Geek Spotlight: Emily Zeinner on Judge Dredd, Nail Art, and Unflattering Geek Clothing

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WWAC Assistant Editor Claire Napier, was the first to alert me to the awesome nail art of Emily Zeinner. I went to Twitter to explore her and not only stumbled across awesome nail art, but also other great geek artwork and fashion projects. Zeinner is a San Francisco based artist, and fortunately took time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions for me about her artistic and crafty endeavors.

It looks like you do a lot of geek arts and crafts. Is this something you do full-time?

I currently work full-time as a concept artist at EA on The Sims 4, designing clothing and furniture, so the time spent on nerding out is limited to after work.

It seems really bizarre as I draw for a living, but I actually dislike making crafts! To me, drawing and crafting are separate realms…the only thing that keeps me trying at it is the limited supply of fandom options that are not t-shirts! Even with t-shirts, fandoms like comics seem to mostly pump out items unflattering to the ladies.

Truth. Can you give an overview of your creative process for designing the nail art?

The thing to keep in mind is that nails are pretty small! So you have to simplify the designs you want, even if in the comics they actually are much more complicated. This is why my Rogue Trooper nails ended up being more successful in the end than my Dredd ones – the design was much more graphic and simplistic.

Some original quick ideas:

The Rogue Trooper nails that I ended up going with:

Do you have one specific nail tech you go to, or do you go to different ones? What do they think when you bring in these geeky designs?

I’ve been trying a place in Oakland called Cosmo Spa Lounge, but I think after this, I’ll look for a place that does matte nails. I think it’d look cool to have a shiny design on top of a matte base.

I can’t say that either nail tech recognized either comic–but they were very nice about it! They specialize in nail art so they have done a couple of comic requests such as Wonder Woman nails.

Oh, how cool! I honestly didn’t even know that was a thing or it could even be done. So, what are your favorite geekeries?

Currently (and obviously) my favorite obsession is Dredd comics, which I got into after watching the 2012 movie on Netflix. From there I segued into Rogue Trooper. Rogue Trooper follows a genetically modified soldier on a quest to bring justice to the man who massacred his division. The fun part is his only friends are his dead comrades whose minds have been saved into “biochips” mounted into his rifle, backpack, and helmet. It’s pretty fantastic–I recommend checking 2000AD out. More people ought to know about 2000AD–they publish both a weekly comic anthology (with Dredd in it) as well as a Dredd-centric “megazine” once a month. It’s amazing that they are a British company with a flagship title about the US–of which two movies have been made–and not many people have heard of 2000AD here in the states.

The other big comic that I’m following at the moment is the new Ms. Marvel series with Kamala Khan. I can’t say enough good things about it. The art is phenomenal, the writing is witty.

Our own Kelly Kanayama is all about Judge Dredd! What is it in particular about these geekeries that resonate with you?

After watching the recent Dredd movie, I figured I’d read a comic or two and the Wikipedia page to know more about the character and that would be it. I wasn’t prepared to be blown away by a remarkable depth in writing. It’s this great discussion on authority, justice, American values, current real world issues like privacy of information….with the main character being this great big gray area. In many comics, you have a hardass antihero who realizes the error of his ways and changes for the better. Dredd is unique in that he’s this unmovable constant with a crazy single-minded dedication to his job. He’d throw you into jail for the most minor infraction, but he’d also lay down his life for you. You see him beating up the baddies, and you want to root for him. Then you read Dredd stories like “America” or “Apocalypse War,” where he just does these terrible, terrible things, all within the law. And sometimes you aren’t sure if you’d have done any differently. So you are just constantly conflicted. It’s also probably one of the only comics in which you can pick up and not worry about having to follow 500 reboots. Everything in the comic happens in real time–the characters age and people die and stay dead. Events happen…and 10 years later in both the comic and real life, consequences arise. Not sure many other comics can check all these boxes.

As for Ms. Marvel,  her Islamic faith has been a huge talking point, but really its core story is about the struggles of fitting in without letting go of the things that define you – your culture, your family, your beliefs. Anyone can relate to that. Plus, she writes Avengers fanfiction!

You seem pretty artistic and crafty in general? What other arts/crafts do you do to celebrate your geekeries?

I have been slowly learning how to properly dye things so I can make fandom scarves. And I’d like to learn how to embroider if only because it’s very expensive to pay other people to do it!

Well, if that gets under way, be sure to let us know here at WWAC. Seriously, I want one. What tools do you use when creating your geek drawings?

I use Photoshop CS6.1. Here’s some of my most common brushes. I mostly use “watercolor.” It’s nice and versatile because you can both draw hard edges and blend easily.
Emily Zeinner_ps brushesInterested in learning more about Emily’s arts and crafts? Check her out on Twitter @EmilyZeinner. We appreciate Emily taking the time to talk to us, and we want to know–in what creative ways do you share and celebrate your geekeries, dear readers?

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Smashing the patriarchy with glitter, pink lipstick, and cowboy boots. You can follow her on Instagram @ginnistonik

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