Monday, December 09, 2013

Meet a Local Cartoonist: A Chat with Monica Marier of Tangent Artists

Monica Marier, co-founder of Tangent Artists was at Intervention con this fall. The con website describes the studio members as  "Rachael Hixon works on Story, Inks and Colors. David Joria does Story and Script. Monica Marier does Story, Script, Pencils and Colors. She has also written a book series based on CRIT, “The Linus Saga" published through Hunt Press."

ComicsDC: What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?

Monica Marier: I primarily do webcomics, but I have been contracted to do a few covers and character designs as well as the occasional commission or filler strip for other artists.

How do you do it? Traditional pen and ink, computer or a combination?

I like the newfangled gadgets we use now-a-days, like the Wacom tablet and Adobe Photoshop to make everything shiny, but there's something very satisfying about covering a sheet of blank paper with pencil. I love working with pencils best, I switch between digital and "analog" (pen) inking, but I'll always start with a good ol' messy pencil sketch.

When (within a decade is fine) and where were you born?

I was born in D.C. in the 80's (the part of the 80's that was still the 70's if you want to get more specific).
"Great Scott!" "Wyld Stallions!" "Don't cross the streams!" "Make it so!" "It's over 9000!"

Why are you in Washington now?  What neighborhood or area do you live in?

I live out in Warrenton, VA, but my husband works in Sterling. We can't really afford to live in NoVA, but we have to live where the jobs are, even if those jobs are 70 minutes away. I like it out here in the country, though. I have a garden and fruit trees and a lawn gnome named David the Gnome.

What is your training and/or education in cartooning?

I graduated from George Mason University with a BA in Digital Art and Animation. My favorite part of animation was storyboarding, so it lent itself quite well to the sequential art of comics. I started doing comics professionally in 2005 and never looked back.

Who are your influences?

They are legion for they are many. I'm a fan of western comic people like Mark Waid, Mike Mignola, Colleen Doran, Wendy and Richard Pini, Bruce Timm and Paul Dini. I'm also a fan of Japanese mangaka like Rumiko Takahashi and Akira Toriyama. And then there's the webcomic pioneers like Pete Abrams, Greg Dean and Bill Holbrook.

If you could, what in your career would you do-over or change?

I wish I had a time machine so I could tell my high school self, "Look—the music thing is NOT going to pan out. You don't have a tough enough skin for music school. Enroll in art classes instead—trust me. And, for God's Sake, LISTEN to the artists when they tell you to practice drawing from real life. You're not as good as you think you are so suck it up and take the hints they're giving you."

Humility is a hard thing to foster in a kid who is stubborn and convinced that she's a genius.

What work are you best-known for?

Hard to say really. I get different answers every convention I go to, but in general I think I'm most well know for creating Linus Weedwhacker, the main character of CRIT! and my novel series, The Linus Saga published through Hunt Press. It also spawned our company's best-seller, "The Miles Reyner Handbook for Saucy Bards," joke book. We have a hard time keeping that in stock.

What work are you most proud of?

All artists think their own stuff is crap. It's a temperament thing, I think, but I think CRIT! is slowly building into something big. I'm seeing some of the signs of potential greatness and the enthusiasm of the other Tangent Artists is starting to infect me. I get excited about it sometimes and I don't know why.

What would you like to do  or work on in the future?

The ultimate goal one day was to be a creator and main writer of an animated series for a big house like Nickelodeon or Disney. I have no idea if that will ever happen, but I'm still young. We'll see.

What do you do when you're in a rut or have writer's block?

I clean. You can tell when I'm stuck on something when my house is sparkly clean and smells of bleach and lemons. if I'm still stuck after cleaning, I listen to the Alan Parson Project and make home-made jam. I'm notorious for my jam.

What do you think will be the future of your field? 

The more digitized the world becomes the more people can put their thoughts and ideas into web medium—look at rage comics and Tumblr. I think it will be harder to separate the wheat from the chaff in many cases, but I think the ones that will really shine will be the ones that stick with it and stay consistent. Thanks to the internet people have a chance to reach out to a world that would have never seen them 20 years ago via traditional publishing. Copyright wars will ensue, the popular kids will still win, but we still have a voice and a chance.

Skeleton Crew by Marier
What local cons do you attend? The Small Press Expo, Intervention, or others? Any comments about attending them?

Tangent Artists attends anime cons like NekoCon, KatsuCon and IkasuCon as well as SciFi/Fantasy cons like MarsCon and RavenCon and web-media Conventions like InterventionCon. We also have done outreach stuff at local libraries and charity functions to encourage youths to get started putting their ideas on paper. We love every one of these Cons. It's just such a rush to go out to these venues and meet and greet new faces and catch up with old faces. We love our fans so much.

What's your favorite thing about DC?

The nerd ratio in the DC area is HIGHLY in our favor. We always feel like everyone out here "speaks our language" as it were. We can jump into a conversation about Batman, Dr Who, Supernatural, or Gravity Falls with other educated adults without the need for preamble or explanation. Since humor is our primary genre, it helps to have that even playing field.

Least favorite?

(Here I sigh tragically) Why do things cost money?

Rachel Hixon of Tangent Artists
What monument or museum do you like to take visitors to?

I'm always bats about dinosaurs. I love the dinosaurs at the natural history museum. My first drawn comic issue (Skeleton Crew Issue 5, "Fright at the Museum") took place at "the Schmitzsonian Museum of Natural History"). My brother, Dave, who co-wrote it with me, is a huge history buff like me.

How about a favorite local restaurant?

Kind of silly, but for the last two years at Intervention, we'd get together with other webcomic artists and hit up the Lebanese Taverna for shawarma. In our heads, it's like we're The Avengers, after a long hard battle, relaxing and eating hummus. I hope this tradition never goes away.

Do you have a website or blog?

You can read all three of our Comics for free online here at

Skeleton Crew is our Horror/Comedy
Donuts for Looking is Nerd Life
CRIT! is a Fantasy/Comedy

We update every Monday (Barring Major Holidays) and you can purchase full issues at our store. Please follow our Facebook Page to get more info on updates, conventions and store sales!

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