Please explain what just happened.

I don’t know, but it’s going to leave a mark.


What is your earliest memory?

Pissing myself in the Safeway wearing a little yellow dress – I think I was two?  They announced it on the intercom.


If you weren’t an illustrator, what other profession would you choose?

Am I an illustrator?  I would probably be a petrol engineer.  If I couldn’t be creative, then I might as well make money.


Describe a typical work day.

Wake up around 9 and I’m ready to work by 10:30, I generally sculpt in the morning when the light is softer and more scattered.  When the sun starts to shine through and I can’t sculpt anymore I generally run errands, nap, or do networking and such. Once the sun starts to go down I work on comic pages, and when it’s dark if I need to work digitally on my tablet I do it then.  Bed is anywhere from 2am-4am depending on what I want to do the next day.


Is there a time you wish you’d lied?

Probably a time I wish I had?  Been lying to myself, mostly.


What would you say to yourself if you could go back in time and have a conversation with yourself at age thirteen?

I would tell myself I had a choice – either I could live an easier life and be an engineer like my dad. I would be a cog in an office but never have money problems, or I could veer toward the creative and eat Ramen for the rest of my life, but feel personally fulfilled.  To really sit down and think about it and really make a decision – and to worry – but that might be a mean thing to say to a kid!


If you could have only one album to get you through a breakup, what would it be?

I honestly can’t answer that question, I’ve only broken up once (mutually) a long time ago and it didn’t affect me emotionally.



What are three websites—other than your email—that you check on a daily basis?

Top Documentary Films, Facebook, and Deviant Art.  Discover Magazine and BBC for news.


From what or whom do you derive your greatest inspiration?

This is going to sound odd, but fashion.  Not today’s gimmicky Gaga inspired tripe, but designs rooted in trends from the late 1800’s.  I love the mentality of that era, when there was still undiscovered places and a high court mentality.  The contrast between the savage and the civilized and what actually is defined by those things is forever interesting and thought provoking.


Name three books that have impacted your life.

William Gibson’s Neuromancer, my first manga – CLAMP’s RG Veda, and The Introvert Advantage.  The first two were hard looks at different kinds of storytelling, world building, and focus.


If you could relive one moment over and over again, what would it be?

Going to Alcatraz with my parents last Thanksgiving – It’s hands down one of my favorite places on earth, so quiet and soaked in history.



How are you six degrees from Kevin Bacon?

I don’t think I am?  I have no way of figuring that out.  I do like bacon though.  And bacon makes MolaMola fly, so that can’t be bad either.


What makes you feel most guilty?

Not working and not immediately being completely independent right out of school.  That and asking for help, advice and wasting people’s time.


How do you incorporate the work of other artists into your own?

In the past I was using other mangaka (a term for a manga artist) to Frankenstein my own style together, but I was never really a copier.  I loved CLAMP’s details,  Kazuki Takahashi’s weirdness, and Kazu Kibuishi’s color, but I make my own.  These days it’s less about another artist’s style, but ideas; paneling techniques, pacing, story formatting, those kinds of things.  Heh, sometimes it’s what NOT to do!


Please explain the motivation/inspiration behind SaintMaker’s Square?

Well, motivation is a strong word – it was technically created under duress.  I did not receive an email telling me when my midpoint review would be, and found out about it about three weeks before I had to go before the panel.  Since I had to turn in the write up two weeks in advance that left me a week to develop the idea, make a professional proposal out of it and other supporting artwork; then have it printed and bound.

So in a fit of despair and panic it emerged.  I was thinking more of just developing the cast as a dynamic and contrasting bunch so they would be interesting to write about.  I take easily to Victorian designs, and so the steam punk just followed that like a lost dog.  And I like MolaMola, so I added one of those.

From there it just took off – I don’t care to write about villains or heroes, I like flawed and slightly exaggerated people with their own conflicts and contrasting interests.  Different cultures with different levels of technology – from dark age peasants to digital pets – I like it when things conflict with each other.



What is the best advice you’ve ever given to someone else?

To choose a practical career!


List your favorite in the following categories: Comedian, Musician, Author, Actor.

Dylan Moran, Loreena Mckennitt, William Gibson, and Alan Rickman, though I prefer not to recognize faces when watching movies.  It spoils the illusion.  And I like Richard Dawkins in his little hotpants -– back in the 70’s.  And Neil deGrasse Tyson — can’t explain that.


If you had complete creative license and an unlimited budget, what would your next project be?

*sigh* I have to admit, I would make a Storm Hawk comic.  It was a show with a huge design budget but no story.  I could fix that.  I would go back, gut and raze the series back to its basic designs and characters and then rewrite the whole miserable thing.  I would need access to the 3D models of the vehicles and buildings so I could copy them perfectly.  It would be nice to make my own sculpts of them as well.

DMF did make a comic for it, but it just rehashed episodes from the show and used screenshots.  It was miserable and a slap in the face to the fans that followed it no matter what Cartoon Network did.


What do you want to know?

Want to know?  Anything?  I’d like to know the other end of all the ‘what if’s’ in my life.  Sort of see in other dimensions and what would become of other decisions I might have made.


What would you like your last words to be?

I’d prefer to die in my sleep, or quickly.  But ‘Hey watch thi-‘ while doing something stupid would be nice.  Bring me home a Darwin Award.


Please explain what will happen.

King of Wands?  That’s what the deck said…


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“Late for wedding, hire pilot, blackmail, crash in forest, puppy.” These 10 words quickly jotted down on a piece of scrap paper were the inspiration for Razing Saintmaker’s Square, the new graphic novel by RENEE YOCH. Yoch’s intensely detailed style possesses an incredibly innovative touch, and brings life to an imaginary world complete with flying fish, or “Mola-Molas,” glowing red eyes and Buster Keaton. Yoch’s work is an innovative blend of Western cartooning and Eastern Manga styles. Yoch’s characters are hilarious, thoughtful and bloodthirsty and her rendering of them is so lush and detailed that they are like candy for the eyes.

Yoch has found great inspiration throughout her life from strong female characters in film and comic books. This theme is evident in her work. She began writing and drawing comics in 2006 and has refined her style over the last five years. “Even though I work mainly from my imagination, my designs are inspired by a massive quantity of research into period costumes and patterns from around the 1880's second bustle period and Victorian architecture. I find enough information until I feel comfortable designing and creating my own content and twisting historical costumes into my own aesthetic, hence Vaulker's [one of Yoch’s main characters] bustle coat,” says Yoch of her character costume designs.

In addition to the comics, Yoch has created painstakingly detailed maquettes of each of her main characters. Fully fleshed out and carefully carved from Sculpey, these statuettes give another dimension to the work; a third dimension. Looking at each delicately carved fold, button and smirk on the maquettes gives one a huge appreciation for the amount of concentration and love that Yoch brings to her work.

Yoch holds a BFA in fine art and digital art from the University of Bowling Green University (Bowling Green, OH) and an MFA in illustration from Academy of Art University (San Francisco, CA). Yoch's work is currently on exhibit at the Academy of Art through August 15th.

3 responses to “21 Questions with Renee Yoch”

  1. Jude says:

    Fantastic work! I especially love the sculptures you are doing. Sorry to sound like an interviewer but I’d love to know more… Is this recent work? What made you go from 2 dimensional to 3 dimensional? And is it a clay you are using?

    And bugger the practical career. The world needs MORE people like you!

    • R Yoch says:

      I didn’t start sculpting until I took the character design for animation class, when they forced us to sculpt a character as the final project. That was in december 2009 i do believe. so all these maquettes are quite recent, within the last year and a half.

      When they made us sculpt, it was miserable XD the professor didn’t sculpt and couldn’t help, so we had to go to an extra workshop so we would get it finished on time. the guy that held the workshop had the sculptors Damon Bard (Dreamworks, Laika, etc) and Jerome Ranft (Pixar) come to his class to look at student work and i audited the class those days. they were very inspiring and made me want to continue :3 these days i regret not adding stop motion in my portfolio and learning how to cast molds to make puppets.

      These are made of firm sculpey (dried and mixed), magic sculpt, and green kneadatite, plus some metal and wire bits, plumber’s epoxy screws, and anything i can find and get my hands on – over a standard aluminium wire armature. i have an unfinished tutorial at that shows the kitty in progress.

  2. Renee, I’m so happy to have you here! And I would be interested in hearing your answers to Jude’s questions as well. It such a fascinating world that I know so little about. Your creations are beautiful!

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