Personal Stuff

Dawn McTeigue

Dawn McTeigue. Well, technically my name is Dawn Schwartz. I’m married & my husband’s name is Dan Schwartz. McTeigue is my maiden/birth name.

Why McTeigue?
I use McTeigue for my artwork because McTeigue is less common, thus easier to find me online. There was already at least one Schwartz that I was aware of in comics, and many thousands in the US alone, so I chose to use my maiden name for art.

How do you pronounce McTeigue?
Many people call me “McTeeg” and while that’s ok and I don’t mind, my family is from Ireland & the way THEY pronounce it is “McTeg” (just pretend all the other letters aren’t there).

I’m fine with people pronouncing my name differently than I do--it’s not something that gets under my skin. You’re safe. :)

3 kids, born 2002, 2005, and 2010. Boy, girl, boy. I listed their ages at first, but since they seem to keep on growing, I’ll leave their birth years instead.

I love being a mom & caring for my kids & I’m so blessed to be able to work from home so that I can be there for them. I don’t post many pictures of them tho, as they keep shutting me down when I ask permission to post something. :)

A very fabulous (and evil) British Blue Shorthair cat named Sherlock.

Where do you live?
Calgary, Canada

You’re Canadian, eh?
Yes. I'm also an American & Irish citizen. Technically, I’m also Australian by birth, but I haven’t claimed citizenship. Too many to keep up with as it is.

Life story in a few words?
Was born in Melbourne, Australia. Have spent much of my life overseas & lived in Honduras, Japan, Poland, Hungary, Austria & Mexico.

Dawn and Sherlock

Aside from art, obviously, I have fun watching make-up tutorials on YouTube and buying new make-up products. I’m also crazy about Holiday Decorating. In my opinion it’s never too early to start planning next year’s decor!

Other skills besides art?
I have mad skills at house cleaning! Lol. I can’t work or focus in clutter or messes, so I’m fast & amazing at cleaning house. Neat Freak to the max over here!

Favorite music?
In This Moment, Marilyn Manson, rock in general

Favorite movies?
Wonder Woman, 5th Element, The Devil Wears Prada, Deadpool, Iron Man (all of them), Thor Ragnarok, Dark Knight

Favorite shows?
I’m a Netflix junkie. :) When I'm drawing, if I’m not listening to podcasts or audiobooks, I’m listening/watching TV shows. I like fun “away from thinking” shows, or detective style shows. Some favs are: Blacklist, Scandal, House of Cards, The Vampire Diaries. And Dan has dragged me through all 7 mud-and-blood seasons of Game of Thrones. I love it, just wanna clean everything & everyone.

Favorite foods?
Sushi, Ramen, Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, Chinese fast food places like Panda Express, etc.

I work out 5X per week. Approx 20-30 mins each. My husband has made me a weight training program. Mon, Wed & Friday are leg days, Tues & Thurs focus on my upper body, specifcially to target pain points from drawing & desk work.

I also use Intermittent Fasting which keeps my weight at a healthy level, and still lets me eat what I want within reason.

Art & Professional

Current projects:
Interior/cover artist for a series called DiVinica, published by Rothic & co-created by JP Roth & I. I also do a couple covers per month for various publishers.

Past projects:

  • REM:8 #1-4
  • Southern Nightgown #1-3
  • DiVinica #1 - ongoing
  • Harley Quinn & Her Gang of Harleys #5
  • Zenescope’s Wonderland 2012 Annual
  • Cover art for: Rothic, DC, Image, Zenescope, Aspen, Lady Death, Lady Mechanika, Valiant, Dark Horse/Dynamite, BDI

Did you go to school? / How did you learn to draw? / What kind of training have you had?
I’m self-taught. I had the interest as a child & drew all the time. I’ve also requested a lot of critique on my work and from that, I learn.

How long have you been drawing?
I’ve been drawing & coloring my whole life. I started working toward being in comics in February 2011 & had my first published piece in March 2012. (Cover pencils and interior inks on Ancient Dreams #1 by Rothic)

My makeshift light table in the early days

How did you get your start in comics?
JP Roth, creator of Rothic, was a childhood friend of mine. She’s written a fair few novels & wanted to launch them as comic books first. She contacted me to see if I’d be interested in drawing for some of her books. At the time I’d given up on art, had a newborn baby & just wasn’t good enough (I thought), nor did I have the time to draw (fact, lol). However, she didn’t take no for an answer, and I’m SO grateful for her persistence.

JP Roth, Sabine Rich, Mike Krome & I started out in comics with NO idea what we were really doing. I'd always been a fan of J Scott Campbell & the whole Top Cow/Aspen crew, but beyond that, I knew nothing about actually working in comics.

I drew the teaser for Ancient Dreams on the wrong size paper, mostly drew at night when my kids were sleeping, was a full-time, stay-at-home mom to a nursing baby, and had just moved to Canada with no art supplies. I used some books, a slab of glass and a bedside lamp as my light table & worked on the dining room table, which was already too small for our family. lol.

Those days were hard. I didn't know if I had what it took to be a comic artist, and seriously doubted myself on a daily basis if I was good enough to make it. I even had to take my youngest with me to SDCC and nursed him hiding behind the Mrs. Fields cookie stands.... it was a rough go at the beginning. It's one thing to start out & be crazy when you have only yourself to care for, another whole ball of wax when you have 3 young children, so come hell or high water, this HAD TO work. Thankfully, it did!

I had many people, even artists I deeply admired for years, give me tips & pointers on how to improve, what to watch out for in my work, what a commission is, how to accept commissions, pricing, paper, printing... I was green in everything. I know I wouldn't be here today without those who helped & directed me.

Every day is a new challenge, and I still have far more to do, learn & progress in, but I'm excited for it all!

How long does a piece take you?
As a mom of 3, time is a precious commodity, so I don’t ever have one full stretch of time to work on & finish a piece. However, I did a cover start to finish on camera via Facebook Live and tallied up the time it took from the length of the videos. From layout to final scan the cover took me 13 hours to complete. Granted, I’m slower when I’m reading/commenting on people’s questions via Live, but that’s about the best answer I have for now.

Main artistic influences?

  • Eric eBas Basaldua
  • J Scott Campbell
  • Mike Turner
  • Marc Silvestri

Favorite art study/reference books?
Anything by Andrew Loomis

Favorite pieces or projects?
Usually it’s whatever I’m currently working on. As once something is done, I start picking my art apart. Whatever I’m working on at the time has more potential as I’ve learned something new & am better at my job with each new piece.

Favorite art tools? / “What pen is that?”

  • Paper: Cougar Super Smooth 100lb Cover
  • Mechanical pencils: Alvin Draft Tech 0.3mm, Aristo DK2 0.5mm, Pentel Twist-Erase 0.9mm
  • Light table: Huion A3 
  • Lead softness: HB, 2B
  • Erasers: Tombow Mono Stick, Tombow Mono Zero 2.3mm round barrel, Faber Castell Kneaded Eraser
  • Pens: Copic Multiliner, Faber Castell PITT pens
  • Traditional colors: Copic Markers, Caran d’Ache Museum Aquarelle & Caran d'Ache Luminance coloured pencils, Schmincke Watercolours, Holbein Gouache, Liquitex Acrylic paint/ink 
  • Art gloves: My fav are the Lululemon running sleeves, but will buy any thumbhole sleeves to draw with. I use them to protect the paper. 
  • Digital colors: Adobe Photoshop CC
  • Digital Art Tablet/screen: Wacom Cintiq 22HD

Social media?
You can find me on Facebook, TwitterInstagram, Twitch, & Deviant Art.

I do 2-3 live streams per week on Twitch (twitch.tv/DawnMcTeigue) to draw or color for several hours and you can ask me questions, watch the process & have fun with the rest of the viewers.

What cons are you going to?
See my Convention Schedule. I try to keep it up to date as shows are confirmed.

Can I get a commission?
Please see the Commissions page for everything on that topic.

Any advice for aspiring artists?
Draw all the time! My theory on art is that if you can physically hold a pencil you can be an artist. And some have proven that you can draw even if you don’t have hands, or can’t hold a pencil! I believe that art begins with an interest, and then time dedicated to practice is what makes you good.