Do you keep a sketchbook? What do you fill it up with?
Ye-e-e-es but… I’m not naturally a very systematic or organised person, so rather than keeping one sketchbook at a time, or one per project, I usually have several sketchbooks — of different sizes and types, all over the place and half-filled — on the go at the same time. And then I don’t know which one to carry with me so I also end up scrawling on whatever scraps of paper are to hand, and gluing the scraps into the books later, if they’re lucky. My sketchbooks fill up with notes, portraits, observational drawings, ideas for stories or characters, funny stuff that happens at my day job, weird and amazing things that I’ve heard children say, and so on and so forth.
Do you have a sweet studio setup or do you draw on the kitchen table?
I work from a slightly ramshackle and eclectic shared studio space in Adelaide. I’ve got a good little setup going in my ‘cubicle’ there, with both a drawing / painting desk and a computer desk for digital stuff.
Tell me about your favourite pen. Or brush. Or pencil.
Aargh, don’t make me choose! Again, I’m not systematic, so I will and do use everything, but here are two specific drawing tools that I do like, which perhaps not everyone knows about?
Pilot Begreen Precise V5 pen. It’s a fine-line rollerball pen, with a particularly nice flowy feel to it. It’s not fancy but it just feels good, particularly at a small scale, on standard or smooth paper — it somehow makes me want to draw quickly and loosely and playfully, directly in pen rather than pencilling first and and then inking. So it’s not suitable for every project, but it is great for doodling and getting down ideas. I drew all of my Pettyfolly mini-comics (http://pettyfolly.tumblr.com/storyguide) with these pens.
Staedtler Mars Lumograph 8B pencil. So it’s technically a lead pencil, but it’s not gray like most lead pencils, it’s very black, and super hard for an 8B, almost like charcoal, but with the convenience and precision of a pencil. I find it to be very expressive and just generally cool-looking in its mark-making, and have occasionally used it for ‘inking’ when I want rough organic lines. Less so recently, as it isn’t very forgiving or nuanced, it’s a bold pencil for bold drawings!
I also use copic multiliners a lot, but they’re pretty well-known already, I think.
What’s a good comic/book you’ve read recently?
I read loads of of children’s books and comics, and a standout for me last year was Victoria Jamieson’s second graphic novel for kids, All’s Faire in Middle School. Her first book Rollergirl was always going to be a hard act to follow, but ‘All’s Faire’ is just as funny and engaging, and perhaps even more complex in its themes of family, fitting in, friendship, bullying … and the art of jousting!
But since this is a minicomics site I also want to mention the best minicomic series I have ever read: Lou, by Melissa Mendes. Originally serialised by Oily comics, it’s out as a book now and I think everyone should read it.
What do you love about minicomics and making your own books?
I made my first zine over twelve years ago! I love self-publishing because it’s accessible and satisfying, there is nothing stopping you from telling the story you want to tell. And I love reading, making and trading zines and mini-comics because they are flawed, finite, tangible and delightful. They are short visits to an endless array of worlds.
Do you have any plans for the comic you’re going to make?
Yes, probably. I think it will be a damning fairytale about Australia’s offshore detention policy. Unless I can’t pull it off in time.