It’s been great getting the variety of people we’ve had answer. Rachel Nabors, the creator behind Subculture of One which I read constantly answered our questions.
* How did you get into comics?
I was always into comics. I don’t remember not reading them. It was that darn X-Men cartoon, the badly animated one in the 1990’s, not the cool looking one from the 2000’s. Anyway, that’s where it started. Then I discovered Japanese comics via Sailor Moon cartoons, and I was done with super hero comics. I started drawing my own comics and posting them online. I ended up submitting some to a site called gURL.com, and they started paying me. Our relationship grew until I was finally making enough doing a weekly comic for them to move out on my own. A lot of who I am today wouldn’t have been possible without the comics chain reaction.
* Tell us a bit about the projects you’ve worked on:
My claim to fame are the weekly web comics I did for teenage readers at gURL.com: “Subculture of One” starring Rachel the Great and her cat Tuna, “Olivia Bryce,” and the like. Even though I went on indefinite hiatus a few years back, my comics continue to influence generations of girls for the better. I get the sweetest emails from college grads telling me how much my comics helped them through rough patches. Any day I feel low or like a failure, I remind myself that most people go their entire lives without making a positive impact on half as many people. I could die tomorrow and know that I’ve done some good in this world. I am very satisfied with that.
I also self-published numerous mini-comics and two graphic novels, “18 Revolutions” and “Crow Princess.”
* What is your favourite work that you’ve done so far?
My comics for gURL.com. More than my graphic novels, more than my art, these had the biggest impact on so many people.
* Did you ever get advice about the field that you’d like to pass on?
Learn how to take criticism and rejection. Don’t let it get under your skin. Learn how to pick and choose what you pay attention to. If you get the same criticism from several places, they probably have a valid point and you should take it to heart. Disregard all else. Submit. Submit. Submit even when they reject you. If you master these things, you can excel in anything, not just comics. What’s more, make and keep friends.
* What is your favourite thing to write or draw?
I love to draw Tuna, the black cat in my comics, and crows. I can’t get enough of big, black wings and beaks! As far as themes go, I love a gag with lots of emotion. Backgrounds are overrated, but necessary in establishing shots and if your characters aren’t expressing anything.
* In an ideal world, in what direction would you like to see your project evolve?
I’m currently compiling a new series of comics based on my life as a young career girl in web design. I’ll be posting them at rachelthegreat.com soon. Hopefully these comics will help girls and women in a new stage of life.
I don’t think I’ll ever make a living on comics again. I don’t even feel the drive to get published anymore. I’m okay with that, so long as I keep making great friends and meeting great people!
* Links to your work:
I’m archiving all my comics with commentary here: http://rachelthegreat.com
Works in progress: http://dribbble.com/rachelthegreat
* And finally your last thought.
If you’re thinking about getting into comics as a career, you need a backup income-earning skill. Comics are hard to support yourself on independently, i.e. without a spouse or parent with a cushy benefit-rich job. It’s easier in socialized countries, but in America health care is a big problem. I had to leave comics so I could get a job with health insurance so I could get the expensive jaw surgery I needed. Secure your safety net.
Comicking gives you many skills you can use to get paid (often substantially more than you will make making comics). If you’re an artist, look into graphic design, web design, storyboarding, and illustration. If you’re a writer, be sure to investigate writing, journalism, screen writing.