With August right around the corner, so are some brand new comic concepts that I've never seen before but am dying to read. In my August Previews video one comic mentioned is Sheets, a graphic novel written and illustrated by Brenna Thumler and published by Lion Forge, I scored an interview and I can't wait for you guys to meet her.
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.
NAL: What was your favorite thing about Sheets?
BT: My favorite part of working on Sheets was the freedom to create a world that was entirely my own, with characters that I have become so personally attached to. (They’re my friends!) I put a lot of myself into the book, but discovered, even more, growing as both a person and artist. When I complete a graphic novel project, I am shocked by how much I’ve learned and how much my skills have improved. I love knowing that there’s no end to the creative process; there’s always another level for you to strive to work towards.
NAL: What would you consider your most favorite project?
BT: Sheets has been the most incredible project I’ve ever worked on. Because it is my first original graphic novel, it will always hold a special significance. It was a great challenge that transformed both my abilities and my perspective, and I have never felt such a strong sense of purpose. Plus, it has ghosts.
NAL: If you could collaborate with anyone who would it be and why?
BT: I would love to do a graphic novel with Lemony Snicket, whether it be an adaptation of his Series of Unfortunate Events, or a new work. To illustrate his dark sense of humor and quirky scenarios would be a thrilling experience. And a visual adaptation of Violet, Klaus, and Sunny’s story would involve one bizarre, action-packed adventure after another, each in a unique and dynamic setting. Also, if the Duffer Brothers ever want a graphic novel version of Stranger Things, I’m so on board.
NAL: If you could live in any fandom world where would you choose and why?
BT: Is Hogwarts too obvious? My other choices would be Wes Anderson films, because my surroundings would always be color-coordinated and symmetrical, or Stars Hollow, because the worst thing that would ever happen would be Taylor Doose installing a traffic light.
NAL: Do you have any tattoos?
BT: I don’t, but admittedly, the thought of a small ghost tattoo has crossed my mind ever since I started Sheets.
NAL: Any advice for aspiring artists?
BT: Make connections and don’t stop drawing. It’s easy to get stuck in your own little art corner, but meeting others in the industry is critical. If an opportunity to network presents itself, jump on it! And if you assume you’ve reached your maximum artistic potential, don’t. I just finished my second book and I still don’t believe my art is good enough, yet. Keep drawing every day, because there is always room to get better, and share these drawings with the world.