Beth Evans is a cartoonist in Chicago. I discovered her work a couple months ago and have been following it ever since. She draws piercingly insightful cartoons that I can immediately relate to, such as this one that I posted in September. Beth graciously agreed to an interview about her work.
First, please tell our readers about what you're doing now professionally and/or artistically. Are you in art school? You've mentioned an architecture class.
I'm currently finishing up some classes at community college. I've taken like, one art class and I did okay in it. I haven't really pursued art professionally or in school, but I'm strongly considering so for the upcoming year. It's something I would definitely like to do in the future.
How did you get started cartooning?
Mostly I just doodled non stop in all my notebooks during class. I kinda just started posting them online about two years ago, but mostly I did illustrations from television shows and movies. I started working on comics last fall, after an advisor recommended it. It's been fun!
Which cartoonists have influenced you? Which webcomics do you read?
Matt Groening's Life in Hell is probably my biggest influence, along with a mix of FoxTrot by Bill Amend and Archie comics. In high school, Ariel Schrag's Awkward and Definition, along with Daniel Clowes Ghost World, were some of my favorites.
As far as webcomics I read
Seamus Gallagher (amajor7.tumblr.com)
Claire Jarvis (infinitenap.tumblr.com)
Jeff Wysaski (pleated-jeans.com)
Noelle Stevenson (gingerhaze.tumblr.com)
Ruby Elliot (http://rubyetc.tumblr.com/)
I'm bad at verbalizing stuff but it seems to come out a bit better with pen on paper. I guess putting it on paper makes it seem a bit more real, rather than something exclusively in my head. It's like "okay, it's on paper, it exists, it's there, let's move on"
So drawing anxiety lets you put it down so that it's not as heavy a burden?
I suppose so, yeah. You said it a lot better than I did!
I'm bipolar, and I'm one of those people who tries not to let on just how hard it is. I work a lot to show everyone around me that I'm fine and functioning okay, but it's difficult to keep that up at times. I like to take care of everything myself, so sometimes it's hard to ask for help. Sure, the old fears of "will people still like me if they knew this about me" still linger, but I'm trying to push through that.
I don't want to let being bipolar rule my life, but the truth is, it is a big part of my life. So I'm still working to find the balance between everything. I think the best way is to equate it is to biking on a very slippery surface. You quickly turn the handlebars to course correct, you slam on the brakes and wobble about, but ultimately everything seems out of your control. But at least you're attempting to take that control back. Hopefully it will get more steady in the future.
I think drawing cartoons about it helps me open up about everything. I'm terrible with talking about stuff, so sometimes, even if I never show my comics to anyone, and my words are just between me and the paper, it's a step forward for me.
Could you tell us about your book It's Late and I Feel Kind of Lonely and All of My Problems Feel Fantastically Stupid?
My little comic book is about having a lot of stuff due for classes and generally floundering around in young adulthood. There's comics, activities, word searches, and mazes. I've got another one coming out in a few weeks. They're really fun to make, and I hope people enjoy them!