Angela Song is a storyteller and professional illustrator based in Los Angeles. She works on several projects – children’s books, webcomics, and her Daily Drawings & Illustrations – all with the purpose of sharing her stories with the world and making people laugh and smile every day.
I’m impressed with how prolific you are with your Daily Drawings. How do you stay so disciplined?
Over these last 5 years I developed a few “rules” that work for me, which are:
- Don’t play the catch up game. What I’ve learned from my early attempts is that this rule is a big deal. If you miss a day you feel guilty, and if you let it add up it just becomes painful, and the project ends up feeling like a chore instead of something creative and fun.
- Don’t let the Daily Drawing interfere with my life. I decided I would post whenever it was convenient, or plan ahead and get it done early if I knew that I would be out late or something.
- The day doesn’t end until I go to bed. That way I don’t worry about turning into a pumpkin at midnight and missing the day.
- Be consistent in style…if you want (aka: be flexible!). This one I’m still struggling with as it’s a new one for me! I only broke away from my pen and grey marker look for watercolors last year, and before that it was a year of sitting on the fence about whether I should change or not. I’m determined to have all my dailies tell a story, but now I’m letting myself tell it however I want, whether it be one panel or two, in greyscale or color.
- The most important rule: For why do you do this? You have to have a goal that keeps you going. Novelty will wear off very quickly. I’m fortunate as my personal goal doesn’t have an ending. For me the one thought that has never faded is, “What story do I want to tell today?”
What would be your advice to artists who are contemplating Patreon?
Patreon is a fairly new beast for me! I knew about it for years but only started out myself last year, so I’m still learning the ropes myself. The first thing I will mention is: it’s free to create a page on Patreon. The second important thing is: be sure to mention on your front page that your patron can cancel their subscription at any time.
Because my focus is on storytelling, I’m planning my Patreon be more of a long term project. I’m working on several stories that will have lots of exclusive content in the Backstage Blog and will constantly be upgrading my reward tiers which I hope will draw more people in! You have to show that you’re serious about your work so people can seriously support you!
Tell me about the process of putting together a book by hand. How did you learn bookbinding?
I was first introduced to bookbinding by my printmaking teacher in college. She had a book she had put together herself and I was instantly fascinated by it and ended up on Google and YouTube looking up any and all tutorials I could find. The one I was most attracted to was the Coptic Stitch binding since the books would lie flat and not damage the spine, and the binding looked awesome! When I first started, I made a couple sketchbooks for myself. But I really applied it to my first Daily Drawing book out of financial necessity. I couldn’t afford to print the books in bulk anywhere so I decided to make them myself.
I really have to be a one woman army when I put a book together, as I do my layouts in Photoshop, do test prints, if they require a hard cover I have to print out both sides to glue over backing boards, cut them, assemble the signatures in correct order, bore the holes through the board/papers for the thread, sew them together, trim the edges, sign them, take photos, create a listing, advertise, and then have a drink.
If you choose to use Coptic stitch, I recommend that you create a little physical template to number each page as it can get confusing which image or text would go on which side of the paper as the book is put together in signatures. It’s a time-consuming process, and sometimes a bit frustrating (I love how the hardcovers turn out but I always dread assembling them!), but I find stitching the binding to be meditative and the end result to be stunning, so for me it’s always worth it.
What 2017 project are you most excited about?
I’m the most excited to work on my storytelling projects – whether it’s another children’s book or one of my webcomic stories. I have so many ideas in my head, and several I’ve been sitting on for several years! 2016 had been a year of discovery for what I really want to do with my work, and the year where a lot of things clicked together for me creatively, so at the moment I’m just trying to calm myself down from excitement and decide which story I want to work on first. It’s a crazy world we live in right now, so I’m hoping my stories can, at the very least, bring a chuckle and a smile to the people who read them.