After eight years of “finding work wherever” she could, prolific writer-illustrator-comic book artist Annie Mok was happy to be able to talk about No Exit, her recently published graphic novel, when she visited RISD in late January. The Illustration department hosted her engaging talk in the RISD Auditorium.
A self-professed perfectionistic, Mok told students that her process was essentially joyless until 2012 when a breakdown/breakthrough led her to open up about her own life and experiment with different tools. For instance, she discovered that “the moodiness of pencil on Duralar is perfect for conveying memory, which is so nonlinear.”
Mok has built her career around social media – in particular, Twitter – and encouraged students to use the tools that speak to them. She also reflected on the importance of creative collaboration. “Collaborating helps me feel connected,” she noted. “It’s dull to work alone. That’s a really straight, white male approach.”
Created in part to counter suicidal tendencies, No Exit chronicles Mok’s own traumas and journey, underscoring the importance of her creative process in helping her heal. “Find ways to take care of yourself,” she advised students. “A lot of stuff comes up, but [if you address it through your work], you’ll be surprised by how open [people] can be to difficult material.”
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