares: From Fan Art to Fan Favorite
Valiant Entertainment’s latest artist to make a splash with the fans is Jay Fabares. Jay is Valiant’s social media artist. Her creative take on the Valiant Universe has been showcased in a variety of projects including the New Year’s card and Valiant-ines. Chances are you’ve seen Jay’s animation-style work for Valiant, so I thought it was time we shone the spotlight on the artist behind it all. Jay took time out of her schedule to answer some questions for Valiant Central.
Amy: Tell us about yourself. How did you get into the comic industry? How about your affiliation with Valiant?
Jay: I started drawing when I was kid, but I never really thought about art as a career. As a huge X-Files fan and nature enthusiast I was actually thinking about going into sciences. But I realized, what I really wanted to do was use my art to tell stories and I thought Animation would be the best place to blend the two.
After graduating from art school in 2006, with a degree in Animation, I started freelancing for small companies. Eventually, I was able to land a paid internship at Disney Interactive Studios, which brought me to the Los Angeles area. After my internship ended, I kept myself busy by joining various art clubs like Girls Drawin’ Girls, Women in Animation and ASIFA. I also took drawing courses at The Animation Academy. Through my network, I found myself freelancing for social gaming companies such as Zynga and TinyCo. Contract work for Disney Jr., and Warner Brothers gave me a chance to work in television for a bit… while working the night shift at Starbucks.
My first steady art job came in 2010, working for a small pin and patch company. Since then I’ve worked for several game companies, as a flash artist and animator. Currently I am a Senior Flash Artist at Playtika in Santa Monica.
I actually started reading comics 2008 via my local library and became more interested in the medium as a way to tell me own stories. My first published comic was in 2010, for a non-profit anthology called Cat Odes, which helped to raise money for the ASPCA. I have always wanted to be more involved in comics, or be part of an anthology, but I could never find the time.
At the moment, I’m working for Valiant as their social media artist, but I’ve worked on a few projects I can’t talk about yet. I post little sneak peeks on Twitter and my Tumblr, so you might catch a glimpse there.
A: How would you describe your style?
J: I come from an animation background, so cartoon is the best way to describe it I think. Animation was a huge influence while growing up and I think that shows.
A: Can you tell us a bit about your process?
J: My digital process is to sketch in Photoshop, line work in Manga Studio, and then back to Photoshop for colors. It’s so convenient to start and finish on the computer. I’ve been using a Cintiq for 3 years now and it has definitely helped my art process.
A: Jay, your Valiant holiday greetings are great. Fans really appreciate your take on the Valiant U. Some may not realize that before you began working for Valiant, you were already a fan. I remember seeing many of your fan art creations long before any official Valiant pieces were released. I loved the bookmarks you designed. Can you tell us how you started working for Valiant? Did your fan art draw their attention?
J: Totally a fan. In 2012, my husband heard about the return of Valiant and dragged out all of his long boxes. I started reading the original X-O and I loved it! I understood why Valiant was special. We’ve been going to SDCC for years and were very excited to see the Valiant panel. It was such an amazing thing to see the rebirth of a company and get to meet the key players behind it. Very inspiring.
When Valiant released Bloodshot shortly after I just fell in love with the character! I saw a funny moment in the comic and wanted to draw something fun for Fan Art Friday (Bloodshot jumping on the Cow, which eventually Valiant published in Bloodshot 25).
I never participated in forums or in Fan Art Friday’s (FAF) before, so it was nice to see feedback and reactions in real time via twitter — so I just kept creating more artwork whenever I had the chance. I love FAF – it was a way to challenge myself and to connect with fellow fans.
One of the reasons I think my fan art stands out, is that you don’t see Valiant characters treated in this animated style very often. I’m really just playing with the characters and it seems to be connecting with old fans and making new ones. This is a great universe. These are unique characters. So, yeah, my fan art totally got their attention but I also think the special projects my husband and I created got their attention as well.
Things really took off this past October when I challenged myself to draw something Valiant everyday for “Valiantober.” It wasn’t always easy to find the time, but the enthusiasm from fans and the Valiant staff kept me going throughout the month.
After Valiantober Josh Johns contacted me in regards to working on Social Media art posts like the Christmas and New Years Card. The Superbowl was a fun one, but Valiant-ines and Chinese New Year have been my favorites so far! It’s been a blast!
A: Do you have any favorite characters to draw?
J: I love drawing Bloodshot, especially in cute form. Quantum and Woody would be my next favorite– they lend themselves well to wacky situations. An easier question is which characters I avoid! I am so-so GLAD that people like the Eternal Warrior Valentine because I thought I was going to toss my computer out the window! That Armor — gaaaah! He’s tough, much props to those who work on him in the books.
A: What’s next on the horizon? Can you say whether we can expect to see more holiday-related Valiant pieces? Anything else in the works that you can comment on?
J: There’s a few special things they have thrown my way and they seem intent on keeping me busy. I hope to work on more holiday pieces in the future, so we’ll just have to see!
Thank you, Jay! Yours is an inspiring story. Looking forward to seeing more of your work. As for those sneak peeks, be sure to follow Jay on these accounts: