09 Jun 2016
For this new interview, we talked with illustrator and manga-influenced comic author Jessica Mars. We met Jessica after buying her self-published comic Hey Sister!, an spiritual sequel of sorts for japanese manga Worst, but with a really interesting plot twist. We liked it so much that we wanted to interview her as soon as possible, and here is the result!
Tell us a bit about yourself: How did the road began for you to get into manga, comic and illustration?
I've been drawing and reading comics since I was a kid. I always wanted to make my own stories, but everything ended up becoming a unfinished project. Some years ago, I finally decided to go for it, and here I am!
Who are the artists that influence you the most?
There are many artists and work that has been an influence to me, not only style-wise but on many other aspects of the creation of a comic. Some of my favourite comic artists are Matsumoto Taiyou, Otomo Katsuhiro and Inoue Takehiko. And I've added Hugo Pratt to that list lately, too.
On your comic works, you are in charge not only on art, but also in writing, script, characters... Can you tell us about your process on this?
My stories usually begin with an idea I want to tell to people, and then they become comics (or illustrations) because that's my medium. I create a story from that idea, set up a timeline and define setting and characters. There's not a fixed order for this process, it sort of happens at the same time. When all of this is done, I begin sketching the comic storyboard and then work on the final comic after that.
You have made a strong bet for webcomics and self-publishing. What advantages do they have versus traditional distribution, and what do you think of the future of self-publishing?
The strongest advantage of self-publishing, on my opinion, is being free from go-betweens. No editors, anyone will condition and change your creative work.
The future of self-publishing depends a lot on people engagement. We the authors who self-publish ourselves are equally skilled as the ones published commercially, but in comic-book events they won't give us any visibility. Unless people begins to understand the quantity of self-published authors who need a space to show their work, the future looks tough.
What good (and bad) things do you feel the Internet and the new technologies have brought to your field?
New technologies are the real power-tool for self-published authors in order to show and distribute their work. It may come with some plagiarism or work stealing, but Internet gives a broad horizon of options to people who don't work with publishing firms and lets us reach lots of customers who we wouldn't be able to reach any other way.
And last, but not least: any advice for aspiring illustrators and comic authors just starting up their careers?
The only advice I can give is: don't give up, keep drawing, and try to work on what you really want to work. Don't get influenced by negative comments, as there will be always plenty of them. The sooner you realize that, the better. But the most important thing is: don't stop drawing!
Thanks a lot, Jessica!
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