Name: Erin “Ivy Climber” Robinson, ArtSci ’08
Where you’ve seen her work: Golden Words, where she’s a senior staff writer and cartoonist; Independent Voice; Women’s Empowerment Committee art auction; www.livelyivy.com
Where did the name Ivy Climber come from?
When I was in first year, I lived in a gorgeous, ivy-covered residence [Adelaide] and when I used to walk home, I’d think it would be pretty cool if I could get up that way. When did you start cartooning?
I actually started when I was about 11, I guess. I was pretty shy in class and it was a lot easier to draw a stupid cartoon and pass it to the person next to me than say hi to them. That’s how I met my best friend, and we’re still best friends.
How did you get involved at Golden Words?
I guess to be perfectly honest, it factored in my decision to come to Queen’s. I visited in Grade 11 and heard they had a satire paper. It wasn’t the only reason I came here, but it was a cool thing to think about. I basically came to write at GW, and I hadn’t even read it.
We hear you’re working on a book.
I’m hoping to put together a collection of all the comics I’ve done for Golden Words and a bit of my own commentary, talking about the sting of rejection and having to bounce back and keep submitting. When I was in first year, I got 11 cartoons published and I had come to most of the issues—there’s 25. Usually I get in two or three things a week now, it’s pretty exciting. Plus they gave me my own column space last year.
Right now I’m talking to local printers about publishing it and I also made a Facebook group called “Hot People Who Read Ivy Climber’s Comics” for anyone who’s interested. Ideally it’ll be done in three weeks or so. We’re still assembling it. I’m hoping to scan in some of my rough drafts and have nice blurbs and stuff. It’ll be pretty.
What do you do besides cartooning?
I do also make puzzle games; it’s really nerdy. It’s old-school adventure games. It started as a hobby and now I have a part-time gig in the casual games industry. I create graphics, I write puzzles, I write stupid dialogues and I make character art animations. Right now I’m working on a game called Nanobots that I’m hoping to finish after I graduate.
Has cartooning helped with gaming?
I feel like Golden Words has helped me hone my sense of joke-telling and to know when something’s just too stupid to go in. The atmosphere at Golden Words is a lot of fun cause we just sit there joking with each other and sometimes I just sit back and imagine how it would play out among the other writers and I.
What do you find funny?
It’s mostly kind of bizarre stuff. A lot of it is just funny situations. If a character is stuck in a bad place and has to make a decision real quick. Stupidity is always really funny. Slapstick—people getting hurt—I don’t know why that’s funny but it is.
Do you draw from real life?
Some of [my cartoons] are. I think a lot of the people I know will recognize themselves in my comics. The [comic I did about] Stages went better or maybe worse than I expected it to because I hadn’t coloured it, though it was a picture of my friend and they coloured it to look just like her. I’m surprised she still talks to me.
Do you plan to continue drawing after you graduate this spring?
I’m going on into academia, I think. I just got a job offer at McGill in neuroscience.
I hope to keep this up on the side. It’s really rewarding to do, because comics are really universal. I’ve been thinking about starting up a webcomic with my friend/boyfriend/former editor, Brendan. Right now we just know that it’s about time-travellers.
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