From Diamond’s August 2018 “Previews D.I.Y. Month” Catalog

Previews: Was there a specific comic that inspired you to begin to create/publish your own?

Ivy Atoms: Attending zine fairs is what inspired me to make my own. I had always made art and always written (I had wanted to be a children’s book illustrator, something I still plan on pursuing) but saw comics as this geeky, corporate thing I could never break into until I was introduced to DIY. The work of Opal Pence, Elsa Trash, and notably Arthur Katrina of Milk Bone Damp Xerox inspired me to make comic zines. 

P: What was the first comic you made on your own published or not?

IA: The first comic I made and sold copies of was called Clone Void, a totally grotesque sci-fi horror that people would probably be repulsed by if I put it out today. I was super into horror manga and eroguro at the time. It was self-indulgent, emo, and gross, but it still meant a lot to me! I even got art from it tattooed on my leg!

P: How did you learn to draw for comics?

IA: I just did it honestly. I didn’t follow any guidelines and I don’t even use a ruler. I just draw exactly how I love to and sometimes draw a box around it with speech bubbles. 

P: How did you learn to write for comics?

IA: I play with dolls and toys and do little puppet shows for myself. I also like to sing songs from the perspectives of my characters. 

P: What tools do you find indispensable for your creative process?

IA: I draw and write in my sketchbook every day, throughout the day. A cheap one with pages that bleed through is my favorite way to get ideas.

P: What makes a good comic?

IA: Authenticity, research, emotion and heart. And you have to truly love drawing. It shows if you don’t.

P: What advice do you have for creators who want to do it all themselves?

IA: Just do it- comics is one of the only art forms that you can really do for cheap all by yourself. You don’t need a movie crew you just need you. Even if your comic sucks it will be more fun to make than just scrolling on your phone! But if it isn’t fun just drop it, it’s only comics after all! Its not like you’re going to make money!

P: What surprised you about the process of creating a comic?

IA: I was surprised by how readers perceived it after. I laughed a lot while making my most recent book, “Pinky & Pepper Forever” but readers said it made them cry, or described it as very painful and emotional- it is those things too, but after spending so much time writing the heavier parts of it I was just having fun making freaky drawings. I guess people react differently when reading your work for the first time versus the 5000th!

P: What is the biggest challenge facing creators in the comic industry right now?

IA: How many vultures and abusive creeps there are in this nerd hole but they are barely a challenge- we know about you and we will shut you down!

P: What gives you optimism about the potential of comics right now?

IA: I teach comics classes for kids and teens and they are so good at this just wait!

Pinky and Pepper Forever: Information | Direct Mail-Order