Creator Spotlight – Laura Watton

Tell us a bit about yourself – how did you get started in comics? 

I have always loved reading comics, the first book I ever remember reading all by myself was a comic! (A DC Digest of Sugar and Spike…) I always loved cartoons and comics, and as I was always drawing, I started to make my own versions with crayons in notepads as a kid. I think I part-drew an “adaptation” of a Smurfs film when I was four years old. When I was older I decided to take comic-making more seriously, and as a teenager I was inspired by a lot of 90s manga in particular which had started getting translated, because it was so different – there were a lot of female protagonists in the stories I was reading and the stories were aimed at my age group, and were easy to get into

What is it about comics that you love?

For me it is the exaggerated visual grammar and emotions, I get really invested in a lot of what I read and love a lot of characters. When I was feeling like an outcast as a teenager, reading a lot of comics was a huge escape. I didn’t know many people who did read comics at the time (late 90s), and because was relatively knowledgeable about what I was reading, I was left alone – nowadays a lot of this has changed thanks to comics in bookshops, being more accessible in the high street and ease of buying and reading online, plus even more manga is being translated than ever before too – it’s even easier to make connections with others who are reading the same stories than ever before.

Your workshop last year was a massive fan-favourite, and I’m determined to shirk my convention responsibilities to catch this year’s Working As An Artist presentation. Can you tell us a little about it?

I look forward to seeing you all there! This is a talk I made for a university, and it contains the warts and all path to reality. Everything we think we know about making art and getting paid for making artwork and comics is really hard and even sometimes false, but even though some of the content may at first seem hard to believe, we also talk about the realities of making it work. You need a lot of love to make comics, and I hope everyone brings their energy to the talk, so we can all continue to support each other to make comics.

What are you working on right now / what do you have coming out this year?

I have just finished the penultimate issue of my long-running series, Biomecha (Issue 12A – issue 12 is so long I have had to split it into two parts! Part B is the final issue). I started this comic in the 90s and it’s slowly been worked on (I have tried to fit working on the issues in and around the catastrophes of life) and the characters have followed me from my teens. This comic would be impossible to make without the help of my Patreon followers, some of whom have been along for the Patreon ride for almost ten years now! www.patreon.com/pinkapplejam I’m really happy to be able to get a new issue out in time for Portsmouth Comic Con, I hope folks will like it and also hope that new readers will give the story a try.

What will you have for sale at the show? 

I’ll be bringing my Biomecha book series, my “You Will Be Able to Draw Manga by the End of This Book”, some Tokyopop books, a Horror story anthology, the last few Aesthetic Warriors art books and some A3 risograph prints, and I also have some new stationery pieces such as washi tape and notepads as well. I’ll also have some badges and keyrings too. There will be something for everyone on my table!

My shop is on holiday at the moment but you can see the types of items my customers have purchased in my Etsy shop reviews: