Processing words and images together is like looking at a person’s face while listening to them speak. Amazing! This makes me think about how reading comics is like living in the world; there are multiple modes of processing required of us. There’s so much information being communicated in a person’s face when they speak. But sometimes the person’s face communicates information that, juxtaposed with what they are saying, changes the meaning. Like when my mom and I say “Hate you” instead of “Love you,” there’s a certain facial expression that goes with the words that makes “Hate you” = “Love you.” I guess I’ve always liked modes of communication that are less direct than they appear.
I draw because I couldn’t communicate in the usual ways growing up. I was too shy, or weird, or something. Drawing has never been private for me; it was always the only non-private thing. I never made comics as a hobby; I chose the medium consciously, as an adult, when my parents and teachers and classmates stopped being the right audience for my drawings, and I needed an audience and a more concrete medium I could plug into. I wouldn’t write a story I didn’t want to share.
My artistic advice to someone just getting started is: Don’t worry what other people are doing, or what they think you should do; just have fun. Practice. Experiment. If you haven’t found your personal style yet, don’t worry, it will come to you. You need to make a lot of shit before you start making gold, and even when it’s gold, it’ll probably still look like shit to you sometimes. Also: Don’t expect comics to make you rich, or even make you a living. Not saying it can’t happen, but it’s about as likely as winning the lottery.