We were very lucky to have Danielle Corsetto answer all our questions for the Women in Comics Spotlight!
How did you get into comics?
When I was a little kid, I learned how to read, write, and draw pretty early. My grandfather used to sit me on his lap and read me the Sunday comics: Beetle Bailey, Garfield, Andy Capp, Peanuts. I’m still a big fan of some newspaper comics (Zits, Cul de Sac, Luann), and I read a handful of webcomics as well (too many to name, actually!). Once I started putting my writing and drawing skills together to create my own comic strips, I couldn’t stop! And I haven’t since.
I confess that I haven’t read many traditional-style comic books, although I absolutely devoured Alias when a friend of mine introduced me to the series! I’m a big fan of standalone graphic novels, because they feel like little personal films. I prefer watching movies over watching TV series, so I guess it makes sense that I prefer standalone stories to ongoing comic book tales.
Tell us a bit about the projects you’ve worked on.
While I’ve done small graphic novel and inking jobs here and there, my best-known project (and full-time job for several years) is a webcomic called Girls with Slingshots. It’s a character-driven comedy (and sometimes dramedy) about life, love, working and drinking. It generally focuses on defining sexuality, love, and relationships, and on how the definition of these things varies among different people.
It’s updated five times a week and there’s a talking cactus and a ghost cat, so, y’know, there’s kind of something for everyone. It can be found at www.girlswithslingshots.com
Prior to GWS, I was mostly doing caricatures and freelance illustration full-time. It paid the bills, but it was also a great start and great practice for my art-brain!
What is your favourite work that you’ve done so far?
Luckily, GWS is my favorite thus far. It’s the only job I’ve held consistently for this long (full-time, I think it’s been 5, going on 6 years). I’ve essentially made a career out of discussing all the questions in my head, and creating a cast of characters to work them all out for me. I’m pretty lucky!
I also really enjoyed writing and drawing a comic strip called “The New Adventures of Bat Boy” for the Weekly World News a few years ago. It was nice to have a little structure and editing; I think the strip is some of my most unified and consistent work. It’s also the only work I’ve done that I feel comfortable sharing with kids and my grandparents, as it’s very PG-13!
Did you ever get advice about the field that you’d like to pass on?
I think there are two most common suggestions that aspiring cartoonists hear from professionals: PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE, and take a figure drawing class. And I fully endorse both of these! I still attend a figure drawing group every Wednesday night, and even if I’m not drawing, I spend a lot of my time looking at things and thinking about how I would break them down into lines and shapes.
Study the way light affects objects. Reflected light is a tricky thing to capture, but can make all the difference in creating a realistic drawing.
Since this is a feature on women in comics, I’ll share some of the advice I’ve received about being a woman in comics (I hate thinking that it should even matter, but these tips really helped me out). This first one is going to ruffle some feathers, but hear me out.
The first convention I ever attended as an artist, I was given some advice that made me kind of angry at first, but I’ve adhered to it ever since. A seasoned artist who was impressed by my portfolio suggested that I shouldn’t dress in a way that brings attention to my body, because my artwork is more important. I know this sounds very “it’s all women’s fault that they’re so distracting to men,” which we all know is bullshit, but the guy was right. I was dressing and acting in a way that brought more attention to the fact that I was a “girl in comics,” and less attention to the fact that I was, in fact, a good artist.
I think we should all feel free to dress however we choose when exhibiting our artwork for the public, but I have found that focusing on your talents as an artist is FAR more important than focusing on your gender as an artist, if you want to be taken seriously.
On the other end of the “being a woman in comics” spectrum, while I’ve only had a handful of these experiences myself, the stereotypes are true: some people ARE going to say inappropriate things to you because of your gender. My advice? Don’t let it get to you, but don’t let it continue. There’s nothing wrong with telling someone “Well, that was inappropriate. Why don’t you try saying it in a way that doesn’t make you sound like an asshole?” That generally gets the point across!
What is your favourite thing to write or draw?
People, people, people, people. Good thing, too, because people sure like to read about people!
I really love writing character-driven comedy, but I also love writing those little quiet moments that might strike a familiar nerve with some readers. The most fulfilling part of my job is hearing back from readers who say, “MAN, I’ve been there before,” or “I know EXACTLY how that character feels.”
In an ideal world, in what direction would you like to see your project evolve?
Ideally, I would stop time for a year and write GWS in a long-form graphic novel format. If only I had a magical stopwatch! I feel the dialogue between my characters is compromised because of the daily four-panel format I generally adhere to. I would love to afford them more witty back-and-forth dialogue, but often I can’t fit it all into a single comic strip.
Links to your work:
And finally your last thought:
Don’t be afraid to write what you know! No matter how silly or unusual it seems, most likely SOMEONE out there is going to appreciate that you’re writing things the way you see them, because they might see them that way, too.