Staples at a signing at Midtown Comics in Manhattan.
|Area(s)||Penciller, Inker, Letterer, Colorist|
Fiona Staples is a Canadian comic book artist known for her work on books such as North 40, DV8: Gods and Monsters, T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents and Saga. She has been cited as one of the best artists working in the industry.
Books that had a seminal impact upon Staples include The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald, Dragon of the Lost Sea series by Laurence Yep, the Redwall series by Brian Jacques, and The Chronicles of Narnia books by C. S. Lewis.
Staples's first published work was "Amphibious Nightmare", a 24-hour comic included in the About Comics anthology 24 Hour Comics Day Highlights 2005. Her first series assignment was 2006's Done to Death, working with writer Andrew Foley for Markosia. She was one of the illustrators of WildStorm's Trick 'r Treat graphic novel, an adaptation of the Michael Dougherty film. She was the penciller and inker of The Secret History of the Authority: Hawksmoor, written by Mike Costa. She also coloured Frazer Irving's art for the 2000 AD story Button Man.
In March 2012 Image Comics published the first issue of Saga, an ongoing series conceived by writer Brian K. Vaughan. Staples was introduced to Vaughan by their mutual friend, writer Steve Niles, with whom Staples worked on Mystery Society. Vaughan, who did not meet Staples in person until just before their panel at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con, explained his selection of Staples by describing his reaction upon first seeing her work, saying, "Her artwork is incredible. [It] doesn't look like anyone else. She is very unique. When I opened up this file I was like, 'This is going to work!'" Staples is co-owner of Saga, and in addition to designing the cast and all the ships and alien races in the story, she provides painted covers, and hand-letters the narration (using her own handwriting), which is the last thing she does after finishing the artwork on a page.
Technique and materials
Staples began creating her artwork entirely digitally several years before she began work on Saga, though her process for that series is different from previous ones, for which she characterizes it as "one intense, ongoing experiment." She begins with thumbnails, roughly drawn on printed paper templates. During this stage Staples gives copious thought to the layouts and staging, making it, in her words, the most important part of the process. After scanning the thumbnails, she enlarges them and uses them as rudimentary pencils, and "inks" over them in Manga Studio. One of the advantages Staples sees in working digitally is the ability to dispense with tight pencils in favor of making corrections in an ad hoc manner, as she finds penciling in great detail and drawing such art a second time in ink to be boring. In Saga, Staples inks only the figures, in a pen-and-ink style line, using a lot of self-shot photo reference for to finalize the poses, which she does not use in the thumbnail stage. She then imports the art into Photoshop, which she uses to paint the backgrounds entirely in colour, to achieve a look inspired by video games and Japanese animation. At the 2012 Image Expo, Staples described the process by which she produces the art as harkening back to animation cels, in which emphasis is placed on figures and backgrounds. The process, according to Staples, can be time-consuming, depending on the complexity of the environment. For outdoor environments, she begins by selecting a colour palette and initially blocking in the shapes roughly. She subsequently colours the figures, using flat colours both to make the process quicker and because she feels that painted figures in comics can often look "stiff" and difficult for the reader to "read" quickly. For pages that feature narration by the character Hazel, Staples writes that text in using her own handwriting. Vaughan has stated that Staple's style has influenced the direction of the story. The organic forms of most of the series' technology, for example, such as the main characters' wooden rocket ship, is derived from Staples' dislike of drawing mechanical objects. To design the series' various planetary settings, Staples looks to the real world for inspiration and then exaggerates some elements of them. Some rooms on the planet Cleave, for example, were inspired by Cambodian architecture.
Staples' work on Saga received wide acclaim from numerous reviewers, with Ain't it Cool News characterizing it as "glorious", and P.S. Hayes of Geeks of Doom praising her art as "amazing", saying, "From the gorgeous painted cover all the way through the last page, she delivers in every way that’s artistically possible. It’s got to be tough to be handed a script like this one and try and figure out what to do, but she handles it beautifully. Everything looks like it belongs in the universe. Her backgrounds are elaborate, yet never distracting or too busy and they never take focus off the main characters." Alex Zalben of MTV Geek predicted readers would "fall head over heels in love" with it, and Greg McElhatton of Comic Book Resources positively compared it to that of Leinil Francis Yu, specifically her use of delicate lines to frame characters with large, bold figures, and her mixture of the familiar and the foreign together in her character designs to create a visually cohesive universe. AICN singled out Staples' handling of grand, sweeping space shots and other genre trappings, as well as her mastery of facial expressions, which AICN felt was perfectly suited to Vaughan's subtle dialogue.
Awards and nominations
- 2011 Joe Shuster Award for Outstanding Comic Book Cover Artist for Mystery Society #1-5 (IDW), DV8: Gods and Monsters #1-8 (DC/Wildstorm), Superman/Batman #79 (DC Comics), Acts of Violence: An Anthology of Crime Comics (New Reliable Press), Magus #1 (12 Gauge Comics)
- 2013 Eisner Award for Best New Series for Saga (Image Comics) (with Brian K. Vaughan)
- 2013 Eisner Award for Best Continuing Series for Saga (Image Comics) (with Brian K. Vaughan)
- 2013 Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story for Saga, Vol. 1 (Image Comics) (with Brian K. Vaughan)
- 2013 Harvey Award for Best Artist for Saga (Image Comics)
- 2013 Harvey Award for Best Colourist for Saga (Image Comics)
- 2013 Harvey Award for Best New Series for Saga (Image Comics) (with Brian K. Vaughan)
- 2013 Harvey Award for Best Continuing/Limited Series for Saga (Image Comics) (with Brian K. Vaughan)
- 2013 Harvey Award for Best Issue/Story for Saga (Image Comics) (with Brian K. Vaughan)
- 2013 British Fantasy Award for Best Comic/Graphic Novel for Saga (Image Comics) (with Brian K. Vaughan)
- 2014 Eisner Award for Best Continuing Series for Saga (Image Comics) (with Brian K. Vaughan)
- 2014 Eisner Award for Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (interior art) for Saga (Image Comics)
- 2014 Harvey Award for Best Artist for Saga (Image Comics)
- 2014 Harvey Award for Best Cover Artist for Saga (Image Comics)
- 2014 Harvey Award for Best Continuing or Limited Series for Saga (Image Comics) (with Brian K. Vaughan) 
- 2010 Eisner Award for Best Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team for North 40 (WildStorm)
- 2011 Joe Shuster Award for Outstanding Comic Book Artist for Mystery Society #1-5 (IDW), Northlanders #29 (DC/Vertigo), Fringe: Tales from the Fringe #4 (DC/Wildstorm)
- 2013 Joe Shuster Award for Cover Artist for Life with Archie #24B (Archie), Dark Horse Presents #10 (Dark Horse), Action Comics #15B, National Comics Madame X #1 (DC Comics), Smoke and Mirrors #1B (IDW), Saga #1-8 (Image Comics)
- 2013 Joe Shuster Award for Artist for Saga #1-8 (Image Comics)
- 2013 Harvey Award for Best Cover Artist for Saga (Image Comics)
- 2014 Eisner Award for Best Cover Artist for Saga (Image Comics)
- 2014 Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story for Saga, Vol. 2 (Image Comics) (with Brian K. Vaughan)
- 2014 Hugo Award for Best Professional Artist
- 2014 Joe Shuster Award for Artist for Saga (Image Comics)
- 24 Hour Comics Day Highlights 2005: "Amphibious Nightmare" (self-written, About Comics, 2005)
- Done to Death (with writer Andrew Foley, 6-issue limited series, Markosia, July 2006-January 2009)
- Button Man: "Book IV: The Hitman's Daughter" (colours, with writer John Wagner and artist Frazer Irving, in 2000 AD #1551-1566, 2007)
- Proof #6-8 (colours, with writer Alexander Grecian and art by Riley Rossmo, Image Comics, March–May 2008)
- The Secret History of the Authority: Hawksmoor (with writer Mike Costa, 6-issue limited series, Wildstorm, June 2008 - March 2009)
- Tales from the Black Museum: "The Incredible Teatime Torture Show" (colours, with writer Tony Lee and art by Vince Locke, in Judge Dredd Megazine #284, May 2009)
- North 40 (with writer Aaron Williams, 6-issue limited series, Wildstorm, September 2009 - February 2010)
- Northlanders: The Sea Road (with writer Brian Wood, Vertigo, One shot, June 2010)
- Mystery Society (with writer Steve Niles, IDW Publishing, April 2010-ongoing)
- Jonah Hex #66 (with writer Jimmy Palmiotti, DC Comics, One shot, April 2011)
- Saga (with writer Brian K. Vaughan, Image Comics, Ongoing, March 14, 2012 – present)
- DV8: Gods and Monsters #1-8 (2010)
- Superman/Batman #79-80 (2010)
- T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #7-10 (2011)
- Criminal Macabre/The Goon: When Freaks Collide One shot (2011)
- National Comics: Madame X #1 (2012)
- MacDonald, Heidi (June 20, 2011). "2011 Joe Shuster Award winners announced". The Beat.
- Hennon, Blake (20 July 2013). "Comic-Con: 'Building Stories,' 'Saga' top Eisners (winners list)". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
- "2013 Hugo Awards". Hugo Awards. 2013-04-30.
- Seifert, Mark. September 2013 "Saga Wins Big At 2013 Harvey Awards, Plus Complete List Of Winners".
- Salvatore, Brian (July 20, 2012). "Review: Saga #5". Multiversity Comics.
- Uzumeri, David (March 14, 2012). "'Saga': Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples Bring a Stellar Sci-Fi Comic Into the World". Comics Alliance.
- Singh, Arune (2006-02-03). "'Done To Death' Lives On At Markosia This Summer". Comic Book Resources.
- Armitage, Hugh (March 13, 2012). "Brian K Vaughan's 'Saga' launches". Digital Spy.
- Lewis, Shane (February 26, 2012). "IMAGE EXPO: Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples' "Saga" Panel". Comic Book Resources.
- Wolk, Douglas (August 5, 2013). "Masters of the Universe. The space story Saga is the comic world's big hit". Time. p. 54.
- Vaughan, Brian K. (w), Staples, Fiona (a). "Chapter One" Saga 1 (March 2012), Image Comics
- Kepler, Adam W. (October 26, 2012). "Graphic Books Best Sellers: Fiona Staples Talks About 'Saga'". The New York Times.
- Staples, Fiona (w), Staples, Fiona (a). "Fiona's Process" Saga 8: 24-25 (December 2012), Image Comics
- Allen, Todd (March 12, 2012). "Advance Review: "Saga" By Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples". The Beat.
- Richards, Ron (January 30, 2012). "ADVANCE REVIEW: SAGA #1 (Spoiler Free)". iFanboy.
- "AICN COMICS REVIEWS: Brian K. Vaughan’s SAGA! FAIREST! UNCANNY X-MEN! AKA! & MORE!!!". Ain't it Cool News. March 14, 2012.
- Hayes, P.S. (March 13, 2012). "Comic Review: Saga #1". Geeks of Doom.
- Zalben, Alex (March 5, 2012). "The 'Saga' Of Brian K. Vaughan: How He Went From Runaway Kids To Epic Fantasy". MTV Geek.
- McElhatton, Greg (March 13, 2012). "Review: Saga #1". Comic Book Resources.
- Boyd, Kevin. June 2011 "2011 Nominees and Winners (winners list)".
- "Winners of the British Fantasy Awards 2013". British Fantasy Awards. 2013-11-03.
- July 2014 "2014 Will Eisner Comic Industry Award Winners". Comic-Con International. July 2014.
- MacDonald, Heidi. September 6 2014 "2014 Harvey Awards unspool".
- MacDonald, Heidi (8 April 2010). April 2010 "2010 Eisner Award nominations announced". The Beat.
- Boyd, Kevin. June 2013 "The 2013 Joe Shuster Award Nominees / Les nominés pour le prix Joe Shuster 2013".
- Cavna, Michael. July 2013 "2013 HARVEY AWARD NOMS: Chris Ware, ‘SAGA’ among top nominees".
- April 15 2014 "2014 Eisner Award Nominees Announced". Comic Book Resources. 15 April 2014.
- "2014 Hugo Awards". Hugo Awards. 2013-04-30.
- Boyd, Kevin. June 2014 "The 2014 Joe Shuster Award Nominees / Les nominés pour le prix Joe Shuster 2014".
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Fiona Staples.|
- Official website
- Fiona Staples at the Comic Book DB
- Interview in Calgary Herald
- "Artist Interview: Fiona Staples"
- Interview at The Higher Authority