We had the good fortune of connecting with Anna Jefferson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Anna, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I began making comics in 4th grade, when I was introduced to manga with my friends, and later comics when my local Library set up signs pointing to their new Comics aisle. Ever since then, I set my sights on making comics for a living somehow, and over the years, with the help of my husband and family, I created Middnite Designs LLC, an Illustrative Studio all about Diversity and black and brown femininity.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I grew up in heavily Hispanic and African American Communities all my life,and have I devoted myself to proper representation of POC, from hair, to facial features, and skintones. It never really crossed my mind to make my comic characters look any different from the world around me, and 23 years later, I made it a staple of my brand to always create and potray diversity naturally. When I meet my husband and our friends in high school, it was nice to meet likeminded individuals also passionate about making comics, and joined them in their pursuits of creating a Comic Publishing company. That was 14 years ago, and though its just my husband and I now, the fire remains. From virtual classes to seminars and beta business coaching, and a ton of commission work, we’ve firmly cemented Middnite Designs brand and what we want to provide.
It definitely wasn’t easy, from picky clients to getting left on read after payment was due, to figuring out what Middnite Designs voice is, it was alot of trial and error, in fact, still is. We still have a long way to go, but we work together to understand the ins and outs of marketing and running an online store. It also helps to have a wonderful community of likeminded art entrepenuers who are all at different steps of running their own business, and kind enough to give us advice and feedback.
One of the main lessons we learned, that definitely helped us figure exactly what we want to do, is finding out what people come to us for. Conventions are a wonderful place to talk with customers and would be clients who enjoy talking face to face with us, and they often tell us how good it is to see the diversity we create. I’ve been hearing that since 2013, when I started doing cons, and even now, I still get a new face who is so happy to see themselves and their family in my artwork. Once I figured out my brand is to provide Comfort through Representation, everything else flowed nicely. Feedback and understanding why you’re creating a company, who you’re creating it for, was an extremely important and fullfilling milestone for us.
My dream for Middnite Designs, is to help my clients create comics full of diversity, as well as provide through our own Publishing company and Animation Studios one day, our world of stories. We have a lot in store, the first one debuting this summer being ‘My Cousin is a Magical Girl?!’ Webtoons, the webcomics app.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well, if they’re down for a nice long walk, the National Zoo in Downtown DC is a must see, followed by the Art Gallery in Chinatown, which is a nice area for sightseeing. There’s an awesome Pizza place down there too, so that would be our next stop. DC has some amazing hidden restuarants and pop up shops, that serve so many types of cuisine, from french, jamaican, Salvadoran and mediterranaean, there’s so many awesome hole in the wall shops to find!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Everything I do is for my children, my nieces and my nephews, They’ve always thought it was cool that weird “Auntie Anna” job was to draw all day, and my children, who love showing their friends what I create. And especially my Husband, for the past 14 years, he’s always believed and supported me and my dream, through thick and thin.
Other: for my professional portfolio: https://www.behance.net/MiddniteDesigns