As a teacher of comics, what I offer, all
I have really, is my
experience with my own creative process that has evolved in a kind of
higgledy-piggledy fashion over the last 21 years. The
cartoonists Lynda Barry and Alan Moore both talk about their creative
process as if they are magicians conjuring up a sacred space to do their
work. It's a little woo-woo, but honestly, I think there is a lot of
the idea that creativity requires an act of conjuring. Almost all
artists have rituals or habits that help them get to where they can
access their creative selves. These idiosyncratic habits may not be
specifically relevant to how others work, but what is relevant is the idea that every creative person must find a process whereby they gain admission to their creative side.
Over the years, I have tried to work in
such a way that the image is the generative
tool rather than the word. In my teaching, I experiment with this idea
by taking students through
a series of drawing and comics exercises that quiet their writer selves
until an image takes hold.
Sometimes cartoonists who are primarily
writers tinker with their scripts for so
long, they become afraid to begin drawing. I encourage students to find
places in their work
where the drawing and writing go hand in hand.
was a "Marvel kid", back when such things seemed to matter: in the
1970s and early 80s, DC was doing stuff that looked very tame and
old-fashioned and crusty to me. I was heavily into the X-MEN during John
Byrne's run on the title--a school for superheroes? Sign me up! How about now? Nowadays
I tend to follow things that come out in short bursts, like miniseries
or graphic novels, so I don't have an ongoing favorite. I follow artists
and writers from project to project--my hands-down favorites are
probably Chris Ware, Jaime Hernandez, and Darwyn Cooke.
You're originally from Tennessee. Do you think that influences your illustration style?
does, in a couple of ways. The most noticeable way is in my attention
to geographic setting and detail. Growing up in Nashville, I saw a lot
of depictions of the city that seemed totally inaccurate and cartoonish.
I remember seeing movies like Peter Bogdanovich's The Thing Called Love where the geography was all wonky and things that were halfway
across town were made to seem like they were next door to one another.
When I did Stumptown, which was set in Portland, I took great pains to
make sure the city was as accurate as I could get. As far as I know, I
only made one error (making a one-way street go the wrong direction).
also know that being from TN affected me in that music has always been a
part of my life; I'm a musician, and I grew up surrounded by
professional musicians, amateur musicians; music saturated the
atmosphere so much that I didn't realize that was unusual until I'd been
away for a while.
Music and illustration coexisted (along with film)
for me all along as parallel interests, and I think there's a lot of
subconscious crossover and influence music and rhythm have on my comics'
tone and mood and storytelling.
Do you listen to music when you're working?
I do, when I'm writing. Usually something fairly legato and unobtrusive
(it's tough for me to concentrate if there are lyrics). When I'm
drawing I will sometimes listen to music, but more often I listen to
This American Life and Radiolab podcasts or audiobooks.
When you write and draw a comic which comes first: words or pictures?
The thing that makes writing and drawing a comic both fun and
complicated is that it's a constant shuffling of words and pictures, and
they determine one another. When writing a comic, you're describing
pictures as much or more than you're writing dialogue.
Lately I've been
writing scenes almost as though they were plays, then breaking them down
into pages and panels and describing the pictures. Other times I've
drawn the scene without any idea of the text that might be inserted,
then "dialogued" it after the fact.
I was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. Upon graduating from from West End High School I served in the in the US Army for a little over seven years. After an honorable discharge, I settled in the Pacific Northwest and for the last 27 years I've become a permanent resident of the state of Washington.
On May 3, 2003 I established my very own imprint, Quality Entertainment Works Publishing, which is now coined simply as QEW (pronounced like the letter "Q") Publishing. Initially, the idea of QEW Publishing was to be just a venue for me to create my own creator-owned intellectual properties to submit to third party prospective publishers like Dark Horse Comics, Image, Boom, etc.
However, seven years later and a new technological leap for self-publishing with the advent of digital publications of e-books and e-comics brought with it some new insights for QEW Publishing's direction. After major infrastructural shift occurred and QEW Publishing suddenly became an actual small-press publisher of independent comics and novels.
On March 31, 2011, QEW Publishing published and released its very first line-up of comic titles, Cody Coyote and Diabolicus and the novel Left Hand Tree by JD Gunter.
Zevon 7 #1
Why Comics? My first experience with comics was a Spider-Man comic book I had way back when I was little kid. I recall that I couldn't even read it at the time, but I was genuinely intrigued by the story art. Comics was where I first began to read with enthusiasm and later was the catalyst that peaked my love for comics and passion to become a creator and writer of comics.
Can you describe the publishing process?
From the most simplistic perspective, publishing in my experience is a dual process between the conceptual and the actual industrial methods of production. Both methods can run either parallel of each other or sequentially. My preferred and most practical route is the sequential paradigm, which is to thoroughly complete the development of the concept for a new project prior to delving into the project's industrial process.
What’s your favorite comic to movie adaption? The Dark Knight because I believe David S. Goyer and Christopher Nolan's collaboration on the revived cinematic adaptation of DC Comics' Batman was clearly one of best creative teams Hollywood has endorsed in very long time. You've had varied careers in your life. If you weren't publishing comics what would you do? I'd most likely still be skirting the perimeter of the comics industry still wishing and wondering how I'd get into it. Thank you, only 12 days till the panel! QEW Publishing
Welcome back Megan, It's great to see you back for another panel and we are so excited about your workshop for writers who want to take a stab at comics/graphic novels. We have a few questions for you: Did you have a favorite comic as a kid? I didn't read a lot of comics as a kid except for the ones in the newspaper, which I read faithfully every day after school. The only comic I really pursued beyond the newspaper was "Peanuts." Though I enjoyed reading stuff like "Archie," "Richie Rich," and Mad Magazine at other kids' houses, I don't remember ever thinking to buy my own comics. My interest in drawing and storytelling came from classic mid-century children's book illustrators like Lois Lenski, Margaret Wise Brown, Robert Lawson, Mercer Mayer, Tasha Tudor, Robert McCloskey and Maurice Sendak.
You both draw and write. Which comes first, works or pictures? When I first started making comics, writing came first, In fact, I would write out an entire script before drawing. Over the years I have moved more and more towards beginning with the pictures. What's your favorite drawing implement? I have a Staedtler mechanical pencil that I'm very attached to. It has thick, soft lead.
If you weren't a writer/artists what would you be? When I was a kid I wanted to be either a park ranger or a veterinarian and those still seem like pretty cool occupations. Thanks for chatting with us, Megan. See more of Megan's works at http://www.girlhero.com/
Welcome Travis, What did your parents say when you told them you wanted to make comics? They were always very supportive of my decision to become a professional artist. They didn't really understand comics, but they knew it was writing AND art, so they figured it was a more worthwhile endeavor than just being "some beatnik painter in a cold water flat in the Bronx." In time they both have come to really enjoy my work and they can't wait to see what I come up with next.
Can you describe your creative process? When I was young I was never a huge comic fanatic, I was always much more into movies. My parents didn't own a video camera, so I had to make my own movies with pencil and paper (like story boards). That's how I still approach my current work. I think of it in movie terms (casting, cinematography, etc). I try to give my work the dynamic feel of an action film but employ the same pacing and camera work that a comedy or drama would use when it's called for. Basically, if I could turn any of my books into movies, it would be a fairly easy transition.
What is your favorite comic to movie adaption? That's a tough one. While the newest Marvel and DC movies have done a great job bringing those characters to the screen, I was always more of a fan of the indie side of things. Since manga and anime were some of my very early influences, I'd have to say that Akira stands out as my all time favorite adaptation. It's so detail driven; from the music to the art to the sound efx. It still holds its own today against current animated films... and it's over a quarter of a century old. If we're talking live-action, I'd have to say that Snyder's adaptation of 300 tops the list. It's so groundbreaking and gory. I actually like it better than the book. If you didn't make comics what would you be? Way more successful, more than likely. I probably would have followed my passion for film and done something with that. While I'd like to think that I'd be a writer or director, I'd probably still be bringing Uwe Boll his coffee on the set of his next video game movie disaster all the while hoping for the dream job of being Ian Ziering's personal assistant on the next Sharknado project. Ugh. Thanks Travis See what Travis is up to as Art Director at Creator's Edge Press
First, we'd like to thank you for the fabulous job you did on the GNP 2014 flyer.
Tell us a little about yourself...
I am a married, post-college military brat who has
returned to her native land of the Pacific Northwest.
Did you have a favorite comic as a kid?
I honestly didn't get into comics as much as a kid. I
read every one in the paper simply because 'grown up stories' in the news used
to bore me.
I caught a Japanese cartoon show called "Sailor
Moon" in middle school which led me into Anime, and then into Manga. I
really fell in love with long-form comics in that form, moved into
webcomics, and finally to American comics.
But my favorite out of the paper was probably "Calvin and
Can you describe your creative process?
Usually it starts with something the sparks my mind as
an interesting idea. More than half my stories have begun from dreams I had
that were strange or unique enough to write down.
From there, I refine; I flesh out characters and make
the scripts more structured.
What's your favorite drawing implement?
Wacom tablet and pencil. Faber-Castell golds are my
If you weren't making comics what would you be doing?
I was a straight-A math and science student all through
school, so if I didn't go into an art field, I imagine I would have gone into
Engineering of some kind.
Thanks so much for stopping by. This year's panel is going to be great! Visit Crystal's website
Welcome, David. We are so happy you'll be teaching again this year. Tell us a little about yourself...
I've been a published cartoonist since 1989, when I collaborated with
Patton Oswalt on a college newspaper strip. My first successful comic
book was a tiny mini-comics version of Ulysses (the novel by James
Joyce). I received hundreds and, in time, thousands of orders for it,
which I took as a sign to continue making comics. I have made a lot of
short comics over the years, and never had a continuing character or
series, which has been horrible for my career, but helped to preserve my
sanity as an artist.
My first twenty years of making comics seemed
like a prelude to making Carter Family: Don't Forget This Song, in collaboration with Frank M. Young. It was my first graphic novel
(not counting an Oregon Trail graphic novel for kids), and won the
Eisner Award in 2013 for best reality-based work.
I grew up in Virginia, in the suburbs of Washington, DC. I have lived in Seattle since 1992, and really like the weather here.
Can you describe your creative process?
Sometimes I work with collaborators (who usually do the writing).
Sometimes I make the whole comic myself. I choose ideas that appeal to
me and make short comics about them. With the subject of the Carter
Family, I was fascinated enough with their music and their story that I
knew I would be willing to draw nearly 200 pages of comics about them.
Still, Frank and I divided their story into short chapters, to give us a
sense of accomplishment every time we completed a small chunk of the
What’s your favorite comic to movie adaption? American Splendor. The filmmakers perfectly conveyed the spirit of
Pekar's comics and ingeniously put Harvey Pekar in the movie as
himself. As great as Paul Giamatti's performance was, Pekar himself is
the highlight of the film. Which is only fitting, for a pioneer of
If you weren’t an artist what would you be?
Probably an English professor who writes on the side. There are
definitely days when I think maybe this would be the better career
option. It takes so long to draw a story in comics form. I envy
writers who can very quickly, in a single sentence, express what it
might take me all day to draw. Still, there are things that can only be
told and expressed with drawings. I think I'm going to be doing comics
for life. I've tried to quit, tried to shake it off, but I keep going
back to comics. Thank you for visiting. We are sharpening our pencils in anticipation of the 25th.