Good morning new fans and friends! Big thanks to everyone that brought my Twitter and Facebook pages to over 500 followers! Especially to you: Bob Salley, Will Ripamonti, Michael Sacal, and Martin Dunn. You guys rock hard! Today I am bringing you an extra special treat: a brief interview with Nick Seluk, creator of The Awkward Yeti.
I discovered these strips recently titled: Heart and Brain. I fell in love immediately. Shown below is the first one I can across. I had to find more, because I relate so heavily to this. I am often a squirrel, myself and am distracted far too easily. Similar to the heart, I regularly embrace my inner child and run off half-cocked.
As you can see, the heart is well... the heart. Carefree and more or less unable to focus on the task at hand. It's brilliant. I love it so much that I had to track down the creator. I was elated when Nick agreed to do the interview with me. I did not realize that these web series have amassed such a following. The Awkward is comprised of several cartoons. All of which have spawned from the original painting of Lars the Yeti. Lars first appeared in his own children's book under the same title in 2012. From there, one thing led to another and multiple other characters have since been developed.
Awkward Yeti creator Nick Seluk left his job as a senior graphic designer in December 2014 to do The Awkward Yeti full time. He has always loved drawing, especially cartoons, because he finds it's the best way to explain what he has going on in his head. In school, he used to draw cartoons that represented concepts in his notebooks, and those were always the ones that stuck with him. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from Central Michigan University, but finds he learns better on his own. Nick lives in Michigan with his wife, three kids, and a very awkward dog.
Will you go into the details of how The Awkward Yeti began? I understand this character spawned from a painting?
Yes, the first instance of the character was a painting I did several years ago, which I later used as the star character in my first children's book (titled The Awkward Yeti, self published in 2012). The book was okay, but I really got attached to Lars, and decided to pursue it further with a webcomic near the end of 2012.
How has your degree in psychology helped you create heart and brain?
I've really had an interest in my own thought processes for a long time, and how other people's thoughts may have similarities or differences. My degree was helpful to reinforce a lot of these thoughts and give me a couple vocabulary words.
I tend to relate to heart quite a bit. That character tend to hit a lot of people it seems. As does the brain.. the internal struggle between wants and needs are often the subject. Would you say these characters have helped you connect to your readers well?
Yes, Heart and Brain cover a lot of common dichotomies that people relate to, from introversion/extroversion to logical/emotional; it's very easy for people in my audience to relate. I think my connection with the audience is really strong because of how easy it is to relate to one or both characters.
Medical tales retold: how did you come up with this concept? Have you had feedback or stories relayed by any medical professionals?
Medical Tales Retold was an idea that Tapastic and I came up with after seeing another comic artist illustrate personal love stories. I thought it would be a great way to normalize crazy medical stories through humor. The feedback was all around really good for that series, from all kinds of people, including medical professionals.
You seem to have nailed each of these characters down to an exact science. What advice can you give to creators on character development?
For me character development is pretty abstract. I feel the character while I draw it, often making their expressions while I work. I suggest starting with a single personality trait and building from there. My characters are often a little unpredictable - they slip up here and there, they aren't always what you expect them to be. Heart might be a lover of animals, but will still burn down a house to kill a spider. Once in a while people complain by saying something like: "that doesn't seem like something Stomach would do..." But they aren't meant to be consistent - kind of like real people. Whatever you think Heart and Brain are right now might not be what they are in a year because like people, they are always changing.
You found your niche and have turned into something explosive that most people can relate to. How has this inspired you as a creator? what about this experience can you tell others to help with their dreams?
Connecting to people in a way that still allows me to be myself and create the way I want to is a dream come true. My advice to others is to listen to your audience without losing sight of why you started doing what you do.
Have you considered an animated series for any of your works?
I would LOVE to do an animated series someday. I don't happen to have a lot of connections, but I hope as time goes on I'll find the right people (and funding) and animation will eventually become a reality.
What is next for you? Are you looking to do any additional spin-offs?
Lots of ideas, so little time. I'll be starting work on the next Heart and Brain book pretty soon. Like the first book, many of the comics will be brand new and only found in the print version, so I'll be busy with that for a few months.
Where can we purchase your merchandise from?
Merchandise can be purchased from theawkwardstore.com - it's good to plan ahead for the holidays because some products take several days to produce and ship.
Where can people follow you on social media and through your website?
Twitter and Instagram: @theawkwardyeti
As always you can find me here: