The BSB Q&A is a continuing series of interviews with the people who make the books that we publish at Blank Slate, delving into some of the creative mysteries they solve every day, asking those nosey and impertinent questions that we wonder about and you probably do too.
First under the microscope is Lizz Lunney, author of Take Away. Lizz has so many outlets for her creative energies that keeping up with them all requires much updating. She has taken a little time off to answer these questions for us. Dive into her full and frank disclosures that follow below!
Do you draw every day?
I try to. I have a few tricks to make myself draw every day, otherwise some days I just end up sending emails and other non-creative work, for example, looking at my unfinished tax return whilst crying or spending an hour trying to remember the password to my Flickr account.
TRICK 1: I do a lot of these one-a-day online comic projects to make myself draw, in December 2014 I did an advent calendar comic-a-day on instagram and twitter (@lizzlizz). In August every year I do a comic each day for my website (lizzlizz.com).
TRICK 2: I always carry my sketchbook and then if I don’t draw in it then the punishment is the burden of carrying that extra weight around in my bag for no reason.
TRICK 3: It’s my job to draw so if I don’t do any drawing in a day then I’m only disappointing myself, I try calling in sick but I never answer my phone so that never works.
So you keep a sketchbook? What is it like?
Yeah, I get through about 4-5 sketchbooks a year. They are filled with a mix of “to-do” lists, rough sketches, finished comics, ideas, things I have found, writing, jokes, life drawings, scribbles and shopping lists. I cover each sketchbook with a myriad of beautiful and inspirational stickers.
Describe your daily routine – do you need a special place to work, what do you need to have around you?
I can work anywhere, the last year of my life has been an utter shambles so I’m currently trying to establish a new work routine.
It varies depending on what projects I am working on but when I’m just doing my own work it usually goes something like this:
07.00 WAKE UP, LOOK AT ALARM CLOCK CONFUSED AND DISGUSTED, GO BACK TO SLEEP
12.00 WAKE UP FROM SOME DISTURBING DREAM SEQUENCE (UNRESTED)
13.00 EAT LUNCH (OR BLUNCH, A MIX OF BREAKFAST AND LUNCH BUT NOT BRUNCH – PORRIDGE SANDWICHES)
14.00 TRY AND WORK BUT END UP WATCHING YOU TUBE CLIPS OF YOUNG LADIES APPLYING MAKE UP (WHY?)
15.00 GO TO THE POST OFFICE (SOMETIMES)
16.00 TRY AND WORK BUT END UP TIDYING MY DESK OR EATING CRISPS
17.00 SUDDEN INSPIRATION, WORK FOR 8 HOURS NON-STOP, FORGET TO EAT
01.00 CAN’T STOP WORKING BUT BODY IS HIDEOUSLY & PAINFULLY CRUNCHED FROM NOT MOVING ENOUGH
02.00 WHO AM I? WHERE AM I? WHAT AM I?
Do you think of ideas anywhere or in some specific location?
Here is an infographic to best represent where I think of ideas:
What do you hate drawing most (and what do you like drawing most)?
Here is an infographic to best represent what I hate drawing and like drawing most:
What is your motivation for making your work?
You know, the usual: the ever approaching certainty of death. This is also the thing that makes it difficult to work sometimes too. I also have a Fun Club so that keeps me motivated as well, you can join here – members get an exclusive membership pack, access to a lot of behind the scenes artwork and secret sketchbook pages as well as supporting my comics. I’m very grateful to all those who help support my work this way: http://www.patreon.com/lizzlizz
How much of your stories are planned and how much just happens on the page?
I honestly don’t know. I’d say that most of it happens in my head, and I’m trying a new technique lately which I used for my last comic “Street Dawgz” which was to ignore the whole editing phase that I used to do. My old system was this:
1) think of an idea
2) draw rough idea in sketchbook
3) trace rough sketch into a more presentable comic
4) scan comic and make edits/corrections in photoshop
My new technique completely disregards steps 3 and 4 because I realised that I was losing something in the editing stage. There was more exciting information that the initial rougher drawing contained. So Street Dawgz was the first comic where I didn’t bother with any kind of self-editing and so it keeps the energy and mental anguish of the first time the pen hits the paper.
I like things that are not perfect because those are the things that make the world interesting, like one eyed cats and weirdly shaped fruit.
Does it always happen in the same way?
I’m not sure, probably not.
What do you think ‘Take Away‘ says about you?
I wrote it so I guess it says a lot about me. Most things that people write reveal a lot about the author even if they are works of fiction right?
Do you feel guilty when you aren’t working?
Guilt is my constant companion, like a small monkey following a banana on a string. I’m the banana in that analogy.
Do you wish you were working in another medium?
I do work in other mediums: I paint walls:
I make puppets and models out of fabric and other materials:
I work in animation and as a comedy writer. I don’t think it is good for an artist to limit themselves to one medium. Comics is just a neat way of quickly getting across an idea and because I’m interested in humour writing it has been the ideal way to express some of the things I think about. Lately my focus has been more on other areas of artistic expression. This year I’m going to do more work in the mediums of mime, interpretive dance, tattoos and designing greetings cards (that classic old art form).
If you were given a million euro tomorrow, would you stop making comics?
I would make more comics but I would draw them on £50 notes instead of on pennies.
Thanks Lizz! You can keep an eye on Lizz and her activities on her website (lizzlizz.com).
And of course the excellent Take Away! is available right here.