Project E-Underdog comics : Meet Tessa Beatrice !
6 mins read

Project E-Underdog comics : Meet Tessa Beatrice !

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Underdog Comics is a project led by teenagers artists dedicated to representing the underrepresented and the misrepresented :

Authentic women, ethnic minorities, the LGBT, and any excluded people or community. Essential.

Let’s talk about it with Tessa Beatrice, Project E creator.

Hi Tessa !

– Where do you come from ?

I come from a town near Boston, MA !

– How old are you ? 

I am 17 years old.

Influences ?

My art style is influenced mainly by Noelle Stevenson’s comics: Lumberjanes and Nimona. Also, you can thank Adventure Time for the noodle arms in Project E. Like in Steven
Universe, each character in Project E has a limited color palette that stays constant throughout the whole comic. My storytelling style in this webcomic comes from how teenagers interact with each other. Observing my friends and the other teenagers around me pretty much defined the story and writing style.

– Art school or not ?

I will probably go to an art school after high school, but currently I am enrolled in the Design and Visual Major at J.P. Keefe Technical High School. I definitely won’t go to college for anything besides art, however, because visual storytelling is really what I want to do.

– Favorite digital art software ?

Photoshop for sure. I also use Adobe InDesign to prepare print ready files for comics. I used ArtRage for a while when I was starting high school, sometimes I still do for fun.

– Your working method ?

I pencil my comics on pieces of scrap paper whenever I get inspired (even if it’s in the middle of class ;D). I bring blank paper with me everywhere so when I’m out riding the T or at school, I can still work on my comics. I don’t spend a lot of time on the penciled pages – they end up looking more like a series of rough sketches. Then I scan the penciled pages and ink/color/letter them digitally on my Yiynova tablet monitor using Photoshop CS6. For Project E, each frame is 5″ by 8″. I keep the size consistent so it works well when read in scroll-style. I usually watch or listen to something while I work to stay motivated and interested. This can be anything from youtube to SNL to podcasts to my Disney Pandora station.

– What your webcomic is about, in a symbolic way, the hidden sense ?

Project E is about how everyone grows up differently as underdogs in the 21st century. It’s about how not every problem can be resolved, at least not in the way you want it to be. It’s about seeing those who you love go through hard times. It’s about making mistakes and being forgiven.

It’s about old and new friends. It’s about how people change, not always for the better. Most of all, it’s about how deeply and truly caring for someone can change their life. The characters in Project E are very human. They have as many strengths as weaknesses, and sometimes their strengths can be weaknesses and vice versa. They each have their own sense of humor, their own struggles, their own labels and interests. It’s interesting to see what they do in different situations. Anyone who reads Project E will find a part of it they can relate to, maybe one character in particular. That experience brings the reader into the story, and I believe that’s what makes Project E so unique.

– How do you see your future ?

I want to continue Underdog Comics – my comic business devoted to representing the underrepresented and the misrepresented. We feature authentic women, ethnic minorities, the lgbt+ community, people with physical and mental disabilities, people with different religious beliefs, and everyone else because no one should be excluded. I have many stories I want to tell besides Fury’s Forge (my nine chapter printed comic) and Project E. In my future I want to work with other artists, writers, and creators to bring these new stories to life. I also want to work with those creators on their stories, and I want to create stories together. I see my future as me and other underdog creators changing the world of story telling and spreading diversity throughout it.

– Your next goal ?

Having inked and colored the last page of Fury’s Forge yesterday after three years and over 300 pages, I’m already looking ahead! Obviously, I wish to see Project E through to a good ending. I’m also printing chapters 3-9 of Fury’s Forge (we’ve already printed the first two and, yes, they are for sale at At Underdog Comics, our next project is a new webcomic that will be coming out in late April. I don’t want to say too much about it, but it involves magic, two lovable kids, and a fire-breathing gecko. My next goal is to see the start of it go well! Sometimes, in the creative industry, that’s a lot to ask for 😀

– Your technical secret trick ?

I use vector shapes for speech bubbles instead of rasterized ovals. Rasterized ovals will leave extra space and not hug the text as well. Starting with a vector oval and then warping it creates cleaner and more professional looking speech bubbles.

Thank a lot to Tessa ! Follow Underdog comics and Project E :