Tell us about your latest work. Where did the inspiration come from?
The newest thing I have is a zine called Sacred Spaces. The inspiration came from ow much I really love to nest, making my space my own. I realize everyone has some space that is theirs and I wanted to showcase that. I find personal spaces really intimate and sometimes difficult to share so I thought it would be fun to ask others for a photo of their own area to draw.
What makes CALA different from other conventions?
I’ve never been! Last year I heard a lot from friends who were head-over-heels about it so I applied after seeing the artists listed. Everyone this year seems to have distinct styles, and art-heavy comics and that is totally up my alley.
If this is your second year at CALA tell us about last years experience and what brought you back. If this is your first year, what are you most excited about?
I’m super excited to nab more comics that I’m coming in with.
What will you be selling at CALA?
I’ll be bringing zines and comics, a few new ones! As well as some of the fortune telling stuff I make, Urban Divination Decks, Hex Breakers, Casting Cloths. All sorts of hand-made witchery.
Who are some of your biggest influences, creatively?
The biggest influence I have is the act of making something, I love the craft of inking, drawing, carving, etc. A lot of the time personal projects stem from my wanting to try a process out and getting my hands dirty. Most times having a craving to work with metal, lino, whatever if what gets me going and soon after ideas start flowing from the process itself.
What would you like fans to know about your work in general?
Much of my work is really personal, even in small ways. For example pretty much every card in the Divination Deck is some reference to something I’ve seen or interacted with in my life. The Forgotten Bra card is because I knew the alley I parked my car in by the bra wrapped around the telephone pole on the corner. It’s not all deep-dark personal, just slice-of-life stuff.
What would you like fans to know about you as an artist?
I don’t want to throw myself under a bus or anything but I am the absolute laziest. For drawing and coloring I’ve gotten to this sweet-spot where I do the least amount of work for a look I really like so I can get things done faster and move on to the next project. I do this because if I stay on one thing for too long I start to hate it.
Talk about your journey to becoming a comic creator.
I only started getting into doing comics in the past few years. I would doodle little things in sketchbooks but never did anything with them. Being introduced to people who self-published and seeing how easy it could be to do it myself really pushed me head first into it. I would say moving to Seattle a few years ago was a tipping point, having moved here and going to Short Run within the same month sealed it.
Did you have a formal education or were you self-taught? Is one better than another?
I don’t think one is better than another. I went to school for illustration but didn’t solidify a style or a particularly good work ethic until after school. I think it was nice for me to be forced to try things I wouldn’t normally do, see things I wouldn’t normally seek on my own, but I don’t think what worked for me is necessarily good for anyone else. I think school is a case-by-case thing.
What other kinds of art do you create? Does that factor into your comics work at all?
I do editorial illustration and honing on quick turnarounds helped me organize comics a lot. I understand what I need to make sense of a project and how long things would take. I also dabble in copper and brass working, mostly doing simple shaping and etching for pins and necklaces to sell online and at shows.
If you have a collaborator, what is it like working with them? If you work solo, why? Would you ever consider working with another artist or writer?
I mostly work solo, I enjoy being able to manage my own schedule. To be honest I would like to work with more writers but am always afraid I’ll do something horrible with the baby they gave to me to work with. I’m currently working with a writer and it has been a dream, I don’t know what I’m so scared of!
If you could write in any fantasy world (Harry Potter, Avatar, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, ext), which would you, work in and why?
I have to admit I’m not the best writer but I would be all over the Harry Potter universe. Those are my comfort books/movies.
What tools do you use to create your comic and why?
I ink on watercolor paper but color digitally. I haven’t gotten used to inking digitally and really love the feeling of a brush on paper. The mistakes and slip-ups made by a cat jumping on your desk can make a line more interesting sometimes. I color digitally, I like the flexibility of it. I’m super indecisive with color so it has made my life a lot easier.
When you’re having a difficult time creating what do you do to help you push through?
I have to step away. I forget to do that a lot but if I’m hitting a wall there’s no use in wasting time. It’s hard to walk away and go play a game or cook dinner but usually the problem will solve itself when you’re not actively thinking about it. Plus my solution is usually to bake so your problem is solves and you get a nice, warm bread to eat while you get your project finished.
Do you have any new projects on the horizon? What should fans be looking out for? Where can they find you online?
I have a few things on the way! I’m dipping my toe into doing horror comics in the upcoming year so you can keep an eye out for those. I have a few ideas for more fortune telling tchotchkes that may rear their heads this year too. You can find me all over the place online, I’m pretty active if there’s any way to share a photo of a cat.
Joelle’s heart belongs to Chicago but she’s living in Los Angeles attempting to make a life as a freelance writer. She’s the co-creator of web comic Harsh Mellow on Tumblr. She’s an avid fan of period dramas over three hours long and full glasses of wine. She can usually be found in between the pages of a comic-book or under a coffee spigot.