I drew exactly one comic page before becoming perfectly obsessed. I was about thirteen, and it was a silly comic strip about my dog having misadventures with my friends’ dogs. I drew it in a creative fervor in my dad’s basement, like I was in a trance, and then I drew three more. I adored every wobbly, uncertain line.
Drawing that first comic was like digging a hole in your garden to plant something, and instead your trowel hits a treasure chest.
Now that my graphic memoir, Just Pretend, is about to hit shelves, I’m amazed to remember that I started making comics by drawing inspiration from real life. In my dog’s cartoon adventures, there were many fictional elements. The dogs could talk, they dined at restaurants, and they were fully autonomous in a world without humans. It was a pretend story, but I was borrowing the personalities of living, barking dogs for my comics. I was mining my life for stories without fully realizing what that meant.