Last year, in partnership with the Lakes International Comic Art Festival, downthetubes brought you a number of interviews with creators attending the event – and we’re delighted to be able to run a series in the run up to their eagerly anticipated 2015 event in October, continuing the series with an interview with acclaimed Canadian artist Kate Beaton.
Kate is a comic artist who made a name for herself finding humour in historical subjects with her series Hark! A Vagrant, but she makes comics about anything from pop culture to literature to autobiography. She came into the comics scene in 2007 and refuses to leave.
downthetubes: What are you working on, comics-wise, right now, and when will it be published?
Kate Beaton: Right now I am actually contract free for the first time in three years! I am delighted not to be working on anything with a deadline. I’m sure that the fear of god will come in a few weeks and I’ll get to work on something, but for now, I’m just touring my books.
downthetubes: Which comic project you’ve worked on are you most proud of and where can people see it or buy it?
Kate: Step Aside Pops is available from Jonathan Cape in the UK! Just about anywhere I guess?
downthetubes: How do you plan your day as a creator? (Do you plan your day?)
Kate: I wish I did. I get up and hope for the best.
downthetubes: What’s the best thing about being a comics creator?
Kate: The best is that I get to do something I care about. Not everyone gets to do that, and even if they work at something they care about, they may not get to be in charge. I do.
downthetubes: And the worst?
Kate: Sometimes I look at the 9-5’ers and how they can leave work and they really get to leave work! They get to turn off, tune out, have their life to themselves. I feel like I am always at work, even when I am not.
downthetubes: What most distracts you from getting your work done?
Kate: Stupid links on facebook I shouldn’t read anyway. That’s everyone though right?
downthetubes: Do you think it’s easier or harder for young comic creators to get published today?
Kate: I think it is easier, but then I am new-ish to comics myself, my first published book was in 2011. It’s hard for me to qualify now against the past.
downthetubes: Have you ever been to the Lake District before and if so what did you think of it? If you haven’t, what are you expecting?
Kate: No I haven’t!! I’m so excited! I am reading The Shepherd’s Life by James Rebanks, and if it isn’t as charming and lovely as that I’m going to be very disappointed.
downthetubes: Which one comic creator would you most like to meet, and why?
Kate: I’d like to meet Warren Ellis one day. A long long time ago, he was the first “big name” in comics who linked to mine, and he really started the ball rolling for me with that small gesture. It was really nice.
downthetubes: How do Festivals and other comics events help creators most, do you think?
Kate: I think that they make the audience real for the creator, which is valuable. These people you owe a career to, but never see. And I think that they make your work real to publishers too, who want to know what is up and coming.
downthetubes: What one piece of advice do you offer people looking to work in the comics industry?
Kate: Make work that is yours, hone your original voice and style. Be as original as you can, which means as true to your own voice as you can.
downthetubes: What’s your favourite comic right now and where can people get it?
Kate: I am enjoying Squirrel Girl by Ryan North and Erica Henderson, and Wicked + Divine by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie! They are at all the comic stores.
Downthetubes: Kate, thank you for your time, and we hope you enjoy your visit to the Lakes.
Events at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival featuring Kate Beaton:
Step Aside Pops: The Art of Kate Beaton
Saturday 17th October 12.30-1.30 pm Shakespeare Centre Tickets £8
FIND OUT MORE AND BOOK TICKETS
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.