Updated: Mar 30, 2020
Comics have been used to amuse, entertain and make statements about the events and people making headlines in the world. Today we're celebrating comic artist, Megan Clarke. Megan is a sophomore at the University of Texas at Austin and she creates comics for the Daily Texan.
Inspired by her older sister and grandmother at a young age, Megan Clarke has always created art and has been inspired by artists of many genres. As a student at University of Texas at Austin, Megan got the chance to become a comic artist for the Daily Texan. She took time out of her hectic schedule to share her experience working on a busy "paper" with the crazy schedule of an undergrad.
Like many who create, Megan uses art to inspire, amuse and entertain, it starts with her first. "In a moment, if an idea makes me laugh just a bit to myself, then I start feeling excited about actually getting the images out of my head and into a form that can be seen and understood by everyone else. " Yet there's a lot of satisfaction in publishing her work and sharing it with a wider audience, "But when I get to see that a comic has made someone smile or made someone feel like they are seeing themselves in a piece of work I’ve done, it means so much more. At that point I feel like I’ve actually been able to accomplish my goal. I like being able to make people happy. "
Though definitely an artist with her own unique groove and style, Megan studies the work of other artists to gain inspiration and open her creativity to new possibilities. From Faith Erin Hicks to Jane Zei and Instagram artist Elentori, Megan looks to other artists to stretch and grow, including the community of artists in which she thrives, "The biggest inspirations to my art though have to be my fellow Daily Texan comic artists, it’s a community of people that are continually encouraging each other to draw more, to experiment more, giving helpful advice to improve a scene or make a joke funnier. I have grown so much from getting to work with each and every one of them."
Obviously student life is crazy hectic, Megan often battles the idea to finished product ratio, and learning to manage time is something she's working on (aren't we all?). She learned early in life to set priorities, crediting her parents for teaching her how to focus and prioritize her studies, and she's glad she followed her heart to join the Department of Fine Arts so that art is always top of mind. As for keeping on top of the weekly publishing schedule at the paper, Megan tries to work ahead to have a cushion of comics just in case life gets in the way. To keep stress at bay, Megan says, " I do also find it helpful to schedule in specific time for myself to just sit and draw or write whatever comes to mind. It’s a nice way to just give myself and my brain a moment to breathe and keep from getting too stressed out about everything else."
Though Megan really loves pen and paper best, obviously software comes into play in her day to day workflow. We asked Megan what she uses most and she leans towards using a free software called FireAlpaca, and is learning to master Photoshop as well. Staying disciplined in her workflow is essential to getting things done, "Generally, if I know exactly what I’m doing when I start drawing I can crank out a 4 panel comic in 2 hours. I start with a base sketch and once I’m satisfied with that I move on to line work, and finally coloring. But, as is often the case, it takes me a few minutes to decide on what to draw, how many panels that will take up, what should the dialogue be, does there need to be dialogue, so it can take me anywhere between 2 to 5 hours to get a comic finished and submitted. I average about 3 hours though."
Megan credits working on the Daily Texan with teaching her the valuable skill of communication in a busy work environment. Megan's eye is on the future, she's hoping these experiences of creating on a deadline, collaborating with writers, editors and other staff are preparing the way for her after graduation, "There are so many instances where knowing how to communicate quickly and effectively has already helped, most of these situations having parallels in class assignments and group projects. However, in the future when I do have a more long term job outside of a school setting, I hope that this knowledge will help me to adapt quickly to the new environment and allow me to perform to the absolute best of my ability."
While the world is turning their eyes to 3D modeling and animation, Megan wants to stick to 2D animation, it's something that just calls to her. Her future goals include wanting to work on TV and Film projects, she sees it as an opportunity to grow in her storytelling ability. In the future she also wants to work with authors to illustrate their stories and bring them to life.