Q&A with Carly Candiloro

A collage of images, including the suburban review Issue 19 cover, a textured orange rectangle, and an image of Carly Candiloro. Carly has pale skin, long dark hair, and stands in front of a picturesque countryside of green grass and distant blue hills. Carly wears a dark coloured t-shirt and is smiling.

CARLY CANDILORO is a cartoonist and visual artist from Melbourne’s north. Her work features in the anthology ‘if we all spat at once they’d drown: drawings about class’ as well as in publications Femszine and Hag Mag. Comics, illustrations and doodles can be found at the artist’s Instagram page @carlycandiloro.

Our Associate Editor, Panda Wong, talks to Carly about her comic, ‘Do you do you?’, in #19: Echo.

Your comic, ‘Do you do you?’ has a playful and exuberant style (even when delving into bleaker topics) with a really intuitive use of colour. I’m curious to know: what does your process look like?

My process involves a lot of procrastination, but when I’m not avoiding the act of drawing I use a gridded notebook I bought last year, which helps me to create journal comics and flesh out rough ideas. I took ideas from journal comics I hadn’t finalised as the catalyst for this particular comic.

I would love to credit my own intuition, but since I’m not all that confident in my use of colour yet I settled on a late 90s Simpson’s comic to use as a colour guide, particularly for the first page of my comic.

The final drawings were completed on white computer paper, using a black pigment ink marker and watercolour pencils, minus the use of water.

When making comics, what sources of inspiration do you draw on?

The comics I create are inspired by ordinary moments or thoughts I’ll have over a given day.

Another source would have to be Instagram and the overwhelming amount of prodigious visual/comic artists who post their work, even throughout the pandemic. I’ve since given up on trying to limit the number of accounts I follow on the app.

Also, while having a bit of a crisis over not having found my ‘style’ yet, I was heavily inspired by the work of Charles Schulz, which is probably evident in my work today.

Your comic taps directly into this universal anxiety and sentiment surrounding the pandemic, and 2020 in general… it’s so relatable right now. How are you and your practice going through this time?

At the beginning of 2020, I made a goal to post at least one illustration or comic a week, and given the time I’ve had off from work since the pandemic, I’ve already achieved this. As a self professed slow artist, I’m pleased by the amount of work I’ve created this year, even if most of it is just doodles in my sketchbook.

Initially, I appreciated the extra time to be creative, however I’m starting to relate to the collective fatigue a lot of psychologists are referring to at the moment. I think my brain is finally shifting from the novelty that came with having more creative time to now becoming anxious about what my financial situation will be in the coming months.

I’ve otherwise remained quite optimistic throughout, and I’m learning to channel some of these new thoughts and feelings into my work. I’m also trying not to feel guilty about taking moments of rest and lying on the couch for extended periods of time. I hope that others are able to access moments of rest at this time too.