You can read our full interview over at Boinkology.
You can read our full interview over at Boinkology.
We’re not done yet, though!
We haven’t sold out of all the prints yet, so we can still raise more funds for Planned Parenthood.
If we sell another seven prints, we’ll have raised $1,500!
And if we sell out, that number will be raised to $1,650
Want to see some of the work that went into creating this illustration? Lucy and I have a high-speed video to give you a taste of how this artwork came to be:
I am delighted to be back on A Happy Go Lucky Podcast with Leia Weathington, Jesse Morgan and Ben Coleman for episode 34! Here’s the episode description:
My main squeeze Erika Moen is in house to talk about six months of her incredible sexual health and toy review comic Oh Joy, Sex Toy! Together we all plumb the murky depths of societies attitude towards sex, our fraught educations as youngsters and the politics of desire.
Bonus content: learn what god awful wardrobe choices we all made as teenagers.
In April, we teamed up in Portland to create this illustration in order to help raise funds for Planned Parenthood. Real life PP supporters sent us their photos to be drawn into the scene and then we created 25 limited edition Giclée prints, all hand numbered and signed by us. $50 of each sale will be donated to Planned Parenthood. More details about our project can be read here.
As of this writing, we’ve sold the original art and many prints, raising $900 so far. If we can sell another two prints, that number will be raised to $1,000
Here is my talk, as recorded by the high quality XOXO staff:
And here’s my lecture notes:
My name is Erika Moen and I’m a cartoonist.
For fifteen years, I’ve been creating comics and posting them online. This year I turned 30, which means I’ve officially been doing this for half of my lifetime. When I began posting my comics online as a little fifteen year old teenager, I was just sharing my drawings and comics and Batman: The Animated Series fan art for my internet friends to see. Today, this is my full time career.
I’m best known for my autobiographical series, DAR! Which was my six year long journal comic about being a lesbian who falls in love with a man, and a whole bunch of dick and fart jokes. After that wrapped in 2009 I wanted to take a break from autobio so I teamed up with Marvel writer Jeff Parker to create Bucko, a dick and fart joke murder-mystery, which was published by Dark Horse Comics last year. Currently I’m working on Oh Joy, Sex Toy with my husband, which is a comic that covers some subject in the world of sex each week. It’s got a focus on sex toy reviews but we also sneak in some interviews with professionals in the sex industry and some general sex education, basically any topic is on the table. (So to speak)
XOXO asked me to share my origin story with you guys, about how I turned my little funsies web comics hobby into a full time job. So, I’m going to read to you the final strip I drew for my autobio comic, DAR. It’s a crash course through my life between the ages of 20-26
[And then I read that comic to the audience]
Being self-employed is NOT something I ever wanted growing up. When I was a senior in high school applying for colleges, I didn’t even look at any of the art departments of those universities because I knew “artists can’t support themselves” and I wanted to have a stable job when I graduated. Of course, after my first semester I realized I couldn’t go four years and not spend it studying art, so I created my own major called Illustrated Storytelling– I was afraid calling it “Comics” wouldn’t sound academic enough. It was half of an English degree and half of an Art degree and I worked with a faculty advisor from each department to create a lesson plan with them and I had to stay accountable to them so they knew I wasn’t just making up a fluff degree.
Intellectually, I knew studying comics was a mistake, that I was wasting my college tuition on an education that wouldn’t help me get a Real Job in the Real world. But my stomach and heart compelled me to do it anyway and deal with the consequences later. Which is kind of a running theme in my life.
I’d been doing short, little autobio comics as a teen, but it was when I was a 20 year old in college that I started my series DAR! It was a way for me to document my college experience, process and embrace my fresh new lesbian identity and also just to make people laugh.
When I graduated in 2006, I moved here to Portland and immediately got to work at some Normal, Stable jobs where you clock in, do your task and get paid the same amount each day. I landed work at two different animation/website design studios, where I was hired to do production-assistanty, administrative-y things, nothing relating to art. Although, the second one was such a small studio that I did wind up taking on many art tasks because everyone had to wear many hats, but that was just an unexpected bonus, it’s not what I was hired to do.
In the mean time, I was continuing to update DAR! each week as a hobby. I’ve used comics my entire life much like everybody else uses Facebook or Twitter. I created comics to document something in my life that I found worth sharing and to help me understand events and how I perceive myself and generally process my life. When I fell in love with the man who would become my husband while I identified as a lesbian, I sorted out my conflicting thoughts and shifting sexual identity by making comics about it. At the time, there weren’t really that many queer cartoonists on the web, so my work was kind of like a beacon to other queer people who could relate to my personal story and would then tell their friends to check my stuff out. My audience grew entirely from word of mouth.
Now, a footnote, the guy that I fell in love with? He lived in England. We had an eight hour time difference between us. Being in a relationship with someone so far away is SUPER EXPENSIVE, with all the phone cards, long-distance texts and flights to visit each other. So while I was working at my day job, I would save ALL my money just to see him. I would pay for my living expenses, and then every last penny went into my savings account so that we could visit each other. I was so cheap. My friends would want to meet up at food places and I’d be that asshole who’d just drink water or order toast. That was me.
So then the recession hit in 2008 and everyone at my studio was laid off. I FREAKED OUT. I need stability, I need to know what my schedule is every day, so of course I immediately started applying for all these other normal, stable jobs to replace the one I lost.
I had NEVER wanted to be a freelance artist, because that sounded absolutely unstable and like a quick path to financial ruin. But, I was freaking out, so I went to visit my friend, Dylan Meconis (at the time a part-time freelance artist) , at Periscope Studio (the largest collective of freelancer comic artists in the English speaking world) to freak out at her about losing my job and try to figure out where am I going to make money and she and Steve Lieber suggested to me, “Haven’t you been doing this comic DAR! every week for a few years now? Why don’t you collect it into a book and sell that?” And because of all the saving I’d done for my long-distance-relationship, I had this nice little nest egg to draw on to print my first book. This was before Kickstarter. Around this time, this amazing, well-paying job to illustrate a children’s book was just handed to me with a bow wrapped around it because a friend of mine recommended me for the job. So I took my first freelance gig, just to keep my head above water.
Here’s the thing about keeping up a weekly comic: not only do you develop an audience of readers who enjoy your work, but you’re also proving weekly that you’re reliable, that you can deliver on time, that you can act like a professional. Because people had been reading my comic for years, they WANTED to support me by buying DAR! Volume One and, unintentionally, through my weekly webcomic I’d been advertising that I’m a reliable artist that people should hire. So I kept taking on more and more freelance work and selling my self-published book until about six months after I’d been laid off, I realized that I had accidentally stopped looking for a replacement stable job because I was SO BUSY with all this self-employed work. Around this time, Periscope Studio invited me to become a member and I’ve been doing my own thing ever since.
So that’s how I accidentally became a fully-time artist.
And it’s now, this year, my 30th, that I feel like I’m doing the work that I was born to do.
This year my husband and I started Oh Joy, Sex Toy and it is the most fulfilling and rewarding job I’ve ever hard.
I care a lot about sex. And not just the “act of”– I care about how it makes people feel, about all the rules and regulations society puts on it, about the different cultures and industries that grow up around it, kinks and fetishes, birth control, I care a LOT about sex education. The subject of sex is a fascinating world.
In all my previous years, I had incorporate sex stuff into my comics, but it was always a secondary topic. Now, this year was a turning point and I decided to full on dive into using comics to talk about sex.
Comics are one of the most powerful teaching tools for education that exist, especially sex education. They’re so much more accessible than dry walls of academic or medical text that are explaining unfamiliar concepts and are accompanied by these alien diagrams, it’s so hard to relate them to your own body and social interactions. A comic combines text and image together in a really, attractive, appealing way. Plus, with a couple jokes thrown in, your audience feels like they’re included in a friendly conversation instead of being lectured at. It’s impossible to not read a comic when it’s in front of you.
So, this is my story. I never set out to be a full-time, self-employed sex cartoonist, but here I am and I’m doing work that I’m proud of, that’s important to me and helping people learn about a subject that I’m in love with. I’m pretty stoked.
To anyone that’s interested in creating comics, or any method of storytelling really, my one piece of advice is to tell the story that only YOU can tell. Every subject matter has already been covered, so it’s up to use your unique voice to engage your audience. Readers can tell when you’re being genuine, when you’re truly passionate about a subject. Even on topics that have been done a million time, you can still bring that fresh spark to it by telling it in the way that only YOU can.
Over the last fifteen years I’ve been telling MY stories with MY voice and by doing that my audience found me. They support me because they like what I have to say and the way I say it. So that’s why I think the best thing you can possibly do is to tell the story that only you can tell.
Lucy and I are big fans of Planned Parenthood and all the essential affordable healthcare they provide to their patients. The ladies depicted were crowdsourced from real live supporters of PP, they were invited to send their photos to us over Twitter to be included in the big party scene.
Though Planned Parenthood offers their services to all genders, for the sake of this print we wanted to represent women-identified people because it’s rare and important to show positive portrayals of women existing on their own and being in charge of their bodies.
Last year I raised $1,080 from people buying my Planned Parenthood-themed artwork, I hope we can beat that number this year!
Rose City Comic Con
Booth 1013 (Listed as Periscope Studio)
Oregon Convention Center
777 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd.
Portland, OR 97232
|September 21 at 11:05am
Guest speaking at 11:05am
in the YU Theater
800 SE 10th Ave
Portland, OR 97214
I’ll be on two panels for Rose City Comic Con!
September 21, 2-3pm
Room: Panel 5
Periscope Studio is the largest collective of independent artists and writers in the United States (and possibly the world). They house some of comics biggest talents, work on some of the most critically acclaimed projects, and support each other like a family. Come learn what it’s like in a day in the life of Periscope Studio.
September 21, 5-6pm
Room: Panel 2
The newest craze in comics is all about embracing the future. Many creators and companies are looking at the digital marketplace as the test bed for the freshest ideas in the industry. Creators are able to make their own audience by developing it first online. Join the fearless comic creators that are finding a home amongst the internet, and find out how you can too. Joining the panel is Terry Blas (Briar Hollow), Ibrahim Moustafa (High Crimes), Chris Sebela (High Crimes), Erika Moen (Bucko), Shawn Aldridge (Vic Boone), and Greg Rucka (Lady Sabre),
Yes, you read that correctly, on Saturday I am doing three talks in two different locations. Hahahahah these are happy tears no really.
I know everyone always says “where did the time go??” but FOR REALS where did the time go?? It’s time for PAX Prime already?!?! This is my first PAX and I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m super nervous.
Here’s the deets:
August 29 – September 2
800 Convention Place
Seattle, WA 98101
|PANEL: Strip Search
September 1, 3:30-5:30pm
|PANEL: It’s Not Too Dangerous to Go Alone
September 2, 10-11am
Glenn Fleishman had a really in-depth, thorough conversation with me earlier this month on his excellent podcast, The New Disruptors. We talk about my origins in comics, honesty & autobio, sex education, being on a reality TV show and my new comic series. It was a pleasure to talk with him and really go below the surface with him on this episode, Do Toy With My Affections.