We're so thrilled that Andrea Bell is bringing her whimsical work to #stlspexpo 2016, all the way from Chicago!
Tell us a little about yourselves; what makes you tick and what makes your publications tick?
I grew up in a very quiet town that was next to a very normal suburb outside of Chicago,Illinois. Although I really enjoyed growing up in the town I did, my personality was truly shaped from the trips we took to visit my grandpa in his log cabin in the northern woods of Wisconsin. In my work you can see these influences really shine through. My nostalgia of running around with my cousins through the forest, the make-believe we would play, and the lessons my grandpa would teach me at the end of the day find a place in the subjects and scenery I write about and illustrate.
What do you think of the relationship between publishing (what you do) and reaching an audience of readers?
I think as a kid (and I think a lot of kids an relate) that I drew and created pieces because I soon learned that when showing others my work they would react. The idea that a drawing that took me X amount of time would then merit reactions like excitement, admiration, sadness, was a powerful tool for a 7 year old but to this day I enjoy hearing about someone's reaction (any reaction) when they see and read my work.
Can you tell us about your creative, editorial, and collaborative process?
My creative process involves a lot of writing and rewriting. For a comic I tend to first scribble down key points or topics that I know I want to express in this work. Sometimes this manifests itself in a list and other times I start "free-writing" conversations between characters about how I think they would naturally talk in a conversation about said topics.
The same can be said when creating editorial pieces and when collaborating with a group...I'll usually appoint myself to record all the thoughts that are being exchanged. I noticed I tend to overcompensate with all the rewrites and lists trying to find the best way to communicate these ideas.
How did you get into working with small press publishing?
In my last year of college I ran across a small publisher called Yeti Press that at the time was based in Chicago. Digging deeper through their catalog I noticed a lot of work from peers in my same school. I decided that after graduation I wanted to keep the momentum of my work high and I started crafting the basic story and script of Rose from the Dead. I wrote a few emails to the Yeti guys and had a meeting where they agreed to bring on my book to their huge Kickstarter subscription project and before I knew it, my book was being made and find their way to the nice people who donated to the project.
What advice would you give to someone starting a small press or publishing project?
Please just finish your projects. You may be in a rut and you don't like how you're drawing/writing/creating this book/comic/what have you, and you want to quit. Just finish it so this idea is done, and you can move to the next one.
How long have you been at it (by "it" I mean publishing)?
About 3 years
What would you have told your younger self about what you are doing? and What do you hope your older self might tell the you of today?
I would have told her to study harder for her spelling tests. And I would hope that my future self will let the Andrea of today know that all my hard work paid off.
Join is at #stlspexpo 2016 on October 15th at Central Library from 10:00 and 5:00.
If you can't make it, find Andrea's work here: http://andreabelldraws.com/