Gchat interview with Ariel Schrag
Ariel: Hmmmm well, I think i”m still fascinated by “the awkward moment” and definitely still interested in “issues of identity” but I guess the difference is, not so much in the “first time” aspect of things. The primary thing of being a teen I think is that these really big things are happening to you for the the first time.
Potential was nominated for a Eisner award making you one of the youngest people ever to be a candidate in this field, what was that feeling like for you, your friends and your family?
Ariel: Haha, well, I was very proud. But I was also nominated for what was once known as “Talent Deserving of Wider Recognition” which kind of felt like the “Nobody Cares About You” award. And then I didn’t win, so it was kind of like, “Nobody Cares that Nobody Cares About You.” I think they’ve since changed the name of the award to something like “Special Recognition.” But no, seriously, it was very exciting.
me: i bet!
did you ever think when you first started drawing that it would bring you so much recognition and appreciation of your art?
what did you want to be–like when you grew up- when you first started drawing?
Ariel: Well, I did spend a lot of time as a teen practicing my signature so… I always wanted to be a cartoonist. Since I was like 9.
me: What was it like having a documentary about you at such a young age? What was the experience like while you were filming?
Ariel: It was fun. It was also surprisingly exhausting. I think I come off as pretty relaxed in the documentary, but I was definitely spending a lot of energy trying to stay interesting and wondering if I looked attractive. I’m not surprised actors are all crazy.
me: yeah being in front of the camera can be terrifying
i personally am really freaked out by it
What was your favorite part about writing for a television series?
Ariel: I really love how collaborative TV writing is. Everyone that worked on the L Word was so fun and fascinating. And coming up with plot lines was really just us sitting in a room telling stories about our lives. There’s also something uniquely thrilling about watching something you’ve written come to actual life. Not to be dramatic, but it does give you a sort of god-like feeling.
me: yeah i’m always facinated by what me and my friends do and think alot omg if this was a tv show….like even the most simple things like what someone will say or do can be like, omg, wtf
here is another question
What show would you like to write for?
Ariel: There isn’t really another show I’d like to write for right now. I wanted to write for Gossip Girl, and went on several meetings, but it didn’t end up working out. I’d like to create my own animated show.
me: yes i would want to watch that
i love invadeeverything.com
Ariel: Thank you! We’d love to turn that into a show
me: it has a aline and robert crumb vibe to it in a whole other era
it seems like a show
do you both draw it?
Ariel: No, we write it together and I draw it
me: im looking at it now the stories are funny
Are you excited about the Potential movie?
me: i am too. is it going to be animation and actors?
Ariel: yeah, mainly live action, but with some animation
me: watching the potential video comics make me want to see the movie
me: what has casting or thinking about casting been like ?
is it weird thinking about who will play certain roles like mainly yourself?
Ariel: It’s been great. We have some really amazing actors in place, but I can’t confirm anything officially. It’s a little weird thinking about someone playing me, but it’s me as teen, which is pretty removed from me now, and also the script is pretty fictionalized.
me: Do you still talk to alot characters from your books in the past ?
Ariel: Yeah, I’m still close friends with Julia, Sally, Zally, and Ms. Salt
me: How was it working on Stuck in the Middle. What was your process for picking stories to be in the book?
Ariel: I just asked all of my favorite cartoonists, and then picked a few previously published comics that took place during middle school. It was really fun getting everyone together
me: What comics do you read today/ What are 3-5 you can you recommend?
Ariel: The last comic I read that I loved was Chris Ware’s latest. The Rusty Brown story in which half of the story is a science fiction story within a story. That blew me away. Amazing. Other than that, there aren’t really any NEW comics that I’ve liked… I’m reading Y the Last Man, right now, which I like. It’s really fun to imagine all these crazy scenarios that would happen in the world of that premise
me: I need to find that. I love his stuff and i really love science fiction
did you ever read a wrinkle in time
Ariel: I started it, but never got past the liverwurst sandwich in the opening scene
me: hahahahha, omg liverwurst so many memories flooding back that book, reading with a flashlight under my cover, being a little scared, raining outside…etc…
Do you find women in comics to be embracing?
Ariel: do you mean do I feel like there’s a “sisterhood” between female comics creators?
me: sortof, or more along the lines of WIMMEN’S COMIX of the 60’s and 70′ vibe.
Ariel: Well, the alternative comics world is pretty small, so we do pretty much all know each other to come degree, but I wouldn’t say we were all particularly bonded. I’m very close with the cartoonist Gabrielle Bell, and we like to sit around and draw and complain about being “women in comics” a lot. It’s fun.
me: What is the hardest part about making comics?
3 more questions!
Ariel: It’s extremely labor intensive. Much more than people realize. It takes a very long time to create something that reads very fast.
me: yeah that shit is so hard. to date i have only like completed less than 10 full stories
me: over the winter i left a sketchbook in an airport out of the country and i was so sad
even my mom who was sitting next to me on the plane was like omg, im so sorry
Ariel: That’s horrible
me: have you ever lost a really awesome drawing or book that you did
Ariel: No. I’m really obsessive and a constant checker. I’m always patting my different jeans pockets in a shuffle to make sure my phone, wallet and keys are there. I’ve never lost art knock wood.
me: yeah that is great, that way you will never feel like, * i cant belive i lost that book with some of the best cartoons ever it was a special book with special drawing, when i was sketching in it people would ask me if i was a cartoonist and i would feel so cool like, YES(can they tell i really dont make any money from this?) YES! rip awesome book with good work*
ok sorry clearly i am not over that
next to last question
You have touched on the subject of race in your work before what was that discussion like for you?
Ariel: haha! Just remember Jean Genet…
Ariel: I’m not sure what discussion?
me: I think i was in Potential when you drew the big black girl and I believe i read an article where they asked you why you drew her like that, and you talked about it in your comic before
i should have marked it so i could reference it better.
Ariel: Yes, in Likewise there’s a section where my character thinks about how race is depicted in Potential, and how Sally told her she should draw the big black girl at the dyke party differently. This leads into her thinking about race in general, and how a lot of gay people think they’re exempt from racism because they’re also “oppressed.”
me: yes thats the scene that sparked that question
What do you think of when you think of ladygunn?
Ariel: I think awesome!
me: hahahhah! yes!!!
thanks so much for doing this interview! i love your stuff
Ariel: Thank you! Also, I should clarify, “white gay people think they’re exempt from racism because they’re also “oppressed.””
me: yeah we are all oppressed in reality! but thats a whole other discussion!
thats why art, music and love will set you free
Ariel: haha seriously.
me: im such a hippie
me: i also want to tell you my little sister loves your work and so does my friend ethan
me: its funny because he picked up awkward and definition from my bookshelf last week and then like a couple of days later he knocked on my door and was like um do you have any more of those comics?
me: and i was like sure and immediately went for this R. Crumb zap book and he was like
no, uh the other one
and i was like oh ARIEL
Ariel: That’s so awesome
me: it was so awesome
you are so awesome
Ariel: Thank you! I love the magazine
me: ill email you when this goes up so you can check it out
me: ok hahah, bye!!??
Ariel: Thanks! Bye!
me: ok bye,
and thanks so much again
Some Book Covers: