This week’s Spotlight interview is with Lisa Nguyen. I interviewed her weeks ago, and finally get to post it, hopefully successfully via scheduling :)
D: I asked Lisa to give me a bio. She helpfully linked me to a pre made bio on her personal site:
Welcome to the online portfolio for the creator of Solaire Design. What you’ll find here is a showcasing of my personal and professional work. I am an illustrator, and graphic and web designer residing in Central Louisiana, USA. I have provided a selection of my work for viewing and not all of my work is present here.
My love for art and design started with my interest in illustration and Adobe Photoshop 6.0 more than 15 years ago. I have experimented in several mediums from sublimation and engraving, to screen-printing, to my current strengths of graphic and web design. I take joy in learning as much as I can about the design world.
In my spare time I enjoy exercise, art, crafting, and reading.
D: Anything to add to that?
L: My webcomic is: In Love & Justice. I’ve been making webcomics for over 10 years, different projects every time. I’m also a reader of webcomics :)
D: Alright, Lisa, let’s start off by you telling us about your non-webcomic endeavors. How do you support yourself and your webcomic habit?
L: My main job is being a self-employed web designer and illustrator for my site Solaire Design. I quite enjoy it, since it gives me the flexibility to take care of my family and work on my webcomics. Working as a web designer has also helped me quite a bit for my webcomic, as I can apply my skills into making a better site for my reader.
I also do crafts on the side though my site Ambitious Love Boutique, like make plushies, keychains and make doll clothing. I love illustrating, but making 3d art is pretty rewarding, too.
D: How did you get started with comics/webcomics?
L: I got into comics by watching cartoon adaptations of shows like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and X-Men. Through them, I started buying comics. The first one I can ever remember buying with my own money was Uncanny X-Men #300.
In elementary school I always drew little comics here and there, creating my own worlds. I submitted my first comic to Dark Horse Comics when I was 12. While I was rejected, I was encouraged by the Submissions Editor to keep improving and not to give up.
I got my first computer and scanner when I was in high school. From there, I made my first webcomic. That was during the time of webrings. It really helped me to meet new people and feel more confident about sharing my work. Although those projects are dead, they were great learning experiences.
D: What do you enjoy most about creating your webcomic?
L: I enjoy interacting with my readers the most. I like hearing their input on the pages, things I might not have thought of before. It’s been really neat connecting with new people and hearing “I can relate to that”.
D: You mentioned that you pull loosely from your life in creating your story. Do you find that helpful in dealing with life’s stresses?
L: In Love & Justice is very loosely based off my life. I don’t think it so much helps me with stressful things in my life, as much as it’s a stress reliever. Drawing and writing the story is a fun way to relax and get to work on my own projects.
D: What are your hopes for how your webcomic can affect those who read it?
L: My story is mostly about life as a single parent. I would hope that it would reduce some of the negative stigma around single parents. I also hope some see that we’re doing our best to raise kids and juggle other things in our lives such as jobs, relationships (friends and romantic), and just being a healthy person.
D: What are some other fun/interesting things you’ve done, and are there any good stories associated with them?
L: One of the most interesting things was going through the police officer process. I was thinking of changing careers, and before jumping in, I was a volunteer officer for a few months. I remember once we were having a training session, and I got kicked in the ribs. That’s when I decided that maybe this wasn’t something I should jump into so suddenly.
Related to IL&J is my interest in weight lifting. I used to go to a fairly large gym with mostly much older men in the weight room. Once I was doing some bench presses, and two older men ran towards me screaming. They thought I was having trouble, then had a long talk with me about “being a young person and weight lifting”. Oddly enough, that was the only time anyone had ever talked to me in that gym.
D: And advice or thoughts for comic creators or readers?
L: For creators, I’d probably suggest to not worry so much about more page views and monetizing your site. Just spend more time working on the actual comic. It’s great to have a ton of page views, but readers will be sad if your last update was several weeks or months ago!
For readers, any support you can give a creator is always awesome! From a comment saying “I liked that” or a tweet saying you’re reading their comic, letting a creator know their comic is being read can bring a smile to most creator’s face.
D: Anything else you’d like to add?
L: Thanks so much to Dan for interviewing webcomic creators and especially webcomic readers! Webcomics have grown so much since when I started over ten years ago. I’m excited to see how they progress another ten years from now.
D: Thanks again Lisa :)