By Marilyn Weiss
First of all, I would like to congratulate Kate Beaton on her Eisner win. On Friday night, Beaton became the first woman to independently win for Best Humor Publication. Fresh off of her win, Beaton sat down to give her fans to talk about her life, her work and her upcoming projects.
Beaton is a self-taught artist, but she likes her signature style. She describes it as, squiggly and rough. "I have a knack for gesture and expression" she admitted. When drawing a comic she actually tries to stick as closely as she can to her original sketches as she can, as she believes the more she focuses, the more her art will look labored and heavy.
As a young girl in a small town with nothing to do she developed her artistic talents. "No boyfriends, just drawing" she joked. "There were only 23 kids in my class, and most of them were related." Confident in her skills she poured herself into her comics. When she went off to college she majored in history. Beaton took up writing comics for the campus newspaper. She described walking into the dining hall and seeing all of the newspapers open to the comics section. "It's very empowering, knowing you can make people laugh" she explained, while laughing manically. In her third year she took to writing the humor column.
After graduating Beaton worked at several different museums. She has fond memories of her work, and actually misses the 9-5. She misses the collaboration for working with other people, which can be hard to come by while working alone as an artist.
Beaton then went into describing the work that goes into each comic. When she first started drawing comics she could crank out one a day, a pace that she admits is no longer realistic for her. Lots of reading and research goes into each comic. She reads books, watches movies, and reviews essays before writing her final comic. But for Beaton, the most fun part isn't reading the source material, it's reading about what others have said about it.
As for her upcoming projects, Beaton is currently working on a memoir. The graphic novel will focus on her life after graduation while she worked out in the Athabasca Oil Sands to pay off her student debt. Her time working out there had a significant impact on her, and Beaton felt as though other media coverage of the oil sands often rings hollow. Beaton explained that the graphic novel will cover economic migration and displacement, lock of choice, the environment and gender issues.
If you are interested in seeing her work, check out her comics at harkavagrant.com
Marilyn Weiss is a contributor for Bleeding Cool and loves her job as a children's librarian. You can find her on Twitter @marilynjweiss