The lovely Domitille Collardey, creator of What Had Happened Was... spoke with us at SPX on Sunday, even after we openly admitted we would probably pronounce her name wrong. She was nice enough to pronounce it for us and give us an interview, despite our terrible French accents.
Alex: So you did What Had Happened Was. Can you tell me what the process is? This is semi-autobiographical, right?
Domitille Collardey: Yeah. It can really be anything. It's anything I want because that's what I do. Really I do it seriously, but it's the most recreational part of my cartooning life. The things that I do for myself and that I put out myself. So part of it is autobiographical and part of it is just for the pleasure of drawing. It's where I allow myself to do anything, everything, I'm completely free.
A: You have a very distinctive style that I like. It's very free-flowing, but it's also very easy to follow and concise. How did you go about developing that style.
DC: I think I'm very influenced by the European comics and the ligne claire artists. Hergé is an obvious person. And Manga. I like a lot of Manga. Toriyama? I like that his line is very soft and very concise. But yeah. Old European ligne claire comics. I'm really into that right now.
A: What Happened Was 3 is not a traditional book, it's a fold out that I love that it's not a story, but it's more just assorted drawings. What was the thought process behind producing that as opposed to a traditional linear comic?
DC: I wanted to put out a comic... I finished working on a book that's going to come out in France, so I was ready to move on to the next comic, and I was not starting to work on it actually! I was just doodling. Doodling little things. And I realized that I just wanted to do something non-narrative. Something just funny, you know? It was like cleaning my desk before doing something like long narrative again. So yeah, that's what it is. Just a fun recreational project. I tried to list things that I think about a lot, like people, artists that I think about. I imagine it, I call it like a map. I wanted it to be a map. It's not a map. That's not really what it is...
A: Except for the front, which is literally a map, or a cross-section of a house.
DC: It's kind of the layout of things that I think about sometimes...
A: No! I like it a lot! You said you just finished a larger book? Where else can we find your work? Specifically here in America or online.
DC: Well in America, mostly at conventions. I'm terrible at sending things to retailers or selling online. I've had trouble selling online. So yeah, mainly at conventions.
You can find more of Domitille's work and her convention schedule (so you can pick up her books!) at her website, domitille-collardey.com.