Comicosity is picking the brains of a pro who is killing it in the comics industry, and for this round I was lucky enough to talk to MSassyK! MSassyK’s killer color work can be found in the pages of ISOLA, Gotham Academy, The Magnificent Ms. Marvel Annual and more, with an upcoming graphic novel in the works as an artist. She kindly took the time to take us into the world of her process below:
What does a typical day in the life of MSassyK look like?
What time of day do you do your best work?
Either very early morning, or very late at night. It really depends on the project. For efficiency and cranking out pages- it’s the morning, and for looser and better drawings- it’s at night.
Comics is a collaborative medium. How do you work with your teammates on your projects?
Mostly through email, skype, dropbox and in-person meetings with local collaborators. I’ve collaborated with the same people almost my entire career so we don’t need to check in as often. Although if I could pick a favourite , it would be in-person meetings! I need any excuse I can to leave my home.
How do you manage your to-do list?
I have a monthly planner that I use for project management, along with some spreadsheets and a throwaway notebook.
The planner is for project scheduling and assigning work daily. I use a colour system to hi-light and log different things so I have an overview of what my month is like. I tend to overwork so to prevent burn-out, I set myself a daily allowance at the beginning of every project. Once I hit my quota, I stop. I work everyday so the daily allowance and big breaks are very important.
The spreadsheet is all boring business things like accounting and budgets, and my notebook is my brain vomit+short term to-do lists. I have to physically write things down in order to remember them.
What is your workspace like?
My setup was designed for maximum portability since I travel lots. I use a 15” MacBook pro with a small intuos pro tablet (downsized from a medium recently). This all fits in a small computer bag that I take with me everywhere. The tablet is even wireless for when I don’t want cluttered cables.
What tools are essential to your creative process?
Photoshop, my pen tablet and a stable internet connection is all I need. Oh and coffee.
What do you love most about creating comics?
I really love the level of freedom I get in comics. Creating comics gives me a lot of creative control which means I’m always pushing myself to be better because I don’t want to stagnate or let my team down.
The sense of camaraderie and shared pride after completing a project is pretty awesome too.
What is your favourite phase of a project?
The initial excitement buzz – whether it’s establishing a look, or brainstorming inspiration. I also love tweaking in the colour-scripting process to make things flow better as a story.
What do you listen to or watch while you work?
If I need to concentrate, I’ll either work with nothing on or some instrumental chill playlists.
For mindless tasks I’ll listen to podcasts, audiobooks or watch youtube.
Right now, I’m bingeing “The Endless Honeymoon podcast” with Natasha Leggero and Moshe Kasher.
When you aren’t creating comics, how do you like to spend your time?
I try to be as active as much as possible outside to offset the desk-job bod. I love yoga, rock climbing and hiking. Otherwise, I spend the rest of my time travelling and finding fuel for inspiration.
Networking and meeting other creators is an important part of the business. What is your preferred way to network?
My preferred way is to reach out to people to grab coffee/drinks if I’m in town. I feel like it’s less network-y and more personal that way. I always make an effort to say hi to people at conventions and online too but I usually find it all too overwhelming.
What comics are you reading right now?
Does small strips of slice of life comics on my IG count? hahaha
Honestly, not enough! I’m totally ashamed to admit this, but I didn’t grow up reading comics (I only had access to Manga, growing up in Thailand) so I don’t naturally gravitate towards it. My brain craves non fiction books after a long day of being creative so I tend to reach for those instead. I’d like to read more comics though! I have a soft spot for slice of life and Bande dessinée.
What do you hope to see in the industry in the future?
I’ll echo a lot of creators here, but I think access, growth and more variety. I think there’s something so intimate about sharing stories, creativity and experiences through comics as a medium, I hope to see it reach more people in the future.