Seamus and Abbie What do you normally do when you're feeling down in the dumps? Do you go outside and jog around the park? Do you pick up a book and try to read it? Or better yet, why not check out the following interview I did with my mate Izzi? As it's about a comic book that deals with the subject of depression. Izzi, it's now over to you. 

1) What are your own origins, Izzi?   My full name is Isabella Ross, but for everyone I meet, I just tell them to call me Izzi. Thus my artist alias IZZI was born!

I am 22 years old, South American, Caucasian, and Eastern Indian, although I was born in the United States, and lived in Alabama for the majority of my life. I always loved to create stories, scripts, and characters since I was very little. My family can vouch for that! They have endless amounts of sketches and screenplays saved from around ages 7 to 14. My grandpa could also tell you how we’d read the Sunday paper and head right to the comics section!

Around 10, I discovered characters like “Poke’mon” and “Yu-Gi-Oh” and became obsessed with the anime and the cartoon style, and really picked up the pace with making comics and story-lines ever since! I focused my energy on art and theatre in high school, but come graduation time, I had to make a choice on what I wanted to pursue more, so I decided to put all my energy into art, since I just couldn’t deny I had the comic creator bone in me. 

Four years ago I moved to Austin, Texas, to pursue my career as an artist. I’m a computer operator for a gaming company by day, and full on comic creator when I get off of work!

Seamus and Abbie
2) What inspired you to create, ‘Seamus and Abbie’?   “Seamus and Abbie” stemmed from a whole other story I created when I was 16 or 17 years old, which centered around Eagan, who happened to be the main protagonist and brother of Seamus. The story was made out of complete boredom from staying home all summer and creating original characters with a friend on a whim for fun. After making a pretty piss-poor story I decided to let it go. But years later, when I was looking for a whole new kind of comic to create after I moved to Austin, I thought I'd give it another shot.

Since I was very anime-influenced up until that point in time, I wanted to branch out in finding another style. So, I picked out the old draft of the story by random chance and molded it heavily to where Seamus would be the main character instead of Eagan. Seamus and Abigail were originally side-characters that hardly ever had screen time.

3) In your own words how would you describe this story?   I would describe “Seamus and Abbie” as a ‘dramedy’. It has a good mix of humor and heart, which are my all-time favorite traits to look for when watching movies or reading books and comics. I think it’s a fresh look on the issue of ‘depression’, and since Seamus suffers from this illness, I wanted to make him a new type of character, that wasn’t overly ‘played out’ in the comic scene.

I have quite a few friends and family that have this ailment, and the one thing I hope readers of this comic will understand is that people with depression are still their own person. Depression does not define them, and I felt this was something I wanted to show through Seamus and his daily antics. However, Seamus is still a cartoon character, so I took a more exaggerated approach by making him a grump with a nasty scowl and thick, constantly down-turned eyebrows. But ultimately, the message has been received very well through the comic’s readers, and I am very proud of that fact.

4) What song would you say best represents this comic and why?   “Here Comes Trouble” by TV on the Radio would have to be my number one pick for this. In my opinion, the song represents how inevitable sadness can be to a wide variety of people, and even to those who don’t necessarily have depression, how tragedy can at some point effect their lives, and how picking yourself up from a ‘heavy fall’ emotionally can be a right b***.

Seamus and Abbie
5) If you could get a celebrity – either living or dead – to promote your wares, who would you choose, and why would you want to choose this particular person?   I honestly don’t see any celebrity promoting me at the moment, not even in my wildest fantasies. If a celebrity would ever want to promote the comic, then sure, by all means do! But it’s never going to be a priority of mine. Through what I’m doing with “Seamus and Abbie’s” story, my favorite part of creating this comic is focusing on down to earth, every day people with opinions on the story itself and how they can relate to it. You never know: that girl over there with her head down listening to her ipod could be just as interesting as any celebrity out there! 

6) What have you learnt about yourself through this endeavour?   Making “Seamus and Abbie” has forced me into some dark places, mentally. I went through a lot of hardships in my personal life through the making of this comic, and a lot of my memories are attached to where I was at certain points in time while sitting at my desk, posting strips, and trying to make a life for Seamus and his crew. It’s been draining, but I have had my fun moments with it, too.

It’s also pushed me to create raw, emotional material, get better at character development, and I have never been more sure of the fact that making comics is what I want to do forever and ever. This story’s characters almost feel like a part of my own family now, and I owe them a lot. I’ve grown artistically, I’ve met great communities of fellow artists and readers who have encouraged me so much over its few years online, and I am so grateful for all of it. It’s been quite the ride, and I don’t think I want to hop off anytime soon.

Seamus and Abbie
7) During your time in this field, what is the one thing that has kept you in good stead?   The most valuable thing I’ve learned through this venture of being a comic artist, is that there are always going to be comics you envy, and you will always have self-doubt as an artist. I know it sounds pessimistic, but hear me out.

It comes in waves; when I see a comic I love and really admire, I start to doubt my own. It’s a nasty habit, but you have to learn to take that doubt and flip it to an incentive to be a better artist. Having comics you love can make for a great boost to be a great artist yourself. It always helps to have goals and aspirations for any story or creative idea you come up with as an artist. Always have goals. When you meet them, reward yourself, and when you don’t, simply tell yourself to work harder and follow through! Hell, even write down what you’d like to do better next time for reference. Seeing goals set in stone is a huge help.

8) If ‘Seamus and Abbie’ had a motto, what would it be?   “There is a little Seamus in all of us.”

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And on that great note, I'd like to thank Izzi for telling me about her comic book, Seamus and Abbie, before directing you towards her website, facebook, and twitter pages.


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