Oh goodness, I started writing this a over a month ago. I don’t know where the time went! Thanks to cartoonist, illustrator and designer Aaron Shrewsberry for tagging me!
1. What am I working on?
I’m penciling Issue 3 of Wits End, an ongoing YA fantasy series about a court scribe, the princess he works for and other members of the nobility and staff as they deal with magical mishaps, plots against the throne and navigating the expectations of the world at large. I’m aiming to have the whole third issue inked, colored and ready to go online by the end of the month, so I’ve got a lot to do and not a lot of time for other projects at the moment, but I’m playing with a few other ideas on the side. When I finish this issue, I’ll be taking a break to work on something completely different for a few weeks. I’m not sure what exactly that will be yet, but there are a couple of ideas I’m excited about.
2. How does my writing process work?
Before I was making comics, I was writing prose, plays and screenplays, and that background continues to shape the way I approach writing comics. I have a notebook and a couple of files on my computer where I jot down ideas, and I tend to spend a lot of time thinking about the story I want to tell before I start writing. My first draft is often a dialog heavy, so the revision process (and thumbnailing) is all about cutting down on dialog and finding ways to tell the story with images and action.
3. How does my work differ from others in its genre?
I dabble in a variety of genres, but ultimately my heart lies with YA fantasy stories. They’re so much fun to write, and it’s a place where I feel like I can relax and not take myself too seriously. Most of the genre work that I’m inspired by is prose, so that’s one of the biggest differences between the things I grew up reading and the work I’m making. Ultimately, the series I’m working on right now is about figuring out who you are and the type of life you want to lead, and that’s nothing new. Other creators have tackled these issues before me, and more will when I’m gone. Hopefully the way in which I do it resonates with someone out there.
4. Why do I write what I do?
I’m writing Wits End for my twelve year old self. I’m a reserved and introverted person, and I was even more so in middle school and high school. Outside of school I had an awesome group of friends who I still adore, but during school I felt completely disconnected from my peers. Instead, I found solace and a sense of community in books and comics. Wits End is my way of giving back, and of honoring the person and I was and the stories I loved, all of which got me to where I am now.
I do comics for a variety of reasons. I wrote The Waiting Game last summer during a period of days when I was expecting news at any time that my dog had died. It’s fiction, but it was a way for me to process some of what was going on. This summer I did a comic for Dog City Press that I collaborated on with Tom O’Brien, which was fun because it let me interact with another creator and do something that let me use a different style and a modern slice of life story that let me draw more directly from life (some of my friends will probably recognize the setting). Even when I’m telling a story about dragons and wizards, I want to be honest with my readers–no matter what I’m writing, I want to give people something that feels true.