Interview: Lizz Lunney on Comic Art, Female Art Influences, and Exploring Different Media

12:00 pm


Lizz Lunney is a comic artist, joke writer, and illustrator living in Berlin, and I can't wait for you to fall in love with her hilarious cartoons. I adore her sense of humour, probably because it mirrors so well to mine, and looking at her work is a surefire way to cheer me up when I'm feeling down. Today we chat about her artistic past, her long list of female influences, and the huge variety of mediums she works in and would love to work in in the future.

Magic & Musings:
Thank you for taking the time to answer some of my questions, Lizz! Would you like to introduce yourself and what you do?

Lizz Lunney:
Hello! Sure! I’m Lizz Lunney, I’m a comic artist, joke writer, and illustrator, I also make big plush versions of my characters for exhibitions and I work in the animation industry. I’m from the UK originally and now live in Berlin where I work in a small studio filled with my creations.

Magic & Musings:
If you could describe your illustration style in three words, what would they be?

Lizz Lunney:
Funny, weird, and colourful.


Magic & Musings:
When did you first get into illustration? Was it something that was important to you in your childhood?

Lizz Lunney:
My grandfather and mother were both artists, oil painters mainly, but my Mom also had her own business designing and making fancy dress costumes. It was partly their influences as well as my Dad’s love of the Beano and comedy which sent me in this direction. I have been drawing from as young as I could hold a crayon; it was definitely important in my childhood and is still the main thing getting me out of bed each day!

Magic & Musings:
Have you received any formal art or illustration training?

Lizz Lunney:
Yes, I studied animation at university and before that I did an art foundation course. Since then I have done courses in comedy writing too.


Magic & Musings:
When did you first start sharing your illustrations online and did you have to overcome any self-confidence barriers in order to get to that place?

Lizz Lunney:
My first website was made in 2005 but I had a blog earlier so I guess I was sharing work online since me and my brother first got dial-up internet at home, whenever that was! 1997 maybe? I don’t remember having any worries about sharing my work online but the internet was a bit different then. Maybe if I was starting now I’d be more concerned about having a brand image or being put off by the mass of illustration that already exists online. I would say every artist has self-confidence barriers they have to overcome but I try to ignore that voice in my head otherwise I’d never share anything.

Magic & Musings:
On Magic & Musings I love talking about female-identifying and non-binary artists and their work. Which female artists, if any, would you say have been influences on your work? Do you have any favourites to look to when you need some inspiration or motivation?

Lizz Lunney:
When I reflect on it I realise my early influences were mostly men, but now I have a lot of female influences and the list grows as I get older. I take inspiration from women in all sorts of creative areas, these are the names that come to mind currently based on the pile of books by my bedside: Carrie Fisher, Tove Jansson, Françoise Mouly, Nadja Spiegelman, Jeanette Winterson, Nora Ephron, Phoebe Gloeckner, Frida Kahlo, Caitlin and Caroline Moran, Jane Hissey, Yoko Ono, Emma Watson, Norah Vincent.


Magic & Musings:
What are your favourite tools you use to create your art? Are there any books on creativity and/or working for yourself you would recommend to others?

Lizz Lunney:
Usually just a Muji 0.5 fineliner pen and my sketchbook! I also love to paint big on walls or windows and create 3D characters from fabric. For book recommendations just anything by the women I mentioned previously!

Magic & Musings:
Of all of your illustrations, which are you happiest with and why?

Lizz Lunney:
It’s always weird looking back at previous work. Sometimes old drawings make me laugh and sometimes they make me cry because I hate them so much. I enjoyed writing my Street Dawgz comics and I still like some of my 4 panel gag comics, a lot of them are on my comic website http://www.lizzlizz.com but I’m not sure I could pick one in particular...


Magic & Musings:
I’m interested in knowing how people work and get things done. Do you have a particular place you work or find yourself the most productive? Are there a particular set of things that need to be in place for things to get done? A specific hot drink? A relaxing album?

Lizz Lunney:
I always need green tea to make a start and I like to watch documentaries or listen to podcasts while I draw. My favourite podcast is Mortified where people read out their childhood diaries on stage. When I’m writing I work best in a cafe or on a train going somewhere but mostly I’m at my desk drawing so I just need to get myself in the right frame of mind to concentrate.

Magic & Musings:
Have you ever explored working in another medium?

Lizz Lunney:
Yes, I’ve tried lots of ways of working: sewing, painting, drawing, drawn animation, stop motion, pottery, embroidery, making toys from resin. Recently I’ve been working with paper construction to make a cut out Theme Park and earlier this year I did an exhibition piece in Virtual Reality using Tilt Shift. I’m interested in making 3D versions of my 2D world in any way I can. I’d like to try wood carving next.


Magic & Musings:
What do you do if you find yourself stuck in a rut creatively?

Lizz Lunney:
I try not to beat myself up about it. You can’t force it, trying to stay healthy and exercising as well as taking breaks can help when it feels impossible. Swimming and yoga breaks help me to feel more creative.

Magic & Musings:
What one thing do you wish someone told you when you were first starting out working in this field?

Lizz Lunney:
Save up a lot of money before you start so you have something to fall back on when it’s tough!


Magic & Musings:
Fun question! Can you recommend everyone reading a book you’ve enjoyed recently, as well as a film and an album or song?

Lizz Lunney:
Book: I’m Supposed To Protect You From All This by Nadja Spiegelman.

Film: Only Yesterday.

Song: 'Hey Bulldog' by the Beatles.

Magic & Musings:
Is there anything else you would like to say before we finish? How can people find out more about you and your work?

Lizz Lunney:
On Twitter and Instagram I’m @lizzlizz. I have a Fun Club that people can join at https://www.patreon.com/lizzlizz where they will get access to secret work and competitions as well as being able to get a membership pack or a collectible postcard sent in the post each month! I have a mailing list too which you can sign up for here http://eepurl.com/cMCDun :-)


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