Hailing from New Zealand, Li Chen is the creator of Extra Ordinary Comics (or Exocomics) which is a weekly slice-of-life webcomic based on her life with her partner Jordan, and her cat Shoelace. With her fun and quirky comics, she has gained a steady following of fans and supporters and has published three collections of her work.
In this episode, Li discusses:
-How many children love to draw but eventually lose their passion, but she just kept going.
-How and why she started Extra Ordinary Comics.
-Patreon and Kickstarter and how they helped her to release her collections.
-The notion of authority figures that we envision as the gatekeepers that hold us back from doing what we want to do.
-How she still sometimes feels like an imposter who just found herself in this situation.
-How her style has changed over the years and how looking back at the older comics sometimes makes her cringe.
-How she is grateful that, when she was starting out, she was somewhat ignorant to the amount of improvement that she would undergo in the next few years.
-Her process of creating a comic and how long it takes her.
-How she likes to go to a local park in order to get ideas, and how she sometimes has to trick her brain into thinking it is not there to do work.
-The inspiration and knowledge that we can learn from children.
-What it's like to have Jordan in her corner.
-Her initial hesitancy to start a Patreon campaign and what it has been like for her since starting it.
“I always thought that I'd have to wait until someone with authority would contact me about it.”
“It was a really amazing and challenging year of my life, going from never doing anything like that before to having published two books and then actually going to a library and seeing them.”
“The idea of just quitting my day job without knowing what's coming next was very scary.”
“I think the thing that has always held me back is my mindset about the so-called “authority figures” or people that can tell me that I can do the thing that I want to do.”
“When I look at my old comics it makes me cringe.”
“If I knew then how bad I think it would be now, I don't think that I would have continued. I definitely had a very nice force-field of stupid protecting me.”
“For my whole career, I definitely want to look back at my work and cringe, because it can only mean that I am progressing.”
–Yotsubato! Vol. 1 (Amazon)