Founding member of Team Girl Comic, Gillian Hatcher, has grown the group from it’s humble beginnings and all while producing her own comics too.
What was the first title you worked on?
The first comic I ever made was called Industrial Robot, and it was a collection of weird short stories based on things that had happened to me, in-jokes and song lyrics.
I printed it at my uni library and sold it to friends for £1. I managed to convince a couple of record shops to stock them behind the till for a 40% cut of the ‘profits’.
How has your work changed since then?
I like to think my stories have got a lot more accessible since then, I’ve learned how to take a personal experience and fictionalise it so that it makes sense and is entertaining to people other than myself. Although I still enjoy making absurd humour stuff for my own amusement.
My art has definitely improved although it’s still not as good as I would like it to be. I’ve always been more interested in the storytelling side of comics and focussed more on improving my writing and layout design.
Who are your main influences?
Growing up I mostly read The Beano, Tintin and Peanuts, which have all influenced me in different ways. Particularly Herge’s flat colours and Schultz’s line art.
Then in my later teens I discovered alternative North American cartoonists like Peter Bagge, Mark Beyer and Julie Doucet, who inspired me to have a go at it myself and taught me that having a distinct and personal style is more important than creating ‘perfect’ works of art.
What comics are you reading just now?
I’ve had so little time to read comics recently! I got the complete collection of Peter Bagge’s ‘Neat Stuff’ for Christmas so I’ve been gradually working my way through that. I also recently read ‘Hot Dog Taste Test’ by Bojack Horseman’s Lisa Hanawalt which is sheer brilliance.
What’s the best thing about creating comics?
The part right before you start making a comic, and the part where you have finished! Making comics is great but it’s so time consuming and I sometimes ask why I put myself through this. But the buzz you get when you come up with a really great idea for a story, and then the feeling of satisfaction having completed it is pretty addictive. I’m a visual thinker and I’m a bit camera shy so I can’t think of any better way to express myself.
What are you working on just now?
I’ve recently finished my pages for TGC’s latest book: That Girl Comic, which came out in July. It’s a collection of stories on the theme of ‘growing up’, and covers everything from childhood memories to sex education to life as an adult in 2017. My own comic is about the way boys and girls are taught about periods.
Now my focus is on putting the book together, making sure everyone’s got their details in the contents page and making sure it gets to the printer on time.
Where can we see you next?
I’ll be at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival in October.