Interview of Zac - Keep & Grim
Hello yall. My name is Dick. I draw the comic Tree Climbing Inc. and I am a comics enthusiast. I love everything about the medium from newspaper comics like Calvin and Hobbes and Dilbert, to comic books like Superman, Saga, and Transmetropolitan, to webcomics like Perry Bible Fellowship and Extra Fabulous Comics.
While I’m hopelessly addicted to all of it, webcomics are one of the more exciting parts of the medium right now. They’re the frontier. The boundaries of a newspaper comic or a comic book are clear. Those forms have developed over decades to the parameters they’re at now and they’re very difficult fields to break into. Webcomics though, they’re different. They can be any shape and size, you can make them with anything you want, and anybody can make them and get them seen by people across the entire globe. Webcomics, being so new, and being so accessible, can be anything.
In this column we’ll explore this webcomics frontier. Today we’re starting with an interview with Zac, the creator of Kep and Grim. Here it is:
Zac: Kep and Grim follows an alien (Kep) and a Bigfoot (Grim) through their daily life and adventures.
D: An alien and a bigfoot? They seem like an unlikely pair. Were there other possible characters before you narrowed it down to these two?
Z: I was going to have a homeless guy as the human character that happens to live with them but decided to scratch that idea and keep it just Kep and Grim.
D: What do you try to communicate with Kep and Grim?
Z: The ups and downs of life, and how much easier it can be to handle with a good friend.
D: I think that really comes across. I love the slightly antagonistic, but ultimately friendly, relationship that Kep and Grim have.
D: How long have you been working on Kep and Grim?
Z: Little over 4 months now.
D: It seems to be going well!
D: Do you work on comics in advance and store them up, or do you post as soon as you’re finished drawing?
Z: I’ve done that a couple times. If I have a lot of free time I’ll make two or three then post one a day, but mostly I just do one at a time.
D: Why’d you start drawing Kep and Grim?
Z: I had the idea in high school, doodling in math class and never did anything with the idea. Then I got older and wanted to try the idea out and make them digital!
D: It’s funny how some ideas like this just stick with you. Was there any catalyst which made you decide to drawing now, or was it just the right time?
Z: I got older and figured I should at least try and make something with them before I died, lol.
D: What’s your process for making a Kep and Grim comic?
Z: All I do is think of an idea or a joke and then sketch out how I want the panels to look. After that I try and clean it up and then color it!
D: I know it’s a cliché question, but where do your ideas come from? Do you have to be in a particular headspace? Do you have some sort of philosophical ax to grind? Is it divine inspiration?
Z: Usually when I’m out doing things I’ll think of jokes and write them down in my phone notes. Or if I have a conversation with someone, sometimes it’ll spark a funny idea from my inner voice of what I really wanted to say during the conversation.
D: Do you identify with any of your characters?
Z: I’d say my personality is more of Kep and my inner voice in my head is definitely Grim! Haha D: What do you use to draw your comics?
Z: I use an iPad and an Apple Pencil with the Adobe Draw app.
D: Why webcomics instead of some other medium?
Z: Figured it would be the best way to get Kep and Grim out there, and closest thing to a cartoon that one man can make in little time.
D: What are your goals for Kep and Grim?
Z: I would like to see a bigger follower base and make a short story book or graphic novel. My ultimate goal is to have my own cartoon. (Note: There’s a Patreon). Throw some support and let’s get this cartoon happening.)
D: How have you been developing your following? What things have worked for you and what things haven’t?
Z: Getting your audience invoked, and asking what kind of things they wanna see more of works well.
D: What are some things you’ve learned since you’ve started making Kep and Grim?
Z: Time management, I work 12 to 16 hour days in a factory and have a 2 year old so time is valuable! If there is something you love to do you’ll find time.
D: That sounds incredibly exhausting. I’m glad you find the time to draw Kep and Grim!
D: What webcomics are you reading nowadays?
Z: There a couple ones I’ve been following like @fruitgonebad, @goattoself, and @litterboxcomics. I’ve been follow a lot of up and coming comics as well like @treeclimbinginc, @theshortestdraw, @onsitecomics, @littleblackshuck, and @westnewbury.
D: I hear that Tree Climbing Inc. is really great…
Z: If you enjoy the show The Office, you should check out Tree Climbing Inc!
D: Oh no, you’re going to make me tear up.
D: What are your favorite webcomics?
Z: I like any webcomic that makes me laugh or has a story I can follow! Adventure webcomics are pretty awesome.
D: You’ve got both gag comics and story comics in Kep and Grim. Do you have a preference toward one or the other?
Z: I really like the story comics but they are time consuming and difficult. I’m not the best at writing.
D: Aside from webcomics, what are you into?
Z: Cartoons are life! Rocko’s Modern Life, Angry Beavers, Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, Invader Zim, Ren and Stimpy.
D: Nickelodeon fan, eh? No Recess? No Powerpuff Girls or Dexter’s Lab?
Z: I was a fan of Cartoon Network as well but old Nicktoons were my favorite! But shows like Ed, Edd, n Eddy, Courage the Cowardly Dog, and Cow and Chicken, were great shows as well!
D: How have these cartoons influenced Kep and Grim?
Z: I loved how all of them were drawn and I love the character personalities that clashed with each other!
D: I can definitely see that in your comics. It also makes perfect sense that your goal is to turn Kep and Grim into a cartoon.
D: If you could only listen to one song ever again, what would you pick?
Z: Go That Road by Iration
D: I’m putting it on now.
D: How would you spend a perfect day?
Z: Just having time off work to spend with my little boy and my woman. He loves animals so maybe the zoo! He’s never been to a zoo yet and I think he would love it.
D: What’s his favorite animal? (Is it a bigfoot?)
Z: My boy likes sea life! Sharks, turtles, and so on but he also just loves animals in general!
D: What’s something you’ve always wondered about?
Z: How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?
D: The eternal question…
Z: One of the wonders of the world.
D: Have you ever had a life changing epiphany?
Z: Don’t wait life is short, if there’s something you’ve wanted to do just do it! Life doesn’t wait.
D: Word. I love that you’re living this advice out by starting Kep and Grim despite your schedule.
Z: Thank you!
D: Do you have any advice for new comic creators?
Z: Well, I’m a new comic creator and I think a piece of advice I wish I would have gotten is always stay true to your original idea! And never worry about followers. If you enjoy what you do then they will come! D: Have you felt any pressure to move away from your original idea?
Z: Yeah, sometimes change is good though but you just don’t want to stray too far from the original idea!
D: Aside from Mandrill, where can people support your work?
Z: Instagram is where I have all my Kep and Grim work. Give me a follow @kep_and_grim.
Thank you, Zac! It was a blast to interview you! I’ve already subscribed to Kep and Grim here and I’ve turned on push notifications for new Kep and Grim on Instagram. All yall readers should do the same, not just for Kep and Grim, but for all your favorite comics.