Do you keep a sketchbook? What do you fill it up with?
I keep multiple sketch books — I’m not very precious about them. I use sketch books mainly for drawing to relax and I tend to fill them with loose free hand ink sketches which allow me to just zone out. I sometimes use them for thumb-nailing and planning scenery and dialogue too, although my hand writing is so scribbly sometimes my notes aren’t even decipherable to myself, so if it is something I want to keep I usually type my notes and start scripting.
Do you have a sweet studio setup or do you draw on the kitchen table?
I work out of Squishface comic studio, it’s a hot desk set up so I don’t really have my own desk but I end up sitting next to Ben Hutchings a lot so I can harass him and mimic the noises he makes while he is thinking or sending off emails and join in when he starts singing to himself. Sometimes I draw at Tree Paper Comics in Docklands too, the space there is bright and airy and it’s a nice change of scenery.
My set up at home is based around an old drawing desk a friend gave me years ago that she found in a hard rubbish haul, it’s like a big old school desk with a sloped top which you can lift up and store paper/drawing materials. It is my favourite thing I own.
Tell me about your favourite pen. Or brush. Or pencil.
I use brush pens mostly — I tried a lot of different types of pens before I found one that felt right. Now I am getting in to using markers with a firm tip more too.
What’s a good comic/book you’ve read recently?
I work part time in a comic shop so I have been reading a ton of stuff — the book I have read most recently and loved the most is The Case of the Missing Men — A Hobtown Mystery. It’s published by Conundrum Press — a Canadian publisher. It’s paced super well, the illustrations are wonderfully rendered and it weaves a really compelling story. I love creepy stories set in small towns.
Tell us about your work on the Nib
Over the past couple of years I’ve worked on four pieces for the nib. Which you can read here https://thenib.com/jess-parker. It’s great to be a part of a platform that uses comics as a tool for reporting and talking about current events — and to see the diverse range of artists they employ and the impact that can have on a story.
Collaborating with writers and editors and the visual research aspect is really interesting. One aspect I really enjoy is working to their news cycle — the tight deadline/ production period, it forces me to not be so precious about panels and I get instant feedback. It’s also challenging and rewarding to think about how to approach tough subject matter visually. The Somerton Man was a collaboration with the ABC and The Nib was especially interesting working with two seperate editors and getting to write a piece base off some source material.
Do you have any plans for a comic you’re going to make?
I am planning on doing a tiny foldout riso comic about your favourite song — which will make more sense when you see the comic. I have sketched it and planned it out but I am not 100% set on it. I might end up doing more of a narrative comic and include the tiny comic too.