Jamilah McDowell (“some people know me as Mimi, others Jaja, many more as that girl with the death glare and monotone voice”), a biology major at the University of Cincinnati’s Blue Ash campus, will participate in Queen City Black Comix Day on Aug. 29! She will display some of her paintings and sell postcard versions of them at the event.
Midwest BSFA: How did you get into drawing/illustration?
McDowell: My mom drew as a little kid. She had paper dolls she made that she would let me play with. I can remember her teaching me three point perspective before I even cared about how things looked in relation to each other. I also have an uncle who draws. I was always very jealous of his toolkit — the markers, the colored pencils, etc. He would never let me use his because they were precious to him. Actually, he still won’t let me use them and we are both adults now. For me, though, I’ve been drawing for years on and off. I probably have about four to five comics in the basement that I started in high school and never came back to. All of them are very….manga-esque. Angular faces and giant eyes. I’ve stepped a bit away from that now.
Midwest BSFA: What inspires you?
McDowell: I’m inspired by artistic movements as well as books or movies. I see something like a squid (one of my favorite animals) and want to combine it with those old Renaissance portraits of women holding unicorns and dragons. Basically, I’m inspired by everyone and everything.
Midwest BSFA: How does “geek culture” in Cincinnati help you do what you love?
McDowell: “Geek culture” in Cincinnati has helped me find other people like me and becoming even more inspired. It’s a lot easier to support others because everyone is out and about showing their talents.
Midwest BSFA: What do you hope to do once you have graduated? Do you see art as a career for you?
McDowell: I’m actually not really sure what I want to do once I graduate. I know it will have something to do with media and science but I haven’t really narrowed it down past that. I would love of art to become a career for me but if it does it probably won’t be in this sort of format only. Maybe it will be in more of a writing or film capacity.
Special thanks to Jamilah for creating our dope mascot, Frobot!