Hire This Woman was a long-running series of interviews at ComicsAlliance overseen by Janelle Asselin. We’re happy to announce that from here on out, with Asselin’s blessing, we’ll be taking over the “Hire This Woman” mantle. Using the questions from the original series we’ll be interviewing our favourite creators who identify as anything other than a man—the title of the column, naturally, will be subject to the subject— and having in-depth discussions about their work, process, and portfolio! Where the ComicsAlliance series ran as Q&As, our series will always be profiles.
Nicole Goux (pronounced “goo”) is a startlingly talented illustrator who only began creating comics a few years ago, but alongside her collaborator Dave Baker has one of the most prolific outputs of any creator going. “I’m a comics illustrator. I’ve made the books Suicide Forest, Fuck Off Squad, and Murders with writer Dave Baker. I also wrote and illustrated the minicomics Goodnight, Honey and Ate So Much, Danced So Much, Loved So Much, as well as “Shooting Stars” which was the lead story in Jem & The Holograms: Dimensions #3.”
With a focus on femininity and women-centric stories, Goux is a talented world-builder with a distinct style. “I love telling stories with female protagonists. I love building worlds with complex characters from all walks of life. I usually like working with a writer because I enjoy the collaborative process of building a story from the ground up. I’m someone who loves to know everything about the world that I’m drawing. I constantly add little secret jokes and homages into my pages. I specifically like working on creator-owned comics because I feel that artists should own their work as much as possible,” Goux explained.
When it comes to materials, Goux dabbles in a little of everything. “Paper, digital, a combination of both. I use all three depending on what I feel the project needs,” Goux told me. “Lately my favorite has been doing roughs/pencils digitally (I recently bought an iPad pro, which has been life changing) and then printing the blue lines and inking by hand. I still love that real life pen and paper feel.”
Describing herself as mix of formal and self-taught, Goux has created her own path in comics. “I have a BFA in illustration from California State University Long Beach and I’ve been taking art and drawing courses of all kinds since I was a kid. However, much of my comics education has been ‘learn by doing.’ No matter how much they teach you in a class, you’ll never learn as much as by actually sitting down and making a book. Looking back on old work and thinking ‘man, I’d do that differently now’ proves that you’re improving as an artist and a storyteller, hopefully.”
When it comes to her own personal working style, Goux sees it as “the sum of a childhood full of anime and a full education on fine art and the masters. Y’know, little bit of high brow and a little bit of low brow. Like all the best things in life, it’s a mixture of both,” Goux stated. “The main thing I try to push in my work is the idea of constantly being able to evolve. I want to always be pushing.”
Her most recent work has been a mix of both self-published and in the direct market. “I just wrapped up Fever Coast—the third volume of Fuck Off Squad, my romance comic about skater kids here in Los Angeles—and my Jem & The Holograms story, so now i’m working on an unannounced OGN with Dave Baker. I’m very excited. It feels like a very logical and exciting progression for us as storytellers,” Goux teased.
As for how long it takes to create a comic? Goux’s work ethic reflects her prolific output. “I can do a page a day for pencils and inks, day and a half for pencils inks and colors. I’ve been working as a commercial illustrator for some time now and never missed a deadline!”
As her career is only just really getting started, Goux has a number of dream projects. “I have a long list of projects I’d love to tackle and people I’d love to work with. But I think ultimately a 300-400 page book that I wrote and drew would be my dream. To have something of that size that I can present and say, ‘This is me, in a nutshell.’ That’s something I would feel very proud of,” Goux confessed.
Her inspirations are eclectic and range from modern masters to indie darlings. “There are so many that I feel shameful making a list and leaving people out, but a mini list would include Jillian Tamaki, Eleanor Davis, Sam Alden, Rebecca Dunlap, Emily Carroll, Daniel Warren Johnson, Tom Sutton, and Moebius,” Goux said thoughtfully. “As a kid, I read quite a few manga. At the time I was very into Rurouni Kenshin, Fruits Basket, and the works of Yu Watase. As an adult, books that are a more direct influence would be Skim by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki, Through the Woods by Emily Carroll, and The Nao of Brown by Glyn Dillon.”
For those of you lucky enough to have read Goux’s work, you’ll know she is wonderful at weaving narratives around young women, and that is where she wants her focus to stay. “I like to work on character driven stories about young women. Comics as a medium is so wonderful and has so many towering achievements, and yet there are so many stories that need to be told.” Goux proposed, “For a long time, many of the creators making comics were from a very specific walk of life. I’m looking forward to a day when people from every walk of life are abundantly represented. I’m very passionate about working towards this goal.”
You can find Nicole at http://www.nicolegoux.com/ or on instagram at @ngoux, twitter @nicolegoux, or tumbler www.nicolegouxillustration.com
Disclaimer: The author of this piece has a back-up comic in Goux and Baker’s Fever Coast: A Fuck Off Squad Story.