As children, we spend most of our early years with picture books in our possession, flipping through their pages, engrossed in the images. For Vania Hardy ’12, illustration has become a career.
Hardy, a digital communications graduate, first found her love for illustration early, still in her elementary school days.
“I remember teachers would talk about how illustrators told stories in their unique ways, and that always stuck with me,” Hardy said.
Hardy has continued to pursue the art of visual storytelling, trying her hand at illustrating here and there until she became comfortable and found her style. Today, Hardy illustrates for a line of comics published by Kid Heroes Productions that accompany their first independent superhero film, Lumpia with a Vengeance, which stars an all-Filipino-American cast.
This summer, Hardy participated in a panel at San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) alongside actors from Lumpia with a Vengeance and several other comic book artists. The event made history as the first Comic-Con panel to consist of all Filipino-American members.
When first approached with the opportunity, Hardy was apprehensive. The logistics of it seemed quite daunting, she said. Nonetheless, she agreed once she learned just how big and historic SDCC is.
“I realized what an honor and a privilege it is to be invited to sit on a panel there,” Hardy said. “This particular panel was significant because it was the first one to represent a Filipino-American comic book series and the world premiere of its accompanying film.”
With more than 130,000 individuals attending, Hardy met many among her comic’s fanbase and created new friendships with her panel mates.
Working alongside so many accomplished individuals might seem like a significant feat to some, but thanks to her LVC education, Hardy said, she is well-versed in the art of collaboration.
“I spent most of my time at LVC collaborating with people of different interests and skill sets,” Hardy said. “That experience is incredibly valuable for building communication, project management, research, and so many other skills.”
Hardy continues to use these skills and more as she manages her freelance business in addition to her work for Kids Heroes Productions.
So far, four books Hardy has worked on have been published, with a few more in the works. Her favorite part of the job is knowing her work is on children’s bookshelves and can be a crucial part of their childhood.
“Even into my 30s, there are books I read growing up that’ve really stayed with me,” Hardy said. “I chose this career because I want to make kids feel seen and create characters who inspire them.”
— Angelica Fraine ’23, Marketing & Communications Intern