The following is a collection of questions I get asked. Actually, I frequently get asked them, which is why there's a collection of answers as well.

Q: "What is 'I Just Work Here'"?

A: "I Just Work Here" ("IJWH") is a comic strip about life in Social Services, particularly the SNAP (Food Stamp) and Medicaid programs. It follows the lives of the workers and their experiences working in welfare.

Q: "How often do you update?"

A: Every Friday unless something prevents me from doing so.

Q: "Why Social Workers? Social work is generally depressing..."

A: Well, I'm a type of Social Worker myself, so I see this stuff every day. I find the best way to deal with difficult situations is to try finding a fun way to look at them; thus the basis for IJWH. For more specifics on what got this strip started, you can read the captions in the Archives.

Q: "What got you into comics? Have you always drawn comics?"

A: I actually wasn't ALWAYS into comics, per say. As a kid, I was drawing before I could write-- not well, mind you-- and once I discovered writing, I was writing and drawing All. The. Time. However, the two never got mixed until I was 10, when my dad gave me his old Garfield books. That was the first time I'd ever considered the idea of combining pictures and words seriously, but boy did I ever. I immediately fell in love with Garfield (I even started hating Mondays and loving lasagna) and started reading any and every kind of comic I could get my hands on, eventually going on to draw my own.

Q: "What are your favorite comics?"

A: Good question. I have a LOT of favorites in all different genres, but I'll try to name the big ones, in no particular order: Bone (Jeff Smith), Girl Genius (Kaja and Phil Foglio), Dreamkeepers (David and Liz Lillie), Ultimate Spider-Man (story Brian Michael Bendis), Powers (story again Brian Michael Bendis), Batman: The Long Halloween (Jeff Loeb & Tim Sale), The Walking Dead (Robert Kirkman), Lackadaisy (Tracy J Butler), Sherman's Lagoon (Jim Toomey), Get Fuzzy (Darby Conley), Foxtrot (Bill Amend), Dilbert (Scott Adams), For Better Or For Worse (Lynn Johnston), Garfield (Jim Davis), Calvin and Hobbes (Bill Waterson), Claymore (Norihiro Yagi), Deathnote (Tsugumi Ohba & Takeshi Obata), Hikaru No Go (Yumi Hotta & Takeshi Obata), Nemi (Lisa Myhre)... And the list goes on (Links for some of these can be found in Other Fun Stuff!). There are several other titles that I love, but have left them out in order to move on to the next question. Next!

Q: "What other hobbies do you have? Or do you draw obsessively all day long?"

A: I admit I see a limited amount of the outside world. However, I do play soccer and other sports, I have a vast LEGO collection, I absolutely love to read (regular books and comics), I enjoy music and playing the piano, and I love a good movie. And donuts. I love donuts.

Q: "LEGOs? The kids' toys?!?!?!"

A: Yep! My cubicle always has some theme of LEGOs all over the shelves, everything from pirates to ninjas to pharoahs, which my coworkers love to come see. LEGOs are my cure for writer's block; nothing fixes me up like building a setting, grabbing some little people, giving them names and stories and going from there. That and they're just plain awesome.

Q: "Is IJWH your first comic strip?"

A: No; I made my first strip when I was 12 years old. My parents got divorced, and it was a VERY ugly divorce. So bad in fact I made a strip called "Just Caitlin," which was essentially me, but in a different world, with a different life, family, friends, everything. What started out as a coping mechanism quickly became a passion, and the Caitlin in "Just Caitlin" quickly developed her own personality, based off mine but different enough to stand alone. Unfortunately, after about 2 years of "Just Caitlin" problems at home forced me to divert my attention elsewhere, and the strip lay dormant for almost 7 years, until now...

Q: "Speaking of characters, what happened to the girl from the first couple of IJWH strips? Was that you? How come she doesn't show up anymore?"

A: Yes, that was me. I hear this question so often it deserves a thorough answer: IJWH started out as an in-office gag. I used myself because when you make up characters and then show them to people you know, especially in a workplace, there's always that one clown who has to get upset and say "Wait, is that ME? Why would you draw me like that??" when in fact that character had nothing whatsoever to do with them. I used myself to prevent that; but then IJWH was accidentally successful, and being unprepared for this, I kept using myself because I didn't have any other characters developed yet. The truth is, had I known IJWH would cultivate an international audience, I never would have used myself; I have every intention of unleashing "Just Caitlin" on the world, and having my cartoon character in two strips is just too much for my big, shiny ego.

Q: "Awww! But I liked her! And she was so funny, with her hair all messy and everything!"

A: Uhm, while I'm disconcertedly flattered by your amusement with my strangeness, I'll only be bringing myself back for the occassional cameo, if even that. My character will be in "Just Caitlin", where I like my character to be.

Q: "Will you draw ME in the strip? I'm a social worker! Or me and my friends? Or--"

A: NO!!!!! Ack! I get asked this question so often I feel I need to post it publicly for the world to see I do NOT put other people into my work, ever! For ANY reason! This is a big can of worms waiting to be opened, and open it I shall not.

Q: "Okay, okay, but there's this person where I work who is SO funny, they--"

A: Again, no. IJWH is not a coworker-bashing forum. I actually had someone at work tell me they'd had a disagreement with another coworker, and would I draw this that and the other? For me, poking fun at people ends with myself; anything outside of that is open to misinterpretation and hurt feelings, and I strive to avoid both.

Q: "Is IJWH digital art? Or do you use pen and paper?"

A: Pen and paper, mostly. I use 11x17" sheets of bristol board to draft and ink the comics, then I edit them in Photoshop CS5. Editing involves small touch-ups, type and Copyright insertion, little else. I use a Wacom Intuos 4 large drawing tablet for that step. More on that process to be found in Behind The Scenes!

Q: "Where did you go to art school?"

A: I never went to art school, never took lessons, bought art books, any of that. The closest thing to a lesson was the "How To Draw the Lion King" book my grandparents got me. As a kid I was too caught up playing sports, playing piano, and writing and drawing to bother having someone teach me to draw. I actually bristle at the idea of having someone tell me how to do the thing I love most in this world. I still have a very, very long way to go as an artist, but I've gotten this far on my own, and I shall continue as such. However, many people do take lessons and go to art school, and I wholeheartedly applaud that; different paths for different people.

Q: "Did you make this website?"

A: Er, yes... I know, it shows... The amount of time it took was a little unreal, all things considered. Long-time readers deserve a hearty round of applause for putting up with it through its early stages; it really looked quite sad for some time there.

Q: "What other kinds of things do you draw?"

A: For that, I'll link you to my DeviantArt gallery, a happy, happy place where I submit IJWH and other comics and drawings besides. Anything that isn't IJWH tends to be colored. I've also posted stuff in the Galleries section here; that will keep getting updated as I draw more stuff.

Q: "Will IJWH ever be colored?"

A: No... to say nothing of the fact the coloring process is long and tedious if you want it to look nice, I like the black-and-white look for this comic, especially since it matches the look and feel of your typical Social Services office. And it allows me to update bi-weekly as opposed to bi-annually.


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