NYCC 2023: Brianna Garcia on drawing for comics and how she got her start

The illustrator for IDW Publishing discussed her background and offered advice for aspiring artists at New York Comic Con.

Artist Brianna Garcia, who is an illustrator for comics publisher IDW Publishing, became interested in drawing for comics thanks to a childhood trip to San Diego Comic Con after a family friend noticed her penchant for drawing.

“I was obsessed with the movie Jurassic Park at nine years old,” Garcia explained, speaking about her work from her table in New York Comic Con’s Artist Alley. “I was nine when the movie came out. And a friend of my mother’s was big into comics, and he noticed that I would draw a lot of dinosaurs. So he was like, ‘Hey, if she’s ever interested in comics, I go to San Diego Comic Con. I think she’d be interested in that.’ So I begged my mother to let me go, and from there I was kind of hooked… I walked around [the convention], [and] I just fell in love with the atmosphere, the comics, the community, all of that.”

Presently, Garcia works on the My Little Pony comics. “I’ve done cover designs, and I do interiors, and sequentials, and it’s a lot of fun, and I love it!” she said.

However, drawing for comics includes a lot of work that many readers might not consider. “The most challenging part for me was learning to do backgrounds, because I would say my strong point is characters,” Garcia explained. “But when you do comics, you kind of have to know how to draw a little bit of everything. You have to draw backgrounds, you have to draw cars, you have to draw homes, you have to draw a random toaster on a kitchen shelf, you know? So that’s a lot of things that people don’t really think about. So you have to train yourself, you have to do a lot of research, and that was probably the most difficult part. But at the same time it’s very rewarding when you expand your skills and you learn how to draw more.”

At present Garcia is mostly focusing on doing cover designs for My Little Pony, though she would love the chance to do more comic interiors when her schedule allows it. Though covers may be less time-consuming overall, they come with their own challenges.

“With covers, you get to be more detailed,” she said. “You have more time to, you know, really dive into the illustration. It’s kind of a challenge because you have basically the one shot to convey what the entire book is about. And so obviously with sequentials, you have pages and pages to tell a story, where the cover has to tell it in one shot. And so you have to grab peoples’ attention. You have to grab their eye with just the cover alone. So it has to convey a story just in that one picture, and it has to be bright and colorful and eye catching. So, that’s the challenge.”

While she is currently focused on her upcoming wedding—“getting married takes a lot of your personal time!”—she hinted that she may have more projects in the near future. “I would love to do more titles with IDW because I think there may be talks of some other titles? I don’t know if I can say yet, but hopefully—fingers crossed!” she said.

Of the many projects Garcia has worked on, her favorite is a gig from a few years back for Disney Imagineering. “I actually got to design some murals—Beauty and the Beast murals—that are up in the Disneyland hotel of Shanghai Disneyland,” she said. “And so in 2018, I got to travel there, and I got to see it in person, and I totally cried when I saw it… [The murals] cover, like, an entire restaurant wall. It was amazing to see in person, and I’m so grateful for getting that opportunity.”

Garcia got her start in comics after a lot of networking. “I started doing conventions for fun when I was younger, and I really wanted to pursue an art career, so I did what I could,” she recalled. “I took small jobs, built up resumé, and started going to conventions and giving out my business card, talking to professionals, and eventually got in contact with the right folks, and they looked at my portfolio and gave me a chance.”

She has the following advice for younger artists looking to get into drawing for comics: “Take a sketchbook wherever you go so that you can sketch whenever inspiration hits. Definitely draw from life… When you’re old enough, get involved in life drawing classes, and learn how to draw people. And also, especially, learn how to draw the things you don’t really want to draw, because chances are you’re going to have to draw it at some point. So yeah, take chances, draw, expand your horizons, and draw whatever comes to mind, and just have fun with it.”

To learn more about Garcia and view some of her work, visit

Mary Fan
Mary Fan
Mary Fan is a Jersey City-based author of sci-fi/fantasy. Her books include Stronger than a Bronze Dragon, the Starswept Trilogy, the Jane Colt Trilogy, the Flynn Nightsider series, and the Fated Stars series. She is also the co-editor of the Brave New Girls sci-fi anthologies about girls in STEM.

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