Jennifer Crute is a brilliant cartoonist and artist. I am eagrerly awariting her first Graphic Novel, ‘Jennifer’s Journals; The Lifeof a Suburban Girl’. Here she answers some of my impatient questions about the book.
1) What has it been like working on your first book, ‘Jennifer’s Journals; The Life of a Suburban Girl?’
Fun and exciting because it’s a new endeavor. Also, frustrating because I don’t know what I’m doing.
2) What was the most frustrating part about putting everything together?
Rewriting and redrawing things that didn’t make sense or landed in the wrong place.
3) What do you hope to accomplish from the release of your book?
I want to help in the breakdown of some of those black girl / black women stereotypes. There so godd@mn annoying and untrue.
4) What were the hardest topics to write about?
Depression. Who wants to admit that? At first I tried to sugarcoat it, but realized that it wouldn’t be useful for anyone dealing with depression either in themselves or others.
5) How supportive have your friends and family had to be?
In terms of financial support, they haven’t had to be and aren’t inany position to. This is certainly my project.
6) What would be your advice to someone working on their first graphic novel?
I’m quite the novice myself. It depends on how you want it to flourish. So, I’d say you’ve got to want to do the work like a woman with her hair on fire wants to jump into a lake.
7) Are there any graphic novels that inspired you?
“Persepolis”, “Amazing Rain”, Lynda Barry, Eric Drooker, The HernandezBrothers and sometimes Robert Crumb books.
8 ) What should we expect in the book?
Honesty and simply drawn characters to soften the complex and contradictory real life situations I’ve encountered from childhood until now. The main characters are me and my close friends Maryland and Josephine.
9) Are there any themes you have running in all of your work?
Spiritual characters, Miss Buddha Bear and her opposites visit me throughout the pages.
10) In what ways would you say your themes are similar or different from those of your peers?What are your major themes?
A. Similarities are spiritual themes, city life, family life, work, etc, etc. All experiences of most people writing graphic novels and/or living on the planet earth. The difference is that it’s written from a black woman’s point of view which naturally makes all of those themes different than most graphic novels.
B. Childhood, Family, Religion, Beauty and Depression.
11) What’s your favorite part about being a cartoonist/ illustrator?
Telling people I am and getting the strange look along with, “really?” That’s fun.
12) What was the best thing you learned at SVA as an illustration major?
When there aren’t any jobs, make one up.
13) When did you first know that this is what you wanted to do?
I never knew that I wanted to write a book, but I knew that I wanted to be an artist since 5.
14) What’s next for you?
An on going series of “Jennifer’s Journal.”