Four Questions for: Carolin Walch

Carolin Walch, born 1982, got started in the German manga scene as the artist for “Magic Mütze.” Short stories she authored were published in “Ballroom Blitz” and “Orang.” Carolin Walch is neither related to nor acquainted with the voice-over artist of the same name. Still, this Munich artist has a real liking for bizarre tonalities and curiosities: waiting dogs, trashy music bands, and also snapshots of her grandparents.

You produced the manga “Magic Mütze” and various shorter comics, and now you have done a graphic novel about celebrities. Can you describe your path from your first drawings to “Roxanne and George”? 

In 2005, together with my sister Romina, I drew the short story “Magic Mütze” for submission to a manga contest. We didn’t win, but the publisher “Schwarzer Turm” took note of us for this reason and issued the story in its manga anthology “Paper Theatre.” I got to know other artists at comic festivals, and the people from Reprodukt. After completing my internship at the publishing house in 2007, I kept them up to date with sketches and drawings.

Selbstporträt Carolin Walch

How did “Roxanne & George” develop? How much has changed in the course of the years?

“Roxanne & George” started in 2009 as a Bachelor’s project at the Munich University of Applied Sciences. One sees the crass differences if one compares the first character sketches with my drawings today. While I was still a student, I wasn’t sure yet what technique I would use for the comic, I had originally planned doing the whole thing in pencil and shadings of grey. But this MO got to be too arduous and tatty because the drawings continually get smudged during the process of drawing. So I returned to my tried-and-true manga style with pen and black ink.

Since I draw relatively slowly, it was clear from the start that I had to write a good story that would hold my own interest long enough. To research background material, I watched all of the MTV reality shows and all the episodes of “The Osbournes.” Add to that documentaries about has-been rock bands, biographies of various bands and tonnes of photos of hipsters, it girls, fashion bloggers, etc. (the research folder on my laptop has 3,456 files).

Glamour and celebrity: worthwhile or dismaying?

Carolin WalchPersonally, I have other goals in life that glamour and celebrity. I don’t find the idea that each excess ounce of fat and each night out partying will be dissected in the media all that alluring.
How do you cope with anxiety when facing that white sheet of paper?

The anxiety one feels facing the white sheet of paper is rooted in one’s own perfectionism and in too high expectations of the drawing. I get around that by first drawing the panels and then scribbling very crude, ugly figures in them. This way, the sheet is “deconsecrated” and I can continue drawing without hesitation.

  • Roxanne & George, Reprodukt Verlag, Berlin 2011
Rieke Harmsen
Copyright: Goethe-Institut e. V., Internet-Redaktion

March 2012
Related links

Weblog: The City of Tomorrow

Comic artists from Germany and East Asia are telling stories from a sustainable future and from our still not quite so ecological present.