Sushi Time: An Interview with Lizz Lunney
Lizz Lunney is a cartoonist and animator. In this interview with Bugpowder she talks about making her mini comics, appearing in Top Shelf’s online anthology and gives her thoughts on comics and art generally.
Bugpowder: Can you introduce yourself for the benefit of those unfamiliar with your work?
Lizz Lunney: Sure, hello, I'm Lizz. I generally draw short, funny strips about cats, dinosaurs, unicorns, tigers, and other such animals. Sometimes there is some tofu or sushi in there too and a few humanised chairs/burgers/ovens. I have an online comic and self-publish little, collectible books and merchandise of characters such as Depressed Cat, Leaning Rabbit and Hairy Midget Elf.
BP: Please tell us a little about your online comics. How these came about and what you hope to achieve with them (to get yourself exposure, as ads to help sell postcards/mini comics, to get pro' work - all of these things)?
LL: My online comic is called Online Comic Sushi. It started off as more of an online sketchbook and then became a great way to trial strips and characters for the books. It’s a good way for people to get a taste of my work for free before buying anything (but the books are better...!).
BP: You've recently had a strip published in the Top Shelf web-anthology. How did that come about? What did it mean to you personally/professionally?
LL: Yup, I'm one of the Top Shelf 2 artists. There are a few strips on there now. I sent them some work and they asked if I wanted to be part of it. It’s pretty nice. I like it.
BP: How did you get into making comics? Do you have a formal art education of any sort?
LL: I have always made comics, from as soon as I could draw I was creating cartoon strips and used to spend hours and hours making little flip books and comic books and that sort of thing. Art was always my favourite subject at school and I took life drawing classes for a few years as well as doing an art foundation course. Then I did a degree in animation and from that I developed an interest in storyboarding work. So now I self-publish my comic work and also do storyboarding for film and animation.
BP: Anything else in the works with Top Shelf?
LL: Not at the moment but it would be great to do other work with them...
BP: How has your art education informed your comic making? Would you advise other cartoonists to take art classes?
LL: Sure! Everyone should! I think it just helps you to look at things in a different way and take time considering something that you may otherwise just take for granted. Like spending an hour drawing a pile of driftwood; it gives you a new found respect for piles of driftwood. Or something.
BP: What are your aspirations professionally? Would you like to be able to devote your time to making comics exclusively or do you think you'd always like to have a foot in animation?
LL: Um. I think I'd just like to be doing something I enjoy. I'd like to see my comics animated but I don't have the patience to animate them myself. My animation interest is more in storyboarding and ideas and characters. It’s nice to be doing as many things as possible I'd say.
BP: Can you tell us something about your working methods? Do you carry a sketch book at all times? Do you have a notebook for ideas?
LL: I try to carry a sketchbook but usually the times I need it, it turns out that I've left it at home and I end up drawing/writing ideas on scraps of paper/napkins/cats etc. I usually work best in the middle of the night, so keep a notebook by the side of the bed for sketching when half asleep.
BP: Do you think that having an online presence has been useful? Is it something that you'd recommend to other cartoonists?
LL: Of course! I don't know how people can manage without a website or some kind of online presence these days.
BP: What are thoughts on the indie comics scene in this country? Any indie cartoonists you'd like to big up?
LL: I'm pretty lazy, so generally I only know of artwork that other people have specifically recommended to me. Also my bad eyesight means I often miss things at conventions when I walk round! Lately I've been enjoying work by Bird, Gemma Correll, Marc Ellerby, in Andrew Owen Johnston's Zine Arcade, and by Shannon Gerard and Adam Cadwell. There are probably others too, in fact soon I plan to write a post on my blog with my top ten.
BP: Which comics are you reading at the mo', if any?
LL: I read Viz every week. Most recently I have read Tamara Drew by Posy Simmonds, Persepolis and Cry Yourself to Sleep by Jeremy Tinder.
Lizz Lunney, thanks for your time.