Welcome to the artist interview series! This series is all about getting to know cool people making cool work, and today, we’ll be hearing from freelance comic artist, illustrator, and designer Kameron White, contributor to the 2019 Ignatz Outstanding Anthology Award-winning We’re Still Here: An All-Trans Comics Anthology, DC Comics Milestone Initiative participant, and the creator of the comic Cut Open.
About Kameron White
Pronouns: he/him, xe/xem
Kameron White is a comic artist, illustrator, and designer from Houston, TX, now residing in Minneapolis, MN. He graduated with a BFA in comic art from Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 2018. His favorite things to create are original characters, worlds, fashion designs, and fun, eccentric stories. Within his work, he works towards displaying a diverse group. His work mainly includes People of Color, LGBTQ+ individuals, individuals of different body sizes, individuals with disabilities, and individuals of various backgrounds. He also places these characters in sceneries that are not common in history, especially Black and Brown bodies in mythological and religious imagery.
As an Afro-Indigenous, queer, and disabled individual, he’s been in a place where not seeing yourself represented or represented in a stereotypical light can affect you immensely. Rather than let it discourage him, it powers him to move forward and turn this scenario around, making sure people see themselves and their stories.
He also aims to document his story by illustrating comics going through his journey as a Black and Indigenous Trans man. With his stories, he hopes to inspire and help other people who might relate and know that someone has been there too.
One of his stories was featured in the “We Are Here: All-Trans Anthology,” where he shared his story with other amazing Trans artists. Their book won the Ignatz 2019 award for Outstanding Anthology. He also illustrated a story in “Proud,” an anthology of stories and poetry by LGBTQ+ YA authors collected by Juno Dawson. It won Book of The Year in the 2020 Visionary Honours awards. Starting in 2022, he was chosen as one of the participants in the DC Comics Milestone Initiative program.
Besides art, he lives with his partner, their three cats, and dozens of squishmallows.
The first piece I read of Kameron’s work was his comic Cut Open which documents a bit of his experience with getting top surgery. I don’t remember how I was introduced to it originally, but now it’s something I find myself thinking about regularly as I continue taking testosterone and consider where I’d like to go with physical changes to my body. The comic itself is informative, yet light hearted with a playful style and bright colors, and it offers invaluable insight into a subject not often seen in comics.
Also, shoutout to those of you who get the Little Foot reference in the comic! 😂 That’s still one of my favorite moments in there lol
There are so many reasons to love Kameron’s work (his beautiful color palettes, sense of humor, attention to detail, you name it), and xer dedication to showing people in his work who don’t typically get to see themselves in mainstream or positive ways is something that resonates deeply with me. It’s one of the reasons his comic has never strayed far from my mind, too, because it was a place where I was able to see myself in ways I hadn’t before. That’s something that sticks with you.
So let’s get to know Kameron and xer work in comics a bit! 😃
Kameron + Comics
How did you get into making comics?
My dad is really big into superheroes, comics, and anime. So with that he got me into animes like Sailor Moon and Digimon, and cartoons such as Justice League and Static Shock. I was always fascinated with being able to tell your own stories and make your own characters. Without even knowing what I was doing, I often jotted some squares down and made comics as a kid. It wasn’t until high school that I was serious about it and wanted to do it as a career.
I love hearing about how artists’ art looked when they were younger and how it grew to the present day. Do you have any of your art from when you were a kid? And do you see any similarities in it between then and now, or is it completely different today?
Actually I do have old art omg! These were from around 2009, I wanna say. As you can tell it’s COMPLETELY different lol. The only thing I think is the same is the complete love for storytelling and coming up with bold, intense, and fun characters that I want to share with people. I am impressed with little me’s big splash panel moments, I think I should go back to doing that haha.
Omg, I love these older pieces! Love seeing the anime/manga influence here, and I love the ferocity of that attack pose. You had such a strong and entertaining sense of storytelling already with these! It’s so cool to see how the core of your storytelling has stayed and gotten stronger as your art has grown with it.
Gold Hoop by Kameron White.
What’s your favorite thing about making comics?
Being able to tell my own stories and characters’ stories in such a fun and amazing format. Comics are so fun to read, and I’m glad I can tell my stories in a way that’s informative and a delightful read, with also bold and striking imagery.
On the other side of the coin, what’s the hardest thing about making comics?
The list goes on and on, haha. Sometimes I’m my own writer, penciler, inker, colorist, letterer, and editor. It does get daunting and stressful, but at the end when you watch it all come together it’s worth it.
Do you have a favorite color palette to work with?
I usually use bold or bright colors!
What’s the biggest influence on your art?
I usually answer people. I like to have a lot of diversity and inclusion in my work, so with that I look towards people.
How do you prioritize rest and self-care while working in comics?
I often try to remind myself to take breaks, and to get up and walk around. Hand stretches are also important as well. Nowadays, I also try to do 9-5 pm for working on comics on weekdays and then take the weekend off.
What do you wish you had known before starting to make comics?
Paneling and lettering!!! Both super important, so your comics are readable and not too much wording in the word balloons. It’s also good to practice with paneling to make sure it’s clean and uniform. But it’s also fun to find your style with it, and then practice cool paneling styles.
Current and Upcoming Work
I love that Kameron’s portfolio explores so much about xer own identity as an Afro-Indigeous, queer, trans, disabled person, and it’s cool to see that extending to his commercial work, too! Xe talked a bit about the comic projects he has going on and coming up soon:
Is there anything you’ve finished recently or about to finish?
Recently finished working on Hellbent! A comic about Jezi, a girl who’s the daughter of Satan. She rejects her demonic destiny, and comes out as a trans woman in the process. I recently illustrated the chapter where Jezi meets a Trans goddess named Delilah, and gets to go to the Boogie Men club, The Gayest Place on earth!
Hellbent sounds and looks amazing! I asked Kameron for the best place to check it out, and he said to head over to the Hellbent‘s website where you can pre-order a copy!
Are you working on anything at the moment?
At the moment I’m working on art for a graphic novel called Light Bright that’s going to be published by Graphic Mundi.
I have a few comics from Graphic Mundi on my wishlist, and it’s so cool to hear that you’re working with them to produce Light Bright. Are you able to give us any details on the story and when it might be coming out? Are you the sole creator or working with a team?
We are aiming to release it next year! The story is adapted from Steve Major’s memoir High Yella. Quincy Scott Jones is working on the comic script while Kendra Boileua is the editor! The story is set in the summer of ’85 where a boy is sent to his religious grandmother’s rural New York farm. He starts to discover more about being mixed race and why he’s not so girl crazy.
Do you have any upcoming publications we should keep an eye out for?
I think a lot about the ways being marginalized harms us and how the aspects of our identity are rarely depicted as a strength in popular narratives. For me, that includes my disabilities, fatness, queerness, etc. But I find that these things bring a lot of positive aspects to my life and work and make it unique and beautiful. Do you feel that aspects of your identity and life experiences as a marginalized person can be a source of strength in your work?
Absolutely! I’ve been through my life where some people have viewed these things as weaknesses and something to be ashamed of, and that closed me in. Through my work, creating comics, and characters, I was able to find strength and celebration in celebrating myself, marginalized characters, and marginalized stories. Growing up I’ve seen how in some cases these marginalized characters had instead been the butt of the joke and stereotyped and how that affected me, but I want to do better so people can truly see themselves represented and celebrated.
Oh, I love that answer so much! I think this really shines through in your work, and it’s one of the things that draws me to your comics and illustrations. Comics in particular feel like such a wonderful medium to explore these topics in and give people a chance to see themselves and their experiences reflected.
For my final question, what advice would you give to artists who want to work in comics?
A lot of times people think that if you churn out pages everyday or work til you burn out, that you’re successful. The best thing you can do is take care of yourself and get a healthy work and life balance so you can be at your best to work on comics. Also be kind to yourself, comic making can be stressful enough. It’s best to take a break and come back to it with fresh eyes.
Follow Kameron’s Work
Thank you so much, Kameron, for sharing your thoughts and spending some time with me for this interview! It’s been wonderful to get to know more about you and your beautiful work. And thank you to all of you readers for reading!
I encourage everyone to check out Kameron’s online shop, pre-order a copy of Hellbent, and follow xem on Instagram and Twitter to hear more about xer latest and upcoming works like Light Bright from Graphic Mundi, Indiginerds: Tales of Modern Indigenous Life from Iron Circus Comics, and Gladiolus Magazine from Black Josei Press!
If you enjoyed this interview, I encourage you to sign up for my newsletter Into the Bramble to see more artist interviews in the future, as well as other comic-related series like More Comics Please! and Behind the Design!