Robin Ha may be a genius as well as a talented artist. Her newest endeavor is an illustrated cookbook or as the cover of the book says, “a comic book with recipes.” In my opinion, it’s a brilliant idea. I highly recommend checking out her food comic book page.
What was the first thing that you were proud of drawing?
I don’t remember exactly what the first thing that I felt I drew well… I’ve been drawing since I was a little girl and I always liked drawing no matter how good or bad my drawings actually were. But I assume the first thing I drew a lot of were probably princesses. I read a lot of fairy tales and watched bunch of Disney movies growing up so I would bet that it was a drawing of a princess that made me proud of drawing.
What are you working on now?
I’ve just finished working on my first graphic novel cookbook “Cook Korean!: A Comic Book with Recipes” published by Ten Speed Press. It’s 176 pages long, full color with 64 recipes and comics about Korean food. I’ve never done anything this long before and I can’t wait to see it come out this July. You can see some of the recipes in this book on my tumblr, banchancomic.tumblr.com.
After this book was done, I traveled to Nicaragua for a month and lived in a rural Island called Ometepe. I’m currently working on a short travel food comic about my stay in Nicaragua and I’m planning on debuting it at Chicago Alternative Comics Expo (aka CAKE) this June.
Who has influenced you the most as an artist?
There are too many things and people who’ve influenced me as an artist. But the people who’ve shaped me the most are the people who I’ve shared a cartoonist studio “Draw Bridge” with in Gowanus Brooklyn. They were seasoned cartoonists who were kind enough to take me under their wings and encouraged me to draw comics no matter what.
Who is your favorite female superhero/villain/comic book character?
Unfortunately I am not very familiar with superhero comics. I am more of a graphic novel fan. But from the little I’ve read, my favorite female superhero is wonder woman from the cliff chiang’s series.
Do you think people expect a certain type of art from you since you are female?
Yes, I do think people expect me to draw more feminine, delicate style because I’m a female. And I don’t mind it because I like drawing pretty and delicate things. Drawing muscly action heros, full of explosions doesn’t suit me at all. There are so many artists who are very good at that and I don’t want to compete with them. I have drawn a few actiony stuff, but I still drew it in a feminine style. I am not sure if people were surprised that I drew some vampire/ gory stuff, if they were, it’s probably not because I’m a female, but because my other art are quite bright and happy, and very different from those dark gothic stuff.
How often do you go to comic book conventions? Do you enjoy conventions?
I exhibit at two to four conventions a year. I love and hate going to the conventions. I love hanging out with my comics creator friends and I love meeting fans old and new. It’s a great way to see if my new comics are hitting the mark with the audiences, and also great to check out what new stuff other creators have been making. But I’m also an introvert who suffers from being in too crowded environment. I feel totally exhausted after too much visual and mental stimulation and talking to too many people in such short period of time. I usually hide from life and the world for at least a couple of weeks after doing a convention to recover from it.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I find it in movies, art, music, library, bookstores, being with other creators… traveling, food. Basically there’s no telling when and where I would get hit by an inspiration.
What do you do if you have writer’s block?
I struggle with writer’s block all the time. I have to remind myself that this is just temporary and I shouldn’t beat myself over it. I take a step back and do something else. I usually have multiple projects going on, so I work on other stuff, or I just stop drawing and writing all together and go play golf or clean the house or see a movie or get a drink with a friend. Usually a few days later I’m able to resume working again.
Have you had any interesting or awkward experiences since you’ve been an artist/writer?
I feel awkward when my non-aritst friends and relatives treat me like I’m some kind of bestselling artist. I teach art to kids and I feel awkward when they ask me how I make a living as an artists.
Beverage of choice?
I love a good beer and a whiskey. I’ve had some flor de cana (nicaraguan rum) in Nicaragua and they were amazing. I need to get me a bottle of that soon.
When was the last time that you dressed up for Halloween?
Last year I went to a rave camp in Maryland. I might be a bit too old for that but I had fun. My boyfriend and I dressed as neon goblins. But my very favorite costume is no-face from Spirited away which I dressed up as a few years back. I went to a friend’s party and stayed in character for a good while, not talking and sulking in the corner, freaking everyone out. It was good fun.
What do you want people to know about you?
You can check out my food comic at banchancomic.tumblr.com. Follow my twitter RobinHaArt for news on my work and events. You can pre-order my cookbook graphic novel “Cook Korean!: A Comic Book With Recipe” online including Amazon, Barnes and noble, Indie Bound and ITune. $19.99 hardcover ● 176 pages ● 7 x 10 inches ● ISBN 978-1-60774-887-8 ● On sale July 5, 2016