Skybound has no shortage of mega-talented designers working in house. But, for the last of our Women’s History Month interviews, we decided to chat with Jillian Crab. With a portfolio that features such titles as the Skybound Comet line, the Extra Fabulous books, and even The Walking Dead Deluxe, Jillian’s talent appears limitless in its breadth. Here’s what she had to tell us about her impressive career…
What’s your origin story?
I had the classic LA dream of working in Hollywood. So original, right? While studying film at Cal State Northridge, I found that film production classes were not exactly my thing, but I enjoyed everything just adjacent to film—which led me down a winding path from reality TV and game shows to web design, and ultimately graphic design and publishing.
How did you come to work as a graphic designer at Skybound?
I would not be working in comics if it wasn’t for my good friend, Jasmine Amiri, who recommended I apply to BOOM! Studios way back in 2014. I worked there for six years—learning a lot and honing my skills to focus on designing collections and original graphic novels. I bounced around between a few design and publishing jobs in the early pandemic before seeing that Skybound was hiring a new designer. It was definitely an instance of things coming together at the right time. I knew that Skybound would be a great fit when my interviews just felt like conversations about comics.
What do you like best about working for Skybound?
The team, hands down. Everyone here is so passionate about comics, and it shows in not only the books that we publish, but in the care and collaboration every step of the way to get a comic out the door and into readers’ hands.
What Skybound project are you proudest of?
I am extremely happy with how the design for Sea Serpent’s Heir Book One: The Pirate’s Daughter came out. The logo was designed by my predecessor, Carina Taylor, and developing a design that built upon the existing visual language was a fun challenge. I’m actually working on the design for Book Two right now, and it’s going to look fabulous too. Get the series! I also had a blast working on our two Extra Fabulous collections: Good Comics for Bad People and Deogie Loves You! As part of a Kickstarter campaign, the sky was the limit in finding ways to enhance the visual package. I loved developing the cover and dust jacket concept for GCFBP with editor Alex Antone and creator Zach M. Stafford. I think we came up with something really special.
What are your favorite Skybound titles?
I am a huge fan of our horror comics with a touch of humor. I Hate this Place and Creepshow are both such fun rides, not to mention Dark Ride, which is a rollercoaster of emotions all on its own. I’m also extremely partial to the variant covers we are doing for The Walking Dead Deluxe. Each connecting cover series is so beautiful and unique. If I wasn’t already getting my own copies from working on it, those would be on my pull list.
What other pop culture do you nerd out over?
Television and Jane Austen. Taking stock of all my favorite shows, I realize I love an ensemble comedy where the characters help each other become their best selves. Some of my current favorites that fit the bill are Our Flag Means Death, The Good Place, Ted Lasso, Schitt’s Creek, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. On the flip side, I’m all about a good period romance. Bring up the Darcy hand flex any day and I will be happy to go down the rabbit hole with you of Regency-era character motivations and their deepest, unsaid feelings.
Do you have any advice for young women considering a career in your field?
You don’t need to have the “dream job” right away. It took me a while to find what was right for me within the larger design field, and I learned something valuable at each job along the way. I recommend looking for a job with a smaller design team so you can get your hands on every aspect of design—figure out what you enjoy and what you’re good at. A very important part of comic design is actually print production. Learn about the differences between digital and print design. Know the basics and express your desire to learn more. The right team will recognize your worth and you’ll land where you need to.