By Krystal DiFronzo
With the thawing of Spring comes little sprouts, molds, and insects. Who better to remind us of the unseen natural dramas we pass by every day than the cartoonist and artist, Lala Albert. I briefly chatted with Lala about her new upcoming book with San Francisco based publisher Sonatina called Wet Earth.
Krystal DiFronzo: Can you describe your new project, Wet Earth
Lala Albert: Wet Earth is a silent comic following the life of a solitary fairy living in a marsh. It’s kind of a slice of life, seeing what she gets up to as the seasons change and she encounters the other resident and migrant creatures of the environment.

KD: What inspired Wet Earth? Looking at it I immediately think about your nature photography and bird-watching excursions. Does being an avid observer of nature affect your practice?

LA: Of course! I really love being out in nature and looking at everything, birds and plants and the way every component of an ecosystem interacts. I wanted to make a comic that gave me the same feelings, of looking at a whole tiny universe underfoot. I also took a lot of reference photos for this comic so anything I saw outside that I wanted to include is there!

I had been thinking about the fairy concept for a while, just drawing them in my sketchbook, so when Scott Longo sent me an email to ask if I had any interest in making a nature themed comic for Sonatina I thought it would be a good fit. I didn’t want to do something just with animals or something too science-y. I don’t really have that impulse for personification, so I knew there had to be some sort of humanoid there for me to give the comic a story/heart (is that saying something about a lack of imagination or am I just….a human….???). I kind of treat the protagonist like a mysterious bird you see alone just doing its thing.

I was excited to work on a comic that I knew I would be good for me mentally. A lot of it really came from that desire, to just be able to relax and draw organic matter. I really have a hard time with man-made interiors and architecture, it stresses me out to draw that kind of stuff. This comic’s not super heavy material and there’s no dialogue, but it’s been really nice to work on something so different for me. It’s been giving me a lot of pleasure to draw and I hope that can be seen or felt from reading it.

KD: How are you approaching working on a longer piece?

LA: It’s been hard, this is the longest comic I’ve ever done! I lost my job mid-February which has been kind of a good thing in this one instance? I’m having a lot of anxiety about being unemployed but I wouldn’t have had the time to work on such a long comic otherwise. I had been planning it out for over a year, waiting for the right time to get going on it. It’s been nice to focus on just drawing for the last couple months instead of it having to be a thing I squeeze in at night or on weekends. I’ve been trying hard to dedicate my time to this comic and I feel really good about the result. Most of the comics I’ve made before have been kind of rushed, this time I’m just putting everything into it since I have nothing else going on! Scott has also been wonderful and so supportive, I’m not really sure if I would be able to do this otherwise. I feel really lucky to be working with him on this book.

KD: When is Wet Earth scheduled to debut?

LA: Summer 17!
Get regular previews and updates on Lala’s progress with Wet Earth by subscripting to her Patreon. kuš! published a great mini of her’s called R.A.T. that is still available on their webshop. You can check out the rest of Lala’s work and purchase originals at her website.