QUICK QUESTIONS WITH Anna Fitzpatrick
WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT IS YOUR CONNECTION TO COMICS?
I’m Anna Fitzpatrick and I create many comic bits and bobs as well as illustrative work and comic workshops as well as my running webcomic, Between Worlds.
WHAT COMIC ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?
Well, I always have a few comics on the go. As well as my previously mentioned webcomic Between Worlds I am also working on a story I’m going to self publish, numerous pitches to publishers and just whatever I can do to expand my skills as a creator.
WHAT’S THE BEST PART OF MAKING COMICS?
I think when you work hard at trying to convey a certain something and it comes across to your readers no problem, without any explaination needed. Telling stories using atmosphere and feeling, subtext and symbolism and it being communicated well gives me a real buzz. There’s nothing better to me than when someone I’ve never spoken to personally gets in touch and tells me they felt exactly how I wanted them to feel while reading my work. Definitely an achievement for any kind of storyteller.
WHAT’S THE WORST PART OF MAKING COMICS?
The stage before you show people and get an answer on that. Trying to have faith that what you do will be understood and appreciated. There is an element of a leap of faith when telling stories I think. You have to put yourself in the reader’s shoes. And when it falls flat, your readers don’t get what you worked hard at trying to convey, it can knock you.
HOW DID YOU FIRST DISCOVER COMICS?
Well, I was started on the Beano and Dandy from a very young age. I loved how reading this arrangement of words and picture could move as smoothly as a film or cartoon, how I often found myself imagining it all as if it really were in motion. (When doing my own I found that’s not a skill that comes easy!)
But my real start in wanting to MAKE comics was when I discovered Japanese comics. I first read a comic called Peach Girl by Miwa Ueda. A story about a teenage girl facing your standard evil bitchy antagonist with boyfriend stealing, manipulation and all sorts of teenage girl goodness. What blew me away was that here was a story about a girl like me, made by a woman, and it wasn’t condescending. It was the first time I realised there was a place for me in the world of comics. I’d seen a few of the Marvel/DC comics around, read my brother’s X-men and Spiderman comics, but I never felt once that it was a world I was welcome in, that I should ever even try to enter it. Manga opened those doors for me.
WHO IS THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE ON YOUR WORK?
I really can’t name one single influence. It really does change every day. When I started it was pretty much any competent manga style artist. That moved on to Yoshitaka Amano, an artist who inspired a huge chunk of my formative years. These days I tend to look further back to the impressionists, Manet in particular. The Art Deco movement with artists like Tamara De Lempicka and Erté and a recent influence moving into American art such as that of Edward Hopper and Norman Rockwell.
My current biggest influence in comics is Kenji Tsuruta. His expression, linework and backgroud design is stunning.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg really, I could go on forever listing influences!
WHAT TOOLS OF THE TRADE DO YOU USE?
Depends on the job. But my tablet and Manga Studio, Photoshop and Corel Painter are what I couldn’t live without.
WHAT IS THE SINGLE WORK OF WHICH YOU ARE MOST PROUD?
Is that a trick question? Haha, I don’t know if any artist can answer that one so easily. Anything where I manage to do the job I set out to do.
WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE RECEIVED?
Just because I didn’t walk out of college and get a job as the all time king and overlord of comics doesn’t mean I am a failure. Good advice, but I still have trouble coming to terms with it.
WHAT IS THE WORST ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
“I bet you’ll walk out of college and become the all time king and overlord of comics, deffo”
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE CURRENT IRISH COMIC SCENE?
Its hard to get into. I think as a small country, there just isnt the numbers of people making comics that there are in the UK or the States, but given time and with sites like this one, it will grow and become a great crowd to be amongst.
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE HAPPEN IN IRISH COMIC IN THE NEAR FUTURE?
Well, I think for there to be a big breakout piece that will take the world by storm. Movies, merch, all that junk. And for it to be made by a woman…. and for it to be called Between Worlds.
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE HAPPEN IN COMICS IN GENERAL IN THE NEAR FUTURE?
I think the obvious answer is for comics to be held in higher regard, seen as a relevant and important medium. The bad attitude from the past has stuck for some reason. TV and even videogames has shaken this attitude of being lesser artforms to a degree, but comics are still way behind. I think it just takes some innovation. There needs to be comics out there that have the power to change lives. To inspire. And not just inspire 18-40 year old white males perhaps
WHAT WAS THE LAST COMIC THAT MADE AN IMPACT ON YOU?
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. It’s a masterpiece. Simple graphic art style, but heaps of drama and feeling. And just an excellent biographical piece. There were single images and points of impact that had me in tears. That’s how to make a comic.
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)
I agree, don’t. Unless you are willing to work extremely long days and nights crafting something that society in general looks down on, something that will take decades to hone and work on til you become even of a semi professional standard, something that will sell, something that will be respected. The time before you get that far will be a painful slog. But if you want a platform to tell your story, if you want to move people in a really beautiful way, its worth it. You just have to be hard as nails, and I need medication for that.
ANY FINAL THOUGHTS?
Comics are kewl.