Hire This Woman: Cartoonist Lucy Knisley
In the overwhelmingly male comic book industry, it has been a challenge for some editors and readers to see the ever growing number of talented women currently trying to make a name for themselves. With that in mind, ComicsAlliance offers Hire This Woman, a recurring feature designed for comics readers as well as editors and other professionals, where we shine the spotlight on a female comics pro on the ascendance. Some of these women will be at the very beginning of their careers, while others will be more experienced but not yet “household names.”
Cartoonist Lucy Knisley attended both the Art Institute of Chicago and the Center for Cartoon Studies. She’s written two graphic novels, French Milk and Relish, the latter of which was a New York Times bestseller. She’s also worked for many comics publishers including Boom! and Marvel.
ComicsAlliance: What is your preferred form of creative output?
Lucy Knisley: I love it all, especially the final product! But I suppose if I have to choose a stage, inking is the most fun. It’s the part where you get to really see the piece coming together.
CA: Do you work on paper or digitally?
LK: I use both, depending on the project and how I want it to look. I do a lot of digital coloring, but I will always love paper for inking and watercolor.
CA: What’s your background/training?
LK: I have a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and an MFA from the Center for Cartoon Studies.
CA: How would you describe your creative style?
LK: Clear Line confessional, travel adventure and pretty eats.
CA: What projects have you worked on in the past? What are you currently working on?
LK: I have two published graphic novels, French Milk and Relish, (the latter was a NYT bestseller and an Alex Award Winner), and I’ve worked with a number of publications on shorter pieces. I have two more books coming out in the next year from Fantagraphics, and another large-scale GN in the works. I also make webcomics at StopPayingAttention.com, and do a lot of freelance illustration and comics for studios such as Boom! and Marvel.
CA: Approximately how long does it take you to finish a 20-page issue?
LK: It depends on the project, of course, but I generally have a fairly quick turnaround depending on what it entails. A full script/pencil/ink/color takes time, but I’m very good with deadlines and I like a challenge.
CA: What is your dream project?
LK: Being a cartoonist who gets to write and draw about food and life and adventure is already the dream I get to live everyday! I love to collaborate with talented people to tell a story or make something beautiful, and I’m always thrilled when I get to do just that.
CA: Who are some comic creators that inspire you?
LK: I grew up reading a lot of Hergé and Watterson and Barry — they’re still my touchstones in comics.
CA: What are some comics that have inspired you either growing up or as an adult?
LK: Hope Larson was a big influence, as we met in art school and she ushered me in to the world of comics. I love her work, and I’m always amazed by what she does.
CA: What’s your ideal professional environment?
LK: I work from home and love it. I work well over email, and enjoy the quiet and solitude. The most successful client collaborations have always been with clients or editors or writers who encourage a great finished piece, and keep up with a quick pace.
CA: What do you most want our readers and industry professionals to know about your work?
LK: Much of my published work is very personal, but I love a break to get out of my head to make illustrations or stories that cut through the usual game of autobiography. I love an illustration challenge, and I have pretty good intuition, after ten years of doing this, of how to make a client happy and understand what they want. I do a lot of smaller jobs, for birthdays or anniversaries or wedding invitations, and I’m always happy to try to work those in alongside my longer projects. It makes for a good variety to my workday, and let’s me feel connected to the people that have read and enjoyed my work.
CA: How can editors and readers keep up with your work and find your contact information?
LK: My website is LucyKnisley.com, my webcomic is comics.lucyknisley.com, and my blog is lucyknisley.tumblr.com. Please feel free to email me through the contact page on my site, and I look forward to hearing from you!
If there is a woman you’d like to recommend or if you’d like to be included in a future installment of this feature, drop us a line at comicsalliance-at-gmail-dot-com with “Hire This Woman” in the subject line.