Now for Something Extraordinary

Starring creator Li Chen, her partner Jordan and of course, Shoelace the cat, Extra Ordinary Comics has all the right ingredients to win the internet. With three collections available as books already, the series has a lot of followers from all over the world. Funny, cute, thought-provoking and silly as well, this webcomic is a slice of reality- sprinkled with stardust, rainbows, cats and laughs.

And this issue, we catch up with the creator Li Chen to get to know a bit

 

ST: We see a slice of your life in ExtraOrdinary Comics, but what is a typical day in your life like?

Li Chen (LC): The first thing I usually do in the morning is to go for a small walk. It helps to wake me up and gets my brain stirring. When I get home I have breakfast and check my emails. Then I pretty much work until dinner time. After dinner I do a bit of admin work or just draw for fun. Some days I like going to a nearby park and draw in my sketchbook. I like routine!

ST: Tell us more about Shoelace the cat.

LC: I got Shoelace when I was sixteen from a friend whose cat had kittens. Real-life Shoelace is actually tabby, even though I draw him as white in my comics. When he was little he liked hiding under furniture and hitting my feet when I walked past. He also brings me ‘gifts’ of dead insects that he’s caught outside. It’s pretty cute.

ST: How do you perceive sloth?

LC: That’s an interesting question. Personally, I like to be a productive person and my time is very precious to me. I’m very passionate about my work and I’ve always got some kind of project that I’m working on. So I guess I perceive sloth to be the antithesis of what I try to be. That’s not to say that everyone should be crazy busy all the time. It’s all about balance.

 

ST: Tell us about your relationship with procrastination?

LC: Haha I used to procrastinate a lot at university and then I’d have to pull all-nighters to finish assignments and then swear that I’d never procrastinate again, only to repeat the whole process on the next assignment. I’m a lot better at managing my time now, though. It really helps that I love what I do so I’m always excited to work. I guess if I had a job I didn’t like it would be easy to slip into my bad habits again.

ST: Creative barricades- how do you deal with them? 

LC: There are a few things that I do when I feel creatively run-down. Usually when I feel like that it’s because I’ve been busy focussing on work and haven’t had much time to myself. So I go for really long walks, catch up on tv shows, look at other artists’ work that I admire and generally try to take a break from my normal work.

ST: Tell us a bit about your inspirations, influences and muses?

LC: I always find questions like this really hard to answer! I think creative people are all very similar in that they get a lot of inspiration from their every day lives – it’s that ability to turn something seemingly boring into something amazing that makes them creative. I find inspiration in a lot of places, especially when I’m out for walks. It can be the smallest thing, like how a leaf on the footpath looks, or the clinking of glasses from a nearby cafe. Some things will just invoke a strong feeling and I’ll feel compelled to capture that in a drawing.

 

ST: What is the easiest thing about creating a web-comic? And what is the toughest?

LC: Easiest: You can do it from anywhere. If you’ve got an internet connection, some paper and a pencil you can make a webcomic. Drawing has a very low barrier to entry.
Toughest: Trying to come up with new jokes and ideas every week and hoping that they are good enough for a comic.

ST: Tell us about your favourite memory related to ExtraOrdinary Comics?

LC: I’ve made three book collections of my comics and seeing them being made was amazing. I don’t think I could ever get sick of publishing. You put in all the hard work making the comics and designing the books and to see it all come together in the end as a real book is a truly awesome feeling.

After I printed Vol 1 and 2 I found out that my childhood library bought copies of them and a friend found the books there and snapped a photo for me. That was a really special moment. I went to that library nearly every week when I was younger and to know that now my books are there for others to read is so cool.

ST: Wise words for all young artists out there who want to take the plunge and make a webcomic, but are too scared to actually do it.

LC: Practice your craft. Look at the work of others that you admire. Be hard working and determined. If you are passionate about something then just do it. It’s really just that simple.