Artist Steffi Walthall is responsible for the FIYAH #13 cover art, the first animated cover we’ve commissioned! We asked her a bit about her unique art style and the work she’s excited about.

1) What inspired you to originally want to be an artist?

I feel like it’s pretty common for most artists to say that they’ve been making art since they were small and it’s the same for me. But what really convinced me to get into art as a career was playing Assassin’s Creed and realizing that artists were behind those beautiful worlds that we see on screen and that I could do that. 

2) What advice would you have for people looking to become an artist as a career?

Make the art that you love and put that in your portfolio, not just what you think you’re ‘supposed’ to do- at the end of the day it’s you doing the work. Also, being an artist is tough, know your limits and when to take breaks and recognize that it’s totally fine to have another job to help pay the bills. You’ll get there!

3) What are your own personal goals for your art?  Where would you like it to be in five years?

I’d like to be faster and definitely branch out more into comics. I’ve also been dabbling in augmented reality and motion graphics so I’d like to incorporate more interactivity elements into my work. In the next 5 years, I want to be supporting myself full time with art and maybe have and artbook and some comics out in the world. And more covers!

4) Who are some of your favorite artists currently?

Ooh how do I choose there’s so many! Karl Kerschl (@karlkerschl) who makes Isola, Sara Alfageeh(@SaraAlfageeh) has incredible lines and champions diversity and representation in everything she does, Manny Edeko (@manny_oe) does so many wonderful things with expressive forms and composition, my good sis Kiana Hamm (@kiana_hamm) who is an amazing character designer, and my girl Umaimah (@coloredbraids) whose color palettes give me life. I have so many more but these are a few that I follow on Twitter.

5) What thought process did you take into your FIYAH cover? 

Well, we had talked about this cover having some moving parts to it and that there should be a sort of ‘resistance’ theme since we’re going into an election year. LeKesha had specifically mentioned Burn it Down and I rolled with that into a glitchy, internal flame of defiance vibe. Like an Unfriendly Black hottie meets 90s Blade Runner aesthetic, if that makes sense.

6) If you could instantly work on any established property, what would it be and why?

Wonder Woman or a Storm story without a doubt. Wonder Woman is my absolute favorite superhero because she’s just so powerful and strong but also chooses to be good to people that dont deserve it and I’d love to illustrate literally anything with her in it. Storm would be dope because there aren’t enough modern Storm-centric stories and sis will Mess! You! Up!!!

7) What projects do you have coming down the pipeline? Anything you particularly excited about?

A few things, which is wild! I have 3 book covers and a children’s book that I did some interiors for coming out next year but only one of the books has been announced so far: The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe from HarperCollins. I’m also currently working on a different book at the moment that legally I can’t talk about yet so #watchthisspace June 2020 ;). 

8) Tell us where we can find you. Social media, website etc.?


Insta- @just___steffi (3 underscores)

Twitter- @juststeffiart


Thanks, Steffi, for being a part of FIYAH.

L.D. Lewis is an award-winning SF/F writer and editor, and publisher at Fireside Magazine. She serves as a founding creator and Project Manager for the World Fantasy and Hugo Award-winning FIYAH Literary Magazine. She also serves as the founding Director of FIYAHCON, boardmember for Diverse Voices, Inc., Researcher for the LeVar Burton Reads podcast, and pays the bills as the Awards Manager for the Lambda Literary Foundation. She frequently authors studies about the treatment and experiences of racially/ethnically marginalized authors in speculative literature. She is the author of A Ruin of Shadows (Dancing Star Press, 2018) and her published short fiction and poetry includes appearances in FIYAH, PodCastle, Strange Horizons, Anathema: Spec from the Margins, Lightspeed, and Neon Hemlock, among others. She lives in Georgia, on perpetual deadline, with her coffee habit, two very photogenic kittens, and an impressive Funko Pop! collection. Tweet her @ellethevillain.
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