My name is Samuel Isaac Dealey. You can call me Ike.
I've been on DA since 2007 and am primarily a webcomic author. Because DA has been so good to me, I'd like to pay forward some of the success I've had here by helping some other webcomic artists get more exposure. Sometimes really great artists go essentially unnoticed because, lets face it, we're not all great self-marketers. If we were, then wouldn't we be sales people?
Gutter Stars is a series of interviews with dedicated webcomic authors who I think deserve a bit more exposure than they're getting. The idea for the name "Gutter Stars" came to me while I was thinking about comics. What do comics have? They have panels and gutters... and then I remembered this quote from Oscar Wilde.
If you'd like to see more interviews with other webcomic authors, please favorite and share this article in your blogs or journals!
So here is Avie (~ShiverBeast)!
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? What are your interests?
Hello, I'm Avie. I was born and raised in good ol' Naples, Florida (I am not a beach person or a stereotype Floridian). My interests are comics, film, and cooking. I love organizing things together so storyboarding became an all time passion; that AND perfecting omelets. I have social anxiety but I try not to let that control my life but sometimes it does so I seek the simple things in life. I sell books online for income and it got me reading a heck of a lot more than before! I live with my significant other in a cozy little apartment with two cats and a guinea pig (all of which are total drama queens).
Ike: I have a lot of social anxiety as well, so I can relate. For me it's part of having grown up not knowing that I had Asperger Syndrome until about 2006-2008 when I got diagnosed in my early 30s. But omelets are awesome. I decided a few months ago I was going to learn how to make an omelet and a week or so later after subjecting Tiffany to a bunch of failed attempts, I had learned how to make a kick-ass omelet. And guinea pigs are always drama queens. They are cute tho.
Tell us about your webcomic. What's the theme (if any)? How long have you been publishing it? Is there anything else we should know?
Loose Lips is about an exasperated woman, Sam, that tries to find herself through the irony that is her life. More often than not, Sam tries to have balance but only finds more grief with her (dare I say it) talking vagina. Through stalkers, overly supportive parents, sexuality, and coming to terms with the lack of a relationship, Loose Lips is genuinely about life and finding happiness buuuuttt having horrible trouble to obtain it.
Ike: So your typical webcomic then. I'm kidding of course. I think the talking vagina, as schticky as it might sound, is actually a really great idea. It's modern, it's edgy and it offers a lot of unique comedic opportunities that the creators of Mr Ed could only envy from afar.
I had this idea back in 2007 and wrote it all down but I really didn't do anything with it until 2009. I wasn't sure if I wanted the story to be dramatic or what until I had a friend read the first few scripts. He couldn't stop laughing! Thus, humor was my suit.
Ike: Yeah, I have a difficult time imagining this being done as a drama.
Loose Lips has been on the web for two years; it started on deviantart and moved to its happy home at drunkduck where it will stay.
I would like to confess that this webcomic series put me into a way broader range of comics than what I'm used to. Before, I would just whip out a comic or two for giggles and have dreams of one day getting a website of my craft but it seemed unlikely UNTILLLL Loose Lips produced a positive change for me and I became obsessed with drawing comics and improved with each passing day. Now, I have my own website with many of my different works and I am damn proud of it! It may take a while to get a good readership on it but it's a reality I never thought would happen and it is thanks to Loose Lips! You can see my baby at aviecomics.com.
What got you interested in creating webcomics?
Cartoons. Ah, the glory of cartoons! When I was about eight years old, I really hit the cartoons hard. It gave me a good escape from being "the outcast" in just about every school I went to! Thundercats was my savior and it went on to anything I could catch when I got older (remember Reboot? Yeah, I watched that. Religiously!). I would like to say reading comics inspired me but back in those days, I couldn't afford anything but paper and pencils and thus my imagination unfold! At nine years old, I thought "hey if they can make cartoons, so can I !" I drew loads of fanart and to this day (looking at my old works) I don't know what compelled me to think a splash of scribbles and crooked circles resembled Lion-O.
Ike: I remember Reboot. Fun show.
It's funny, my mom would always tell me "What the hell are you going to do with your life if you are just going to watch cartoons all day!?" and my dad would chime in, "Be realistic, kiddo!" Now look at me, well into adulthood and still watching cartoons that hatched out my love for webcomics. I may be struggling to improve and to be consistent but it makes me happy and that's all that really matters!
Ike: Hey, as long as you've got a roof over your head, you should do what you love.
How do you hone your craft? Is there a particular technique you use to improve your comic-making skills?
Oh dear.. let's see. My basic supplies are paper, pencils, and some sharpies. A major improvement was time management! Early last year, I was in denial that watching Xena with a clipboard and pen and a plate of nachos (y'know, for energy..) was called "working" but this year I have improved (after a touching intervention by my girlfriend and grandma)! I make income by selling books online so I have loads of free time during the day. From Monday to Friday, at six a.m to noon, I work! It could be fanart or comics or a script as long as it is something related to art. I can't say that it's a technique, it's more like repetition. To improve on anything, you gotta keep doing it and doing it and if you think you really got somewhere, you gotta keep doing it.
Ike: Very true.
How would you define "critique"? How do you feel about receiving critiques? Giving them?
I am probably the most emphatic person you could meet so giving critiques is like walking through hot coals to me. I do understand that giving critiques is educational as well as it is encouraging but I am afraid of stepping on any toes. Don't get me wrong, when I do critiques, it's never lying but it's more 'cheerleading' than anything else. I define 'critique' as anything anyone has to say that's meaningful and positive and honest. Receiving such notes is honorable and I respect it, it keeps me awake and determined!
Ike: Good to know. (I think you might have meant "empathetic".)
What's your basic worldview? Do you believe people are basically good or evil? Do you subscribe to a particular religious or secular ideology? Hell is other people? Original Sin? Rastafarian? Flying Spaghetti Monster? etc... (no wrong answers here)
I am a very spiritual person. I believe things happen for a reason and you figure out what those reasons are. I don't believe in deities or anything like that. I was mostly raised by my grandma who talked about classic literary pieces, feminist ideals, and the arts; so that gave me a lot of influence. In my worldview, with respect to others', I believe we are all capable of good and it is our actions that defines us. I believe in just being a good person and being happy and above all else, being humble. If there is any advice I would give to my non-existent children, it would be to stay humble. It doesn't matter how much revenue you make, or how many cars you own, or how nice your home looks, you have to be humble- it makes you an honest person and far more respectable.
Ike: I'm big on cognitive science myself and I know that studies have shown that there is a correlation between income and happiness, but it's not that income makes people happy as much as it is lack of income making people edgy and miserable. Once you reach middle-class, more income doesn't make you any happier, because you're already past the point of struggling with finances. And no matter how big or expensive or shiny that new car is, the newness of it wears off after a few months or a year. So there's a lot to be said for simply focusing on what you love in life, because long after you've maxed-out on those material rewards and the newness of that car has faded, the things you love doing will still bring you joy.
What hardships have you overcome in your life? (you don't have to answer this if you don't want to)
Well life isn't just a walk in the park, there are always obstacles to overcome. Drawing comics well into adulthood, I have faced a lot of family-related issues. My parents separated when I was really young and there was plenty of "whose side are you on?" talk going on after that. It was really hard having "absent" parents that were focused on the battle and not the children (my sisters and I); luckily, I had my cartoons and art to escape to. It had to be something to learn and to grow out of so I did just that. It was about acceptance and I think I conquered that; I had to be myself and let nothing compromise that. Growing older, I had to move a MILLION times around the state and that, my friend, sucked! Consistency is comforting and I didn't have that so that made me all the more grumpy and pessimistic about life. It affected my education, it affected my social life (this might explain me being a hermit today), and it affected my aspects of ever achieving anything (or so I thought). Another hardship was my sexuality and being half-Mexican did NOT welcome that float! It was hard enough living in an area with nothing but goats and cows (at the time) but to have an identity crisis that society frowned upon, (espicially in Florida, of all places, why not Connecticut or California?!) that was painful! I felt very alone but I grew out of that and saw the world through different eyes (no more negative outlooks for me!). Despite all the different obstacles that took years to overcome, I never gave up on my comics (many people didn't take me seriously for it) and it bloomed into something I'm proud of!
Ike: (I was going to say congratulations, but I dunno... it sounded "patronizing"? to me? hard to explain I guess... but what do I know, I'm autistic, so this whole social thing is a challenge for me anyway. ) I also came from a broken home though, so I can relate. And I moved around a lot, although mostly that was after I got out of high-school and my folks' places.
Who has inspired your work?
My grandma gave me such perspective, growing up, and my sisters too! Cartoons, of course! Also, just surfing the web can produce some really fascinating art to aspire to! Being on deviantART for about six years gave me a really positive experience of talking to other fellow artists and meeting friends that I've known for a long time now. DrunkDuck gave me this nourishment as well, it's just a wonderful thing! I can't even picture what life was like back then without the lovely resources we are exposed to today with just a click of a mouse!
Ike: I'm really grateful for all of my online friends as well.
What advice would you give to other artists?
Make time for your art, keep working on it and don't let yourself be discouraged by what people may say or what wondrous works you may see online (drawn by a twelve-year-old....with crayons...in an hour...). With the wrong mindset, looking at other artists' work can be as discouraging as reading a beauty magazine! Share your work with your friends, other artists, etc. C'mon, it is a good motivator! And of course... BE HUMBLE!
Are there any special projects you'd like to mention? Upcoming art projects? Groups? Charities? etc.
Aside from Loose Lips, I do plan on putting more work on my website. Right now, I'm casually working on Dykegirl, a superhero comic series with hilarious narrative content. I'm trying to deconstruct the classic Superman comic series and turning it into a parody. You can also see other things I have been working on on my website.
Is there anything you'd like to say that hasn't been covered in the previous questions?
I'll admit it, this is my first interview. You popped my cherry! This was so much fun to do, thank you for the opportunity and thank you for reading!
Ike: You know, if I were another guy that might have left me at a loss for words... but in my case I think that comment's kind of ironic and funny because my fiancee was a professed lesbian not long before she met me. I'm not one of those guys that thinks lesbians just haven't met the right man -- that's just asinine douchebaggery -- but sometimes life just surprises us.
Anyway, thanks for participating! I'm really glad you did.
That's it for this installment of Gutter Stars. Send me a note if you have suggestions for interview questions or if you know of any webcomic authors you think might benefit from an interview (or if you are a webcomic author and would like an interview). My goal is to help webcomic authors get more exposure, so although I won't outright refuse any suggestions, priority will be given to artist who are getting less traffic than I am and who've shown dedication by having a good body of work in their webcomic. The only hard rule is they have to publish at least some of their comic to DA so that I can feature their strips or pages in the interview.
Thanks for reading! Don't forget to favorite!
And I hope you'll join us next time to meet another great webcomic artist!