The interviewee for this post was recommended by fellow comic book artist, Dawn Griffin. I sincerely hope that you visit her sites. Her work is thoughtful with a blend of mythology and storytelling. If you love a good story, then you will enjoy Child’s comic books.
What are you working on now?
Currently I have two big comic projects. The first is my ongoing fantasy epic, LeyLines (http://leylinescomic.com), about an irresponsible prince, his dream-weaving sister, and their adopted brother, who are given a mission by a voiceless goddess of dreams that will force them to choose between their future and their family. The second comic project is called Wavemen, which is a collaborative, team effort. Cory, my husband, is the head-writer, I’m co-writer, and we’re working with a team of five phenomenal artists to illustrate the story. Wavemen is set in Heian Japan, where the Emperor has gathered a team of legendary heroes to solve supernatural mysteries. It’s like the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but pulling from ancient Japanese history and myths. We’re running an IndieGoGo for the project right now! If history, mythology, and strong storytelling interest you, please take a look!
Who has influenced you the most as an artist?
My influences are all over the map, so I’d be hard-pressed to pick any one creator. For print comics, the works of Carla Speed McNeil (Finder), Christopher Hicks (Mister Blank), and Wendy and Richard Pini (ElfQuest) had a big impact on me as a kid. As an adult, Vertigo’s Lucifer has become a definitive comic series in my collection. Online comics showed me new ways of creating, and I was very inspired by the work of Scott Kurtz (PVP, Table Titans), Joe England (Zebra Girl), Faith Erin Hicks (Demonology 101, Friends with Boys, The Adventures of Superhero Girl, Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong, etc) and Tracy Butler (Lackadaisy).
I confess that I’m struggling to answer this question. I often don’t feel like the female characters I see in comics are ones I can relate to very well. I enjoy Val from Table Titans (http://www.tabletitans.com/
), Delilah Dirk (http://www.delilahdirk.com
/) and the whole team from Agents of the Realm (http://www.agentsoftherealm.com/
) but I have yet to read a female character that really jumps out at me as a favorite. I do think that we’re starting to see more female characters on the page (especially online) and I’m encouraged to see what the future brings. Perhaps in a few years, I’ll have so many favorites that I’ll be unable to name them all!
It’s less that people expect a certain type of art, than a certain type of role. I write and illustrate my own comics. My husband is my editor. Yet, time and again at a show, people will look at the two of us at the table and say, “So…he’s the writer, and you’re the illustrator?” Sometimes folks have trouble imagining that I’m involved at all. “YOU? A GIRL? Made THESE?” However, for every comment like that, we’ll have twice as many over-joyed parents introducing me to their daughters and saying to their little girls, “Look! This wonderful lady did ALL OF THESE COMICS!! She did these! Isn’t that amazing? YOU CAN TOO!!” Those are the moments I try to focus on. If I can encourage and inspire those creative children to pursue their own stories and art, maybe someday we will all be so prolific and visible that nobody will find a woman making comics strange.
We go to about 8-12 shows a year. Whether I enjoy a convention depends largely on the event itself. I get energized when people are positive. Excited about the show, interested in discovering new things, moved by my story, or just tickled to be at a big event, surrounded by folks of like-mind. If I can have valuable conversations and connect with a positive community, then I’m almost guaranteed to enjoy the show.
Introvert. Which often surprises people, because at shows I come across as very extroverted. I think people often confuse social skills for extroversion. Engaging with people is a skill that anyone can learn. We introverts just need to balance it with some high-quality alone time afterwards to recharge our batteries.
History, myths, life, washing the dishes, listening to music, going on walks, interacting with people, devouring books.
It depends on what the source of the block is. I’ve learned that writer’s block can be induced by a variety of factors, and the same symptoms may require different cures. It could be that I’m burned out, which means I need to rest. It could be that there’s something wrong with my script, which means I need to dig into it and try to find the source of the problem. It could be that I’ve been stuck too long in output mode and need to switch to input mode, which means I need to search out new books, movies, music, and experiences. I wrote a three-part series on motivation and creative lulls, which you can find as follows:
One of the trends I’ve found interesting about choosing to pursue a creative career is how people have reacted to it over time. When I first started my own business, every person I spoke to tried to talk me out of it. Complete strangers, knowing less than five minutes of information about comics, me, and my projects, would immediately try to convince me it was a lost cause and I should quit while I was ahead. Now that I’ve had my business for a few years, have published three books, and started offering editing and coaching services, the response has completely changed. Now people will say that what I’m doing is okay, but if I REALLY want to be successful, I should try out THEIR idea. Again, these recommendations usually come from complete strangers who know absolutely nothing about what I do or the industry I work in. I’ve had people tell me to pursue everything from movie deals to reality TV shows. It makes me really curious about how the response will change in another few years. And why people have responded differently over time. Am I presenting it differently as I’ve gotten more confident in my work? Does the amount of time, or the quantity of books published, change a person’s perception? Most importantly, it’s taught me to filter the advice I get from people and consider its source. It’s far more valuable to listen to the perspective of an expert or peer that I trust and respect, than to worry over the discouraging remarks of an uninformed stranger.
Tea! Jasmine green is a favorite, but I love a variety of hot (or cold) leaf juice options. My tea cabinet is constantly overflowing.
Last Halloween. Cory & I went as Gomez and Morticia Addams. We feel that their relationship is the most representative media portrayal of our own marriage.
One thing I try to be very open about is that I have chronic depression. I share my experiences in my blog in the hopes that others who also struggle with similar feelings know that they’re not alone. Depression is such an isolating state of mind, and so heavily stigmatized culturally, that it is easy for people to believe that there is Something Wrong With Them and Nobody Else Feels This Way. I share my thoughts, struggles, and lessons learned on my blog, intermixed with the book reviews, silly stories, heavy life questions, and fanciful musings. In many ways, my blog is just as important to me as my comic work. I’ve had people write to me sharing their own survival stories with depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and assault. It is a humbling experience to be trusted with such personal stories, but also powerful and affirming to become part of someone’s community in such a meaningful way. Many people have told me they got through a challenging period with their own mental health because they’d seen their own behaviors reflected in my writings, and found a new perspective to get out of a negative spiral. Being a part of that growth is so powerful. It’s often terrifying for me to share those kinds of personal things, but knowing that it’s helping others grow keeps me opening those doors and shining lights on the things that are hidden in those dark spaces. It’s scary, but it’s worth it.
Pride is an emotion I usually don’t feel until I look back at something years later. It’s a feeling that fits best in retrospection, I think. I’m proud that I never gave up on my stories. No project has ever been perfect, and it never will be, but I’m glad that I’ve always tried to improve, expand, and challenge myself. I’m proud of the journey thus far. I’ll do my best to keep pushing forward to even better things.