Rage, Liberation, & the Adventurous Life with Tessa Hulls

I love being on Patreon for many, many reasons, but chief among them is the platform it’s given me to record more conversations with creators I admire. I already keep an extensive archive of panels, talks, and classes on my SoundCloud page, but the support and enthusiasm of my Patrons has allowed me to add candid monthly interviews to the mix. Typically these conversations go up for Patrons first, and then (if the artists are comfortable with it) on the public feed a few weeks later.

Back in September I spoke to Tessa Hulls—a dream interviewee of mine for some time. Tessa’s work defies categorization, but it often encompasses notions of heritage, independence, wilderness, and community—all things I am endlessly fascinated by. She did a staggering number of residencies in 2018, all while juggling enough concurrent projects to make my head spin. I am deeply in awe of her energy and dedication.

In this 90-minute conversation, we discuss merging identities to create powerful new selves, balancing finances as a traveling artist, the transformative power of alternative community gatherings, coming into one’s own as a vulnerable communicator, navigating fine art spaces, “pathological independence,” and the current cultural crucible of female rage. Notes on our conversation below:

If you want to see more of Tessa’s work, I’d highly recommend starting with…

• This essay about bike touring, weddings, and personal freedom

• This glorious series of paper cut paintings

• This comic about rage

• And, really, everything on Tessa’s website and Instagram. Her graphic memoir, Hungry Ghosts, is definitely a project to keep an eye on over the next few years.

If you liked this conversation and want to help support more things like it, you might also like supporting me on Patreon! I am deeply indebted to the folks there for making these talks possible.

Thanks for listening!

Inner Critic Investigation Week, Day 7

This is it, everyone! It’s Day Seven of Inner Critic Investigation Week, the writing prompt series I’ve been collaborating on with writing coach Deb Norton.

The rules are as follows:

  1. Get a pen and a sheet of paper.
  2. Set a timer for six minutes.
  3. WRITE. Ask your Inner Critic the question and find out what they have to say. Keep your pen moving, even if you’re writing lies or “Blah blah blah” over and over.

Our seventh and final prompt is:

By now you’ve probably got a pretty good idea of what your Inner Critic doesn’t like. What happens if you deliberately try to push their buttons? Make a list of everything you can think of that will make your Critic hoppin’ mad. Maybe it’s doing a deliberately horrible drawing. Maybe it’s singing loudly in the shower when that voice inside is screaming at you to be quiet because the neighbors will judge you. Maybe it’s eating a whole pizza in one sitting. There are no wrong answers, just list as many things as you can think of.

 

I’d love to do a round-up post next week with some anonymous entries from various people’s writing exercises. If you’d be willing to share, email me some excerpts at lucypcbellwood@gmail.com, or leave ’em in the comments below.

Thank you so much for following along with this experiment! If you’d like to learn more about Deb’s work, check out her website or buy a copy of Part Wild: a Writer’s Guide to Harnessing the Creative Power of Resistance. You can also listen to the podcast we recorded about Inner Critics and the creative process. The little character you see featured in all these prompts is my Inner Critic, who I got to know over the course of drawing 100 comics in 100 days. You can read those right here.

Live Event: Demons & Monsters with Jessica Abel

Let’s take a brief trip back in time to January, 2016.

When Jessica Abel started posting the podcast adaptation of her storytelling handbook Out on the Wire, I was totally hooked. The series pulled from her own robust career and from interviews she’d done with luminary radio hosts and journalists, but took a wider stance on applying their lessons to an essential question:

What makes stories work?

I appreciated her candor at not knowing the first thing about making a podcast, and simply figuring it out as she went. I enjoyed the camaraderie of listening to ideas and practice exercises from other listeners. Most of all, I loved the way it helped me think about my storytelling work from a nonjudgemental, process-oriented standpoint. It was a community—not just a product.

So I tweeted about the show and how I much I was enjoying it, which I think is why she ended up watching this talk I’d given at The Animation Workshop in Denmark and following me on Twitter. It was one of those “WHOAAA A REAL CARTOONIST IS LOOKING AT ME WHAT DO I DOOO” moments, which I can tell you from experience everyone has. Jessica co-authored Drawing Words and Writing Pictures, which was a really formative book for me back when I was getting into drawing comics and couldn’t find a program that had the rigor I really wanted from a formal perspective.

Fast forward to this summer, when she wrote and told me she’d been teaching workshops about a creature called The Should Monster that was super similar to my inner demon. Jessica’s students had pinned their inner critics to the page, just as I had, in order to defuse their power.

Should Monsters from Jessica’s students

Then she asked if I would be interested in collaborating on a live, online event—part interview, part Q&A—where we could discuss work-life balance, creative practice, and social media.

WELL, DUH.

I was beside myself with excitement—especially because our dates aligned with the launch of my new Kickstarter, which explicitly deals with overwork and self doubt and a million other things.

And then she wrote this essay about it and I had to come to grips with the idea that somewhere along the way, I had become a working cartoonist. And what’s more, I was good at it. I had learned some things that other people might find useful, and someone I really admired wanted to get that knowledge out to a wider group of people.

It’s not going to silence the little voice that claims I’m a phoney forever, but it’ll definitely do for today.

So here’s our upcoming event!

What:

Demons and Monsters with Lucy Bellwood and Jessica Abel

Join us on Crowdcast to talk about

  • building an audience for your work,
  • using Patreon, Kickstarter, and self-publishing to pay (some of) the bills,
  • and fighting off the Should Monsters and Self-Doubt Demons that want to stop us from making it.

Ask your questions and get some answers!

There will be a replay for those who can’t make it, but you only gain access by registering, so be sure to sign up either way.

WHEN:

July 25 (next Tuesday) at 12:00 noon Pacific, 3 pm Eastern, 9 pm European.

WHERE:

At this link: https://www.crowdcast.io/e/demons-lubellwoo !

This event will be online in real time. You can join us from anywhere via Crowdcast, the online platform we’ll be using to stream. (There’s even an app if you’ll be out on the beach and still want to tune in.)

So reserve your spot here, and we’ll see you soon!

(I’m really, really looking forward to this one.)

Audio Treats: KBOO and Chris Schweizer

A quick post today to let you all know I’ve got two new audio interviews up for your listening pleasure!

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I had a great time guesting on KBOO’s Words and Pictures show a couple weeks ago, where I talked to host S. W. Conser about my recent projects, including my upcoming show at Portland’s Sequential Art Gallery (more on that tomorrow!). You can give that a listen right here.

I also had the immense pleasure of talking with fellow boat-savvy cartoonist Chris Schweizer as part of his new conversational podcast. We delve into all sorts of stuff including (but not limited to) boats, comics, theater, higher education, and French comics. Chris is not only a stellar cartoonist and history buff (have you read Crogan’s Vengeance? YOU SHOULD. IT HAS GOT BOATS IN), but also an eloquent, fascinating guy. This was a blast! You can expect more of these recordings from him in the future, so keep an eye out.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more details about next week’s show at the Sequential Art Gallery. Hooray!

New Disruptors Interview

downloadHey gang! I’m away on the East Coast this week, but fortunately you can pretend I’m not on a boat by listening to my dulcet tones on The New Disruptors, a delightful podcast run by Mr. Glenn Fleishman, editor of The Magazine.

We sat down and had a fabulous talk about…well, all sorts of stuff. Careers and Kickstarter and Periscope and being a young kid in a professional life that feels like it’s moving a million miles a minute. It was a real pleasure talking with Glenn, and I highly recommend the rest of the people he’s nabbed for the podcast. Diverse, compelling discussions about new media, freelancing, and other topics near and dear to my heart.

And if you enjoy the show, why not support it on Patreon? I hear all the cool kids are doing it nowadays.

Talking Kickstarter with ConSequential

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If you’re looking for some good audio material for your Thursday afternoon, I recently did an interview with Mr. Dave Convery of the ConSequential podcast all about everyone’s favorite topic: Kickstarter! We discuss the merits and pitfalls of crowdfunding for comics, as well as some other nonsense. In their own words, the episode boasts:

More comics! More jokes! More interviews! More inexplicable digressions about cauliflower. These people got mad brassica love, yo.

So go on, you mustard-mad heathens. Give it a listen.

Friday Listening: A Happy Go Lucky Podcast

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I had the immense pleasure of returning to the Happy Go Lucky Podcast this week to talk about my time away in the Grand Canyon. Our theme was “Escape” which led to a lot of talk about how we can create space for making things in our day-to-day routine without running away to the woods. Or maybe you’ve gotta run away to the woods. Or Ireland. There are lots of options on the table.

Anyway, tune in here for an hour of titillating discussion about the creative process and, as always, boats.

The Final Dispatch

Greetings, dear readers! I write to you from somewhere in the mountainous Utah desert, surrounded by the chaos of packing and provisioning for an important voyage. This will be my last online appearance before a 21-day rafting trip down all 287 miles of the Grand Canyon. I’ve been planning this adventure in one form or another for the past 15 years with my best friend and partner in crime (pictured below) and now our hard work is finally coming to fruition.

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Of course since this is primarily a work blog, it bears mentioning that this trip will represent my longest hiatus from the Internet since, well, since the Internet became a thing. This is pretty staggering for me to think about, especially considering how much of my livelihood depends on this beast now. However, I have to admit that I’m really excited. It can be so hard to truly switch off and disconnect when you’re constantly tethered to your work via digital communication. So despite my anxieties about missing out on online excitements, I’m ready.

Before I go, though, there are a couple things I wanted to make sure you all got wind of.

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First! The Cartozia Tales Kickstarter is still going strong, and we’ve added some really excellent rewards that I think you’ll all appreciate. We now have prints of our incredible cover art and, more importantly, DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS! This is a great, affordable option for those of you who live abroad and can’t commit to the hefty shipping bill (I know, it’s a pain), or folks who just don’t own that many physical comics.

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Just a few of the many characters from Cartozia Tales Issues 1 & 2

More importantly, Isaac has just released a complete PDF of Issue 1 to ALL BACKERS, regardless of pledge level. Furthermore, he’ll be adding a complete PDF of Issue 2 sometime in the next couple weeks! This means that if you back the project at any level, even for just a dollar, you get access to the content we’ve produced so far. I think this is a great move since it allows you all to see what we’re really about, and if you like what you see, you can up your pledge to a digital or physical half or whole subscription and help us produce a year’s worth of really excellent comics.

Yes, I’m a bundle of nerves about leaving the campaign for three weeks, but I trust you all to keep the momentum and enthusiasm going while I’m away. I’ll be back to cheer on the final 7 days at the end of September. A quick reminder of some easy things you can do to support us in the meantime:

1. Pledge to the campaign.

2. Spread the link (especially to parents and teachers!).

3. Find us on Twitter @Cartozia and get in touch.

4. Reblog this post on Tumblr.

5. Learn more about the world, our contributors, and our methods on the homepage.

6. Invite your friends to the campaign event on Facebook!

Okay! That’s all the Cartozia news.

If you’re having major Lucy Withdrawal while I’m away, here are a couple things to keep you occupied:

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I was delighted to return to the Happy Go Lucky podcast a few weeks ago to discuss a topic near and dear to my heart: artistic insecurity! In Episode 26, otherwise known as “These Hands Look Weird“, Leia, Ben, Jesse and I all talk about our deepest fears and anxieties, spanning writing, graphic design, illustration, comics, and more. If you struggle with feeling like a fake, or constantly find yourself diffusing other’s compliments about your work, this is probably the podcast for you.

You can follow the Happy Go Lucky Podcast team on Twitter and subscribe to the podcast via iTunes if you’re looking for more.

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In addition to Leia’s podcast, Alex Dueben was kind enough to post this lengthy interview with yours truly over on Comic Book Resources last week. We talk all about my work in the past year, including Baggywrinkles, Cartozia, my guest strip for Oh Joy, Sex Toy, working at Periscope, and what the future holds. It was a great opportunity to think about all the stuff that’s happened in the past year. So much drawing! So many new faces! So much excitement! I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

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SO MUCH ART.

And I think that’s it for media news, which means it’s time to say goodbye. I’ll be back online at the end of September with lots of photos and stories to share (I’m trying to keep a daily diary comic going on the trip. We’ll find out how well that goes).

Keep the Internet warm for me while I’m away.

Love and comics,

Lucy

Symbolia is LIVE!

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The latest issue of Symbolia, the tablet magazine of comics journalism, is OUT!

It’s been almost a year since Sarah Mirk first approached me about illustrating this project, so it’s very exciting to have the full issue out in the open at last. Declassified brings to life the firsthand experiences of two women who served at the Guantánamo Bay naval base circa 2001. From witnessing the shift in detention practices post-9/11, to grappling with sexual assault in the military, their stories are raw and powerful. Here’s a page to whet your appetites.

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The rest of the issue features stories from women around the world dealing with human trafficking, tattoos, military service, immigration, and more. It’s a powerful and diverse showing, and I’m proud to be a part of it.

To read this issue, subscribe to Symbolia: on iPad // via PDF // Kindle Editions.

Podcast Interview with Leia Weathington & Friends

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So much news this week! I had the delightful pleasure of being a guest on the Happy Go Lucky Podcast last weekend. The show is hosted by three of my favorite Portland people: Leia Weathington, Ben Coleman, and Jesse David Morgan, who deliver an hour or so of witty and (occasionally) enlightening banter every week. As Leia puts it in her (very accurate) episode summary:

Y’all gonna learn some shit about boats and what it’s like to be on a boat wearing canvas pants and what it’s like to draw comics about being on a boat in canvas pants.

We also cover my favorite bird of the moment (the potoo), the realities of plank-walking, sexual tension in Master and Commander, pirate re-enactors, pelicans on Portland transit, and purchasing expensive steak after having too much to drink on a Saturday night.

You can subscribe to the show on iTunes, or just listen straight through your browser!