Frequently Asked Questions
What do you draw with?
I like to draw with pencils, mostly. I'm a collector of pencils and erasers, and have lots of different kinds from art stores and office supply stores. However, plain yellow #2 pencils are still my favorite! I ink using Rapidograph pens, and sometimes brushes. I never use expensive brushes, and just pick up the cheapest ones I find on sale at art stores. Small watercolor brushes are best for inking.
What do you write with?
I write in all sorts of notebooks! Just like my drawing materials, I'm not picky, and love to try all sorts of different sketchbooks. No lined paper, though! My favorite brands for sketchbooks are Muji and Moleskine, but I'll try anything. After I write in notebooks a bunch, I start to transfer my ideas to a writing computer program called Scrivener. You can learn more about it here!
How do you make your posters / prints?
My prints are (mostly) handmade screenprints! Screenprinting is a type of printmaking process where you put a stenciled image on a special screen, then use a squeegee to force ink through the screen and onto a surface. You can make more complicated images with multiple colors, by layering different stencils and inks on top of one another. I have been screenprinting since I was 16 years old, and I love it! I currently screenprint in a studio called the Dirt Palace in Providence, Rhode Island.
Where do you get your ideas?
I get my ideas from observing the world around me. I'm very lucky to get to spend time with lots of different people in my community. I also visit schools a lot, and get to talk to teachers and students all the time. When I'm writing different characters, I like to think about what their lives are like. Everyone is so different, but we all can understand each other if we try hard enough. This is how most of my stories start!
I think what's important is trying out all sorts of stuff, and seeing what's best for you and your style! Just because this is the way I do it, doesn't mean you have to do it this way!
What are your favorite books / comics?
I love to read all sorts of stuff! I read comics and manga all the time, in addition to books that are just words. My favorite genres are romance, slice-of-life, and historical fiction. Sometimes I'll read fantasy and science fiction. My favorite authors are Annie Proulx, Iris Murdoch, Imogen Binnie, John Darnielle, Hermann Hesse and J. G. Ballard. My favorite poets are Frank O'Hara and Eileen Myles. For graphic novel recommendations, I have a reading list here!
Do you have any advice for new cartoonists?
Take as many art + creative writing classes as you can, be a humble student, learn and absorb. Go to comic book conventions, not because the people you meet will advance your career, but because you want to make the best comics you can make, and that comes from meeting other cartoonists and talking about their artwork. Try a lot of different ways of doing things, explore, don't rush into finding your voice. Make a lot of comics, print them, put them online, share them. Read a lot, not just comics, but all sorts of writing. Watch movies, go to the theatre, listen to podcasts, learn how other people tell their stories. Be observational to the stories that are around you every day. Share your artwork, share your voice, be open, be kind, be vulnerable, be strong. Submit to as many opportunities as you can; you will get rejected a lot, and that's okay. Make your own opportunities if you have to. Help other artists, find your community. The career and the art go hand-in-hand, but let the art be the reason you're here. Draw a lot. Write a lot. Create a lot.