Sheika Lugtu is a Chicago based cartoonist and researcher. Her comics work centers on the impact of economics, race, sexuality, and gender on the comics industry, other media, and our culture at large. She founded Cow House Press, a publishing collective committed to publishing marginalized creators and getting their work into classrooms, libraries, youth and juvenile centers.
Lugtu is one of the participating artists for the ON/OFF Grid art exhibition (April 6 - June 2) at the Gene Siskel Film Center in conjunction with the FAAIM 23rd Annual Asian American Showcase which runs April 6 through April 18th, 2018. We asked her a few questions about her work and artistic practice!
1. Does your identity or personal story inform your work? Who/what inspires you?
Very much so! It's most obvious in my reflective autobiographical comic essays but I think it's impossible to separate my experiences as an immigrant woman of color from the motivations behind my journalism comics. I'm more keen to instances of racism and sexism within media from a lifetime of experience, which then influences the topics I choose to write about. This was also the motivation behind starting Cow House Press.
2. How has technology affected your creative process? Does this affect how you view or choose to interact with the world?
I jumped into the world of digital very early. I use digital and traditional mediums interchangeably, often on the same piece. In the beginning it was for the sake of speed - comics take a long long time and I'll try anything to speed it up! I think my background in printmaking and love for tangible, printed things made me hesitant to use digital tools for more than just basic inking. Recently, I've embraced experimenting with digital textures, screen-native colors and simple animations. I've become that person who has to make sure to charge their sketchbook every night.
3. What are you working on right now?
This past year I've taken on an editorial role working with artist Gabi Mendez on her new book, Lemonade Summer, a kid-friendly collection of LGBTQ+ stories. This has been a year-long process! Especially since this may be an introduction for young readers to trans or non-binary genders, we wanted to make sure we were representing people correctly and sensitively.