The Secret Loves of Geek Girls is an ALL-FEMALE collection featuring essays, new comics, and illustrated stories. For the next several months we will be featuring one of the anthology’s contributors leading up to the slated December release (which is currently on our Holiday Gift Guide Geeky Books and Comics)
Last month we featured writer, Adrienne Kress, and this month we are featuring another writer/illustrator – Natalie Smith – who’s comic will be in, The Secret Loves of Geek Girls. Check out our interview below.
AGtM: First off, how did you get involved with/in The Secret Loves Of Geek Girls?
NS: It’s funny, a couple of months ago I was just starting to post random mini-comics to my Twitter, one of them was based on a funny experience I had earlier in the week where a bunch of girls in my class started to discuss their girl crushes. Being that I’m openly bisexual and they were all straight I didn’t really think to participate, but then they asked “who’s your girl crush Natalie?” and I went “oh boy…do I have news for you…” anyways, Hope Nicholson, who I had known for maybe a month or two at that point thought that comic -along with my other tweets on Twitter- was hilarious and asked me to take part in the anthology. I didn’t anticipate how huge it was going to be until I saw it in the paper and various blogs/websites that I follow religiously.
AGtM: You are a writer and an illustrator. Who or what comics/graphic novels inspired/inspire you?
NS: Oh man, there’s really a variety…I think my biggest inspiration is Gerard Way. For a long time I thought I was going to be pursuing a career in drama or film, I was very sure of it actually. I was really struggling when I joined a specialized art program for theater, because there was an emphasis on your appearance and I felt inadequate, my love for comics at that point was very quiet. On the other hand Gerard is really good at emphasizing the message that you should do what you love, so I did and I turned up here! What else is that over the last year through the power of the internet he found out about my art and has been watching me grow and has been personally encouraging to me as an artist; I had a period of time where I had a lot of fear about the disapproval of my family and where I’ll be going for university, but he was very reassuring that if this is what I truly want to do, things will turn out.
AGtM: How would you describe your illustrating and writing style?
NS: I’m still looking to figure that out, I think in general it’s very different than what you’ll see in my comic. My comic, which originally started out from a humorous angle, took kind of a melancholy turn as I started to flesh out the idea more. The illustration style is very simple and kind of cute, which I’m actually pretty satisfied with for the comic. In general with my other creative endeavors, my mind tends to turn towards Sci-Fi, but when I imagine how it looks in my head the comic kind of has a Jamie McKelvie kind of illustration style to it, which I can’t even fathom my art ever getting on that level.
AGtM: What movies inspired your high school romance goals?
NS: Those really cheesy Disney Channel Original movies, they’re the worst to aspire to. Since I’m only 16 years old High School Musical was really popular in my early childhood before I went on into high school; “Oh wow, Troy the basketball star falls in love with geeky Gabriela and they both have a hidden passion for musical theater and pursue it together…” No, I didn’t actually think about it like that, but all these movies made it look as if finding someone that you click with is that easy. My friends and I all used to think that since there are so many people in high school you will find that one person. This couldn’t be farther from the truth because as the years go on high school starts to feel a lot more smaller and constricting, not to mention I’m growing up in a generation where “Netflix and Chill” is the new thing…
AGtM: Finally what is does it mean to be a geek girl and what is your advice for geek girls out there?
NS: Being a geek girl in general means being a girl and enjoying “geeky” things, but you now what? Geeky is cool now. I was talking to my friend about this last week about how geeky things are totally cool now; it’s cool to like comics, wear ugly sweaters, and watch superhero movies. If we grew up in a different generation we would be totally shut down for these things. There’s a huge misconception about geek girls, however, that they enjoy these things purely for male approval. When I first revealed to people that I enjoy comics I was quizzed by my guy friends about Batman or Spider-Man -I actually know nothing at all about either- but that just means I don’t read Batman or Spider-Man, not that I’m a fake comic geek. My advice to geek girls is to just enjoy themselves, they don’t need to prove anything to anybody, and should definitely not be ashamed for loving the things that they love.
Natalie Smith is a writer and illustrator located in Toronto. Make sure to follow her on Twitter to get updates regarding her work.
The Secret Loves of Geeks Girls will be released in the beginning of December, you can purchase the book and ebook HERE!