Nothing is cooler than a lady who draws comics and Carolyn Belefski is no doubt super cool.
She is an Â artist and she runs her own empire over at Curls Studio where she publishes her own books while keeping up with a webcomic which she updates twice a week. She hits a lot of comic conventions where you can buy her artwork from her personally. She even records a podcast with her writer, Joe Carabeo. Sounds like a busy gal, right? That’s why we are happy that she sat down and answered a few questions for us!
DEFECTIVEGEEKS: Tell us what Curls Studio is about!
CAROLYN BELEFSKI: Curls Studio is all about bringing fun to the comics world. I do a webcomic called Curls which updates every Monday and Thursday at www.curls-studio.com/curls. I also work with writer Joe Carabeo to publish the comic books Kid Roxy, Black Magic Tales and The Legettes. We will be exhibiting our creations in 2011 at the upcoming Philadelphia Alternative Comic Con (August 14), Baltimore Comic-Con (August 20-21), Small Press Expo (September 10-11), Intervention (September 16-18) and I just found out the other day that I got accepted to New York Comic Con in Artist Alley (October 13-16). We hope to be able to meet you at one of our East Coast tour stops.
DG: What was the inspiration for the webcomicâ€™s story and the art style?
BELEFSKI: I started Curls in 2002 and it was published in The Commonwealth Times student newspaper at Virginia Commonwealth University. After graduation, I published some of the college strips online and started writing and drawing more strips. I am inspired by things I see in everyday life and experiences I witness. Curls is a gal who likes excitement and gets into adventurous situations. One of her friends is a life-sized slice of toast named Toast of the Town. She also lives with a turtle who wears turtlenecks named Turtle Neck, a Siamese fighting fish who is a boxing champion named Applause, and a penguin named Pitter Patter. Some of her past adventures have included being dragged into a lake during a fishing expedition, getting lost while using a Clive Owen and Keith Urban voiced GPS, and becoming a mad scientist. The art style has changed through the years. It began with the line art being the same width, but with a heavy force-field line around the characters. Now the style has evolved to varying the line width and having a brush quality to it. Readers can see in the achieves how my art style of Curls has progressed. The current style is more loose and freeing to me now.
DG: What’s their work process? Do they start on pen and paper and move to digital or straight to digital?
BELEFSKI: I like to do comics with pen and paper. Curls is all pen and paper, however I color digitally. With the upcoming Kid Roxy, Black Magic Tales and The Legettes comic books, I plan to use a computer for the lettering and coloring. I did a project that was all digital called Sketch Before Sleep where I did a digital sketch everyday for a year. I will soon be launching a Kickstarter campaign soon to produce a 365 book of all the sketches. As far as progress goes, I like to start with thumbnail sketches to work out the story and then I start producing the final art at a larger size. When Joe and I work together, he provides me with a script and we both communicate to each other with suggestions of story or art.
BELEFSKI: Thanks! Toast came to me as a thought one day in my college apartment. It sounded fun to me to have a Toast with a jelly smile. Then I thought about his eyes and added two holes to the bread. He lives in a toaster and we actually have a plush Toast doll we have on tour at the Curls Studio table during the conventions. A lot of people really like him.
DG: From past experience, I know a webcomic is hard work! What is your main motivations for Curls Studio? What is your favorite part about doing a weekly webcomic and your least favorite?
BELEFSKI: I continue to do Curls because I really enjoy the characters and I also love making people smile. Even if I make someone happy for 20 seconds and then they move on with their day, then that’s a success. My ultimate life goal is to have one of my characters become a larger-than-life balloon at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. So I will keep chipping away at making comics and spreading the word of Curls Studio. I am also motivated by reader feedback and reactions. It gives me another reason to keep going. My least favorite part of creating a webcomic is time management. Since I work a full-time job and take on freelance design and illustration projects, my time is limited and I must work on Curls doing my nights and weekends, which I don’t mind doing, but that also means it is harder to focus when you have other things to juggle. Doing the comics keeps me stable and creative.
DG: Do you have a special message for all the geeks and lady geeks and why they should check out your comic?
BELEFSKI: There is something for everyone in the comics Curls Studio produces, so I hope everyone takes a moment to browse some of the Curls comic strips in the archives as well as our comic books. Even though my style is described as cute, there’s a lot of danger and mystery to the stories we make. I would also encourage people who want to create something to spend at least 30 minutes a day on that project and also support others who create. For example, if you like something share it on Twitter or email a friend about it. Part of enjoying a lot of these stories and podcasts online is the communication and it’s great to get many people involved. Please check out the Curls Studio production blog or our podcast The Carolyn & Joe Show online at www.curls-studio.com and we hope to meet you one day at a comic convention near you.