Through a watercolor class she took at the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio, Anna Vigorito learned many crucial techniques and fundamentals that helped her hone her craft. Vigorito went on to work as an illustrator for LookHUMAN, and for the past three years, has worked on a weekly webcomic inspired by the Legend of Zelda series.
Now, the student has become the teacher, bringing her love for visual storytelling to DACO through a “Creating Comic Books” course for junior-high and high-school students that begins March 15.
We spoke with Vigorito about some of her most memorable work and why she says southeast Ohio is the perfect place to nurture the talent of illustrators.
What drew you to the world of art and design, and specifically as a cartoonist? It was the ability to create on the go and bring your ideas to fruition. I always loved fantasy creatures, so I believed the easiest way to bring them to life was through drawing and storytelling. Comics and animation are the perfect marriage of storytelling and drawing.
What have been some of your most memorable works thus far? I think the artwork you ultimately do for yourself, and that impacts others in the process, is the most important. My self-published zine, “Mental Health and Mythical Beasts,” has inspired neurodivergent fans of creatures and mythology. I also work on a Legend of Zelda-inspired webcomic with my friend. It’s still ongoing with weekly updates and still receives a lot of love online. It’s nice going to conventions and having excited readers come see us.
How did DACO help prepare you for your work as an artist? It helped prepare me for taking more classes once I went to Columbus College of Art and Design. The DACO classes are perfect for getting an idea of what to expect from professional art classes.
Why is it important to you to make the appreciation for illustration and visual storytelling accessible to Lancaster and southeast Ohio? I know it’s easy to say that it’s because it’s my hometown, but Lancaster and southeast Ohio is the perfect place to nurture the talent of illustrators. After all, Richard F. Outcault, one of the original cartoonists, came from Lancaster, and Jeff Smith, the creator of the Bone comics, often cites Hocking Hills as a key inspiration to his series. I know we showcase plenty of fine art in Lancaster, but illustration should be held at the same level of respect.
What can participants expect from your class? What information do you hope to pass on to other artists? Classes are March 15, 22, 29 and April 5 and 19. We’re going to look at our big inspirations for storytelling and illustration, learn the importance of references in drawing and storyboard our ideas. Students will build their own three- to five-page comics from there. While a lot of ideas can come from our heads, I also want to focus on the importance of reference material, careful planning of stories and learning (not copying directly) from our artistic influences. There are many styles to visual storytelling. I look forward to sharing them.
Register for Creating Comic Books here. Classes run from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. March 15, 22, 29, April 5 and 19. Cost is $75 public/$68 member.