Interview – Emily Carroll
– by Shawn Conner
This past weekend, Emily Carroll won a Shuster Award for Outstanding Web Comics Creator. The awards, for excellence in Canadian comics and cartooning, were announced June 18 2011 at the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo.
The cartoonist/illustrator attended Ontario’s Sheridan College before moving to Vancouver six years ago to pursue a career in animation. She began doing comics only in the last year or so, and has taken the summer off from her real job to do more cartooning.
We chatted with Emily about the win, her comics and whether or not she’ll go see that $300m turkey, Green Lantern.
Shawn Conner: Did you make it to the convention in Calgary?
Emily Carroll: Unfortunately I couldn’t make it out. My mom was visiting from Ontario.
SC: How long have you been doing the comics thing?
EC: Actually, not really that long. The first web comics I’ve done are just the ones up on my site. I just started about a year ago.
SC: What is The Anthology Project you were involved with?
EC: It’s a comics anthology put together by Joy Ang and Nick Thornborrow and Sam Bradley. It’s just a collection of comics based around a certain theme. This is the second one, the one I was in. The theme was obsession. It just came out a couple of months ago. It’s a beautiful book.
SC: You’re doing more comics and cartooning work these days. Is this more gratifying than your day job?
EC: I’ll probably go back to animation, but just for the summer I decided to take off to do more comics and more illustration stuff. It’s more fun for me; I get to do my own personal stuff. It’s harder to keep a schedule when you’re working from home and you’re never really done working. I’m so used to working on comics and drawings in the evening. Now I just start in the morning and continue all day.
SC: Who are your favourite cartoonists these days?
EC: An Italian comic artist named Gipi, he does really fantastic comics and art. Another is Chris Blain, a French artist I believe, I just read his Guff and His Gang. Those are my big two style influences. Also I’ve met a lot of comics artists. I have a good friend, Steve Wolfhard, he does web comics and print comics. He’s a big inspiration to me, he’s the one who’s encouraged me to do all this.
SC: You’ve said that you’re influenced by fairy-tales, and this strip that you’ve done, “The Death of Jose Arcadio”, is based on an incident in Gabriel Garcia Marquez‘s One Hundred Years of Solitude, which is kind of fairy-tale-like.
EC: It is very fairy-tale like, in a lot of ways. I think that was in part influenced by another Vancouver comics artist, Jason Turner. He started The Page 100 Project last year which challenged people to draw page 100 of a novel. I had done one of those for a book called The White Bone [by Barbara Gowdy], and that got me thinking about illustrating bits from other novels.
SC: Did you know what a Shuster Award was a year ago?
EC: I did, because I had friends who’s been nominated. But I didn’t have a great understanding of the comics scene a year ago. So it was kind of insane to find myself nominated, never mind winning.
SC: What form will it come in? Will it come in the mail?
EC: I don’t know!
SC: What’s your stand on superheroes? Did you see Thor? Are you going to go see Green Lantern?
EC: I don’t think I’ll see Green Lantern. I like superhero stuff, I guess. i’m not a huge aficionado of it. I don’t really read superhero comics. When I was a kid I read Catwoman and Spider-Man a bit but I have no idea what’s going on with the continuity in those things.
SC: One thing I don’t understand about web comics: how do you get financial remuneration for your work?
EC: I don’t! When it comes out the webcomics. I put together a mini-comics collection for the Toronto Comics Art Festival, but I sold out of it now, happily. Right now I’m trying to put a book of short stories for print. So hopefully I can get a book out. But I’m not planning on making a fortune.
SC: Well now that you’ve got a Shuster Award it should be a little easier to find a publisher.
EC: Right. I’ve got Canadian cred now [laughs].