Sunday, May 08, 2011

Questions 39: Trixie Biltmore

Trixie Biltmore's  first-grade teacher tried to hold her back a grade due to “social retardation.”  Things haven’t improved much.

You can follow Trixie’s glorious repartee on twitter: @meencomics

You can read Trixie’s semi-autobiographical comic at,   It is updated weekly, so you’ll always have a nice fresh poop joke to look forward to.

Doug Dorr:   What projects are you working on currently?
Well, Meen Comics, at least once a week. I'll have two sets of Meen Comics in mini-comic form by Stumptown. The first volume is from the beginning of the strip, when I was still drawing myself with no pupils. The second volume will be everything from the point I gave myself pupils in the strip to the present.

I will also have a mini of the comics I've been drawing for the Portland Opera. They've been having us come out for dress rehearsal and we get a backstage tour, and then we draw comics while we sit in the dark. I'm slowly figuring out how to draw without really being able to see what I'm doing. Anyway, it's been great- I'd never been to an opera before and now I've seen four of them. And they turn out to be DURTY. I had no idea that opera is so often whole strings of dirty jokes, but in Italian, sung by a guy in a wig.

DD:   What is your artistic Process?

I don't know if you can call it a process! I carry a notebook around with me and write my ideas down in it, and then later, I read these ideas, and I find out that what I wrote down was something like "HONK HONK I'M A SCHOOL BUS" and I can no longer remember what that was supposed to mean. So then I will scramble for another idea, usually some stupid story I was regaling the studio with, and I sketch it out in a thumbnail, and then a first draft, and then I scan it and print it and ink it and scan it again and add lettering and tone it in Photoshop and then I put it up on my website and collapse to the ground, weeping softly.

DD:   What Comic/ Trade would you recommend?

Mysterius by Jeff Parker, and Bucko Comics on the web by him and Erika Moen. And also Underground by Parker and Steve Lieber. Who are all, I should note, studiomates, but who are great, and totally fun to read.

Other comics I've loved recently are anything by Jason Shiga, especially Bookhunter, and Chew, by John Layman, and Blacksad, by Juan Diaz Canales. Oh! and The Rabbi's Cat, by Joann Sfar.

But I'm a web cartoonist, and I read LOTS of those. Lulu Eightball, who is a web cartoonist out of Chicago, I think, is GREAT. I love Wonderella- that's one of the best strips on the web, and also his twitterstream is so funny. I love the artwork in Johnny Wander. And I read Cat and Girl religiously. Achewood used to be my absolute favorite, and might be again if he starts it back up- it seems like it's on a hiatus. I tend towards funny stuff. I love Eleanor Davis, who has a site called - she's one of my favorites. I have everything she's in and a bunch of her small press and minis.

DD:   What Comic/ Trade would you recommend to someone new to comics?
It depends on the person and the age and what I think they'd personally like. Any of the things I mentioned up there. DAR, by Erika Moen, if they have a sense of humor.

Maybe Emitown, by Emi Lenox, if they like cute autobiographical stuff.  Dicebox, by Jen Manley Lee, is beautifully drawn and interesting, and I think she's coming out with a print edition of her book soon. If it's a kid, I really liked Hereville by Barry Deutsch, and Smile by Raina Telgemeier.

DD:    When you are story illustrator, how involved are you in the guiding the story?

It depends, but mostly it's not my job to GUIDE the story. I'm there to tell the story, and to tell it mostly the way the writer sees it.

DD:   What skill would you like to learn?.

Impulse control would be good to learn. Maybe "how to not say the thing that I think is hysterically funny but that will be offensive to everyone else in the room."

DD:  What's the most important thing you've learned?
Do you mean, EVER? Um. Learning to touch-type has made me more money than anything else I ever learned in school. Learning to admit I made a mistake and apologize is one I'm still working on.

DD:  Do you have a collection? If so, what is one of the items you're most proud of?

I don't really collect much of anything. I have a bug collection, though, now that I think of it. I have a giant acrylic block filled with about a hundred different asian insects that I keep on my desk at Periscope, and it freaks out everybody who hates bugs, so I guess that's my favorite.

DD:   What is your favorite genre of Comics?

Indie/alternative/autobio/webcomics. I started reading a lot of comics in the very late 80s and all through the 90s so I have a soft spot for indies.

DD:   Do you have an Ipad? If so what do use it for the most.

I don't have an Ipad. I kind of want one, but they're expensive and I have a laptop that does all of those things, honestly.

DD:   What is your favorite TV show/ movie?

Here is where I look like a jackass and say "I don't have a television" but I DON'T. I watch stuff on the internets all the time though. Right now I've been watching "Embarrassing Bodies" which is a Channel 4 show where they show people with giant cysts or butt zits. Any kind of disgusting embarrassing illness. I LOVE IT.

DD:   How does the Portland comics culture shapes your work?

I spend most of my waking hours in a comic book studio, and almost all of my friends are cartoonists. My work is autobiographical, and it features Periscope and Periscope people a lot, so I would say that my work IS Portland comics culture.

DD:   What was your first comic convention?

APE or Wondercon - I used to live in San Francisco.

DD:   What is your favorite part of comic conventions?

Seeing friends from all over the place and sometimes getting to meet my heros. Last Emerald City, I briefly got to talk to Sergio Aragones. That was THRILLING.

DD:   If you weren’t doing comics what would you do?

Cease to exist. I mean that quite literally.

DD:   Do you have a favorite restaurant that you would recommend?

I like Le Pigeon in Portland if I'm eatin' Fancy.

DD:   How long have you lived in Portland, what made you choose Portland?

I've lived in Portland since 2000 or 2001. I was trying to move to Seattle, and got a job here so thought I'd stay just long enough to save some money up. The company I was working for almost immediately went out of business, and just like many before me, I got stuck and broke in Portland. But then I met Steve Lieber and a bunch of cartoonists and decided I liked it here anyway.

DD:   What is your favorite part of Portland?

Periscope Studio. But also I kind of like the beer.

DD:   Where in Portland/ Oregon would you most like to visit?

I want to go backstage at the Zoo. I totally want to spend the day drawing animals and trying not to get in the way when they feed the elephants.

DD:   Would you like to write/Illustrate for another media? Or would you like illustrating a character from a different media, for example, Dr. Who, James Bond? What would you explore?
I want enough time and money to spend a year making a stop-motion movie, seriously.
But also I'd like to draw the Moomins! I love Tove Janson. I don't think I could improve on her drawings but I'd do a Moomin fan piece in a hot second.

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