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Walkable Comic Strip: 5 Minutes with Artist Aly Faye

Originally from Perth, artist Aly Faye has always been interested in comics. This love has culminated into a career that has seen her illustrating and writing comics professionally for the past five years. Now an owner of her very own comic book store ‘Urban Fiction’ on the Sunshine Coast, her comic strips ‘Home’ and ‘Lard’ have been chosen as featured artworks in South Bank’s ‘Walkable Comic Strip’ (together with Melbourne’s Katie Haughton-Ward’s ‘Khulan’), which aims to transform transitioning tenancies into engaging artwork installations.

So tell us, how did you become interested in comic book art?
I’ve always been interested in comics and reading the old comics like 2000 AD, Slain and Spawn- all the comics in the nineties! I just really liked the artwork and used to copy the pictures from them.

Do you think comics are becoming more popular?
With the movies and in pop culture, these comics have become more recognised and it’s opened it up for us and for people to talk about. You can talk about Thor or Black Widow, and people will actually know what you’re talking about because they saw that movie and are interested in where the characters originated from.

What are your thoughts on your artwork being featured in South Bank’s ‘Walkable Comic Strip’?
It looks really good! Personally, I was panicking because it was my first comic and your first one is kind of like your first pancake. You just do it and are like- yep I have to learn the hard way! So, I have mixed feelings. On one hand, I’m like ‘I didn’t clean that up or I could have done that differently’ but, on the other hand, it just goes to show it’s a story- and I wrote that story.

Why is it beneficial to have installations like the ‘Walkable Comic Strip’ in precincts such as South Bank?
Anywhere you can show local art or give an audience to local artists and promote them is beneficial. It’s very difficult, as an artist, to get your work out there if you’re not doing traditional oil paintings for art galleries. Being able to have a forum where the public can walk past and see your artwork and stop and read it if they want is really important and enriches the culture of the area.

What are your influences- where do you draw inspiration from?
I spend a lot of time watching tv shows and taking notes on how they do their camera angles and just try to recreate it 2-dimensional.

What are the issues and themes that you like to explore in your comics?
I prefer non-super hero type stories, although I have done them. But I just like good stories with really good dialogue and strong characters. If someone is pitching their story to me (to illustrate) and I automatically see it as a movie or TV show, than that gets me really excited because I can already visualise it. All the popular tv shows you watch now such as The Walking Dead have all been adapted from comic books and as for a lot of the shows that haven’t been adapted from comic books- they will actually go back and turn it into a comic book.

Females are usually in the minority when it comes to the comic industry. Do you think this is changing at all?
I think comics in general are diversifying to include more female creators, stronger female characters and the industry is growing to cater to more women. It is definitely a male dominated industry and I don’t really know why, it’s just always been that way. I set up my facebook group Women in Comics Australia to give women a platform to market our work, share it with each other and help each other promote it. The whole point for having the group is to provide a place to go, particularly if you’re just starting out and need to know basic stuff such as how to do paneling, how to write a script or how to team up and collaborate with other artists.

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