Nomi Kane is a native Berkeleyite, and an alumna of The Center for Cartoon Studies. Designer at Super7 by day, adjunct faculty at California College of the Arts MFA in Comics by night, and an editorial cartoonist at all times, in addition to drawing, Nomi loves rock and roll, the Oakland Athletics, and all creatures cute and fuzzy.
Nomi’s contribution to Milk & Honey, as seen in Milk & Honey Comic Anthology Issue 3:
Interview as seen in issue 3:
M&H: Let’s start off with a softball… what’s your go-to doodle?
NK: A dog, always a dog. Usually my parents’ German Shepherd, Sunny, but sometimes Corgis - it's always good to warm up by drawing something you really love.
M&H: You’ve been a staff artist at the Schulz Studio which manages the licensing of Peanuts merchandise all over the world. You’ve even had the opportunity to create new illustrations and designs of Snoopy and the gang. Did learning how to recreate Charles Schulz’s style heavily influence your own?
NK: Part of the charm of Peanuts is how simple the drawing is - Schulz always communicated everything in as few lines as he could. But holy smokes is it hard to imitate! I think the more naturally the original artist drew something, the harder it is to recreate believably. Spending so much time learning to ape Schulz definitely influenced my own personal style - Sparky really taught me to simplify; I always tended to work a drawing to death and complicate it with tons of extra lines, and the end result would be something stiff and confusing. I still struggle with that natural inclination sometimes, but, overall, learning to draw the Peanuts characters gave me a lot more fluidity and sure-handedness in my own work. In my current day job, I design toys and toy packaging and we work with a ton of different licenses so, having spent so much time learning to mimic other artists' styles comes in really handy.
M&H: Your own comics have strong feminist and political themes to them. How does it feel to have your voice and your work be so positively received?
NK: I mean, it's not always positively received - if you want to get people pissed off, the quickest way is to be a woman with an opinion on the internet. But I like to think that if my work is pissing off the real jerks in our society, then I'm doing something right. And yes, for the most part I get positive feedback from this warm, fuzzy, lefty echo-chamber I inhabit - which feels great. I think the end goal as a cartoonist, or any kind of artist really, is to create work that people resonate and identify with. The purpose of cartooning in so many ways is to put what everyone is collectively feeling into something succinct that really sums it all up and makes us all feel validated, right? When my community responds positively to my work, it's the best indication I have that I'm achieving that goal.
M&H: The ever changing news cycle can be difficult to keep up with. How do you keep your work up to speed and relevant with the latest current events?
NK: I wish there were a more exciting answer to this but, you just become a total news junkie. My phone alerts me every 15 seconds that the Trump White House has announced or so-and-so was fired, or we might get nuked because of something someone said on Twitter. It's really exhausting and sometimes you have to take a break and turn your phone off and just think about something else....but then you have to turn it back on so you can make sure you think of the gag before someone else does. :)
M&H: We need to know your secret! How do you balance your job, your personal life, and your comics? Especially when it all gets a little crazy?
NK: HA! If you find out please tell me - My solution to being able to work full-time and make my own comics has been to not have a personal life. I'm very lucky to have a partner who really supports me, and is independent enough that he doesn't rely on me for entertainment - but ask any of my friends, they never see me. I'm not sure how anyone who needs an active social life or is in a more co-dependent relationship would balance it - sorry, that’s kind of a depressing answer, but I don't mean it to be! I like spending every waking minute drawing and thinking of things I'm gonna draw later. I usually text myself a bunch of ideas when I'm trying to fall asleep at night so I can be sure to pick them right back up in the morning :)