Whit Taylor is a cartoonist, writer, and editor from New Jersey. In addition to self-publishing, her comics have been published by Sparkplug Books (2015 Best American Comics Notable Comic, The Anthropologists), Ninth Art Press, The Nib, Fusion, Boom! Studios, and others. She is currently working on a graphic novel about public health.
How does visiting an impressive place put things in perspective for you? Can you tell us about a specific time a place left a deep impression on you?
Going to places of immense scale or beauty make me feel smaller, and in a way more integrated into the universe. Sometimes, I’ll go to a planetarium or museum to get that feeling. Years ago I visited a few national parks in southern Utah. Just sitting near the edge of a cliff at Canyonlands National Park gave me this feeling of tranquility and awe (as well as a bit of fear).
Talk about some of your other comics projects. What project do you think is the most exciting and what drew you to the idea?
I’ve tried make different types of comics, from fiction and journalism to autobio/memoir. This last comics genre is the one I’m most comfortable with, but I still try to find ways to push myself with it. The last mini-comic I made, Wallpaper, was a semi-autobio story told entirely through patterns and text. I wanted to see if I could construct a story without drawing people and feel like I succeeded! Plus, it was a blast to draw complicated designs. Up next I am doing a history comic. This is challenging due to the research and fact checking, but it is also rewarding to work on lesser-known stories that I want folks to learn about.
What subjects and themes are you most drawn to right now?
I’m really into writing non-fiction educational comics right now. I like the idea of taking tricky or misunderstood concepts, as well a typically “dry” material and explaining them visually. I also keep coming back to the same themes in my autobio/fictional work: culture, relationships, and identity. I like wrestling with these topics in different ways, both to help me understand them better and to give the reader something different to think about.
Do you have advice for other budding comics artists?
I would say that having patience is key. There’s often a pressure to become a fully formed artist at a young age, since our culture puts a real value on becoming “successful” early. I wish I had known that my style would go through a lot of changes in the first few years, as my skills evolved and I tried drawing with new materials. I think that is normal and I also think style evolution is something that will last your entire career, even if those changes become less pronounced.
If you could ask one question of a creature of the deep, what would it be?
I would ask them how the people in their society treat each other. Or their opinion on mayo.
Unlimited possibilities! If money, time, and the laws of physics weren’t an obstacle, where would you want to travel?
I’d want to take a tour of our solar system with a few days on each planet. I would include Pluto too, because I’m still having a hard time accepting that it’s not a planet anymore.