Lakes Festival Focus 2017: An interview with comic creator and Festival patron Emma Vieceli

LICAF 2017 Banner - Emma Vieceli

The countdown has begun to this year’s Lakes International Comic Art Festival in October (13th – 15th). The downthetubes “Kendal Calling” interviews continue with a chat with artist and Festival patron Emma Vieceli, just as the first print collection of the ongoing graphic story BREAKS officially goes on sale…

From self-publishing to some of the biggest book publishers in the world, Emma loves telling stories with pictures. Her work includes Doctor Who for Titan Comics, The Adventures of Supergirl for DC comics, the New York Times-bestselling Vampire Academy graphic novel series for Penguin Random House and the critically acclaimed independent web series, BREAKS with co-creator Malin Ryden.

She is currently working on the Alex Rider series for Walker books and Back to the Future for IDW, and has provided guest art for titles like Marvel’s Young Avengers, IDW’s Jem & The Holograms and Vertigo’s Dead Boy Detectives.

Alongside comics, she worked on the A&E television series, Bates Motel, providing the sketchbook found by Norman Bates.

downthetubes: What are you working on, comics-wise, right now, and when will it be published?

Emma Vieceli: As is so common in this industry of ours, one of the main projects I’m gearing up for is one that isn’t being announced until October. DOH! As a result I’m pretty limited in what I can say,but I’ll say that it’s ticking a bucket list biggie in terms of working with someone I respect and admire hugely, and it will be a chance for me to jump in at the start of something new, designing the whole thing. Yay!

Otherwise, I’m always working on BREAKS. I can’t quite believe how the years are flying by. the webcomic has been going for a few years now, and Soaring Penguin Press are publishing arc one – we’re so excited! This comic is so important to Malin and me, and we hope it can reach some new people in print too!

BREAKS - Cover - Emma Vieceli

downthetubes: Which comic project you’ve worked on are you most proud of and where can people see it or buy it?

Emma: Again, probably BREAKS just because it’s a real work of heart. We do it for free because we care about it. When the book is out, we really hope people can get behind it and support us and the time we’ve put into it.

They can read the comic entirely for free at, but if they want to support us a little more, buying or promoting the printed edition will really do that! The publisher’s direct site is here, or order through any good retailer. Page 45 in particular have been so supportive, and have the book up for pre-order here.

downthetubes: How do you plan your day as a creator? (Do you plan your day?)

Emma: Plan? What are plans? I’d say I have a routine, but it requires little planning. My brain isn’t wired that way, haha!

Mainly, I start with coffee and then I’ll either have a day of pencils or inks to do. Pencils – fun because it’s super creative and I can sit away from the desk. Inks – fun because I get to finish lines and make a page come to life. But of course, mornings are often taken up with admin, emailing, net-updates etc. Drawing sometimes has to wait 🙂

Back to the Future #13 - Cover

Ghostbusters #22-B - Emma Vieceli

downthetubes: What’s the best thing about being a comics creator?

Emma: Telling stories and finding that sometimes they really do connect with a reader. Creativity is special and stories are so important to share. Connecting through them is just so fundamental to life, I think.

downthetubes: And the worst?

Emma: Never having enough time. I wish dearly comics could be on a slower schedule so that we could put more into projects and not burn out our artists. Then again, there’s not enough time in the world to tell all the stories I want to, so maybe slowing down is a bad idea!

Jem- & The Holograms #9 - Cover

downthetubes: What most distracts you from getting your work done?

Emma: My cat, when he wants food. Or the desire to switch to other work 😀 Or, sometimes, a really good video game will act as some kind of evil, luring siren to me…

downthetubes: Do you think it’s easier or harder for young comic creators to get published today?

Emma: Both. I mean, it’s easier to make and get into comics, no question. And we’re seeing rich changes in diversity and storytelling because of that – which is great. Printing is cheaper, online publishing is better supported, there are more events. However, it means that if a creator’s goal is to work for an established publisher, it can be that bit harder to be seen above the crowd.

Love - art by Emma Vieceli

downthetubes: Have you ever been to the Lake District before and if so what did you think of it? 

Emma: As a patron, I’ve loved LICAF so much! I wouldn’t have become a patron in the first place if I hadn’t seen something special in the event to start with. And the area in general? I lived in Carlisle for four years and am married to a Penrith man.

You could say the Lake District means a lot to me, yes 😉 It’s a special, beautiful, resilient part of the world.

downthetubes: Which one comic creator would you most like to meet, and why?

Emma: I’ve been so lucky and have met a fair number of my heroes over the years, and have even managed to wrangle friendships out of a lot of them, haha! But there are always more I’d like to meet, of course. I don’t get to meet so many Japanese creators, so I’d have to say Studio Clamp, Rumiko Takahashi and Fumi Yoshinaga are on my dream list – though I’d be speechless if I ever did! These women inspired me early on, showed me comics could be for everyone, that being true to your artistic soul is vital, and that there was a world out there who might be interested in the sort of stories I wanted to tell. they are, quite simply, legends.

downthetubes: How do Festivals and other comics events help creators most, do you think?

Emma: They’re a great way to get out from behind the drawing desk and actually remember why you’re making comics in the first place. You get to meet the people reading them, get feedback from the people selling them, and share stories with the other people making them. It’s a chance to tap into what’s actually happening in the industry as a whole outside of your personal twitter bubble. They’re pretty crucial. especially events that allow time to just talk and take it all in.

downthetubes: What one piece of advice do you offer people looking to work in the comics industry?

Emma: Be nice to everyone. Remember kindness. Work hard. See the flaws in your work, but don’t be beaten by them. Use them to keep yourself humble, but don’t let them hold you back. That’s more than one, isn’t it 😀

downthetubes: What’s your favourite comic right now and where can people get it?

I urge people to check out Pascalle Lepas‘ online comic,Wildelife. I don’t usually get into webcomics and can’t wait for their printed editions, but this one is hard to not follow each week. Beautiful storytelling and compelling characters.

downthetubes: Emma, thank you very much for your time and see you in Kendal in October!

Book Your Festival Tickets Now!

• Book your tickets for this year’s Lakes International Comic Art Festival here. This year’s events programme includes live draws, masterclasses, interactive talks and a chance to get up close to the best comic creators in the world! 

Web: | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Podcast | View the Festival Programme on Issuu | Download the Programme (PDF)


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