You may have noticed my new page banner featuring my awesome cats. L – R are Beatrix Kiddo, Rufus Robson, Mallorie Madeleine, Figaro and Lola Persephone (who we sadly lost last year). The creator and genius behind Birdwrong “A Webcomic Diary by Jack Kempster.
This week, I asked Jack some questions all about him and his webcomic diary.
Tell us about yourself – what’s your name where do you come from?
I’m Jack! I come from Wales. I grew up there, living up my little mountain and went to University there. As such, I’d never really left until recently! Now I’ve stepped out into the world and live in a weird place named England, surrounded by peculiar accents.
How did your webcomics start?
I wish there was an interesting story about all the planning I’d put into starting my webcomic… However, I think the thought popped into my head one day and then I started drawing it the next! I was very bored with life and was feeling a bit glum (which is perhaps reflected in a lot of my older comics!), so I figured I’d start writing about each day in an attempt to highlight to myself all the interesting people and occurrences in my life. What I think started out as quite a self-centered comic eventually branched out to be a collection of stories about family life and interactions amongst friends.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
In regards to Birdwrong, I get my inspiration from day to day life. In 99% of days there will be something interesting to write about. Whether it’s a daft thought, a meaningful (or, perhaps more likely, silly) interaction, or even a rambling about something cool that happened in a video game – there’s always something! Birdwrong is therapeutic in this way, as even when I feel I’ve had a really bad day I can so often turn it around in a comic and make a positive out of it. It can be very satisfying and relieving!
What’s your favourite thing to draw?
I have a lot of fun drawing exaggerated expressions on my little birds!! Much like in the ‘New Slippers’ comic I posted yesterday. It makes me happy.
What do you hate drawing?
I can’t say I hate drawing anything, really!! Though, having been mainly drawing cute podgy birds nearly every day for three years now – I struggly to draw things that aren’t cute and podgy!! I’ve been struggling with this lately when trying to design characters for a new comic I have in the works.
How long does it take you to produce a webcomic?
It really depends on the comics! I use my iPad to draw Birdwrong and the drawing apps on there are not quite as advanced as those available on PC. Until recently, this meant I didn’t even have a ‘fill’ tool for colouring large blocks of colour!! I’ve definitely gotten quicker at drawing Birdwrong and I’d estimate that recently each comic will take me just under an hour to draw if it doesn’t require too much detail.
Your webcomic features real people from your real life – how do you decide how you are going to draw them?
This varies from person to person! Sometimes I’ll give them shapes that I think suit their personality (my Dad’s bird being big, tall and sturdy. He’s not really that massive), sometimes I’ll draw from their prominent features (my brother Sam’s poof of hair!), or maybe a piece of clothing I associate with a person (my friend Tom’s brown coat). Some people are really easy to design birds for! Though I have struggled with many people, and admittedly have never managed to write them into the comic solely because I’ve never been able to design a bird that feels right!
Any advice for aspiring artists?
If there’s something you want to draw, just draw it every single day! Even if you think it isn’t any good, keep trying and you really will get better. I just look back at Birdwrong and the early posts astonish me – the birds are really static and lifeless, I couldn’t draw any facial expressions, and my writing was awful. I just think that if there’s something you really aspire to draw, you can get there. It’s just a learning process.
What do you do when you aren’t working on Birdwrong?
I play copious amounts of games. I used to read copious amounts of books while at university, but that kinda left me a bit burnt out! I’m recovering, though. I’m a huge Nintendo fan and get way too invested in games as an art form. They’re beautiful and wonderful and full of endless possibility. Maybe one day if I’m done with comics, I will try to make a little game!!
Recently (as briefly mentioned earlier) I’ve been working on ideas for a new comic called ‘inkling’. This is a work of fiction! It’s refreshing to be writing and drawing using my imagination, instead of writing based on reality. It’s still in its early stages, though if anybody would like to see any drawings I’ve done so far I do post them to my twitter!
Do you have a favourite edition of your comic?
This is really hard!! I can’t think of a favourite single comic, though I really like a lot of the comics from the early days of mine and Katie’s relationship. So maybe if I were to answer what my favourite “chapter” of sorts is, I’d say it’s those. There was an awful lot of happiness and sadness mixed up together with being in a long distance relationship, and I really wanted to write about it accurately. Being in love is bloody wonderful, but I didn’t want to sugarcoat the distance. I am happy that I was able to portray happiness and sadness co-existing in that way. Though, now that I’ve moved in with Katie I think it’s evident to see in the comics that life has become a burst of colour!