Telgemeier at the 2016 Texas Book Festival
26 May 1977 |
San Francisco, California
|Smile; Drama; Sisters|
|Awards||Eisner Award, 2011, 2015|
I was kind of a cross between Kristy and Mary Anne among 'The Baby-Sitters Club' characters. I was shy, but I was also kind of a tomboy, and I was really good at sticking my foot in my mouth even though I was shy.
I've always believed in working hard, and I'm grateful that people seem to connect with the kinds of stories I'm passionate about telling.
Typically, a book is published and gets one season in the sun. Eventually, you write another book, and maybe your old books get a bump, but my books seem to keep being discovered and recommended to new people of all ages.
Making comic adaptations means making a lot of choices – you need to adjust the pacing, the dialogue, and in this case, a lot of the cultural references.
Going to so many book events keeps me connected with my readership while constantly reminding me that all the long hours at the drawing desk are worthwhile.
I know how long it takes me to draw a page, how long it takes me to complete a project, how long I can work before my hand gives out, that sort of thing.
All of the narration in 'Smile' is first-person. Most of the books that I grew up reading had first-person narrators for some reason. My diaries were written in this voice, and since this story is autobiographical, it just felt like a natural extension.
I used to rely on black-and-white, and while I was working on 'Smile,' I learned to adapt to color on my end.
I did keep detailed journals from about fifth grade on, and every so often as I was growing up, I would re-read them and reflect on the previous years of my life.
When I sit down to begin penciling a page, most of the hard work for me is done. I can concentrate solely on my art from that point on, which is the fun part!
New York is great for busy creative types. The city has a pulse that races, and you either keep up with it or you leave.
I wanted to be into fashion, but I was never the kind of person who could keep up with fashion trends, and I could never style my hair the way everyone else's was – my hair was very thin, so I couldn't do, like, the sprayed bangs everyone else was into.
I prefer drawing the things I've written to handing them off to another artist. Turns out I'm a huge control freak – and because I write in thumbnails, the art is already happening by the time I start writing!
When I was doing 'Smile,' I was looking back at pictures of myself and going, 'Thank goodness I couldn't do the sprayed-bangs thing! Everybody's so embarrassed by that hairstyle now, but I was never cool enough to pull it off!'