We had the good fortune of connecting with Andi Dukleth and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Andi, why did you pursue a creative career?
I distinctly remember the feeling I got when I discovered Inu-Yasha in the 6th grade. I read the first volume and thought to myself, “This is really cool! I want to do something like that one day!” I carried that hope with me into high school, where I started making comics about my friends and I. The look on their faces when they saw our shenanigans in comic strip form was priceless. It cemented my love for drawing comics and illustration. Ultimately in college, I wanted to choose something both creative and pragmatic, so I focused on video production. This was mainly due to the fact that we were still coming out of the 2008 recession and the job market was still volatile. It wasn’t until five years ago that I realized that I wanted to take my illustration ambitions more seriously. So I attended Comic Fest in the hopes of making connections with other local artists. Since then, I became part of a comic collective called the Accidental Aliens. In the 4 years that we’ve been active, we have tabled at Comic Con Small Press and self published three consecutive anthologies. It’s been a lot of hard work, but for as many ups and downs this journey has brought me, I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Today I am most proud of to how far I’ve come with my art. I had been at a crossroads with my career and personal life in 2016. But after attending that year’s Comic Fest, I decided to take my artistic life more seriously. So I made a point to stay in touch with the artists I met there and started asking more established artists questions about how to break into the industry. At the time, my art group and I met every Sunday at Villainous Lair Comics. There, we worked on projects, discussed ideas, and gave each other moral support. It was at Free Comic Book Day that year that we originally got the idea to start the anthology books, which is where we really started to gain momentum. From the experience of contributing to the anthologies, I’ve learned how to write comic scripts, set up thumbnail layouts, and communicate with other members of the team. In addition to that, I’ve learned how to table at shows on my own and how to manage my own commission work. Other works I have been apart of include illustrating one of the stories in the “Horrorgasm” anthology series and working on the upcoming story “Reflections” by Chag Lowry. With the pandemic halting all shows, I’ve used this time to reflect on where I’ve come from and where I want to go. I’m currently working on new prints for posters, pins and t-shirts, and am also developing new story ideas. I plan to take part on more virtual shows until we can start tabling again in person. I am very much a fan in horror, fantasy, and anime, so if any of that is your jam, keep your eyes peeled for my work!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I currently live in Normal Heights and I can’t think of a better neighborhood to live in San Diego. Dark Horse Coffee Roasters is within walking distance from my apartment, so I always like to go and frequent them. About a mile down the street is Dia Del Cafe, which not only has great coffee but also great Mexican pastries. They’ve also show cased my artwork, so I’m a little biased. If you’re looking for lunch spots, I recommend Chris Ono Grinds. They’re a hawaiian place with great dishes like Huli Huli chicken or spam musubi. But if you’re vegan, I recommend KINDRED in South Park. I myself am not fully vegan, but their menu is great for all sorts of diets. As far as hanging out, Balboa park is my favorite go to when entertaining family/friends from out of town. It’s great for socially distanced picnics or just walking around. If you’re looking to walk and shop though, I recommend Liberty Station. Lastly, for the night life, I always found myself bar hopping in North Park (at least before the pandemic hit). Doing karaoke at Redwing was a MUST! If not there, I’d sign up for karaoke at Ould Sod (another great spot in Normal Heights).
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to give a shoutout to the Accidental Aliens, the comic book collective I am a part of. We met in 2016 at San Diego Comic Fest with the goal to support other like minded comic book creators in the community. Together, we’ve self published three consecutive anthology books and helped each other make connections in the industry. I also want to give a shout out to the creators a part of the collective, Scott Lost, Emily Rocha, Rodney Anderson, and Travis Rivas. Scott Lost has an ongoing kickstarter right now for his superhero series “The 2nd Shift”. He also has sci/fi series called the ” Wanderers of Melisanda”. Emily Rocha is a children’s book illustrator and has experience as a colorist in the comic book industry. She currently works as a graphic designer and streams her projects on Twitch. Rodney Anderson has his fantasy series “Trinity Blade” and is teaches art and illustration to kids. Travis Rivas has his comic “Unstoppable Cherub” and has helped found SuperAbled comics, another collective to empower disabled or differently abled creators in the community. They all have helped and influenced me immensely and I would not be where I am without them.