Hey there fellow comic book nerds and nerdettes! Welcome to We Love Your Work, where we spotlight creators, writers, and artist we admire. We will discuss their work, careers, and share personal stories.
This is We Love Your Work #19: Jenny-Jinya. You may have seen Jenny’s work going viral on your Facebook news feed. This German writer and artist is responsible for the delightfully witty webcomic “The Depressed Artist” as well as the haunting manga “InSane We Trust“. Jenny was kind enough to take the time to talk to us recently and our conversation is below…
What is the story behind your introduction to the “arts”?
Art has always been a way to establish a connection with the world for me. When I was a kid, I had a hard time socializing with other kids, so instead I drew pictures for them. It was my way of showing interest, gratitude, welfare. Like many artists I was obsessed with drawing and I drew on literally everything.
With parents who lived a somewhat nomadic life with me, I was influenced by many places and countries. I was home wherever my drawings and crayons were.
Were you encouraged at a young age by family?
Absolutely, my mom is still telling me how I could name and differ all colors before I could walk. Unfortunatley, I have always been the only artist in my family, so my parents weren’t sure how they could support me. But even when they could barely draw a stick figure, they would sit down with me and encourage me to keep on doing art. I’m grateful for that.
They would also support me when I started having exhibitions in Germany when I was just 16. There was so much stuff to manage and I am glad they would arrange everything, so all I had to do was paint my pictures.
Is there something that stands out in your mind as an early inspiration?
Well, yeah. I must have been like 6 or 7 years old when I overheard my mom talking to an acquaintance about me. My mom was complaining that, even when she loved my creativity, she’s always getting calls from my school, criticizing how I was constantly drawing instead of paying attention or working on assignments. The guy shrugged and said “In my opinion, that’s the problem with the education system. They teach children all kinds of stuff, but we hardly support their actual talents. Let that kid draw! She has a gift, you know?”
I never felt like having a gift, but I realized that I was actually good at something that was worth to be extracted. I always have been told that school is always right and important, but this was the first time someone was questioning it. This changed my views on so many things.
Who are your greatest influences when it comes to your writing/artistic style?
When it comes to writing, I think Caithlyn Siehl is the woman who inspires me the most. I love the way she’s able to put common things into gut-wrenching poetry. There is so much strength and honesty in her words. Impressive.
My artistic style is influenced by many things. By experiences, by favorite comics and artists, by people and feelings. It’s hard for me to sort out what stands out the most.
Is there anything in particular that you find inspires or informs your work? (e.g. authors, books, music, films, architecture)
Mostly it’s daily life itself that gives me ideas. I try to turn Depressive phases into art, into something I can communicate.
Comics and Cartoons inspire me as well, like I’m a big fan of the Oatmeal, Sarah’s scribbles, David Firth, Tim Burton, Inio Asano and Jhonen Vasquez, to name a few. Oh and Games! I.e. Silent Hill and Layers of Fear are deeply inspiring to me.
Is there something you can tell us about your process that is unique to you? (e.g. materials, tools, software)
I don’t think there is anything unique about my process. Depending on the artwork, I like to switch between the software. When working on digital illustrations, I switch between PS6, SAI, Paintstorm and Gimp constantly. I wish I could fusion all these programs to one. For some reason I feel uncomfortable to work with one alone. There are unique features to every program and I’d like to work with all of them.
What are some themes you hope to explore in webcomic, “The Depressed Artist”?
During all these years of being active in the art scene, I realized that Depression and anxiety are haunting a lot of artists. Even the best are struggling with doubts, they fail and they have 90 stupid ideas before they come up with two good ones. This is not getting enough awareness, but I think artists of all stages should know that. They should know that we all struggle with something regarding our passion. They should know that it’s okay to question the stuff they make. This is part of the progress. Despite the fact that “slice of life” comics are trending and there are actually memes and comics about this phenomenon, I’d like to push it a little more. “The depressed Artist” just started, but some of the comics went viral already, which tells me that many people can relate to what I picture. I especially like it when all kind of artists start
discussing in the comment section about their own experiences.
How did the concept for your Manga, “InSane We Trust” come about?
“InSane we Trust” is an old piece, which I created when I got a life changing diagnosis. This was quite inspirational and helped me to cope as well, plus I used to be incredibly fascinated by the human psyche and what can happen to it. Originally I had planned a series about schizophrenia and other mental disorders, but I wasn’t sure if I should actually start a whole series about such a heavy issue. With “InSane we Trust” I could write about my own experiences and those I had to witness in my family or friends.
If you could see any artist, living or dead, create art based on any comic character of your choice, who would that artist be and what character would you choose?
Wow, that’s some question here. There are so many amazing artists and characters. But I’d like to see what Tim Burton or Edgar Allan Poe would work out with “Salad Fingers”. David Firth did an amazing job with his eerie series, but I’d still be excited to see what these old masters of dark art, mystery and the macabre would come up with.
Is there a project that sits on your back burner that you wish you had more time for or perhaps an idea for a project whose full scope you’ve yet to be able to map out?
Not just one. There are publishers who showed interest in making a whole series out of “InSane we trust”, but I never found the time to work something out. I’ve wanted to create more characters, more locations, and work on possible character traits, since they don’t have much depth in the current version. I am currently starting to animate stuff and I am full of ideas I’d like to implement. There are a lot of things, and they’re getting more with each day.
If you could choose 5 people, living or dead, fictional or nonfictional, to be on your side in a bar fight, who would they be?
I think I’d choose Invader Zim with Gir. They’re insane and destructive enough to blow up the whole place. If the worst came to the worst, we’d bunk off to space. Do I really need three more people?
For more from Jenny-Jinya, check out the following links…
For more interviews with independent artists and creators, check out We Love Your Work #18: Colton & Casey Sorrels w/ David Gunawan
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