liz climo

Hi, I’m Liz!

Hi, I’m Liz!

I am a comic artist, children’s book author and animator. I have worked as an artist on The Simpsons for over ten years.

I have a Tumblr site, LizClimo.Tumblr.com, that I post comics to whenever I can. If you’re interested, you can find a book of those comics right here: http://www.runningpress.com/book/hardcover/the-little-world-of-liz-climo/9780762452385

My first children’s book, Rory the Dinosaur: Me and My Dad, will be available in just a few weeks! You can pre-order it here: http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/titles/liz-climo/rory-the-dinosaur-me-and-my-dad/9780316277280/

Please feel free to ask me some questions, and I’ll be happy to answer, as long as they’re not: too personal (because, privacy!), too mean (because, come on guys that’s not cool) or about math (because I won’t know the answer). Thanks, everyone!

Proof! https://twitter.com/elclimo/status/585950111798206464

How have your characters evolved since launching your blog? Do you draw them in the same way or have they changed/grown up?

I think the characters have all sort of developed personalities, and totally on accident. A lot of them have taken on the personalities of my friends. I draw them using the same tools/program, but the style has definitely evolved a bit.

I have my favorite Simpsons episodes, but those favorites are all based on the plot of the episode. From an animation standpoint, what are a few of your favorites? PS. Rory is my favorite cartoon animal since Hobbes.

first of all, THANK YOU that is the nicest compliment. Favorite episode: And Maggie Makes Three

Did you ever doodle yourself into the background of a Simpsons episode? Also, were there any episodes you particularly loved working on?

I have definitely tried to sneak in a character who looks a bit like me, or a friend, or a relative, but only in the background, and only if it works with the rest of the scene 🙂 I really loved working on “The Girl Who Slept Too Little” – such a cool and fun episode!!

What exactly does an animatic layout artist do?

Good question! We work with the storyboard artist (who stages all of the shots in the episode) to help clean up the characters and come up with the acting.

I was just wondering where you get your inspiration from? I love all of your comics, they always bring a smile to my face even on the gloomiest of days.

Thank you so much!! From my friends, mostly. And just observing stuff around me. I go on a lot of walks!

Is there a particular cartoonist or artist you would want to collaborate with?

I would love to do a collaboration with some other female cartoonists – Marlo Meekins, Kate Beaton, Allie Brosh, etc. That would be so neat.

What animal would you like to include in your drawings that you haven’t done yet?

I really want to draw a waterbear (or tardigrade), but haven’t come up with an idea yet – THEY’RE SO LITTLE AND WEIRD. I love them.

I am very interested in writing and illustrating children’s books — is it very difficult to get started in the field? Many years ago, there was a directory that listed publishers called the Writer’s and/or Illustrator’s Guide. Is there a similar reference contact guide that is especially helpful?

Thank you so much for stopping by! I’d say your best bet is to try and find an agent, they are super helpful when it comes into breaking into the business! And they give great feedback when you’re coming up with ideas (mine does, anyway :D)

Was it always your goal to draw for a living? What was the turning point for you?

It was! Getting the job on The Simpsons, after just being rejected from San Jose State’s animation program, gave me a boost in confidence that I desperately needed. It was a huge turning point for me.

Love your work and I’d just like to know if … you have an animal character you’ve not used yet because you’re waiting for something special or super relevant to happen?

I’ve been trying to find a reason to draw a water bear!!

How much personality do you get to give to your work on the Simpsons? Specifically if the writers have an idea that you’re trying out some sketches for, but feel a different vibe for the character or scene, what opportunities do you have to give feedback?

Thank you so much for visiting!! 😀 I really don’t have any creative say in the writing process, that is all left up to the writers at Fox (and it’s in very good hands there!) The only creative license I get to take is with the acting, where I actually have a lot of freedom.

What got you into comics and animation? Was it a lifelong goal or something that developed later?

It’s been a lifelong goal, I’ve always loved comics and was always a HUGE fan of The Simpsons. I was lucky enough to get a job on the show pretty young, it took a bit more time to start doing the comics.

What is the best advice you can give to someone starting out in the writing world?

I’m actually still sort of starting out myself – when I try to write anything longer than a children’s book, it’s still a struggle! For me, having someone you can bounce ideas off of (a writing partner, an editor, a friend you trust) really helps.

Are your characters related to/ based on anyone in your life?

Yes! Here are a couple examples: the bear and rabbit (in that order) are based on me & my husband, and the super nice collared lizard is based on my pal edwin

Which is your favourite animal/favourite animal to draw?

I really love pigs and sloths, and I love drawing them as well. I also love dogs – but I don’t like to draw dogs or cats, I think because it’s been done so much already it’s difficult to come up with my own unique style.

How has the Simpsons changed over the last 10 years? What are qualities the Simpsons staff looks for in applicants? Were you a Simpsons fan in high school?

I was a huge fan in high school! The biggest change over the past 10 years is probably the process, we used to draw on paper and now (although it’s still traditional animation, rather than computer) all the drawings are done in a computer using a wacom tablet.

Do each of your characters have voices that you imagine whenever you write their dialogue?

They all sort of have the same voice – sort of a naive, sweet, raspy sounding little kid.

How long does it take you to come up w/ a comic idea? And then how long does it take you to draw it?

An idea usually just comes to me, sometimes quickly and other times not at all! That’s the harder part, drawing them usually only takes about 20 min or so.

Where does your unique sense of humor come from?

I definitely got my sense of humor from my mom, she was so funny! She always encouraged me to laugh, and not to be afraid of finding the humor in things.

What’s your favorite sandwich?

BEST QUESTION. You win. Something with a lot of cheese. All the cheese. And avocado and pickles and onions and lettuce and I could spend all night on this question.

What was your inspiration behind your children’s book?

It’s based on my memories of being little mostly, but now that I have my own daughter (1 1/2!) the stories are based on my experiences with her 🙂

What’s your favorite joke?

I’ve been trying to come up with the answer to this and am totally drawing a blank, and since I’m running out of time I’m just going to tell you who some of my favorite comedians are! Louis CK, Paul F Tomkins, Maria Bamford!

Did you ever have any formal artistic training?

Yes and no. I took classes in high school, and attempted a degree in animation in college, but was rejected from the program. Most of what I’ve learned has been on the job, and from my super talented coworkers.

What is your favorite animated TV show? (“The Simpsons” answer doesn’t count!)

To name a few! – South Park, Adventure Time, Ren and Stimpy, Harvey Beaks (a new show on Nickelodeon I was lucky enough to work on – it’s awesome!) and nothing quite compares to Avatar The Last Airbender & Legend of Korra. I know i’m missing some, I’ll probably remember at like midnight and be kicking myself

Where did you happen to get the inspiration for each of the recurring animals?

Some of the animals I just really like to draw (like the sloth, and the penguins) and others are inspired by my friends. The collared lizard, for instance, was inspired by my dear friend Edwin

Which Simpsons character were your favourites to draw?

Milhouse!!! And Maggie 🙂

Aside from Rory and his dad, do you have a favorite adorable animal character in your strips? (Mine is the helpful frilled lizard. He just makes me smile so much.)

I love him, too 🙂 I like the bear, but maybe that’s just because I relate to him the most.

Your comics are cute all the time, how do you balance all this cuteness in your life? Do you listen to black metal between drawing sessions, or play a multiplayer round of Call of Duty?

That is actually not far from the truth at all. Can you see into my windows at night?

I believe learning from mistakes are important, but what would you do differently if you were starting over your career?

If I were starting over I would try and have more confidence and be less afraid in general.

What is your favorite shading technique? Your favorite type of line? Your favorite medium?

I only do one line, really – super clean. I love drawing on the computer or with a sharpee on paper

What do you think is the single, most important thing every artist must do/have in order to be successful?

As corny as it sounds, keep trying – but also be willing to accept criticism in order to grow.

How did you get a job animating at The Simpsons?

I was very lucky, I got in at the right time (when they were looking for new hires) and had a friend help mentor me on my entrance test

Did you work ever work directly with Harry Shearer and is he really that difficult?

I haven’t worked with him directly, so I will take a guess – no, he’s wonderful!

Have you met any of the voice actors on the Simpsons? If yes, who?

I had the pleasure of meeting Julie Kavner while working on the movie, she is so nice! I have seen the others at various premiere parties and such, but I don’t know them personally.

How long does it take you to complet a comic (from conception to tumblr post)?

Usually not too long. Coming up with the ideas is the hardest part – I usually go on walks in the morning, that’s where I try and come up with the ideas. The drawings usually only take about 20 min or so.

Can you actually play the ukulele? Play us a song.

No, I can’t! So, no. You would hate it.

How did you decide to make animals your main subjects in your comics?

I am terrible at drawing people! Also, I love animals 🙂

What does a typical day look like in your life?

get up at 630 with a baby, get coffee, try to think of comics on my walk, come home, draw for hours, eat dinner, watch tv, go to bed!

Any plans to make toys of any of your cartoon characters?

Hopefully very soon!! I’ll keep everyone posted

What kind of music do you like to listen to while you work?

I actually don’t really listen to music, I usually listen to podcasts. My favs are This American Life, Radiolab, The Moth, Comedy Bang Bang, The Dead Author’s Podcast, and Serial

Which tools/program do you use for your art/animations?

I use photoshop, a super old version, and an equally old Cintiq tablet

Why do all of your characters look lazy? just my opinion

Because they are. They live in a world without backgrounds, wouldn’t you be?

When did you start realizing your art was getting so popular? Was it just something that took you by surprise?

Yes! It all happened in an afternoon, actually. One comic, the “Turtle and Hare” one I did a couple years back, got a ton of attention one day and a bunch of notes on Tumblr, it all sort of took off from there!

What did you think of this AMA Highlight?

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