“I’m Sophie, a 24-year-old German hobbyist writer and artist, and I create the webcomic Soul’s Journey in my spare time.
What do you do? (Write, draw, edit, publish, promote etc.) How did you get started doing that?
I get to wear all the hats on my own comic(s) and while that leaves me stretched thin over some aspects I have a hard time imagining this to be different.
There is of course the SpiderForest Webcomic Collective, in which members gladly offer a helping hand when asked. This comes in very handy with feedback and promotion, as well as just having a crowd to turn to for any matter.
How did you get your start in comics? What was your first project and how did it come about?
My interest in visual storytelling was sparked when I first got my hands on the Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne Mangas. 10-year-old me had no idea how far that’d follow me. Of course most themes of those particular mangas went straight over my head at the time, but I started scribbling comics myself.
Roughly two years later during a school trip while the Soccer World championship of 2006 had a game with Germany playing on, a friend and I decided to stay in our rooms and draw instead of joining the hyped masses of 12-year-olds in front of the screen. That’s when I cooked up a project that’d be the first one I was to complete in another two year’s time. It was only in pencil and only about 150 pages, it ripped off story elements from things I liked, but I made it.
I look back on that comic quite regularly; it’s cringey but also charming and by now I can say that half a lifetime ago this is where I started getting serious. As serious as a 12-year-old can be, anyway.
(A piece from a maybe-to-be-released-at-some-point project she’s toyed with since 2016.)
Any current or upcoming projects we can find you on?
My current comic is of course Soul’s Journey. I’ve also got short comics in both SpiderForest Anthologies and they keep coming.
If everything goes as planned Soul’s Journey will be done in 3 to 4 years. And there are already plans for other stories.
Do you work solo or do you collaborate with others? If so, what are some of your favorite types of collaboration? (People you’ve worked with, style of creators you get along with etc.)
I work solo on my personal projects. Mostly because I have been burnt by collaborations before and don’t know if I want to attempt them again anytime soon aside from the SpiderForest Anthologies. If anything it’d have to be short.
What are your favorite genres/styles of comics to work in? Are there any you definitely will not do?
I like to keep my art stylized to a degree, but I don’t think I fall heavily on either realism or stylization with it. I’ve had people tell me they thought it looked Disney-esque, whereas I still see the remnants of my manga-inspired days. Though neither inherently good or bad.
As for genre, I tend to stay within them realm of fantasy with my works. I find myself to be quite comfortable there and don’t think I’ll budge within the next few years.
Where do you draw your inspiration from? What is it you hope to accomplish with the works you help foster?
My inspiration comes from a variety of things. Movies, soundtracks, mangas, video games, shows, other webcomics, life, books,
How do you feel about the current comics industry’s state? What gives you hope for the future of comics?
I honestly don’t pay much attention to print-only comics. I’m stuck in the webcomic-sphere and have like two print-only indie comics on my shelf. Though there are several dozens of mangas on another. And I think that creating constructive and fun communities within the vast web is a great way to go about it. Webcomics aren’t pulling in lots of money, though, so going into it as creator has to understand that this might not pay off financially, so it’s wise not to make that goal.
Who are some of your favorite/most inspirational characters to read? What about in other media (novels, TV, movies, pop culture)? Why?
Some of my favourite female characters include Colbey from KEZ’ What It Takes and Georgia from Amy Stoddard’s Fine Sometimes Rain . Two very different women with very different personalities. One brash with understandable trust-issues and the other a shy wallflower. But both going forward despite crushing obstacles like the trigger-happy post-apocalypse or depression.
In media other than comics, I adore the character of Ahsoka from the animated Star Wars shows. I remember disliking her when she first appeared and finding myself unwilling to let her go when Clone Wars came to an end. Her character arc was phenomenal and she’s one of my favourite characters on a whole. It wasn’t just wonderful to finally notice how she gradually moved into the hearts of many, it was also an invaluable lesson for other writers on how to do a character right.
Do you have any advice to aspiring creators?
I noticed that research, practice and studies are often done to an extend where they become “productive prograstination,” where you tell yourself that you’re doing the work without generating the output you actually aim for. At some point you have to jump into it. There’s a good chance you won’t like your first page, scene or chapter anymore after a while, but it’s done. And that’s better than saying you “could probably potentially get around to doing the first page someday in the possibly near future.”
Go for it and don’t look back.
(A timelapse of one of her Inktober sketches; find more on her Youtube.)
What do comics mean to you?
My personal work on comics was never supposed to be my livelihood, but instead be the creative counterbalance to manage life in general. No matter how wild the times were in these past few years, I could always count on my comic needing to be worked on. That may sound weird, but it has always been something of an anchor in my life. The one things that stayed the same.
(“Hey, look! It’s the last three and a half years of my life compiled into one document.”)