Each year STAPLE! brings over 200 artists and creators under one roof for the celebration of independent media.
It is one of the few long-standing events in Austin that highlights independently produced comics, zines, art, crafts and games alongside educational panels and workshops. We interviewed three artists from 2019’s expo, Evan Narcisse, Monica Gallagher and Jae Lin, to gain insight about their process and see firsthand how their creations come to life.
How did you adjust your process when transitioning from reviewing comics to writing one?
Working as a critic helped me figure out why I like what I like, so all those years writing about other folks’ creative output did wind up useful when it was my turn. But where I’d normally be unpacking the intent and thematics of a fictional work, it was on me to come up with those elements. I had to think about why the story in Rise of the Black Panther needed to be told, and how it could speak to the character’s long winding history. Learning to think visually and get comfortable with calling on comics’ unique storytelling attributes took some doing but it was a fun thing to learn.
Do you prefer creating art that touches on personal subjects?
I do, because I strongly believe all art pulls on who we are, whether we intend it to or not. Even something detached from autobiographical impulses or wild fantasies is informed by how we move through the world and what we observe about human nature. What are some of the techniques you use if you get writer’s block? Pragmatism works wonders. The reminder that a paycheck or more work won’t come if you blow a deadline is a great motivator.
Do you think it’s important for artists to share their work in progress?
Seeing a comic artist’s warm-up sketches, thumbnails, and character studies makes the calling feel more approachable. When you just see end results, it seems more like magic rather than hard work. Hard work and dedication are always where the truth lives.
What is the best part about participating in STAPLE!?
STAPLE! is great because it’s focused on displaying how independent creators express their art. There’s so much positive energy, communal reinforcement, and genuine curiosity that you can’t help but feel jazzed by being in that space.
Is there any other information you would like our readers to know?
I’m still figuring out how to do all the creative endeavors I’m working on. The learning process has been daunting but fun. There’s nothing like hearing that your work has had a lasting effect on people.