Saturday, December 27, 2008

Aidan Koch

Aidan Koch is the artist behind the mini comic Warmer, which I thought was one of the strongest minis of the year. Koch, for me at least, sort of come out of nowhere...but that seems to be happening a lot these days: people producing their first or second mini and already having a great degree of authority to their art. Find out more about koch and her work at her website:

1. can you describe your drawing routine---how often you draw, how many hour per day---how you break up the day with drawing?

It depends on my projects, but I draw between 20minutes and 8 hours a day. When I'm working towards a show or do a drawing lesson over coffee, it adds up. I'm in art school also, so I usually divide my work up just between projects. Work on homework, work on a big painting, work on sketches of people, work on comic pages. It's a good variety between sizes and mediums to keep me going for a long long time. It often requires some drinking though.

2. how much revision/editing do you do in you work?

Extremely little. The more I edit, the more I regret. There's a sincerity in the original lines that I hate to fiddle with. If I do change something, I often draw right over it or use one of my crappy erasers that smudges the page. That way at least there's a history built into the drawing. I can remember why I did what I did.

3. talk about your process---do you write a script or make up the drawing as you go?

I took a break from comics for a while and ended up making some zines instead. I got into the process of just writing for documentation's sake. I found that I navigated towards lists and statements. By pairing these with images that made sense to me, I kind of found my voice. From there I think I was able to go back into sequential work maintaining that voice pretty fluidly.

4. do you compose the page as a whole or do you focus more on individual panel composition?

I panel off the page first and let the first couple drawings inform the composition of the rest. I think it's really important to consider the pacing and quality of each page.

5. what tools do you use (please list all)?

Cheap mechanical pencils....color pencil and gouache

6. what kind(s) of paper do you use?

Moleskin notebooks. I have like four going at once all the time. I try to divide them into being different things, but then I just go crazy and get them confused. I like the creaminess of the paper though and it's cheap enough that I'm not scared to mess up on anything. That's important.

7. do you read a lot of comics? are you someone who reads comics and then gets ectied to make more comics---or is your passion for making comics not linked to any particular love for other comics?

I never read comics until I started making them. My friend BT Livermore started a comics collective called Robopocalypse which I joined two years ago, right when I started doing comics. It made me a lot more aware of what people are doing and got me going to conventions and events. I like reading them a lot now, although I'm still extremely undereducated in that world. I think what made me most excited about doing them is just the ability to create something artistic that is so accessible. It's fun to make copies and go around to the local shops and mail them to friends and be part of such a funny little community.

8. do you make comics for a living? if not, how do you support yourself, and how does this relate to your comics making process?

I've done some calculations and I think I make some profit from them...but that amount is probably gone after an hour at a bar. Right now, I am living off of some savings, assisting a fashion designer, selling art, and pedicabbing (bicycle taxi). The variety of tasks relates to how I approach art I guess. I like doing as much as possible all the time, going back and forth between different things. I do whatever suits my emotional state at the time.

9/ do other artforms often seem more attractive to you?

I think it would be beautiful to work in a print shop in the Alps grinding stones and printing lithographs.

10. what artwork (or artists) do you feel kinship with?

My favorite artist (to varying degrees at various times) is Odilon Redon. He fills my heart with magic.

11. is a community of artists important or not important to you?

I guess I probably don't realize how much importance it's had on me because I've always had such a community. Both my parents and sister are artists and crafters and I'm in my last year at art school. I've always had an incredible amount of support and influence. Sometimes I feel like I just want to talk to someone who's a lawyer or model or dermatologist or whatever just to feel more sane. And then I do (pedicabbing is great for that), and I feel okay again to sink into my world for a while.

12. is ther a particular line quality you like---thick/thin/clean/etc?

I guess I like using the least amount of lines to describe a shape or form, usually thin.

13, what is more important to you---style or idea?

When I buy comics and zines, I pretty much do it based off of style. I have a lot of anxiety as a reader. I'd rather have something I can look through quickly and appreciate whenever than something I am forced to delve into before I can enjoy it. I freak out if I have to do that, unless I'm on vacation.

14. is drawing a pleasure to you or a pain?

It's the most redeeming quality of my existence.

15. when you meet someone new, do you talk about being an artist right away? do you identify yourself as an artist or something else?

Avoid. This is Portland, Oregon though. Everyone does art or music. It's more fun though to try and just exist as a personality and see how I hold up.

16. do you feel at all connected to older comic artists like steve ditko or jack kirby---or does this seem like a foreign world to you?

Like I said I never read comics growing up, so it's hard for me to think about what they did. I haven't read many older comics and I'm pretty positive the way that I work is not reflective of them either. I appreciate knowing how they've influenced other people that I like though. It always trickles down in one way or another.

17. do you ever feel the impulse to not draw comics?

I stopped when I was going through a big stylistic shift. It was a very introspective time and I couldn't figure out how comics could possibly fit in. I just did tons of big paintings and abstract drawings. As that settled down though, I think a niche just kind of opened itself back up. Now I think about comics all the time.

18. do you draw from life?

Almost exclusively.

19. do you pencil out comics and then ink? or do you sometimes not pencil?

I just like pencil or colored pencil.

20. what does your drawing space look like?


zack soto said...

Good interview. Aidan is one of my favorite new artists, Portland or otherwise!

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If anyone is interested in learning more about Robopocalypse...

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