Every year, in the countdown to the Lakes International Comic Art Festival, we bring you a series of interviews with guests at the event. This “Festival Focus” for 2018 is Ottilie Hainsworth, an artist and educator living in Brighton, where she runs a course called “Graphic Novels and Real Life Stories”.
Ottilie studied illustration at Glasgow School of Art and at the Royal College of Art. She contributed as artist and writer to Brighton: The Graphic Novel and draws a full-colour diary of her everyday life. Her first graphic novel, Talking to Gina, was published by Myriad in September 2017.
What are you working on, comics-wise, right now, and when will it be published?
Ottilie Hainsworth: I am currently working on a graphic diary which I have been drawing for several years, and hope to publish in the next couple of years.
Which comic project you’ve worked on are you most proud of and where can people see it or buy it?
Ottilie: I am most proud of Talking to Gina, as it is my first graphic novel. It’s published by Myriad Editions. It can be bought online and in all good bookshops!
How do you plan your day as a creator? (Do you plan your day?)
Ottilie: I am very good at procrastinating, but have to be organised when I’m teaching my comics courses, and sort of compartmentalise the different bits of my work. Early mornings are best for drawing and colouring, when I’m still half asleep.
What’s the best thing about being a comics creator?
Ottilie: The best thing about being a comics creator is… I always wanted to have drawing as a super power, because when you can draw you can create your own worlds, you can make anything happen. When you draw sequences of images the characters sort of come to life, and the best feeling is when you see someone being affected by what you’ve drawn.
And the worst?
Ottilie: Not making enough money.
What most distracts you from getting your work done?
Ottilie: Everything! but mainly fear of not being able to sustain belief in an idea for the length of time it takes to complete the work.
Do you think it’s easier or harder for young comic creators to get published today?
Ottilie: I don’t know, am pretty new to the industry side of things.
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?
Ottilie: I have been to the Lake District a long time ago. I stayed in Egremont in a caravan, when I went to my good friend’s wedding in Keswick. The Lake District is lovely, and I am very excited about coming there again.
Which one comic creator would you most like to meet, and why?
Ottilie: I would like to meet Lynda Barry, because her work is so sparky and emotionally honest. I am sure she would be great to talk to about comics.
How do Festivals and other comics events help creators most, do you think?
Ottilie: Events like this are a great way to get inspired when you see the sheer breadth and range of work being produced, for all tastes.
What one piece of advice do you offer people looking to work in the comics industry?
Ottilie: When I teach my comics courses I advise people to think about who their audience could be, in terms of subject matter and style, and to do their own research by showing their work to as many people as possible and noticing the responses.
The reason why this is so important is because it is very easy to become completely wrapped up in your own work, and at some point for the sake of your sanity if nothing else, it’s necessary to “step away from the drawing board…”
What’s your favourite comic right now and where can people get it?
Ottilie: The graphic novel that has stayed in my mind most recently is Beautiful Darkness by Fabien Vehlmann. I thought it was a children’s story but it wasn’t…
Ottilie, thank you very much for your time and we look forward to seeing you in Kendal.
• The Lakes International Comic Art Festival will be back in Kendal 12th – 14th October 2018. Tickets for the Festival are on sale now from: www.comicartfestival.com