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 Toy_Box, one of few Czech female comics authors.
Her creations have been awarded the Muriel award, the only prize that is given to comics books in the Czech Republic, for the best comics book and the best comics drawing in 2015.
Her multilayer art pieces vary from a large field between classical drawing and painting to street art, making her one of the most outstanding creators of her generation.
What are you working on, comics-wise, right now, and when will it be published?
Toy_Box: Right now, I am having a big painterly exhibition in a prestigious gallery Egon Schiele Art Centre in Český Krumlov and currently I am illustrating my book The Comics Textbook of Comics - a comic story which is a textbook of comics. It will be published in the autumn of this year or at the beginning of next year.
Which comic project you've worked on are you most proud of and where can people see it or buy it?
Toy_Box:I am most proud of my book my book of Vinnetou, my debut graphic novel, which gained a prize for the best graphic novel for kids. Along with others examples of my work, people can see at my website and my current work on Facebook.
How do you plan your day as a creator? (Do you plan your day?)
Toy_Box: Yes, I do plan my days very accurately and with a lot of focus. It is the only way for me as an artist to survive and thrive, since I am a mother of two-years old twins, stepmother of other two kids and our family has three dogs :)
Me and my boyfriend, we plan each week in advance with a half an hour accuracy. Before having kids I planned my day quite normally I'd say, I would work in the morning and soon afternoon than I would have go to some art exhibition opening, or have some fun with my friends. Now I spent half of the day kids are awake, time with them, so I am used to work in the most obscure day and night times - such as after 7.00am or past midnight.
Even if I am busy it's fair to say I enjoy it. Frankly, I am really happy in this period of my life. Because I love my kids and I love my work and I still manage quite well to cope the both.
What's the best thing about being a comics creator?
Toy_Box: You need only a pencil and some colour to tell the stories, if you have the imagination.
And the worst?
Toy_Box: The stress with pushing the button when sending something to print.
What most distracts you from getting your work done?
Toy_Box: Usually kids crying from the other room or sometimes I am just too exhausted to draw even one other line.
Do you think it's easier or harder for young comic creators to get published today?
Toy_Box: I think it's super easy nowadays, because the technology is widely accessible. You can always publish yourself DIY way.
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?
Toy_Box: I have never been and I am looking forward to see the comics scene in Great Britain. I hope it look bit like a Midsomer Murders set.
Which one comic creator would you most like to meet, and why?
Toy_Box: I'd like to meet Bill Sienkiewicz, to breathe in some of his amazing art skills.
How do Festivals and other comics events help creators most, do you think?
Toy_Box: Their main help is in showing that comics authors, the rare endangered flowers who grow mostly in solitude are growing all around the world .)
What one piece of advice do you offer people looking to work in the comics industry?
Toy_Box: Be bold, be punk, don't ever let anyone to take away your dreams.
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