INTERVIEW: Dee Fish
Thank you so much for agreeing to an interview! Tell everyone about who you are and your background?
Well, my name is Dee Fish. I’m a cartoonist, illustrator and graphic designer living in Pennsylvania. I’ve been producing my own comics for as long as I can remember, self-publishing zines in High School and distributing it to a few friends. After high school, I attended the Joe Kubert School in New Jersey for a year before moving to Florida to pursue graphic design as a career.
While there, I began my first online comic, the web strip, Dandy & Company, which began in 2001 and ran until 2018. I’ve also created the graphic novel series, the Wellkeeper and worked on projects for the Perhapanauts, Tellos, PVP and the series Carpe Noctem.
In 2016, I came out as transgender, and have been living out with my partner Heidi ever since.
Tell us about your projects!
In 2017, on the one year anniversary of my coming out, I launched my current webcomic, FINDING DEE. It’s a weekly, semi-autobiographical story about the ins and outs of COMING out as transgender in your 40s, while trying to make it in comics.
As a webcomic, it’s been running weekly for years now, and is finally being collected in color for the first time through Unlikely Heroes Studios. http://uhstudios.com/kickit2
Take us through your creative process from idea to finished story.
Since FINDING DEE is based on my life, I draw inspiration from the day-to-day things that happen. The writing process is focused on, no matter how stressful or uncomfortable a topic is, working to find the humor in it. Creatively, that’s the purpose in the strip. Living out as a transgender woman in the world comes with a mountain of reasons to stress, and my goal with the comic is to show how boringly normal I am and to find a way to laugh at the things life throws at you.
From there, it’s a matter of roughing out the strip in blueline, usually in Clip Studio. I ink, letter and add tones before sharing it with the world.
Since it’s a weekly strip, I try to not have running story lines longer than 3 or 4 gags to keep the comic fresh and fun.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received from a fellow creator?
There’s no one answer to that, really. In this case, it was actually from PVP creator Scott Kurtz, who noticed that the strips where I would appear as the cartoonist in my old comic, Dandy & Company, were really funny. He recommended that I explore a comic that is centered on myself as a cartoonist. That was years ago, and well before my transition, but it turned out to be really good advice.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give a new creator?
To make the comic you would want to read. Tell the story that you would buy on the shelves the second you saw it. Create for yourself first, and you’ll find other people who would do the same, and they will respond to that passion.
Who else in the indie comic industry should people be following?
John Allison and Max Sarin. Of course, their work has Eisner noms, and I think wins, for GIANT DAYS, so they don’t need me pushing them. Read Jay Fosgitt’s BODIE TROLL and make it sell so well that the second volume comes out, because I need it.
How and where can people support your work?
The kickstarter for the color collection has a few days to go as of my writing this, so check it out here: http://uhstudios.com/kickit2 You can also read NEW strips every Wednesday at www.findingdeecomic.com