Whazamo! Profiles: Megan Speers

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Megan Speers

Open Book is celebrating the outstanding graphic novels and comics published here in Ontario and throughout the country with Whazamo! profiles, contests, videos and a series of original literary comics curated by Vepo Studios. Check out Open Book's Whazamo! page all month long to keep up to date.

In today's Whazamo! profile, artist and zine-maker Megan Speers talks to Open Book about her latest projects, her workspace and the coffee that fuels the engines. She is a frequent participant at book– and zine-fairs, and her wordless novel Wanderlust is published by The Porcupine's Quill.

Contest! Enter to win Wanderlust and three other fantastic graphic novels from The Porcupine's Quill and Open Book. Click here for details.

Open Book:

What is your most recent publication, and what are five words you would use to describe it?

Megan Speers:

My most recent published work is Wanderlust, though I've made a few self-published zines since then. Wanderlust is a wordless novel about punk kids.

OB:

When you're working on a project, which comes first — the words or the images?

MS:

Some of my projects don't have any words at all, so of course it's all images. When I'm making what more folks would recognize as comics — with panels, text, speech bubbles and all that — usually I write the words out first, divide them and come up with images for them after the writing is at least vaguely figured out.

OB:

What do you do to get the creative juices flowing?

MS:

I drink a serious amount of coffee, and sometimes throw a little whiskey in there, too. I like listening to music while I work as well.

OB:

What does your work space look like?

MS:

A bit of a disaster area, to be honest. My main work space is my kitchen table, which is convenient because it means my coffee maker is right next to me. The table tends to be piled with infinite art supplies, sewing projects, snacks and my computer, which holds my music and the perfect opportunity for procrastination. I've been mostly making zines lately, so I tend to wander back and forth from this table to the desk in my bedroom where my typewriter lives.

OB:

What medium do you most often work with?

MS:

Lots of pen and ink, with some graphite shading here and there. I took a bit of a break from traditional print media since my book came out, but I'm now returning to it with a new collaborative project, so I've been doing some linocut prints lately as well.

OB:

Why do you think graphic novels are finally gaining popularity?

MS:

I think that because more of a wide range of folks are getting into creating graphic novels, readers are starting to recognize more and more that there is as much diversity in the graphic novel genre as there is in any other literary genre. It's not just superheroes and Archie comics anymore (not that there's anything wrong with either of those things!). More variety in topics creates an opportunity for more variety of readers.

OB:

Who is your favourite graphic novelist?

MS:

Dan Clowes. I really enjoy his drawing style, and I like that when he uses colour it is very muted and subtle. His dark, sarcastic sense of humour appeals to me a lot as well.

OB:

Where can we find more of your work?

MS:

You can find a lot of my older work at meganspeers.com. I haven't updated in a while as I've been focusing on non-digital life. I was at TCAF on May 7 and 8 with other graphic novelists from the Porcupine's Quill, and I recently tabled at the Montreal Anarchist Bookfair on May 21 and 22. The best way to see my newer work is definitely to hunt me down at book– and zine fairs!


Megan Speers was born in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario in 1986 and lived there in a sub-cultural mix of punks, modern-day hippies, travellers and anarchists until she was 17. Her mother was a cabinetmaker and woodworker, which led Megan to a profound appreciation of wood and handcrafted items — a big part of the reason she chose to "write" Wanderlust in wood engraving rather than the less demanding linocut. Shortly before she turned 18, Megan moved to Toronto to enroll at the Ontario College of Art and Design. She graduated in June, 2009 after studying Printmaking (with a focus on bookbinding and book arts) and English. In her final year at OCAD Megan was the recipient of the Bill Poole Memorial Award (for book arts) and the Diana Myers Book Award.

For more information about Wanderlust please visit the Porcupine's Quill website.

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

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