For the full moon of January, through to February, our featured comic will be "What We Remember Most" by Austin Bradley! "What We Remember Most" is described as a slice of life comedy that involves anxiety and quarter life crises. You can read the comic on it's website, and also visit Austin's Patreon page if you'd like to support this comic!
Can you tell us a bit about your comic “What We Remember Most” and its genres and themes? What We Remember Most has been a passion project of mine for up to six years. I stated it my sophomore year in high school. It was even rougher than it is now but I loved writing it. I started if from scratch about two years ago after I had time to sit down and rewrite things What We Remember Most is a slice of life Comedy (with some existential horror dropped in). It’s about growing up and reaching the age where you thought everything would happen, and nothing has yet, and how someone deals with it. It’s about bottling up emotions and the importance of reaching out to loved ones for help and to help.
There are quite a lot of varied personalities with your characters, which do you find the easiest to write and which ones are the most difficult? Do any of them share similar traits to you? I honestly love writing different personalities. I prefer being the DM (Dungeon Master) to being a character because between playing one person and playing 500, I like playing 500. I made sure, when designing my characters, to include one thing I can heavily associate with and one thing I don’t relate to at all, which has made writing all of them a great joy. Sarah is probably the easiest one to write. She has so much of me written into her, writing her anxieties has been a huge piece of catharsis for me, and I also am a control freak that can’t let things go. I liked the idea of someone who had the same flaws as me, but very different strengths, someone who had the traits I wanted more of like her sociability and extreme extroversion. Pepper and Tea are a lots of fun to write as well. Pepper used to be the hardest character to write for in my first draft that finished over four years ago. She was really kinda bland until I pushed her dial up to about 200% and made her about the spaciest person I could make her. I also am obsessed with history, and will talk too long about it. Tea is the one I’m the least like (which has been fun because my readers associate with her the most) but she’s easy to write, especially as a foil to Sarah. I honestly think the only one I’m still figuring out is Leo, who has presented me with a lot of writing questions I’m still examining.
Did other webcomics influence or inspire you to make your own? What were your other inspirations? Oh definitely! I grew up on webcomics my whole life, and comics before that. I started with sprite comics about megaman and sonic, which I emulated in my middle school years. I moved from those to furry comics and found plenty of cute furry slice of life comics like namir deiter, and this one about high schoolers prepping for prom that I can’t find anymore. (Interviewer Note: The webcomic is called "Good Cheese"!)Soon after starting my first draft of What We Remember Most (which was very different but had the same characters) I found Furry Experience, which is still one of my favorites, and I felt awkward being all “oh, another story about mormon furries, hope no one thinks I’m copying!” (I think I did an alright job avoiding that…I hope…). Sitcoms like friends are also basically my life, and definitely inspired me.
It's obvious that your comic has gone through style changes here and there, would you say that experimenting with the style keeps the comic fresh? What other styles would you like to try in the future? Haha, yeah, I admit, if I were doing something standardized for publishing I would not be so willing to change everything as much as I do, before changing it again right after. I’ve always viewed WWRM as my little lab to experiment in, artistically speaking. I’m constantly trying to define my style and I’m constantly finding new photoshop brushes to fall in love with that I just have to try out. I think experimenting on the comic makes it more exciting for me to work on it, and I always do it with a hope that it will make the comic overall better. I love to open up my page archives and watch my art shift and morph as time passes, most of the time for the better. Writing a webcomic is kinda like a time capsule in that way (and definitely highlights my indecisiveness). I’m currently working on pushing character silhouettes and simplifying shapes, so I’m sure that will be popping up in my comic in the future, and I’m sure I’ll find some new way to color that I’ll fall in love with for a couple weeks.
What advice would you give others who are wanting to create a webcomic? I'd say don't take yourself too seriously. This doesn't have to be your magnum opus and it doesn't need to be wildly successful, especially if it's your first webcomic. I think that's what hold so many people back from writing is they feel they have to be successful right out of the gate. I'm currently on my second iteration of What We Remember Most and also I wrote like ten other webcomics growing up (not to mention all the other projects I work on in my down time I haven't gotten to yet). Take it as a chance to learn and experiment, and have fun. If it works, it works, and if it doesn't, you learn why and change things up for the future. Webcomics take a lot of time and effort to keep, so I say make that time and effort enjoyable, because, most likely, it's going to be a hobby you do for you more than anything else
Thank you Austin for providing us with this great interview and we hope everyone enjoys reading it and getting to know more about our comic creators!
For the month of December, through January our featured comic will "Sharpclaw" by Sheryl Schopfer! Sharpclaw is described as fantasy comic featuring fairy tales and furry tales! This comic just recently finished up it's first chapter, which was an introduction to the characters and sort of world this comic will be presenting, so it's a great time to start reading. You can read the comic on it's website, and also visit Sheryl's Patreon page if you'd like to support both "Sharpclaw" and "Deer Me"!
Can you tell us a bit about your comic “Sharpclaw” and its genre and themes? "Sharpclaw" is an adventure story set in a fantasy world and it explores friendships and romance, while heavily employing fairy tale references. Its key themes are valuing interpersonal bonds, trusting in your loved ones, and trusting in yourself.
And twins. There are so many sets of twins in "Sharpclaw," I think "twins" qualifies as a theme. :-)
You said in your summary that there are references to stories such as “Snow White and Rose Red” or “Little Red Riding Hood”, along with others, what made you choose to incorporate these into your own story? I adore mythology, folklore, fairy tales, nursery rhymes... all those stories that have been around so long that they get "classical" genre names. Fairy tales fascinate me for a few different reasons, including:
1 - They are more complicated and in-depth than what we dismissively call "fairy tale" today. By relegating these often-dark stories to a sanitized playroom, and taking them out of context, we miss some rich real-world history.
2 - Many versions we have today seem quite incomplete -- probably having lost many elements in the many retellings before being written -- so lend themselves very well to wide interpretations. Is Rumpelstiltskin the villain in his story? We often interpret it that way... but he sure did a lot for the miller's daughter for remarkably little payment, and gave her an easy way out of the one big price he did demand. Why?
I wanted to explore those stories and I love their details.
Were there other webcomics that inspired you? If not, what else did? I cannot list all my sources of inspiration, since there are so many! I have written scenes based on music, created characters inspired by movies, referenced other comics for costume designs, adapted plots from other books, drawn scenery of actual places, and written relationships based on real life experiences.
While I did not list any webcomics there, yes, I read a lot of webcomics and some do influence my work, too. :-)
Sharpclaw is a rather new story who has time to spread its wings, would you say everything about the plot you've written so far is set in stone, or do you think there will be a lot of changes over time? "Sharpclaw" started running this year, but is old enough to legally drink in the USA! ;-) I got the first idea (that eventually grew into the current story) over two decades ago and started writing. Over all those years, I have written, sketched, daydreamed, drawn, and eventually noticed that "Sharpclaw" was getting too unwieldy. In recent years, I made myself write the core story I wanted to tell: beginning, middle, and end. I brought together all the scraps, scenes, notions, outlines, and summaries into one story, and even made painful cuts of beloved scenes that just do not contribute to the story enough. I made myself stick to writing one cohesive story over the course of a few years, and edited and proofread it three times -- and even had others read it -- before the drawing of the comic pages finally started.
So, I now have one story across three books mostly fixed, with (hopefully) nothing more than small changes likely. That said, I also have other ideas floating around, too: preludes, side-stories, what happens after the three books. If I still feel like dealing with "Sharpclaw" after the the many years the three written books take me to draw and publish, then I can play with those other notions.
How do you stay motivated to work on the comic? What advice would you give to other people wanting to create webcomics? I want to tell this story; I really do. I have been toying with this idea -- in various forms -- for over half my life. Whether I get a sizable readership, whether I make a living with it or not, I want to see "Sharpclaw" in reality. I want to be able to look at it and read it, not just see it in my head, as I have for so long.
To people who want to create comics, I suggest having that passion for the project itself. Comics are not likely to make you wealthy, unless you get lucky or know how to cater to the paying crowd. So, know why you want to make your comic before your start, and know that your reason will carry you through times of frustration.
Also, work on the comic before committing to it. Write the story -- beginning, middle, and end -- or at least make a full outline and write a few whole chapters. Stories just left floating in the head have a nasty habit of ballooning out of control. Draw the characters several times before committing to their designs. A 9-tailed, 4-winged spider-taur might look cool in one drawing, but see how you feel after drawing her for the twentieth time. Scenes featuring one hundred characters might seem epic in your head, but can get complicated or exhausting quickly... or just not fit in the allotted panel.
All that said, do not let anyone stop you from doing your comic. "That story's been done before." True, but it wasn't done before by you; this is your version of the story, and that makes it new. "I don't like it / It sucks / etc." Such speakers are not your audience. If you like it, then your comic has an audience of at least one. More will follow. If you want to tell your story, then tell your story.