Sarah Andersen Packs More Of Her Best Comics Into One 'Big Mushy Happy Lump' [Interview]by Caleb Goellner
Ever since Sarah's Scribbles creator Sarah Andersen released her best-selling collection Adulthood is a Myth in 2016, fans have been politely begging (but begging nonetheless) for more. They want more flocked overs! More relatable situations pushed to surreal extremes! More hilarious cartooning! Today, Andersen and Andrews McMeel Universal oblige with one Big Mushy Happy Lump, a brand new 128-page Sarah's Scribbles collection with more of the heart, humor and... uh... let's say high-fives. We reached out to Andersen seeking our own high-five and found it in the form of this interview. Go on, read it. She's fabulous.
GoComics: Your new book is titled Big Mushy Happy Lump. When are you personally at your big mushy happy lump-iest?
Sarah Andersen: When I feel like I deserve it, like after a long productive day. Nothing better than blobbing out guilt-free.
GC: This is your second Sarah's Scribbles collection. Are you concerned about a sophomore slump or expecting a sophomore jump? Please say the second one as this is the official blog of your publisher.
SA: Haha! Well, quite a few of the comics in the book are some of my most popular online as well as personal favorites and I'm happy to finally have them in print form. There's also quite a lot of new material, so I think fans will enjoy the collection.
GC: Like your first collection, Adulthood is a Myth, the cover of Big Mushy Happy Lump bears fuzzy features. What drew you to fuzzy book cover technology?
SA: It was just cute! Everyone loves touching it -- that "Ooo, fuzzy!" reaction is probably the sole reason for any of my success.
GC: We made you change the title of your comic from Doodle Time to Sarah's Scribbles a few years ago. Have you forgiven us yet?
SA: Never. (Yes. It was very much needed.)
GC: What's the most sabotaging thing that's happened to you while working on a comic (spilling a gallon of milk on your tablet, gerbil biting through a computer power cord, lightning striking your home, etc.)?
SA: A day before my deadline for Invader ZIM my tablet pen completely stopped working. I had to get on a train an hour uptown to finish the last page on an illustrator friend's tablet.
GC: You work as an illustrator in a number of art styles outside of what fans might see in Sarah's Scribbles. Who are some artists that inspire you across the forms you work in?
SA: I met Brandon Graham at a convention recently. I bought some of his work and leave it open on my desk to reference while drawing. It's quite painful, constantly being taunted by work that's so good. I also have been looking at Stephanie Mohtz, Woon Young, and Jisoo Kim. I like their palettes and style so much.
GC: Every prolific cartoonist is, at one point or another, forced to leave some comics on the cutting room floor. Do you ever find yourself abandoning comics before you post them? How far along are you on a comic when you typically make that kind of call?
SA: I've had completed comics and abandoned them at like 9 or 10 at night. Anyone who sees the actual times I submit my work to GoComics would know that. Sometimes I just have a gut feeling that they didn't hit the nail on the head. I definitely spend late nights redrawing and fretting about work from time to time.
GC: Working on a semi-autobiographical comic can present challenges, particularly in the age of social media. How do you balance having a private life and plenty of personal time with the demands of a public-facing creative career?
SA: While I feel a deep connection to my character, I find it a relief that most people are interested in her and not so much me. Having people know you through a character means I can curate and choose what to write about and what to share, so having a separation isn't so much an issue for me.
GC: On that note, have your comics, at any point, become a sort of communication point to those in your personal life? Do you ever get concerned texts from friends or family after, say, posting a comic about something like being crushed by a deadline train?
SA: A great majority of the comics follow what's happening to me in that specific moment in life. People don't necessarily worry, but my family and friends certainly recognize some things, sometimes themselves. And my editors see the deadline comics and I think they connect the dots too...
GC: Speaking of deadlines, you've made a number of comics about deadline stress for a professional who always meets them. This isn't a question. We just wanted to say thank you.
SA: You'll notice I write about living in fear of them, not missing them! (You're welcome.)