Can you sum up your work in 3 words?
Autobio-meets-lit-crit (but fun)
(English majors cheat with hyphens…)
What comics plans do you have for 2023?
I have a few fun things going on!
I’m still working on the comic, Repainting the Lion, that I’ve been drawing alongside my doctoral dissertation-in-progress since early 2021.
Academic work aside, diary comics are my first love so I will continue making those throughout the year, particularly when something very interesting or very mundane happens. I’ve been making them for ten years now and I can honestly say the practice has changed my life.
In keeping with the theme of diary comics, I also have some fun interactive projects coming up this year. For those who are new to my work, two things I love are using constraints in my diary comic (ahem #bythebones) and teaching other people (particularly those who think of themselves as “not artistic”) to experiment with diary comics. My Personal Comics Manifesto comes in two parts: a) anyone can make comics and b) perfectionism is keeping you from having a lot of fun in life. For me, comics are as much or more about the process of making them as they are about the comic you make. In my workshops, I encourage people to let go and play and take joy in whatever comes out but I also know that the fear of the blank page is a real thing.
These ideas and interests are driving one of my current projects — an interactive comic that provides both instructions and space for people of any artistic skill level to play around with their own life story and have fun making some comics. This project has been in my heart for a couple years now and I am so pleased to finally have it in the works (and it could not ask for a better home for it than Good Comics!) In the run-up to releasing this comic, I will be sharing an exercise or two right here on the Good Comics blog later this year, so be sure to keep an eye out!
Up to anything else exciting this year?
I’m in the third year of my PhD at the University of Bern in Switzerland, thinking about feminine aging and obscenity in eighteenth-century literary adaptations starring medieval poet Geoffrey Chaucer’s Wife of Bath. (Interested? Check out Repainting the Lion!). As you might imagine, that’s pretty much filling most of my available time, but I’m having such fun with it that I don’t (generally) mind. I’m also invited to give a few guest lectures and classes about literary adaptation, making comics, Chaucer, and how those three things can fit together. Honestly, this is my dream!
I’m also looking forward to a trip back to the US to visit family later this year and a summer holiday in Ireland – both excellent excuses for making lots and lots of diary comics. It’s looking to be a very full year in all sorts of very nice ways!
Thanks Kristen! You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter, and also check out her website.