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Posted April 27, 2015 at 06:51 pm

Hey everyone! It's our third letters column (Sorry it's a little late, Yuko's birthday was this weekend and we got caught up)! This is where we round up the questions we received from Patreon backers and respond. In case you're confused, here's the deal: patrons can ask us questions by hitting this link. If you'd like to become a patron, head over to our patreon!

Two questions this week!
Hi Ananth and Yuko! I'm going to be tabling TCAF this year, and it's my first time tabling in general. Any tips for surviving the hours of sitting, chatting, and promoting yourself?
Yuko and I have been doing shows for almost 10 years now, and it wasn't until this year that I think we finally found our comfort zone. I think it's really difficult to give general advice because a lot of this depends on what kind of person you are, what kind of work you do, etc. Rather than make generalizations, I'll tell you what works for us:
  • Breakfast: We eat the breakfast we need to have our best day (for me that means a light breakfast, for Yuko it means a greasy breakfast sandwich). We both wake up with black coffee - that kick in the teeth always gets us going.
  • Lunch: DON'T SKIP LUNCH. DON'T SKIP LUNCH. Reminding myself one more time: DON'T SKIP LUNCH. 
  • Dinner: When I first started doing shows, I was all about hanging with friends, eating whatever and staying out super late. I think this is a great idea and these meals can become the cornerstones of long friendships. No regrets! I'm a little different now and am more focused on my health. At ECCC, we made a point of breaking off to eat somewhere healthy, and meeting up w/ friends later. We went to bed relatively early. I woke up feeling great and energetic, and that's important to me because I'm there to meet our readers. That's where my priorities are at right now.
  • Snacks: We pack (healthy) snacks & drink water until we need a little more coffee to get us through the end of the day. For me personally, I do my best to avoid eating anything sugary during shows-- I love sweets but it's hard to recover when I crash. Our readers are amazing and bring us lots of great stuff, and we make a point of enjoying these things at home.
  • Sitting vs. standing: As a general rule, I don't sit! I think standing makes me more open and approachable, and it helps keep me active and awake. I wear comfortable shoes behind the table.
  • Exercise: This is more general advice, but as working artists we try to take care of bodies. Yuko and I try to keep a morning exercise routine, and at shows we'll try to get up early and do a half hour at the hotel gym. (That being said, if you don't already have a regimen, I wouldn't recommend starting at a show. But certainly start after!)
  • Walking around: We try to set aside some time to walk around and check out other peoples' tables. If there are some things we know we want, we'll make a list and try to pick it up before doors open. It also lets you have a more normal conversation. 
  • Bad interactions: These shows can be a lot of fun and they can also be high stress. If I have an interaction that seems awkward, curt or rude, I try to make a point of not judging the person too harshly. If someone I've met forgets who I am, I try to take it in stride, and I hope other people forgive me for the same. I tend to think of show realities as completely separate from real-reality. 
  • Promos: We give away business cards and stickers, and that has worked for us.
  • Place: If the show is taking place in a city, maybe plan an extra day to walk around. Toronto in particular is very walkable, the subway system is easy, and there's a lot to check out. 
  • Generally: Enjoy yourself! TCAF is a great and unique experience, soak it up. 

Hope that was a good answer! On to the next one:

Hi guys! I'm a big fan of you both and I have every book of yours I can find and love your style. I got one question for the both of you.

Ananth, what are your influences? What do you like more about writing, character or story?
And Yuko, I love the sense of style your characters have. Where do you get the reference for clothes and poses?
That's it, love your work guys, I hope your Patreon keeps getting supporters!

- Glenn L.

Ananth: "I think my influences must be in flux because I'm having difficulty identifying them right now. I've been trying to find things that explore the (complicated) relationship between first-gen chidren of immigrants and America. But more generally and consistently, I'm a fan of things based in reality but with a fantastic element. I've been reading magical realism (Allende, Márquez, Murakami, etc.) for a long time. More recently I was very enamored with the Golem & the Djinni, by Helene Wecker. In terms of comics, my favorite authors are probably Aki Irie & Florent Maudoux. As far as writing, it's changed over time. I was always more drawn to characters over story, but I've come to appreciate that characters need to live in a story with a satisfying payoff (BUZZ! was an exercise in trying to get a grip on escalating a story). I don't know if I manage that, but it's something I think about a lot."
Yuko: "Everything I learned about fashion I learned from Ananth. A lot of our reference comes from tumblr (we reblog a lot of it at our fashion blog Attract Attack-- we plan to do a fashion-related project called Attract Attack at some point). Often times we'll settle on a rough idea of a character's style, and then Ananth and I will browse various clothing sites to build reference folders. For poses, if I'm stuck on a body in space, I'll tend to browse around or take a photo of myself."
Thanks for writing! Catch you next time! 
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