Babs Tarr has done work for such high profile clients as Hasbro, Disney, and more recently, DC Comics drawing the stellar run on Batgirl written by Brenden Fletcher and Cameron Stewart. She took some time from drawing pretty girls in cute outfits and cute boys with high cheek bones to chat with us about art, music, and and sassy superlady outfits!
What is your artistic background?
I attended the Maryland Institute and College of Art in Baltimore and I majored in illustration. From there I have done many things including oil portraits, toy design, game art and editorial illustration.
How did you wind up drawing Batgirl? (Congrats, BTW!)
Cameron Stewart emailed me out of the blue and asked if I’d be interested and I told him yes of course! He submitted my name along with 20 other artists and then it was down to two. That’s when I really started to freak out, haha. I had never done sequential art before so it was quite a long shot in my mind that I would get it. After I got an email from an editor asking me to do a couple test pages and I did and the next day got up for the title! It’s been pretty surreal.
Batgirl is the first comic book that you’ve worked on. How and why are you so magically awesome at sequential art?
I am not. I am a total noob! Currently the brilliant Cameron Stewart is doing layouts for me but as of issue 41, I’ll be doing them myself so wish me luck!! Hopefully by doing Cameron’s layouts he Mr. Miyagi’d me into learning how to do it right! Haha!
Is there anything about your take on Batgirl that you hope stands out?
Personally I hope that people appreciate the expression I try to put on each characters face and the fashion! Those are the things I really work hard on and what I’m passionate about.
If you weren’t drawing Batgirl, what do you think you would be doing right now?
I would probably be still doing game art and toy design! Those are my last two gigs.
What comics are you currently reading & who are some of your favorite artists?
To name a few I, am currently reading Saga, Deadly Class, and Daredevil! Some of my favorite artists include Kevin Dart, Bruce Timm, and Jamie Hewlett.
I read in an interview that you like Black Canary because she chose such a scandalous outfit for herself. What are your thoughts on the recent trend of toning down scandalous super lady outfits?
I like Dinah cause she’s not afraid to be sexy, confident, and she’s a total badass. I think there’s a difference between a woman depicting her definition of sexy and a man’s sexualized depiction of a woman. Balloon boobs and painted on costumes make a character sexualized but not sexy. I think the trend of that going away is brilliant.
Your work seems very influenced by punk rock/scene kid fashion and culture. Did you go to shows when you were growing up? What are some of your favorite bands? Were you ever IN any bands?
No! Never badass enough to be in a band! That influence comes from my big brother. He is nine years older than me and really into that scene when I was little. I look up to him a lot so that particular style just makes me feel real tough! Some of my favorite bands include Gorillaz, No Doubt, Kings of Leon, Die Antwoord, and I’ve been listening to Taylor Swift and Azealia Banks’ latest album on repeat. I’m all over the place haha.
What are your artistic tools of the trade? (Don’t be afraid to get super nerdy about specific pencils, leads, inks, software, etc. We love that stuff!)
A 6b pencil, X-ACTO knife and bleed proof paper for traditional stuff, but I am mostly digital now. Photoshop and a Wacom Cintiq is my go-to.
What art books should every aspiring artist have on their shelves?
Everyone is different and would need and want different books on their shelf, but mine is mostly full of animated art books, video game art books, 50’s, 60’s, or 70’s illustration art books, and A Illustrators Guide to Pricing and Ethics Guidelines.
Where do you find inspiration and how do you deal with creative slumps?
I doodle stuff I love, something dumb and fast and fun. I usually get excited again soon after!
If you could go back in time to when you first started out as an artist, what advice would you give yourself?
I would tell myself that “Things are gonna work out. So just be steadfast and work hard and you’ll get there!”
Now for the super deep and intense question: If you could be any food or dish, what would you be and why?
Probably Jello! It’s firm yet wiggly and the bright clear red color is the coolest! Hah!
Follow Babs Tarr on Instagram, Twitter, and Tumblr for more of her gorgeous artwork and you’d better be keeping up with her run on Batgirl along with Brenden Fletcher and Cameron Stewart because it is one of the most fun and bad-ass looking superhero books currently on shelves.