QUICK QUESTIONS WITH Debbie McCormack
WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT IS YOUR CONNECTION TO COMICS?
I am Debbie, the other beast of Don’t Panic! Comics which was spawned less than a year ago by Gareth McKnight. I’m pretty young in my comic development.
WHAT COMIC ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?
Issue number three of Don’t Panic! which includes Goldilock, Stock and Barrel- a gangster retelling of the three bears story. I’ve got some new strips based around usual characters such as Nick Cave and Gender Confused Bear, but I’m developing a new idea based on Tom Waits too and a musician action hero who I shall keep mostly secret for now.
WHAT’S THE BEST PART OF MAKING COMICS?
It’s a wonderful outlet for my imagination. Anything is possible, and in the right context one’s crazy ideas can seem mildly acceptable.
WHAT’S THE WORST PART OF MAKING COMICS?
Not being able to do it full-time. Working alongside a hobby such as this means that your time is limited, which can be quite de-motivational as well. If you don’t find said motivation and time, you can end up stunting a good idea or what could’ve been a quality piece of drawing. It’s a matter of finding the right balance and just remembering why you love it.
HOW DID YOU FIRST DISCOVER COMICS?
My home as a child was littered with Garfield, Tin-Tin and Asterix books. I used to go through the evening paper and cut out the comics like Creature Feature. Then I started drawing- I was a child of the television and I would make little makeshift ‘books’ about my favourite characters. I remember making a comic when I was about ten years old called James Bones, about an MI5 agent who happened to be a skeleton. I drew it with one of those Bic pens with the four colours in one. That was awesome fun and I was kind of hooked on making stories, especially when I had no idea how they were going to end. I loved, and still do love, having these make-believe worlds open to me. I’ve held onto my inner child…perhaps a little too much!
WHO IS THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE ON YOUR WORK?
Jeez I don’t know, I don’t think there’s one big influence, just a lot of pieces put together. I love the work of Ronald Searle- his inky style is beautiful and his thoughtful sense of humour has a pretty perfect balance to me. I was recently shown ‘Bear’ too, by Jamie Smart. I adore his sense of humour and the way he lights his panels. My all-time comic hero, however, is Batman- I love all the styles and avenues that have been explored, particularly Killing Joke and Hush.
WHAT TOOLS OF THE TRADE DO YOU USE?
I have a desk stuffed with varying kinds of paper and a growing collection of UniPin and Faber Castell drawing pens. I think it’s pretty necessary to have a good variety of everything so you can experiment and make the most of your idea. Since Don’t Panic! will be kept black & white for now, I have adapted my style to find new techniques and ways of texturing to create the aesthetic that it’s in my head.
WHAT IS THE SINGLE WORK OF WHICH YOU ARE MOST PROUD?
I kind of love Gender Confused Bear, I feel so sorry for him but I keep doing it to him anyway… I can play about with his relationships and his fashions! He’s not getting near my wardrobe though. I’m also quite pleased with Golidlock, Stock and Barrel, it marks a big step in my own personal drawing style.
WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE RECEIVED?
Comics-man Andy Fanton once wrote about how every lift or bump in the road was to be made use of, to improve ones work and skills and help you look at your work through different perspectives…that’s a pretty good thing to remember.
WHAT IS THE WORST ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
“F**k it, it’ll do.”
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE CURRENT IRISH COMIC SCENE?
I think it’s pretty exciting- there is so much talent here and so much passion. We’ve got people like Andy Luke who are very adamant about making their work a success. There’s a good inter-artist atmosphere here too, everyone is so open and willing to offer collaboration and advice. I think good things are coming, but the network needs to be opened further.
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE HAPPEN IN IRISH COMIC IN THE NEAR FUTURE?
I’m quite looking forward to the effects of the Barcamp that will be happening in September. I think it’ll open up a lot more communication and opportunities for feedback and bouncing ideas off each other. It’ll also give the speakers a good shot of confidence and a chance to formally voice what they’re all about.
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE HAPPEN IN COMICS IN GENERAL IN THE NEAR FUTURE?
Spide. I really, really can’t wait for Spide.