Needless to say, I had to know more about the inner workings of her brain and what other fantastic projects she had cooking. Why don't we peek under the bed and see what we can find.
Can you talk to me about On The Edge and how it came about?
Leisl Adams: It started out with me wanting to do a comic about therapy.
Synopsis: On The Edge (http://ontheedgecomics.com) is a wacky world where emotions are represented by Demons. Negs was once an all powerful Demon until he was demoted, and now tries to get by as a therapist. His roommate Alice is a cop who tries to keep him in line.I also wanted the main character to be a woman with a good career, but a not so great personal life.
I had been to therapy myself for social anxiety and depression and drew a picture of what I thought "depression" would look like, and it was Mr. Negative. Originally he was supposed to turn from a cute little Demon into a huge monster, but for the comic I decided to ditch that idea. I don't know why I decided to put Cat-people in there… probably because I had a cat and I wondered what it would be like if he could talk. I didn't know anything about furries or what was already online, so I thought I was being clever. When I started this I wasn't even on the internet very much. I didn't know what webcomics were. I would just draw this stuff to show my friends.
Can you talk to me about your process of creating a comic? Story first, art second? Or has there been a time where you create the art first and fill in the story later?
LA: Story first, yes! I admit, writing is what I'm weakest at, so I try to work on the writing as much as I have time for before I even think about drawing it. After I write I usually do a thumbnail, just to get a sense of staging. I've always been an artist first, so I trust that I can draw whatever I've written. I can usually see what's going on in my head before I write it down, and sometimes I'll be working a story in my head for weeks before I put it on paper.
How long does it take you to create a final strip for each story and/or joke?
LA: From the rough drawing to finished strip can take anywhere from a few to maybe 4 hours. I draw everything on paper, roughing in blue(or whatever color I like at the moment) pencil, and inking with a calligraphy pen/india ink or brush pen, or sometimes Micron pens. Then I scan it in and do the panels, lettering and balloons in Photoshop. It's nice to not use the computer so much, because most of my professional work is done on the computer. I couldn't say how long it takes me to write a strip, because usually it's in my head for a while before I write it down. And then usually I have to look at it again and again to make sure it makes sense or is actually funny. I probably fail at this part a lot, lol.
What are some of the other projects that you are working on? Where else can we find your work?
LA: Right now I'm doing some graphic novel work for Arcana, and I just finished storyboarding on a children's TV series called Rob The Robot. I think it should be on TV in the fall. I'm also part of Bentocomics.com, which is a site where people can create their own graphic novel anthologies and order them through Lulu. I tend to put extra On The Edge content there. I've done a lot of different things, like working on games for Allgirlarcade, and assisting on The Dork Diaries children's novel. Most of my work though, is on TV. I've been an animator and storyboard artist for most of my career, working on Canadian kids shows like Lunar Jim, Delilah and Julius, and Poko. My portfolio and resume can be found at http://leisladams.com for those who want to try and keep up. :D
Check out her awesome Demo Reel!
I personally think that if I had your drawing talent combined with my passion for writing, I would never leave the house. Do you have a dream project? Something dying to get out there?
LA: Haha, I kind of don't leave the house right now. Working full time and doing a webcomic on the side keeps me pretty busy. I have a few other story ideas that I've been working on over the years, and I'd really like to see them become something. They're still in the writing stages though. And I've always wanted to do an autobiographical comic, about my partner and I, because we're just that funny.
Do you have any advice for those writer/illustrators out there that want to start their own web comic but don't know where to start?
LA: Start with a story. I think if I had to do On The Edge over again, I would've done more writing and planning before putting anything online. Write 20 strips/pages. Know who you want your audience to be. Know what you want your update schedule to be. Make it look as good as you can. Put it online once you're happy with it, then keep going and don't worry about it.
What else should we keep on our radar?
LA: Bento Comics (http://bentocomics.com) is a library of short stories by some well known creators where you can read online, collect your favourites into a custom anthology, and have it printed! Read more about it at http://www.bentocomics.com/about.php. You can also join our forums for some fun discussion.
Okay, twist my arm, I want to showcase some more of your work!
I expect that this is not the last we have heard from this amazing talent. I want to thank Leisl for letting me creep around her noodle and dig a little deeper into her creative space. So what are you, dear reader, waiting for? Get over On The Edge and do some reading, follow it, and let Negs get under your skin. You won't be sorry.