This week Doodle for Food made its GoComics debut, bringing you the latest and weirdest from creator Megan McKay. Published on the Tumblr-powered Doodleforfood.com since 2013, DFF on GoComics is the most curated presentation of McKay's material to-date, containing a mix of creator-picked comics that best reflect the strip’s humor. It's a special kind of strong start that will have you asking which comics gym McKay's been working out at.
We didn't ask (although we should have), instead using our chance to interview the recent college graduate about her cartooning. That would've been so cool. What were we thinking?
Don't answer that! Instead, read our McKay Q&A to learn about how she began creating, how she's making the most of a digital world, and where she draws her inspiration.
GoComics: You have a secret origin story of sorts in your comic about how you got started drawing, but what made comics the right place for you to express yourself as you got older?
Megan McKay: Oh, yes! People have given me a hard time about that origin story, but it’s absolutely true. I only started drawing because my sister came home one day in third grade and showed my parents a drawing she made. It was very impressive and I was instantly jealous. Younger me thought, I could do that too, probably, and so I started drawing as well.
I’ve always been a bit of a goofball, and I enjoy making people laugh. When I got older, I would draw cute and funny doodles to see how much of a response I could get from my friends. It slowly morphed into adding descriptions and dialogues and finally evolved into the comics I make today.
GC: Who are some artists that inspire you, story-wise or visually?
MM: I love Poorly Drawn Lines by Reza Farazmand. They feel effortlessly funny. The writing never seems forced or over-worked, and I continue to strive for the same feel in my comics. Same thing with Jeff Wysaski, who made Pleated Jeans and now makes Obvious Plant. He’s great at delivering absurd jokes in the most dead-pan way, so it catches people off guard. I also have to mention Extra Fabulous Comics, because they make me laugh all the time.
GC: From reading DFF, it's pretty clear that you consider the consequences of pun use very carefully. Are you a serial pun abuser IRL or do you get it out of your system in your comics?
MM: I’m probably one of the worst offenders of pun use in real life. I like pointing out to people when they unintentionally make a pun more than I like making puns myself. Everyone’s punny whether they like it or not.
GC: You've done a few strips about anticipating video game releases. Are games still a temptation or have you achieved something closer to a state of creation/consumption balance?
MM: When I was in school or working I didn’t play many games because my free time was so limited. I always chose to draw comics instead. Now that I’ve started cartooning full-time I’m trying to ease myself back into gaming. It’s tough because I can get obsessed with a game pretty easily and sink in a ton of hours. That’s not necessarily bad, but I try to make sure I go out and do things more over staying inside. Maybe one day I’ll be better at managing my time!
GC: Over time your pop culture references have become a little less specific and more universal. Was that a conscious decision or is it just an indicator of your evolving inclinations as a creator?
MM: I think my references have become more generalized mainly because I don’t know what the heck is going on anymore! I’m pretty removed from the current going ons of pop culture.
GC: You use digital technology to create comics that are likewise primarily consumed on screens. What's made this the right method of creation and distribution for you?
MM: The greatest appeal to posting online is there’s no barrier of entry. If you have something you’ve created and you want to share it, you can. I submitted my comics to my university’s newspaper multiple times, and they were rejected. Instead of packing it up and calling it a day, I decided to start a Tumblr blog for free and post my work there.
As for creating digitally, I happened to take classes for digital art, so I have more experience with it and can create comics faster. However, I like challenging myself to try different techniques every now and then, including traditionally inking a comic.
GC: You've regularly participated in the time-honored tradition of webcomics employing guest creators while you're away or otherwise too busy with other things to post new material. You've also filled in for others. What do you like about this practice and how do you think it adds to the reader experience?
MM: It’s great! I’m so grateful that other artists are willing to step in and help when life gets a little crazy. As a reader, guest strips were one of the best ways for me to find new webcomics to follow. It’s a win/win situation for everyone. The original creator gets a break, the guest artist gets cross-promotion, and the readers are exposed to new and awesome comics.
GC: How do you think you've changed as a person since you started and how do you think that change is reflected in your comics? Will DFF follow you through future life stages? Or is she an eternal avatar of your youth?
MM: Doodle at first was used to distance myself from awkward or uncomfortable situations. She was a bit of a coping mechanism. Lately she’s taken on more facets of my own personality. I think she’ll slowly evolve with me as I get older, but from time-to-time she’ll dip back into her more childish tendencies.