Lizz Lunney. The Showcase of a Independent Mind.
I first came across Lizz Lunney’s work in my local indie comic shop Page 45. As well as all sorts of comics and graphic novels, Page 45 showcases local indie comics. Lizz’s work is very eye catching and, although deceptively drawn, can contain stories that can be very poignant, or at least make you think. On the other hand she can be delightfully off-the-wall and cheer up an otherwise miserable day. Her comics are beautifully produced and wonderfully bijou additions to anyone’s comic library.
How did you become an illustrator?
I don’t think it was a case of ‘becoming’ an illustrator. I think anyone who is an artist on any level just has to be doing what they do. Even if I quit making comics as my ‘job’ and went to work in a watch factory or wherever I’d still have to be drawing or creating otherwise I’d go insane. It’s more of a way of getting through life and the fact that I’m managing to make a meagre living out of what I draw is a bonus. Incidentally I did once work in a watch factory.
Just in case readers of the blog have never come across your work before, how would you describe it?
On the surface some might see my work as cute and funny but I would personally describe what I write as dark and melancholic. Guess it depends how you interpret it…
How did you develop your signature drawings?
I just draw like that. I don’t know how it developed. I just see a horse and draw that horse how I see it in my mind. Like photo memory I guess. Here is an example:
Where does the inspiration for your storylines come from?
Three main areas: dreams, things that happen in my life/to people I know and ideas developed from mindless scribbles. I also try to get other part time jobs or projects on the go so I have something to write about.
I don’t understand people who write for a living who don’t do other work because it affects your content. Stuff needs to happen in your life for you to be able to tell a story.
I’ve been after some work in a fancy dress shop by my house for months now because I reckon it’s rich pickings for coming up with characters and ideas. I also do exam invigilating which is really great for characters.
How do you know your humour is going to work?
I test them out on my bro first. He’s a fan of comedy, so depending on his laugh I know what level of funny it is. If he doesn’t laugh, it immediately gets destroyed. If he laughs too much I know it’s too funny to be put in the public eye so it also gets immediately destroyed. If he laughs just the right amount I know it works. I can’t rely on my own interpretation of what I’m writing because often I’m way to over-tired to be correctly measuring if something is actually funny or if I’m delirious.
Describe your daily work routine.
I wake up around lunchtime, I put on my daytime PJs and have a cup of tea. Then I check my emails which I expect to take around 5 minutes but ends up taking 5 hours. I usually watch a documentary while I draw. I work best at night so my usual bedtime is about 4am.
It’s annoying being nocturnal because the postman judges me when I’m unable to answer the door in the morning or run down half dressed and can’t sign my name. My brain doesn’t work so well in the day but at night time I’m quite productive.
That’s a usual working day, sometimes I go to the post office to send out shop orders and some days I have meetings or travel to conventions but generally, day to day, the only conversation I get is when I talk to my pens (who are really mean and lazy, just like in any office dynamic)
Is there a logic to your workspace and do you have any favourite pens, brushes etc?
There is no logic to my workspace whatsoever. I know a lot of other comic artists who are quite particular in the way they organise their time and work area but I prefer the blind panic of never being able to find my long arm stapler the day before a zine fair and the adrenaline rush of not sleeping the day before a deadline. I can’t seem to work any other way, I have tried. I was the same in school writing essays on the hand in day etc. But it made me good at exams! Shame life isn’t an exam and those results counted for nothing.
My favourite pen is my Rotring drawing pen.
What made you want to enter the Indie comic market?
I didn’t really enter it by choice, it just seemed to be the only way to make stuff and sell it. After studying animation at University I did a comic book course tutored by Hunt Emerson and John McCrea. This culminated in self publishing a comic and taking it to Bristol comic convention in 2005. From then on I was hooked.
I have used the same printer in Birmingham for 7 years and continued to self publish books and travel around to various conventions making lifelong friends along the way.
How long does it take to create one of your pamphlets and how do you go about this?
If I’m making something small like a zine it takes me a couple of hours from start to finish. then I go get it photocopied. But when I’m making a comic or book to get properly printed I usually collect ideas and drawings in my sketchbook over a few months and then spend a week working them up into something more presentable. I work stupidly close to my deadlines as explained above.
What advice would you give to anyone attempting to publish their work independently?
It’s hard work, don’t be fooled. It will make you go crazy. You will wonder why you are doing it and what is the point. Only do it if you can’t see yourself doing anything else with your life. You will be judged. It will cost you a lot of money and take up all your time. I think it’s the kind of thing that you shouldn’t expect to do as your job but if you are willing to work really hard and build on your skills and find an audience it can be rewarding and fun and lead to other things.
What projects have you got planned?
I’m working on my next book The Magical Unicorns of Keith The Wizard which will compile all the current Keith comics and a whole load of new material.
I’m also making some new badges and a zine about my collection of Creepy Disney objects. I also have some more greeting cards coming out in shops at the end of the year! You can buy the original range in Paperchase, and my comics in my online shop. http://www.lizzlizz.com/shop/
You can find Lizz on Twitter @Lizzlizz and her character feed at @depressed_cat