Liz Prince Interview

The delightful Liz Prince’s comics include contributions to the Papercutter and True Porn anthologies, self-published mini comics, and the Top Shelf collection Will You Still Love Me If I Wet The Bed?, which won the 2005 Ignatz award for Outstanding Debut. Many of her comics are available, to view online and buy, at lizprincepower.com. Liz answered Dan Copulsky’s questions in December 2009.

Is there any question about your work, or comics in general, that you wish someone would give you a chance to answer?

Wow, for some reason all I can think of are questions I WOULDN’T want to answer.

I guess that one of my goals recently has been to merge my love of punk and indie rock with my comics, which is why I agreed to draw a monthly strip for the website If You Make It: ideally I would be drawing show fliers and album art for bands I really like, so maybe if I was asked more about what kind of music I’m into, maybe I could break into that? I want someone to ask me what my favorite album of 2009 was. And to answer my own question: my favorite album of 2009 was Dear Landlord’s “Dream Homes”, because every song on that record is dead-on awesome, and it’s short and to the point (kinda like my comics) and really fucking punchy. I listen to it almost everyday.

You generally seem to focus on fairy short comics about relatively recent events in your life. Have you ever considered going far in other directions, like a long graphic novel about something entirely fictional or your childhood? Any ideas what kinds of work people should expect to see from you in the future?

It is very timely that you should ask this question, as I am now officially a week away from being a “full time cartoonist”: I quit my Library job to finish a graphic novel that I’ve been kicking around for 3 years. It is auto-bio, and focuses on fairly recent events, but I have also been drawing memoir-esque stories from my childhood for awhile now, as well, and those will hopefully see the light of day in a large collection at some point. As for fiction: it is still not in the works at this point: autobiography is my favourite genre to read and work in, so I don’t see any reason to stray from that.

Why have you decided to take the plunge into being a “full time cartoonist” now? Have you been planning this for a while or waiting for anything particular?

I took the plunge because after having a full time job for 3 years I was really starting to feel like my comics work was suffering, and I have gotten some submission invitations from a few fairly reputable publishers, so it seemed like a good time to give comics a shot to be my livelihood. Oh yeah, everyone reading this should buy something from my website… just practicing my internet busking.

A lot of artists force themselves to produce a set amount of work on a rigid schedule, like one strip every day. Do you think you create better comics by working less regularly, or does it just come down to other things, like time, energy, and motivation?

I was trying to make myself work on a regular schedule, and I believe that it directly contributed to my almost year long hiatus from producing new material (with the exception of a smattering of strips here or there). I know that for some people just sitting down and drawing without inspiration can kickstart them into being really productive: for me it just made me horribly frustrated, and brought on a debilitating bought of writer’s block. It’s very hard for me not to compare myself to my peers, and how much they produce, but I’m trying to come to terms with the fact that I really work much better when I’m inspired, and inspiration, for me, is not something that I can just turn on. There is also something to be said for the fact that I’ve had a full time, 9-5 job for the last 3 years, directly after graduating from art school, so I haven’t ever had any down time where I was 100% devoted to my art. I’m very excited to see where my newfound unemployment takes me.

You recently started selling customized greeting cards in your online store. Have many people been taking you up on the offer? Do you think you’ll keep it open after the holiday season?

Surprisingly, yes, I’ve been selling a lot of greeting cards, and they are really fun to do, so I will definitely be keeping this up for the foreseeable future. I came up with the idea because several times a year I would get asked to send someone a birthday note, or draw a little doodle for a couple’s anniversary, and I thought: well, maybe this is something I should offer to everyone.

What, for you, makes a comic book store great? Do you have a favorite store?

As someone who has very little interest in superhero comics, I am definitely far more attracted to comic stores that have a high percentage of Indie and self published material. A zine/mini comic section is a must-have for a comic store to be GREAT in my eyes. With that being said, I think that Quimby’s in Chicago is my favorite store, as it has one of the best mini comic sections in the country (or, at least, that I’ve seen). I’m also quite fond of Atomic Books.

For Boston stores: Million Year Picnic has my heart, even if they are a little scattered these days. Hub Comics in Union Sq probably has the best selection that I’ve come across.

Liz Prince Power – lizprincepower.com
Liz Prince Store
Liz on Livejournal – comicnrrd.livejournal.com
Liz on Myspace – myspace.com/comicnrrd

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