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Big Mushy Happy Lump with Sarah Andersen

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(Toronto, 31 March. Yakuza Webzine). On March 30th the author of Sarah’s Scribbles, Sarah Andersen came for the first time to Toronto to do a little talk and book signing on her last collection “Big Mushy Happy Lump” in the Indigo Chapters Store located in Bloor St.

Almost everyone on their social media have seen a comic of this little girl with short hair and big round eyes making fun of daily things. Most of them don’t know that this avatar belongs to Sarah Andersen, whose strips go by the name of Sarah’s Scribbles.  Yakuza Webzine managed to go to her appearance to bring you a summary of the book talk.

The brief interview started with “What does it feel to be meme?” to which Andersen answered “I think is really cute, I really like to see the editing specially when they are well intentioned” some of these comics, specially the “Money throwing one” can be replaced with some other more personal stuff, like Yarns or CDs. Andersen enjoys to see how creative people can be.

About Millennials

When it came down to the millennial issue, besides being a word that most people find cringey, Andersen was told that her comics might reinforce the idea of Millennials being lazy, and somewhat scared little burritos wrapped in blankets.

Andersen argued that despite this idea, Millennials are more self-deprecating, and it is so popular because we are the first generation growing up with social media and we tend to be more open with these topics like being sluggish or sleeping on things, and such. “I think we have to reflect upon this things and I just think Millennials are self-deprecating”.

What’s the best afternoon for her?

Well, even if she doesn’t want to be cliché, she enjoys throwing a bunch of pillows and watching Netflix for hours. “Netflix and pizza are the best!”

Most of her comics are autobiographical, because the intention is to be funny, but they go through a lot of editing afterward. A lot of editing. So, you could say it still personal somehow, because it started from a personal experience but then it went through some filters.

The Bunny and the Cat

Do you actually have a bunny? – I did have a bunny, but it passed away, I’m sorry guys is dead.  I am sorry” The bunny that comes in the comics from time to time is a childhood pet. It has a special value because it was a childhood pet and it’s a pity that it’s not around anymore.

In the new book she talks about learning to love cats, and it shocked with the tendency of hating everything that its too popular, but it was a nice discovering, that she could learn how to like them, based on her proper experience.

To her this means that you can discover that you can like something that you didn’t imagine you could like before.

«Don’t do the popular liking game»

Her character is known for having an aversion through things that are popular. “And sometimes it can be kind of unhealthy if you do it just for the sake of doing it – it’s ok to like to unique and weird things, but it’s not ok to be mean to other people about it” The whole story about the cat is totally truthful. “It’s better to like cats, than not to like cats – words to live by”.

It is weird to have so many people to relate to an avatar that is close to her? A million and half almost on Instagram. She could suspect that there would be a ten-ish market of introverts that would like the comic, but she didn’t imagine such a success. It was a surprise in a good way to her.

Her fans so far have been very respectful about her boundaries, never being unpolitic. The wackiest thing that she has heard some times is that her character is their spirit animal “which is always cool to hear”

About being creative

Her criteria for choosing the topic comics is that those who get stuck in her head, repeating themselves again and again or things that happens to her often are the ones who go through the process of becoming comics

To manage heavy topics like “gender stereotypes” or “street harassment” Andersen resort to the “tone”: “I don’t want to be lecturing or just make fun of the topic – I don’t want you to feel that I’m telling you what to do or what to belief, it’s just me poking some fun about it”

What goes in and what not

How she does decide which topics are real or too real to be in the comics? When it comes to anxiety or overthinking, she prefers to isolate these feelings and usually, in that way, they’re good topics for a comic. “I am not afraid of talking about those things, and again, it’s about how do you present it”

A lot of fears that she portrays in her comics, like the one about jumping in a pit of snakes instead of doing a public speech, are ways to externalize things that otherwise would remain internal. The “pit of snakes” comic was born because she was extremely nervous on her first public presentation.

On her creative process there is a lot of walking around, because the creative part is the most difficult for her. She can spend a whole day just brainstorming ideas and choosing which ones she likes best and then, the drawing comes quite easy. For Andersen also helps the deadline pressure, because that’s the way she found that she could deliver better.

To those who want to become illustrators

To young aspiring artist she suggest to do a schedule and stick to it no matter what –even if the deadline pressure is not needed.  And after the honeymoon of the first comic -while you’re in the downward- keep working, even if there is an art block.

Do not desist. “Try it for a couple of months and see how it work!”

Her biggest inspirations was Hyperbole and Half when she was starting because of the origin story behind that comic: “she was bored at work so she posted some comics, and I did the same thing because I saw the possibility – I was bored at work, and posted some stuff”.

Hyperbole and half has also a personal tone that inspired Andersen to follow that lead, to write “personal” stuff. People she look up now are Owltur Comix because of is really clever and really smart and she also likes Pidgeoneer Jane.

When the topic of being “ a woman” in a particular field came out –because she represented the topic in a comic- she answered in a very clever way

She argues that most of the people who do this questions of these list putting all together a bunch of women who “you should watch for”, they don’t do it with bad intentions, but they should remember that these persons are game changers, that can stand on their own.

Cannot adult today

The most “less adult thing” that she keeps doing despite being over 18 YO is having a proper sleeping schedule. Even if she’s compiling her best on other things, as eating healthy and such, the sleeping part still an issue.

And to be honest, it requires a lot of effort to accomplish waking up every day without pushing the snooze button a couple of times.

Loving your own work

Approaching 400 comics far, her favorite own comic is the love one where the character, even after dead in their graves questions her loved one if he’s sure he loves her.

It portrays her relationship she’s into right now and that comic is like a little touchstone for her, but more recently she liked the climate change one because it gave her the opportunity to touch politics without being preachy.

In general her comics have an air of light humor and the avatar usually makes fun on herself and her troubles.

The author confess that in reality she tends to be really hard on herself (like still struggling with her incapability to wake up at 7.30) but when making these strips, she found that is more healthy to laugh at yourself instead of keep taking oneself too seriously, it can become depressing and unproductive.

Andersen in the future

Andersen is currently working on book three, but she’s taking her time because she doesn’t want to make it in a hurry and wants to keep it fresh.

She’s also working with Andy Weir (the Martian’s author) in a long run comic, using her illustrations skills with a more refined style that we can probably enjoy by the end of summer.

Maria Caterina Bruciapaglia

 

 

  • Big Mushy Happy Lump con Sarah Andersen

    (Toronto, 5 de abril. Yakuza Webzine) El pasado 30 de marzo la autora de los Sarah’s Scrib…
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