QUICK QUESTIONS WITH Deirdre de Barra
WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT IS YOUR CONNECTION TO COMICS?
I’m Deirdre de Barra and these days I am mostly drawing comics
WHAT COMIC ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?
A comic with Gar Shanley called ‘Snowglobia’, though it’s still in it’s early stages, and I’ve a couple of projects simmering away in the background.
WHAT’S THE BEST PART OF MAKING COMICS?
Subduing the persistant procrastination-demons and getting into the zone, and after drawing for five minutes you look up and five hours have passed.
WHAT’S THE WORST PART OF MAKING COMICS?
Getting mired by the aforementioned demons and suddenly, hoovering the entire house is a more attractive prospect than drawing.
HOW DID YOU FIRST DISCOVER COMICS?
The Beano, The Dandy and Bunty were the weekly reading material of my childhood, but then, about the age of seven or eight I was given a pile of old comics that I think might have belonged to some older cousins. The treasure trove comprised copies of The Eagle, Victor, Valient, Hotspur, Asterix and Tin Tin (French ediions) The Avengers and Thor. I wish I knew what happened them… I think they got ‘tidied’.
WHO IS THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE ON YOUR WORK?
My mate Hilary…. making comics is an odd sort of thing to be doing and without her support, encouragement and occasional application of boot to posterior there might
have been no work at all.
From a comics point of view… Kang and The Mekon had the greatest impact in the early years. In my teens, 2000AD and Batman made an idelible impression from which I’ve never recovered.
Latterly, those I admire have become too numerous to mention.
WHAT TOOLS OF THE TRADE DO YOU USE?
‘Clicky’ pencils wih 0.5 HB leads and paper. Staedtler pigment liner pens and Pentel Brush Pens. Digital tweaking and colouring is done with Corel Painter X and the perpetually handy Wacom tablet.
WHAT IS THE SINGLE WORK OF WHICH YOU ARE MOST PROUD?
Every time I finish a story or drawing I’m proud to have done so but then, very quickly I begin to see things I might have done differently or better and so it’s time to get on to the next project.
WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE RECEIVED?
Focus on what part of the comics craft you want to master and work at that.
The raison d’être of comics is to tell the story
and Draw every day.
WHAT IS THE WORST ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
I don’t think any advice that is given is ever intended to be bad advice. If you act on an opinion it may not work out as intended but you always learn something. Keep learning, especially learning to trust your gut.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE CURRENT IRISH COMIC SCENE?
I like that comics creators are becoming a more coherent group that is beginning to gather momentum. There is a growing sense of possibility where previously there has been no sense of an established comics culture in this country.
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE HAPPEN IN IRISH COMICS IN THE NEAR FUTURE?
That more Irish comics creators begin to get recognition at home and abroad as well as the trail blazers we already have.
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE HAPPEN IN COMICS IN GENERAL IN THE NEAR FUTURE?
An amicable coexistance between the digital and analog formats for comics. Ultimately it comes down to the quality of content and not the format.
I don’t think I’ll ever give up on the sheer pleasure of sneaking off with a treasured printed comic to completely lose myself in the stories, tea and choccie biscuits optional.
WHAT WAS THE LAST COMIC THAT MADE AN IMPACT ON YOU?
Shakara, Avenger by Robbie Morrison and Henry Flint which concluded recently in 2000AD. Brilliant!
FROM YOUR EXPERIENCE WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU COULD GIVE SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO START MAKING THEIR OWN COMICS? (And don’t say DON’T 🙂 )
Don’t worry about trying to make your comic perfect. Do it, finish it and start the next one. The more you do, the more you learn.
ANY FINAL THOUGHTS?
Deirdre de Barra is an independant comics creator.
She is the author and artist of the silent comic Found, a contributor to the Longstone Comics Anthologies and artist on Downpour, written by Peter Loftus and published by Longstone Comics. She has also collaborated with the writer Gar Shanley on Dimension 5 and Some Blue Bloke. Deirdre and Gar are currently working on the comic Snowglobia.