Thursday, May 28, 2015

Visual Expressions - Interview with Sophie Goldstein!

Hello, everyone! I'm so excited to share this interview with the lovely Sophie Goldstein. She is the creator of my favorite webcomic, Darwin Carmichael is Going to Hell, and she's going to share with us a bit more about her process, her upcoming and current work, and "Visual Expressions." Sophie, thank you so much for doing this interview! :) 

The Oven by Sophie Goldstein
Ozone depletion and dwindling resources have driven the human race into domed cities where population controls are strictly enforced. When a young couple goes looking for an anti-government paradise in the desert they may have found more than they bargained for. 

Sophie Goldstein is a graduate of the Center for Cartoon Studies. In 2014 she won an Ignatz Award for her mini-comic "House of Women, Part I".

What originally made you want to become a webcomic artist/creator?

After graduating college in 2007 I was working as an administrative assistant at a large university and I spent a lot of my time—like most office workers—surfing the internet. I'd been reading print comics for years at that point, but I got interested in webcomics because of the diversity of subjects and the low bar of entry.  I took a couple extension courses in comics at the School of Visual Arts in NYC, one with Tom Hart and one with Matt Madden, and then Jenn Jordan and I started "Darwin Carmichael is Going to Hell" in January 2009.  Just like that.

What projects are you working on right now?

My graphic novel "The Oven" just came out from AdHouse Books so I'm trying to promote that a bit—conventions, bookstore appearances and such—while also working on Part II of my graphic-novel-in-progress "House of Women". I finished Part I in 2013 so Part II is long overdue. I'm also working on a new project with Jenn Jordan, my co-creator on DCiGTH. Unlike DCiGTH we're trying to do a full script before I start drawing so thus far it's been mostly planning and writing.

How did you learn how to draw so well?

Well, I wouldn't call myself the most accomplished artist but I think I've improved a lot since I started making comics. I've taken a few drawing classes but I've never been very good about keeping a sketchbook or practicing in any way.  IMHO the best way to improve as a cartoonist is to draw more comics—and to read the work of other cartoonists and see how they solve the problems you may be struggling with, whether it's page layouts, spot-blacks, acting or any of the 1,001 other things we struggle with as artists.

What inspires you?

I find inspiration everywhere: magazine articles, books, movies, museums, podcasts, &c. If a subject interests me I try to read up on it, even if I don't immediately see a story in it. For a brief time I got really obsessed with RVs and "rubber tramps" and that lead to a lot of the material that I referenced for "The Oven". I see some younger cartoonists who only read comics and don't absorb other forms of media and I think that's a big mistake. If you only consume a very narrow spectrum of media and entertainment then your work is going be derivative. Be a cultural omnivore.

What does your art process look like?

Once I get an idea, situation or story premise that I find very interesting I try to develop it with sketches and writing out some plot points and/or dialogue in a notebook. Then I'll write the script in thumbnails (tiny page layouts with dialogue). Once I have the script tightened up I'll draw the pages at print-size on regular copy paper, scan those pages, and print them in blue on bristol board at 125% or more of print size.  I'll ink those pages with pitt artist pens or a brush, depending on the project, then I scan and clean up the pages in photoshop. If there's a greytone or colors I'll add those in photoshop as well.

Simple enough, right?

What is one tip you could give an aspiring webcomic artist?

Finish something. If you've never done a comic before then don't make your first comic a 200 page epic—start with a 8-page mini-comic or even a couple of one-pagers. The road to success is littered with overly-ambitious projects abandoned along the wayside.

Are there any webcomics, or comics in general, that you would recommend?

A few of my favorite webcomics include: As The Crow FliesOctopus PieJohnny Wander & Curvy. Also Girls With Slingshots, which just finished recently but is now re-booting from the beginning in color.

Check this out!
Please check out Sophie's books! The Oven can be purchased on Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Her other books can be purchased on her website, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.  Follow her on Tumblr and Twitter, as well.


  1. Thanks for sharing! Definitely adding this to my to-read list :)

  2. Webcomics sounds like a genre I need to check out. I love the old-fashioned comics like Archie, Garfield & Pickles, but have yet to read any webcomics.