NAL: Tell us a little about yourself.
BT: I received my degree in illustration, but not once during college did I think I’d work on graphic novels. In fact, I actively avoided them, assuming I wouldn’t be happy with or suitable for that type of work. But sometimes fate knows you better than you know yourself, and won’t take “no” for an answer. When I began illustrating my first - an adaptation of Anne of Green Gables - it was like finding true love, a dream home, and the secret recipe for that restaurant sauce no one can replicate. Storytelling has always played a significant role in my life and my art, so clearly I was stubborn and blind. Now I can’t imagine myself doing anything else.
NAL: Walk us through your typical day.
BT: When I’m in the middle of a graphic novel, my day starts the same as any other: with coffee, breakfast, and Sudoku puzzles. Then I dive into my work, which might mean writing, storyboarding, drawing, or coloring, depending on where I am in the process. And here I stay, hunched over my desk, with Spotify or my umpteenth run of The Office playing in the background, until I decide I should probably sleep. I do take breaks to cook meals, attend nightly Zumba classes, and play music, which are my three favorite ways to unwind! I love my job, but it’s demanding. Being an artist means being an artist at all times. It’s a powerful thing, though, to be willing to make whatever sacrifices necessary and be so indescribably passionate about something so intimidating and challenging.
NAL: Who are some of your favorite writers or artists?
BT: Where do I begin!? Some of my favorite writers are Jodi Picoult, John Green, Daniel Handler, and Emma Donoghue. As for artists and creators, this is even harder to narrow down. I’ll say Jillian Tamaki, Vera Brosgol, Jon Juarez, Quentin Blake, and Michael Byers, but stress that there are about fifty other favorites.