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Almost everyone in the comic book industry has an origin story about how they broke into the business or discovered themselves as an artist. Afua Richardson's life seemed to be pushing her towards a musical destiny. But instead, Richardson found a new path for herself. In the latest installment of SYFY WIRE's Artists Alley, Richardson shared the story of how she embraced art after getting into a band. And she went from a classically trained flute player to one of the most unique artists in comics. According to Richardson, her musical training offered a valuable lesson for anyone who wants to learn a craft.
"One thing I learned from classical music was starting off you're going to be awful," said Richardson. "And that's okay, you just have to enjoy the learning process. You're not going to start off being a master at anything. Who masters walking after just doing it for a few days? It takes time before you’re an athlete. [It's] the same thing with art. You have to figure out the techniques and find the ways that work for you."
While Richardson has worked on Genius for Top Cow and Marvel's World of Wakanda, her current comic is a passion project called Aquarius: The Book of Mer. It's a book that attempts to make sense out of the various mermaid myths and legends from across the world. Richardson also picked Abena, one of the lead characters from Aquarius, as the subject for her pinup in this video. As she sketched, Richardson offered some insights into Abena's personality.
"Abena is kind of the future me, but I don't think I plan on cutting off any more of my hair," said Richardson. "But just her personality: she's nurturing but stern. And very determined. She won't let anything really get in her way. She doesn't mope about how things aren't fair. If there's no door, she'll make one."
For more about Richardson's art, Aquarius, and various mermaid lore, check out the full video!