ROSANA! Artist Spotlight: Baji
1. Tell us about yourself and your background in art.
Like many people, I started my love of art by tracing Naruto manga and making my own self insert characters. I took to it right away. I learned to get better when a "friend" laughed at my drawings and I went home that day and asked my mother to buy me a how-to-draw book. That's right. Sometimes spite is a great motivator kids.
2. What made you join ROSANA? Was it how you expected it turn out? In what way?
My father immigrated from Indonesia to the USA a long time ago and that's how he met my mother. He was always very subdued about our heritage and I think that was a way to blend easier and to assimilate into American culture. I just remember wishing there were characters out there like me that shared my background and were proud of it. So as soon as I heard there was an Indonesian writer looking for Indonesian artists to help with a comic, I had to jump on it.
I will be honest, I was very worried about applying. I'm only half Indonesian. I don't speak the language. I've often been told I'm not Asian enough to call myself Indonesian. But I still wanted to try and I was lucky enough to know that Jessica (our writer) didn't care about all of that. None of the other artists cared either. It felt good to find a place to belong. Where people didn't find your huge collection of wayang puppets strange or creepy.
So far it's been an incredibly rewarding experience. Osa and Chong are so talented and Jessica has such a great attitude and is amazing to work with. I feel honored and privileged to be working alongside such amazing Indonesian creators.
3. What’s your favourite thing about Rosana - the character?
For real though, when I was designing Rosana I really wanted to create a powerful looking person. A lot of times, Asians (mostly Asian women) are often depicted as meek/small/maybe cunning. Not to mention it is barely ever that Southeast Asians are depicted at all in media at large.
I should say, none of those things are immediately bad character design choices. I just really felt like if Rosana is going to punch planes out of the sky, she should look like she gets mad gains at the gym lol.
Her hair was also a really important aspect for me to design. As a curly girl myself, I love the volume and depth it gives her and I want others to see their natural curls as empowering. Her lion's mane that really gives the distinctive superhero look. Plus, I just love drawing big curly hair.
4. Tell us about other projects you’re working on, outside of the comic.
Currently, I work a full-time day job to pay for student loans. I haven't had the time as of late to pursue additional projects. But eventually, I would like to start a webcomic idea I've had since high school. It is a collaborative story I've been working on with my friends, the working title is Shikon. Basically a high adventure, anime-esque, high fantasy saga. A lot to take on but it's been in the works for years.
I also write a Predator Fanfic called Penance. Read it if you like monsters.
Leave a comment about Baji's stellar work!