Talent Spotlight: Sonia Liao

We’re excited to announce the first in a series of monthly Talent Spotlights! Einhorn’s Epic Productions has the wonderful and unique opportunity to work with a plethora of talented artists, authors, letterers, colorists, voice actors, and more – and we want you to know all about them and how they creatively rock our socks off.

Today we’re proud to spotlight Sonia Liao, artist of the recently released original graphic novel from Einhorn’s Epic Productions and The MIT Press, The Curie Society.

The Curie Society is the story of Simone, Maya, Emma, and Taj as they enter the mysterious scientific society founded by Madame Marie Curie herself. It’s a stunningly illustrated action-adventure infused with real-life science – but don’t take our word for it: the fans are loving every minute! And if you want to learn more about the grounded science of the graphic novel, you should also check out our free educational materials designed for K-12 learning.

Continue reading below for more about Sonia and her work!

Einhorn’s Epic Productions: When did you know that you were going to be an artist?

Sonia Liao: In elementary school! I don’t remember an exact day I decided, but I remember always choosing ‘artist’ as my future career during elementary school projects.

EEP: Who are some of your biggest artistic influences, both within and outside of comics?

SL: Fumi Yoshinaga, Terry Moore and Yuko Ota all come to mind. I grew up reading a lot of manga, so the eastern influence in my style is very obvious. During college I got much more into the independent comic scene and was influenced a lot by their mismatch of eastern and western styles.

EEP: What’s that one random topic that no one expects you to be knowledgeable on but you could talk about for an hour?

SL: Genetics, evolution and biology. I come from a very conservative Christian home so the fact that I know so much about the evolution of man comes as a surprise to a lot of people. People also assume I did poorly in school because I chose to become an artist, but I was actually very academically driven.

EEP: As a comic artist, you work with a whole team of authors to help bring a graphic novel together. Are there any colorists, letterers, inkers, etc. that you’d like to shout out?

SL: I admit, I’m a bit of a hermit when it comes to collaborative projects. I appreciate Annette Fanzhu’s help with inking the backgrounds for this project, and I’m happy to have her help me on future projects too.

A portrait of Sonia appears in The Curie Society, illustrated by Annette Fanzhu!

EEP: Why were you drawn to sequential art specifically? What’s your favorite thing about comics?

SL: I love stories, and I love art. Comics were my favorite way to combine the two. The reason I prefer comics over animation is timing—with books and comics in general, the reader can absorb the information at their own pace. My mind isn’t always in sync with the speed of an animated story, so it pulls me out of the experience if my mind wanders for just a moment.

EEP: What’s your latest project?

SL: Not sure if I can mention anything that’s hasn’t wrapped up yet! Curie Society is my latest published work, though I am working on another book at the moment for Archaia.

EEP: What advice do you wish you received when you were starting out?

SL: Relax and do what you love. There’s so much advice out there on what you should do after you graduate, what career is best and how to get that career… it really confused me for a while, thinking I needed to change my portfolio to focus on gaming so I can get a steady job. I realized afterwards that it’s better to focus on what you are good at and what you know you can do. Recruiters can tell if your heart isn’t in the field you’re applying to. Even if you manage to fool them for a while, art is such a taxing profession that without true love, it becomes impossible to keep going.

“Relax and do what you love.”


EEP: What was one of the toughest creative or professional challenges you had to face? How did you overcome it? 

SL: My internship after graduation was probably the most difficult period of my life. This was back when I was trying to find full-time work. My senior illustration professor recommended me to a local animation company for an internship, and there was a lot of pressure not to let her down. I had a very difficult time there because at the end of the day, I’m a comic artist and not an animator. I was useless on most projects because they needed an animator to do the grunt work, so I spent nearly four months just sitting in the office being ignored. It was a sobering experience for me because I’m not used to failing. It also made me realize how, in the real world, there are so many other factors that can affect projects other than your own skill and talent.

“… [failing] made me realize how, in the real world, there are so many other factors that can affect projects other than your own skill and talent.”

EEP: What’s your superpower?

SL: I can type extremely fast. This is apparently very impressive to a lot of people, and as it is not related to my daytime job I suppose that makes it my secret superpower.