An Interview With Kristen Kiomall-Evans
Thank you for chatting with me this week. Please tell the readers about yourself and the work you do.
Kristen Kiomall-Evans: Hello! I’m Kristen Kiomall-Evans, I make webcomics about magical girls and their infectious powers helping them uncover their school’s magical conspiracy.
The XII: Of Magic And Muses looks like an amazing comic. How did you come up with the concept?
Kristen Kiomall-Evans: I’ve always really enjoyed zodiac stories, because what young girl into fantasy doesn’t. Seeing Sailor Moon at a young age was very much ‘what if instead of planets, it was the constellations’ and then of course realizing that I was not the only genius to think of it. So I did more research into birth flowers and stones and the like.
I tried to do a similar monster-of-the-week type narrative, but I never found it as fulfilling as searching out the cast through the cast itself. So I went with more of a growing, infectious narrative.
Making comics is often a collaboration between writers, artists, and publishers. How do you foster relationships and approach the collaborative process?
Kristen Kiomall-Evans: Ah, well for me I guess I skip that whole bit since I work on the whole project solo for 99% of the project. I’ve hired out some gorgeous illustrations and cover designs for the print editions. But everything from concept to distribution is pretty much all me.
Webcomic artists are people with many hats. So while I only have myself to blame for putting in crowd scenes in the writing or whichever, being writer, artist, publisher, web developer, and marketer does take its toll. Plus you’re the only person with hands deep enough in the project to know how good it is haha.
Burnout happens to the best of us. What do you do to avoid stress and stay motivated?
Kristen Kiomall-Evans: So I actually have some physical repercussions due to overwork. I’ve essentially had to become left-handed for my day job (luckily it’s just a lot of mouse and keyboard work) and use my right hand only for drawing. So I’ve had to incorporate a lot of rest into my work and I’m only down to 1-2 hours a day of drawing after work. Weekends are for rest only haha.
As for motivation, my pipeline does a lot for me. I have a massive spreadsheet that always lets me know what’s doing what – which means it’s much easier to bounce between art and writing and from the beginning to the middle to the end, and being 800 or so pages ahead of everyone reading does wonders for keeping me motivated.
Branding and online presence are important when establishing yourself and your work on the internet. Can you share any of your thoughts on being a creator on the internet?
Kristen Kiomall-Evans: Woof, this is certainly a tough one. Mostly to not rely too much on numbers. For most folks it’s going to take a long time to get somewhere and it’s very easy to feel demotivated when you’re first struggling to get a following.
It’s also easy to be overwhelmed with so many platforms nowadays, that just trying to be present on all of them you can burn yourself out. Most of them don’t make it easy. So I’d pick the one you’re familiar with and fits your personality best. Whether it’s Twitter or Tumblr or someplace new – it’s better to have SOME energy on a few platforms than no energy on all of them.
Making comics takes a lot of time and energy. What do you do to stay productive?
Kristen Kiomall-Evans: I tend to have a problem of overworking more than being productive personally. I try not to burn myself out anymore by keeping work to a minimum, always writing down my ideas as quickly as possible to keep them within reach, and of course, taking a deep breath and throwing perfection out the window.
It’s really easy to be bogged down by wanting things to be better, but sometimes you don’t have anything better, or you still need time to work out the kinks. So moving forward keeps me from getting bored and moving the project ahead.
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Outside of making comics, what do you do for fun?
Kristen Kiomall-Evans: Well before Covid, I did self-defense training. Mostly boxing and a bit of close quarter stuff. Now I sometimes make the odd terrarium since moss is the only thing I seem to be able to keep alive. Other than that a few too many RPGs to eat up my time while I get to kiss blue alien women haha.
What advice can you give to those who want to start making their own comics?
Kristen Kiomall-Evans: Make it, no matter how bad you think it is. Seriously, it’s really easy to get overwhelmed with both writing and drawing when you have little experience with neither or just one. If you’ve got a story to tell, tell it for yourself.
Get it out there, because maybe it doesn’t need to be a comic, but comics can open up the doors to so many ways of storytelling that it can help folks find places more comfortable. Whether it helps you makes money, or friends, or find more things about yourself, I think everyone should take a shot at creative endeavours.
Do you have any upcoming releases or events you would like to promote?
Kristen Kiomall-Evans: I just launched the last book of my Magic and Muses Trilogy with the help of Kickstarter back in February of this year. While the webcomic is still catching up to the print release, you can absolutely buy the whole trilogy through your favourite online bookstore! Or you can read it online for a taste at xiicomic.com! If you think you’re up for infectious magical powers that upset a school’s conspiracy.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with me this week. Please tell the readers where they can find your work.
Kristen Kiomall-Evans: Ah as I said before you can read almost all of volumes 1 and 2 on the website at xiicomic.com or you can order the books through the store pages at xiicomic.com/store – or through your favourite online bookstore, including Indigo, Barnes and Nobel, etc. You can also find me on Twitter and Insta as @batichikristen. Thank you so much for having me!
Check Out XII: Of Magic And Muses
A huge thank you to Kristen Kiomall-Evans for taking the time to chat with me this week. Make sure to check to Kristen Kiomall-Evans and XII: Of Magic And Muses at the following locations: