A chat with: Katie O'Neil

November 21, 2016

Hey Gang!

 I'm so excited to bring you an interview with Katie O'Neil, the artist and writer behind that absolutely gorgeous comic Tea Dragon Society.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I'm Katie, a freelance illustrator and children's book author from New Zealand. I'm best known for my webcomic-turned-print Comic Princess Princess ever after. I draw a lot of dragons and cute creatures as well as stories about girls.

You create comics, what are a few of your favorites?

My top favourite comic of all time is Yotsuba by Kiyohiko Azuma. It's so sweet and funny and makes everyday events into an adventure. I also really love all of the Moomin comics by Tove Jannson, and Cat Person by Seo Kim.

Who are some of your favorite artists?

I'm extremely luck to be surrounded by amazingly talented artistic friends who inspire me everyday! I can't express how much strength I gain from their enthusiasm and creativity. More Broadly speaking, I really love Kawase Hasui, Mike Mignola and Amelie Flechais.

Where does your inspiration come from?

My inspiration comes from the world around me, I do my best to enjoy everyday details and small happy things. To me, that's the most important way to have a good life.

What do you do to turn around a bad day?

I have a list of really fun self-care things that make me happy without being associated with drawing, like watching cooking shows, playing Animal Crossing, or baking. For me it's important to have positive activities that aren't tied to drawing, because that can have a lot of frustration attached to it.

Walk us through a typical day for you.

Since starting freelance full time, I take things very day by day. I'm extremely diurnal, and never get up later than about 8 am. I try to get most of my work done in the morning, because that's definitely when I'm most productive and focused! I eat when I get hungry, which usually results in a late breakfast and lunch. After Lunch, I usually just do sketches or reply to emails-nothing too heavy. I try to stop drawing for the day by 4-5 or so, as I really don't want to damage my wrists and hands.
How do you plan a chapter of your comic?

For me to feel confident in a story, I pretty much have to have the whole story scripted out before I begin the drawing of it. So at the moment, I fortunately have a solid script to work from when I start each chapter.

If you could live in any fictional world, what would you choose and why?

Definitely Pokemon! I've wanted to ever since I was a kid, it just seems so idyllic and happy, and you have adventures and go exploring so easily.

Do you have any advice for novice artists?

Practice a lot, but don't let drawing become a chore for you. If there's something you love to draw, draw it and don't worry about whether it's self-indulgent or silly. Remember that you have something special to offer the world, and while influences are important, the don't need to take your style in order for it to be good. You're a blend of all your experiences, and so it your art, which is what makes it so cool and interesting!

How would you describe you art style?

Colorful and simple, without much rendering or shading. I've never been very good at either, and I've been a lot happier since I embraced that.

If you could work with another artist or write, who would your dream collaborations be?

Pretty much any of my friends could walk up to me with an idea and I'd be excited about it- I'm mostly inspired by people who are passionate about characters, and all of my friends are!

How did Tea Dragon Society Come to be?

I kind of drew the dragons as a one-off illustration- just something simple and cute for fun. They really took and off and people began asking me about the world so I began fleshing it out and it pretty much kept going.

 You can patronize Katie at the links below: 

 Until Next Time, Stay Nerdy, ~Spokhette!~


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