Once in awhile, an artist comes along and that encompasses so much passion that it will carry over into their work. Sweeney Boo is one of those artists and Comic Watch was lucky enough to interview er and talk about her latest upcoming release, Eat, and Love Yourself from BOOM Studios!
Comic Watch: Thank you for taking the time, to talk with Comic Watch, we really do appreciate it. With the release of Eat, and Love Yourself on Boom! Studios, from the books beginning on Kickstarter can you walk us through the process on how Boom! Studios picked up the book?
Sweeney Boo: After a year of already working on the project, I created a small book of the first twenty pages of the book which I brought with me at comic conventions. In May 2018, I went to the Toronto Comic Art Festival and decided to try my luck at the Portfolio reviews with editors. This is where I met Shannon Watters, the Senior Editor at Boom! Studios. I showed her Eat, and Love Yourself and it was an amazing experience. After two months, I was lucky enough to get an email informing me that she wanted to publish the book!
CW: We are introduced to Mindy in Eat, and Love Yourself. She’s living with an eating disorder and she has the opportunity to put her life back together. Without any major spoilers, with regards to her character and the struggles that she is facing can you talk about the inspiration for Mindy and is there a personal attachment to the character?
SB: Mindy’s story hits very close to home for me, without being autobiographical. I suffered from an eating disorder about eight years ago. It was a very difficult time, I felt very lonely and misunderstood by my loved ones. Thankfully I was able to find help and get better. I wanted to share and give perspective on how society can trigger body dysmorphia and eating disorders.
CW: Your art has a style about it that is very recognizable; what or who was your main inspiration for becoming a creator/artist?
SB: Oh thank you! I have a lot of different inspirations, but what made me want to start was the comic series, Skydoll by Alessandro Barbucci and Barbara Canepa. So that and of course Scott Pilgrim by Brian Lee O’Malley. I’m also very inspired by 19th-century illustrators, Renaissance paintings, Don Bluth, DARK SOULS LORE and more…. It’s really a big mix of different types of art that inspire me!
CW: When people read Eat, and Love Yourself, what should they take away from it?
SB: I hope it can speak to people, in some way or another. And bring comfort, I want them to feel like they matter and that they are not alone.
CW: What is the one book or character you would love to write or draw for?
SB: It’s no secret that I am a big fan of Sabrina Spellman, I was recently lucky enough to get to do variant covers for Kelly Thompson and Veronica Fish run of Sabrina The Teenage Witch for Archie Comics. I would love to get to draw a full story about her one day, I have been very attached to her character since I was a kid.
CW: When Eat, and Love Yourself is released, are you hoping to reach out to any and all readers who might be dealing with body insecurities and letting them know there is comfort in the world?
SB: Since the book as already been sent to advance readers. I have had the chance to recently start getting emails from readers who wanted to thank me for Eat, and Love Yourself because sometimes it helped them in some small way or also because they saw themselves through Mindy and felt understood. I can’t express enough how those emails and those discussions are everything to me, and I am so happy the book can bring some people to want to talk about it.
CW: Take us through the process of when Sweeney goes to create a project. Is the house quiet, is there a certain band you have playing in the background, and does your current mood dictate the project’s direction?
SB: I work at a studio, which is a shared space with other artists and devs. It’s never too quiet. I usually put a movie or a TV-show in the background. Something that I have already watched in the past, mostly because it doesn’t require that I focus too much, and it’s just comforting. I usually am very excited to get working, so the mood is always there!
CW: During this time of “self-quarantine” how are you and your cats doing?
SB: We’re staying safe at home. The first week was not easy, a lot of anxiety on every corner. And the news, it’s just a lot for everyone. But we are trying to keep good spirits and keep creating!
CW: For someone just getting into your work, what would be the one piece that you would direct them to? What is the one mantle piece of Sweeney Boo?
SB: I’d say probably to go read Marvel Action: Captain Marvel Volume One: Cosmic Cat-astrophe written by Sam Maggs and colored by Brittany Peer. It’s one of the first books I got to draw on and it was so much FUN. It’s an all-ages story. I’d also suggest Eat, and Love Yourself, of course, it’s can be a bit more triggering for some people, so keep it in mind when you’re going in. But those two books are a big piece of me, each one in their own way!
CW: Without spoiling too much, can you give us some insight on any future projects, and what can we be on the lookout from you in the near future?
SB: There’s nothing I can’t really say, except it’s gonna be AMAZING, I’m working really hard and I hope you will all love it!!
Panels of Inspiration: An Interview with Sweeney Boo!
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