Throughout the month of October, the Cartoonist Cooperative will be sharing interviews with members of the Co-op who have a new comic available at the ShortBox Comics Fair 2023!
NOTE: The Cartoonist Cooperative is not affiliated, associated, authorized, endorsed by, or in any way formally connected with ShortBox.
Cartoonist Cooperative: We’d love it if you could introduce yourself and tell us about your background in comics.
Val Wise: I’m Val Wise, an American comic artist originally from Clearwater, Florida. I’ve been making comics for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid, I’d lay on the floor with copy paper and pencils and improvise comics that were “loosely” based on the shōjo manga I was reading at the time.
I graduated from art school in 2018. I’ve worked as an artist on a couple of YA graphic novels, made comics for anthologies, and since 2021 I’ve started focusing more on making solo work.
CC: Tell us more about your new comic!
VW: When Death Comes, I Will Follow is a horror-ish dark fantasy comic about three women coping differently with a change in life’s natural order.
CC: Tell us about your creative process; how did you develop this comic and what are the steps you took to bring it to the final stage?
VW: I had an idea for the dynamic between Charlotte and Elaine before I had any real idea what their story would be. I went through a lot of ideas with them (including one where Elaine turned into a deer!) before settling on this one. For the final version of their story, I took inspiration from an episode of Soren Narnia’s Knifepoint Horror podcast, “Let No One Walk Beside Her.” I wanted to capture the haunted, empty feeling it left me with.
I tried shortening my process with this comic. I wrote an outline, then a script, and from there went straight to (digital) pencils without thumbnailing. Though, I do make some rough thumbnails in order to break down my script into pages so…who can say if that really counts as cutting something out. It felt like it did, at least.
I worked on pencils and inks at the same time, which is getting to be a usual part of my process. It keeps me from getting too bored or frustrated, and lets me take breaks from staring at my screen while I ink on paper.
CC: Talk a little about your creative philosophy. What keeps you making comics?
VW: Comics are honestly the only way I can effectively communicate. A lot can’t be described in words. A lot can’t be gained from just looking at a picture. Comics marry the two in a way I think is especially effective at getting ideas or feelings across, especially when they’re the product of just one person’s attempt at communication.
CC: Can you tell us about your newest projects/projects you have in development? Feel free to plug anything here as well eg. socials, website, etc.
Mostly stuff I can’t talk about, haha. But my biggest personal project right now is my ongoing comic, AMPLE. It’s currently following a middle aged nun as she navigates a life of loneliness and deprivation from desire. Though I have an idea of where I want the story to go, the comic itself is improvised page to page with no script and no thumbnails. It’s a really fun way for me to work. The comic is only hosted on my patreon at the moment, but will be publicly available once I have a healthy backlog.