Hello, I’m Keezy Young! I live in Seattle, and I’m a queer comic artist, writer, and illustrator who does sci-fi and fantasy comics, especially YA. My work is cute and sometimes a little creepy, and I use a lot of color. You can find my comics and illustrations at keezyyoung.com.
Find her on Twitter and Tumblr.
What do you do? (Write, draw, edit, publish, promote etc.)
How did you get started doing that?
I do everything! I’ve been an artist my whole life, and I started my first comic in high school. I’ve always made up stories and characters, so it made sense to write and draw my own stuff, and being a queer creator making queer comics, I decided to try and go it my own. Now I’m working on getting my work published professionally, and will hopefully have 3-4 comics published next year.
What was your first comic to create? Why that one? First to read?
My first comic was actually a really, really bad Naruto rip-off, but we don’t need to talk about that. (I just really liked Naruto when I was 15.) First to read was probably Doraemon, or maybe Calvin and Hobbes!
Any current or upcoming projects we can find you on?
I am currently publishing a webcomic called Yellow Hearts, and will have a piece in the Beyond Anthology volume 2. Everything else is a secret for now, but I have other plans as well.
Favorite inspiration, collaborators, other professionals you’ve worked with if any?
The people who inspire me most are other comic artists and writers I’ve met at conventions or on Twitter. I have adored working with Taneka Stotts and Sfé Monster on the Beyond Anthology.
Anyone you’d like to collaborate with some day? Why?
So many people! I actually really enjoy writing and drawing my own comics, so I may not do a true 50/50 collaboration any time soon, but there are tons of indie creators I would be honored to work with someday.
Favorite genre to read? To work in? Are there any you won’t work in?
Sci-fi/fantasy is definitely my genre of choice, both for reading and for writing. I don’t particularly feel a need to add cape comics to my repertoire, but I won’t rule it out indefinitely.
Have you ever faced adversity/discouragement for being a woman in your field? How did you overcome it?
It’s hard to know that there are so few mentors out there. Most women I know in comics are really peers, even though they may be a bit older than me–it’s rare to find a woman who’s been working in the industry for thirty or forty years. On a similar note, I fear making solid connections with male creators, because harassment and abuse is so rampant in the industry, and I feel I can’t trust men in comics, particularly in person. Asking an older man out for drinks is a huge risk for me in a way it wouldn’t be for a young male comic creator. It’s also been frustrating to table at conventions and have the audience assume that I can’t possibly be the creator, and I think my work is often written off as cutesy or less professional because of my identity, which sucks.
Coolest moment you’ve had as a creator?
Being offered a contract to publish a comic toward the end of 2016! I can’t say much about it yet, but that was truly the moment I realized this was something i could do.
How do you think the current comics industry is toward women? What can we do to improve it further and create a safe space?
Publishers need to be more proactive about stopping abuse in the industry. We need to make it possible for female creators to call out misogyny and abuse without fearing for their careers (or their safety). We also need to hire more women writers and artists.
Who are some of your favorite/most inspirational female characters to read? What about in other media (novels, TV, movies, pop culture)? Why?
I love the female characters in Fullmetal Alchemist and the Dragon Age games, because they cover all the bases–geek, artist, comic relief, commander, teacher, warrior, villain, romantic. The female characters aren’t tied to certain roles.
What do comics mean to you?
Comics mean freedom and happiness to me. I could put all of my hopes and dreams and fears into my art, and make people happy at the same time–how could I not love it?
Advice to other female creators in the field?
I’m not sure I have enough experience to offer advice to peers, but to younger girls? The industry is a rough place to be, but you do belong here! Comics isn’t just for guys, and it isn’t just gore or superheroes (though if you want do that, do that!). It’s just a medium, and one where you can tell whatever story you want with art and words. Comics is for you, no matter who you are.