I am so excited to share this interview with comic artist and Menlo Park resident Alison Wong, where she shares some of her process and inspiration behind her new book: New Mom Comics: The First Year.
Before reading one of Alison’s comics, I thought I was the only one going crazy, thinking my pump was talking to me.
Then I saw this and cracked up, realizing I’m not the only one!
She has a lot more in her hilarious recently published book! Enjoy the interview!
Tell us a bit about your background and how you became a comic artist?
I’ve been a product designer for 15 years, but comics have been a lifelong hobby. I created my first comic book when I was 9, drew for school newspapers, and even my college thesis in mechanical engineering was a comic book. As a design consultant, I also draw for my work, creating new concepts and storyboards. I’ve always loved art, and can’t wait to create with my little boy!
How long does it take you to draw a comic and what’s your process like? When do you think of the idea for a comic?
Having a child provides endless inspiration for funny content. I usually jot a note on my phone when he does something that I think might be a good comic. Sometimes it’s just a thought, like “nap hostage” and I ponder the punchline. I sketch it out on my tablet and then draw new layers upon layers, and bring it into Photoshop for final editing and text. From idea to final takes hours but can also linger for weeks as I try to figure out a punchline and how to fit the drawing into my schedule. I also have a group of friends that I send first drafts to for feedback.
Where do you get your creative inspirations?
Usually I pull from real life events – there’s nothing more authentic than actually experiencing an emotion/event and then conveying it with my drawings. Sometimes my friends and I discuss funny stories about our kids and I realize that common themes run throughout. After I have an idea, I usually have to draw it soon after, else the feeling will start to fade. For example, it would be hard to draw some of the first few month comics now because I don’t have that same sense of worry and daze. There is so much transformation as a new mother!
How did you find the time to do this during all the demands and stresses of new motherhood?
The comics started out as a visual diary; I wanted to capture my emotions with drawings. I would try to fit in a sketch during a nap – the naptime is a great constraint – it makes me hurry! There are a lot of stresses of new motherhood, and oddly, I feel like drawing comics helped. If you can pull out something funny from a trying and frustrating moment, it changes your view on it. That’s what got me through the early tough days – you have to have a sense of humor. My husband and I are always making each other laugh.
Who are some of your woman role models and mentors?
My mother, who was a full time research chemist, set a great example for me to set goals, work hard, and just get stuff done. However, in my industries of engineering, design, and even comics, it is mostly male dominated, and I haven’t had many female mentors. But because of that, I hope that I am setting an example for others, especially when I teach design and work with younger designers.
What recent books have you been reading?
Books? Ha! If it tells you anything, I’m actually part of a book club and I have not finished the book they picked for this Friday. I always joke to my husband that “I’d rather create content than consume it.” You’ll often find me drawing, but half peeking at the TV, when he watches a show.
What have you found the hardest about becoming a mom?
That you used to have total control of your schedule, your body, your life. Now, you don’t so much, and you realize that there is a whole other person who is constantly evolving and changing, and you have to change with it. The lows are a bit lower, but the highs are much higher and so is the amount of love.
What do you find most enjoyable?
The amount of love I didn’t know was possible! I absolutely love seeing my little guy learn and grow, and when he is happy and laughs, it is like heaven. He helps me put life in perspective. I am a much more grateful person, and l love my husband in so many more ways.
What do you want other moms to take away from this book?
I created New Mom Comics to let other new parents know that they are not alone! When I met other new moms, I realized that we all had the same issues. I drew these comics because I wish I had something like this to get me through the first year. I hope both new and experienced parents alike will be able to relate and relive these funny moments.
Thank you, Alison, for bringing much-needed humor into the stresses of the first year of new motherhood!
Not only is this a great coffee table book for your home, but it’s also a perfect gift for an expecting or new mommy. You can check out her site and order a copy here that will ship in early December!
Pictures courtesy of Alison Wong