Author and artist Lucy Knisley has been at the drawing board since she was a kid. She began publishing comics in her college newspaper at the age of nineteen, and published her first graphic novel with Simon & Schuster at twenty-one years old! Employing a literary agent, and asking for advice from fellow comic artists more seasoned on the business end, she was able to navigate the publishing world with aplomb, putting out several books and contributing to many publications and anthologies. This past year she put out another work, called Something New, and her most recent edition…a baby! (Lucy and her husband John Hortsman welcomed their son to the world in June.)
“Everything in life is an opportunity to experience something new and to write about it and make artwork, so I’m hoping this one doesn’t totally wipe me out with exhaustion!” Lucy said, prior to the baby’s delivery. One thing is certain, motherhood is something – like travel, food, and marriage – that Lucy will lend her ink, wit, and wisdom to on the page and the web.
At an early age, Lucy channeled the inspiration she gleaned from reading comic books into making her own, scribbling out her own fan comics related to the Archie series, and using her craft to interpret her experiences as she grew up.
After her education she continued to create, and this multi-talented lady didn’t decide to go the tres chic “starving artist” route of suffering for her craft. Lucy chose to structure her art as though it were a conventional job, and by creating a routine she was able to cultivate professional clout.
“I think the insecurity and doubt everyone faces early on in a profession is tough to overcome,” she explains. “In the arts, it’s impossible to feel confident about the future when you’re at the beginning, and it took me years of working and developing my practice to gain the confidence to feel secure in what I do. It’s helped considerably to make myself keep to a regular office schedule, and to treat drawing and writing as a career, rather than a passion. It’s important to me that I feel respect for my own work, and important for others to understand that it’s a respectable job,” Lucy explains.
Lucy’s work is reflective and autobiographical—be it about growing up with a chef mom in Relish, jet-setting around the world in An Age of License, family and a cruise vacation in Displacement, or the mayhem that becomes marriage in Something New, she uses her own experiences and perspective to weave touching, universal works of comic art.
When she’s asked to reflect on the part of the process that is the most dear to her, Lucy is able to come up with a decisive answer.
“The inking stage of a comic. That’s when the possibility of a blank page, ready to be filled by the developed idea, is particularly exciting, and I can watch the comic take shape,” she says.
As for advice for young people who are trying their hands at making art, she has some simple, common-sense gems to bestow.
“Just work at it until it gets a little bit easier. And hydrate! And remember to take breaks and eat and pay attention to your body’s needs, like getting outdoors or moving or sleeping. You’ll not benefit from neglecting your body – it’s the basic tool that you need to do your job!”
Moreover, she believes that asking your peers for guidance and support is what is really key to the process.
“Other girls and women in cool professions are the best and greatest resource you can possibly imagine. Hold up your fellow lady, and your fellow lady will hold you up! My editor, agent, and most successful colleagues are all women I love and believe in, and I’m always meeting more incredible women and girls who blow me away with their talent and generosity,” Lucy beams. “It can be a tough and unfair world sometimes, but knowing you’ve got an arsenal of great ladies at your back can make all the difference in dealing with the nonsense.”
Lucy Knisley is one creative Cool Girl! Congratulations, Lucy and John, on the birth of your son!