SciArt Spotlight: Tessa McEvoy
In Style Engineers Worldwide's first ever SciArt Spotlight series, we are delighted to feature the cosmically cool artist Tessa McEvoy! Tessa created and illustrates the out-of-this-world Space Cadet Wannabe webcomic series. Space Cadet Wannabe follows the STEM-centric and absolutely adorable adventures of aspiring astronaut and supremely snappy dresser Jess.
At just 17-years-old, Tessa has already made quite a name for herself. She illustrated an educational 23-page coloring book called Color Me Mars Generation for Astronaut Abby's organization, The Mars Generation. You can download the free book and color it in yourself here!
In January of 2018, Tessa was also selected as an honoree of The Mars Generation's prestigious 24 Under 24 list. Tessa has also been featured by The Collins Miller Project. She illustrated her mother's book Buddy, A Story for Dyslexia, and Tessa also wrote and illustrated her own book The iPad Rules in the Classroom about a helpful (and rather cute) iPad named Fluffy who teaches kids proper tablet use and care at school. On top of all that, Tessa also runs her own origami company.
Tessa is a stellar illustrator, inventive entrepreneur, and an inspiring STEM advocate who you will want to keep your eyes on; we know we'll be following both Tessa's (and Jess's!) future adventures.
Tessa McEvoy drew some astronomically awesome crossover comics of Space Cadet Wannabe's Jess hanging out with Tilly Tailor and the Style Engineers Worldwide gang. Welcome to the SEWing Circle, Tessa and Jess!
What was the inspiration for Space Cadet Wannabe? How long have you been drawing the series?
I started drawing Space Cadet Wannabe in the summer of 2015 when I got really interested in developing a character that is interested in all things space and science. Originally, the main character of Space Cadet Wannabe was going be named 'Cosmos Girl.' Cosmos Girl was going to be all space adventures similar to Star Wars but with more science embedded. After sketching out Cosmos Girl concepts, I ended up with a character with short hair who wore a tuxedo shirt with a tie. Jess seemed like a better name for this character because I wanted a shorter name that is easier to pronounce. When I first started this series, I got most of my inspiration from Calvin and Hobbes in terms of colors and character layout. I also got most of my inspiration from looking up space facts for my earlier comics.
Later on, I decided to incorporate events into my comics such as space-related news which were well received. Within two years, I branched out to include all STEM subjects. Soon afterwards, someone suggested that I should do comics inspired by well-known people and projects in the STEM community such as Astronaut Abby, Allie Weber (a.k.a. Robot Maker Girl), and The Collin Millers Project. Doing this allowed Space Cadet Wannabe to reach a wider audience.
Can you talk a little about Jess's style? What inspired her outfit?
Jess mostly wears a black tie, a white tuxedo shirt, and a black pair of pants. She is usually very laid back about her style because she tends to wear the same thing every day. Sometimes, Jess wears a Hawaiian shirt with shorts when she's at the beach or pool. Occasionally, you see Jess in her PJs when she is waking up or going to bed. I was inspired by my own outfit choices when creating Jess. I personally like wearing ties a lot with a men's shirt with a pair of long pants. And I wanted a character that reflected my own interests and fashion choices.
Do you, yourself, want to be an astronaut? Or: If not an astronaut, what's your ideal career?
Originally, I wanted to be an astronaut and to be the first person to step foot onto Mars. Pretty soon I realized that I drew for at least three hours a day and that being an astronaut would involve learning Russian (not my strong suit), scuba diving (nah, too wimpy), and taking tons of math classes (bleh!). All of the demands of being an astronaut didn't quiet appeal to my artistic self. I decided that I wanted a career that involved a lot of drawing and animation. Right now, my ideal career is to be a freelance artist who takes commissions from people and creates original art.
What was your favorite thing about creating the Color Me Mars Generation coloring book?
My favorite thing was creating the illustrations for the storyline. It is about Jess and Abigail Harrison (the founder of The Mars Generation) traveling to Mars. I enjoyed drawing Jess interacting with Astronaut Abby on their trip to Mars. This was a very special and meaningful opportunity to be able to contribute to The Mars Generation through my art.
It's great that there are so many fun STEM comics out there-including yours! What do you think it is about comics that makes them a great outlet to explore science-related topics?
Not only do comics help people visually grasp concepts, but also comics can make science related topics more enjoyable because comics allow more opportunities for jokes and puns.
Check out Tessa's amazing art where she envisions Jess hanging out with the SEWing Circle!
Do you have any favorite STEM characters in books, movies, or other art forms?
Currently, my favorite STEM character is Mark Watney from The Martian. He is my favorite because he overcomes challenges - when he is left on Mars - with a wicked sense of humor. I like how calm he stays (sometimes) in crisis and figures out what he needs to do in order to survive the daily grind of being trapped on Mars.
What's your favorite book, movie, etc., about space?
My all-time favorite movie about space is Apollo 13. It's my favorite because it reminds you that the best way to fix a problem is by staying calm (I need lots of reminding on that front). This movie is a historically realistic thriller which is one of my favorite movie genres.
If you were a superhero, what would your go-to wearable tech device be?
My go-to wearable tech device would be a shapeshifter, full-body suit because I would be able to shapeshift into any person I wanted to. Not only would I shape into that person, I would be able to harness their powers along with my powers. This would allow me to discover my opponents' strongest powers before confronting them.
To learn more about Tessa McEvoy and to make sure you never miss a Space Cadet Wannabe post, follow Tessa on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Tessa also recently started a Space Cadet Wannabe Animated Series YouTube channel which includes other STEM-related topics, so be sure to subscribe, like, and share!