There are a few webcomics I follow religiously — Kylie’s TransGirlNextDoor is one of them. Started in November of 2013, the comic depicts everyday life as a trans woman. Her art is hilarious and colorful and brings joy to my life, and only leave me wishing there were more comics about being trans.
Kylie works as a freelance artist and spends her free time surfing. She is incredibly talented and is starting to get the recognition she deserves. Hallmark published her art as one of their e-cards for Father’s Day; the short clip, titled “I’ll Take Two,” showcases a family of a young woman with her two dads. Basically, it’s incredibly adorable.
Her tumblr is where I follow her regular updates and squeal with delight over every new panel. She deals with serious gender identity issues, but laces her comics with humor and light. I find myself laughing out loud, simultaneously feeling challenged about my preconceptions of gender presentation. It is great.
How often do you draw?
Every day. Switching between drawing for TransGirlNextDoor and my freelance gigs. I hadn’t realized I drew every day until I was asked this question. And I’m taking that as a good sign, because if I was doing something dreadful every day, I would’ve realized that. Ha ha!
What was the first moment you knew you wanted to get into drawing comics?
When the first ray of sunlight hit the horizon on the Pacific Ocean in 1996… or when I was in elementary school or something like that.
How much revision do you do before publishing/uploading?
I don’t do revision, because GO HARD OR GO HOME! I proofread a lot though… but I’d still make mistakes sometimes. GO HARD OR GO HOME!
I love your blog! I think you’ve struck a great balance between addressing serious issues and comedic genius. You are this amazing safe space and resource for the trans community. Are there comics that focus on trans issues that you follow? Or websites you use as a resource?
Thank you so much for your compliment! It makes me sound super legit, and I feel like I’m ready to enter the 2016 presidential race now.
I’m not really following any trans comics, and I only read HuffPost’s transgender section… I totally need to know more websites. Any recs?
What is the best compliment you’ve received on your work?
When people tell me my comics make them laugh or smile 🙂
Are you making a book of your work??? (I would buy it.)
Let me know if you know a good publisher! I would love to publish a book collecting all of my comics from the beginning of my transition through to one year later (which is March 2015!). And I want to write funny short stories underneath each comic to elaborate or give readers some “inside baseball.” It would be a really fun book to read when you’re in the bathroom, or when you go on a family road trip and you have to sit in the backseat with your annoying little brother/sister (this applies to both kid readers and adult readers).
Most of what I have seen of your art is autobiographical. Do you think you will do more fictional work at some point?
Maybe. My favorite type of book is autobiographical; specifically books that are written by female comedians like Amy Poehler and Sarah Silverman. I truly believe real life is stranger than fiction, and so much more interesting. I really enjoyed watching Harry Potter when I was a kid, but even back then I was glad that the wizarding world stayed in the movie screen. Although, flying on a broomstick would be cool. But, that’s it, no other magic shenanigans in real life please.
Does drawing help you process life, or is it the other way around?
I wanna give a profound answer to this question, but I can’t think of any. So I’m gonna go ahead and say I enjoy taking a nap every day as much as drawing.
I was a huge fan of Akira Toriyama. Most people know him as the Dragon Ball Z creator, but his other work, Dr. Slump, gave 7-year-old Kylie so much life. And I forever thank him for that. Another artist I admire is Tina Fey, who wrote the screenplay for Mean Girls which is my favorite movie of all time. And yes, I consider Tina an artist. An artist of comedic writing. If Tina Fey made comics, I would not be able to handle life anymore, because that would be too much for me.
If your art was a surfboard, what would it be like?
This is such a fun question! I would say it would be like a short board. It’s easy to maneuver, therefore it allows me to have tons of fun on a wave. Even though it might not allow me to ride a wave long and stable like a long board would, the short amount of time I get to spend on it is so much fun. And guess what? My board in real life is a short board!
Speaking of which, how did you get into surfing? Is there a connection between surfing and your creativity?
I was totally gonna make a comic about how I got into surfing! This is such a coincidence! Sometimes I feel like comics explain my feelings and thoughts better, so I’m not gonna answer this part of the question, here, you’ll have watch out for when that comic comes out~
For the second part of the question… I was tempted to give one of those “yeah man, surfing, dude, connecting one with mother nature, man” (cue stereotypical Cali surfer dude accent), but I restrained myself. I think any kind of exercise/sport helps with clearing your mind and sparking creativity.
Do you have any advice for people who want to get into drawing comics?
Just have fun!
Thank you so much for chatting with me, Kylie! I am obviously a huge fan of yours and I look forward to everything you’re going to create.