Q&A with Leonie Brialey

LEONIE BRIALEY is a cartoonist and amateur ceramicist living in Naarm/Melbourne, Victoria.

Our Art and Comics Editor, David C Mahler, interviews Leonie about their illustration, published in #16 UNFUNDED.

Your illustration for Sam Elkin’s short story Tops in this issue has a lovely balance of line and shape, and visually reflects the pieces concerns. Curiously, how do you hone in on an image, is it about seeing what comes to mind when reading a piece or taking away key words and elements which could lead to a drawing…?

It’s definitely a combo of honing in on some key words and getting a feel for the vibe, for lack of a better word, of the whole piece. Just how it makes me feel in general. I still feel like I am learning how to do this—how to trust myself and my interpretation of what resonates in a piece and how to translate that into a drawing. I’m always both honoured and bemused when I get asked to do illustration work because I still feel like, don’t you know I don’t know what I’m doing? But it always seems to work out and I think that trust, of myself and others, is an important factor in that.

You’re also a musician and have been producing and performing music for years now, do you feel there is a connection between your writing-based art and your drawing? 

There definitely is in a way that’s difficult for me to articulate perhaps because I don’t fully understand it. I know that most musicians I admire are also visual artists and vice versa. Until recently I hadn’t written many or any songs in a number of years partly because I was doing more comics writing and all writing for me generally starts with writing about myself so it felt like overkill to write songs about my life while I was also drawing a lot about my life. I guess I could write about something other than my life lol. More generally I guess all art is a kind of communication and there is a rhythm to comics and drawing in general that feels musical. On a very basic level I think both playing music and drawing engage my body in a way that I just really enjoy.

Where can we discover more of your creative projects?

I play the drums in this band called Ostraaly where my best friend Katharine Daly writes the songs, we released an album recently that I’m very proud of (ostraalyband.bandcamp.com), I sometimes make t-shirts and write a newsletter/ other things (lonelytimes.bigcartel.com) and occasionally update my tumblr (linesloinslions.tumblr.com).