UK Creator and illustrator Kate Brown was lovely enough to take part of our Women in Comics spotlight!
How did you get into comics?
I’ve drawn comics all my life, though I’ve not really read comics all my life! I started out drawing gag-strips when I was tiny, and moved up through making four-panel comics, to longer things. I’ve always written and I’ve always drawn, and I’ve always loved how comics lets me combine that.
So, I read comics on and off when I was a kid, mostly things my brothers had – old Beano and Topper annuals from the 70s and so on – but didn’t really hit anything I was crazy about until I got into Japanese comics. I loved the styles and the storylines and the characters portrayed.
As a teenager, I was pushed by Al Davison to think about really doing comics for a living. It was something I didn’t even think people could do, really. But his words invigorated me, and so I was determined to make comics my life! I took Sequential Art at university, and… long story short, I’ve been working full-time doing comics for about five years now. Loving it! ^_^
Tell us a bit about the projects you’ve worked on.
My first actual comic-book-job was adapting A Midsummer Night’s Dream for SelfMadeHero, from a version of the play edited down by Richard Appignanesi. I’ve written/drawn for a few anthologies – mostly short things, like 5-pagers. (I really like making short comics!)
I provided the colouring for Warren Ellis’ and Paul Duffield’s webcomic Freakangels from part-way through Book 3 and onwards (with Alana Yuen contributing to the flats). This was fun to work on – I really like colouring. Used to be very frightened of it, until Photoshop set me free! Way less nervewracking to experiment with, haha.
As I was doing Freakangels, I worked on my own book that I’d planned to self-publish – Fish + Chocolate. I was very fortunate in that part-way through its completion, I was awarded the Arts Foundation Fellowship for Graphic Novels, which helped immensely – both financially and as a boost to my admittedly abysmal confidence in my own work. I self-published a run of 300 editions of F+C, and it is now published in hardback format by SelfMadeHero (on their site here: click!) The book itself is a set of three horror stories, linked together by aspects and themes. It’s in bookstores across the UK now, which is really awesome and I’m so happy!
What is your favourite work that you’ve done so far?
Fish + Chocolate.
Did you ever get advice about the field that you’d like to pass on?
Jillian Tamaki said something kinda cool when asked how to become an illustrator: “Be an interesting person.”
What is your favourite thing to write or draw?
I do like making short comics quite a lot! In terms of themes, when I’m writing I usually cover similar things… the most frequent one I’ve noticed is a sense of being trapped. Physically, mentally… any kind of trapped. I’m not actually certain if it’s my *favourite* thing to write and illustrate, but it certainly comes up all the time, so I guess I’m not done with it yet! I also find I work a lot with childish characters or child-related themes. I can’t say my own childhood/teenagerhood went perfectly, so maybe I’m working through some stuff, ahaha ^.^;
In an ideal world, in what direction would you like to see your project evolve?
Ideally, I want to be able to continue writing and drawing books until I’m too old to hold a pencil.
Links to your work:
Any last words?
GO COMICS! FIGHT THE FIGHT!