QWtD - houseofmuses interviews Rori!
lucky7s76 at 7:49AM, Jan. 31, 2009
posts: 229
joined: 10-25-2007
The following interview was conducted by our own houseofmuses in the Community Interview Project!

Username: Rori

Comic(s): Because of Ivan

Your series is titled Because of Ivan: The half-formed thoughts & artless drawings of an unrepentant misery girl. Can you tell us a little more about it?

Well, it began as an assignment for a class I had that was taught by Chicago artist Ivan Brunetti, hence the name. The original assignment was: for a week make an entry every day about something non-fictional/autobiographical. After that initial assignment I came back to it sporadically, mostly when things were quite bad in my life. It’s very cathartic. Then earlier this year, while going through a nasty breakup, I started doing it regularly. It became a habit, and probably the best crutch I’ve had.

So is Because of Ivan an autobiographical journal of sorts?

Most definitely: everything is true, as I say, as best I can. Of course this is my version of the events, and much is edited out for the simple fact that I don’t feel compelled to write about it.

Who or what are your artistic and comic-making influences?

One of my earliest influences was Sam Kieth. His willingness to risk inconsistency and even absurdity to try and portray emotional honesty is something to which I’ll always aspire. I have to mention Scott McCloud, who introduced me to semiotics, because I’ve never been the same! Ivan Brunetti, of course, in a much more direct way. I can definitely say that if it weren’t for him, I probably wouldn’t be doing comics at all right now.

In the non-comics realm, I was quite inspired, in my formative years, by confessional poets like Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath. I can say that BoI would maybe not even exist, but definitely be quite different, if I hadn’t seen brave ladies do this before.

Of course there are so many more. Add to those things like music and the many sub-groups of history that I’ve integrated so much into my worldview that they’ve become the background radiation in my little artistic universe. I’d love to name them all, but that would be pages and pages!

Because of Ivan has a raw, sometimes stream-of-consciousness, often freestyle sketch layout. Could you share with us your process of putting together a strip?

Well, it’s pretty primitive: Rori feels some emotion, Rori needs to get it out, Rori fires off a strip. I like to keep it like that, since I can be rather methodical in my other comic ventures. I refuse to restart a strip as a rule—once I start drawing, that’s it, if I didn’t plan properly then I’m forced to live with it. I think this has helped me a lot with my planned-out strips, as well.

What is the most satisfying part, for you, of creating this series?

Getting all the b.s. out is pretty immediate satisfaction and working in this bare-bones, no-net format has improved my storytelling skills. Beyond that, and this has been more recent, getting messages from people who feel some affinity with the subject matter has been extremely rewarding. On the mirror site, I have a lot of young girls reading it, and one of them decided to give the format a go for herself. I think that’s actually been the most rewarding thing. I’m not shy, I’ll evangelize: doing this helps, and anyone can do it. People think it’s brave, and I guess it isn’t cowardly, but it’s more about admitting to yourself what’s going on, making your life’s experience less ephemeral, whether you show the world or not.

What’s least satisfying?

Hmmm… I think that’s the hardest question, because ultimately I always have some satisfaction from this. I guess sometimes I get down on myself because I’m not doing this regularly enough.

You deal a lot with anger, depression, and learning how to see that life’s too short to be miserable all the time. In what ways do you think your audience relate to the story?

Well, even though this is specifically my story, those themes are pretty universal. I think there’s a lot of shame in this world, and a lot of it is so nonsensical. A girl will, with great delight, post pictures of herself on the internet in various drunken states, yet to admit to feeling worthless or being used, or, hell, even being unapologetically happy, well, that’s beyond the pale. But we all experience it. It’s nothing shameful.

When it comes to your own strips, which of them get the most comments from your readers?

As far as the messages I’ve received, I actually can’t say that anything wins out. It seems that everyone has a different strip or arc that moves them. I kinda like that.

What is special about the strip?

Usually it just speaks to some experience they’ve had.

Is there a particular genre you haven't tried before that you think you'd like to get into?

That’s a really good question… In my 20+ year romance with comics, I think I’ve dabbled in everything and read every sub-class, and I can say: yes to all. I don’t think there’s a genre I wouldn’t love to do with the right writer. That said, I absolutely love horror (and I could geek-out on why for a while). I’d love to do something substantial in that genre.

If there were one thing that you’d want your readers to learn from and take with them from this series, what would it be?

It is what it is. It’s okay to be introspective, it’s okay to exist, and it’s okay to forgive but not forget. All the bad and good things, they’re all just things and that’s all just life, and on the whole, it can be pretty good. I know that sounds schmaltzy, but I don’t give a damn… Maybe that, too.

Could you list down your top 3 favorite webcomics, either on Drunk Duck or elsewhere? Tell us briefly why do you recommend them.

I fell head-over-heels in love with Pictures of You the first time I laid eyes on it. I find it very honest, funny, and bittersweet–and the pacing and dialog are impeccable.

I really love Dinosaur Comics, not just because I love dinos (I sooooo do!), but it’s, in a way, this very academic exercise in what a comic is, and I totally geek-out on that stuff. And it makes me giggle.

There are tons more I could recommend, sadly, a lot of my favorites aren’t updating or are updating sporadically. That’s a huge difficulty with webcomics: they are almost always a for-love (not profit) venture. This makes it understandably hard to maintain the motivation to keep doing them, so I make it a rule not to harp on their authors to update. That said, I’ll fire up the harp and say I can’t wait to see more of The Path, the relaunch of bloodhound, Sune, A View of Venus, LPC, Zahira and Our Time in Eden, but to name a few. It amazes me how much unpaid talent there is out there.
By the time you finish this, you'll have read it. :3

last edited on July 14, 2011 1:48PM
skoolmunkee at 3:53AM, Feb. 1, 2009
posts: 7,058
joined: 1-2-2006
Because the comic is autobiographical, and you say you do it at stressful times… do you ever worry that something in them might come back to haunt you later?

As it's very personal in nature and I imagine is linked to you emotionally, why decide to put it on the internet?

Also with some cathartic work, the artist never wants to see it again after they've done it. how do you feel about your ‘old’ pages?
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:42PM
houseofmuses at 12:55PM, Feb. 1, 2009
posts: 156
joined: 4-4-2008
I enjoyed taking a look at Rori's work because it really does have that raw, slice-of-life quality.
Except for the strip about snakes on the CTA train, :P a lot of them I could look at and say, “Awwwwhhh….been there, done that!!”
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:50PM
Rori at 12:18PM, Feb. 2, 2009
posts: 471
joined: 12-3-2006
Because the comic is autobiographical, and you say you do it at stressful times… do you ever worry that something in them might come back to haunt you later?

As it's very personal in nature and I imagine is linked to you emotionally, why decide to put it on the internet?

Also with some cathartic work, the artist never wants to see it again after they've done it. how do you feel about your ‘old’ pages?

I used to worry a lot about everything I did coming back to haunt me, but I let that go a few years ago (and have never regretted it), so no. I know I'm somewhat alone in that, but like I say, hey, I'm not planning on running for office.

Part of making it public was a challenge to myself to live with myself, part of it was saying to everyone, hey, it is what it is–this is my story and it's probably not unique.

As to my old pages, I think the thing I most often regret is the aesthetics of them, because I'm an artist and you know, I just have to be ridiculously critical of my stuff at all times. ha!
I don't really look at any of my past work on a regular basis, and it's the same with Ivan. However, I went through the process of making a mirror site for it and seeing it all again was pretty stunning. Some of it was painful, to be sure, but I felt pretty good that I'd progressed. Also, for me at least, there's something comforting in documentation, it makes things feel slightly less ephemeral.

houseofmuses: Thanks :D And I hope you never have to experience snakes on the train! haha! It was not fun.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:11PM
houseofmuses at 11:54AM, Feb. 18, 2009
posts: 156
joined: 4-4-2008
Haha! Never had to deal with snakes on the train but I've seen a rat or two. ;)
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:50PM

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