Norwegian comic artist Ida Neverdahl has been making comics since she was a little girl, and many of which can be viewed on Vice. Funny and always weird, Neverdahl’s adventures start and end with a 13-year-old character named Lulu Lulusen, who is an unassuming girl who loves unicorns to death. Now, her latest work is being turned into a graphic novel, which you can support on Kickstarter for the next month.
We had a chance to talk to Ida about her wicked imagination (and taste for cutesy-gore storytelling) and picked her brain about art, Jelly Vampire and more!
AiPT!: Thanks for taking the time, Ida, I’ve had a chance to read your comics and they’re just wonderful. They’re equal parts childlike, but also adult in the best of ways. Do you get your ideas and jot them down as you go, or do you plot out these ideas?
Ida Neverdahl: My ideas are often childish, because I have a childish brain. My mind is silly and easily excited by stuff I learn. Sometimes I’ll start reading about something silly and get really stoked about it. Like jellyfish, circus animals, cheese doodles or alien abduction. My process from there is just, “Imma make a comic about it.” Since I’m quite lazy, I’ll just scribble down a story about that thing, and let my character Lulu do whatever comes to mind. I also love to draw gore, monsters and things getting chopped up. I guess that’s where the adult parts come in.
AiPT!: If you were to pitch a reader as to what Jelly Vampire, the upcoming Kickstarter, is all about, what would you say?
Neverdahl: The Jelly Vampire Kickstarter’s aim is to produce an English comic book version of my comic ‘Jelly vampire.’ Jelly Vampire is a comic about the whimsical life of Lulu Lulusen. The only constant thing in her life is that nothing is. One day she’s a kid battling bullies in the schoolyard, the next she’s abducted by aliens and gets her head put on the body of a pair of siamese tiger twins. Nothing is too weird, or challenging to Lulu. With the ancient Viking philosophy of sprell in her heart, any obstacle is a new adventure to this peculiar little girl.
AiPT!: Many of your comics are four panels long. Is there a trick to four panels getting the most humor, or another reason this format is so perfect?
Neverdahl: Four panels are a good format to make well-structured jokes. It gives you enough space to set up a joke and deliver it in a concise way. Also, it turns out it’s a good format for webcomics since it fits well on most social media platforms.
AiPT!: Many of your comics are short, but some are long. Do you approach them differently depending on length?
Neverdahl: The Jelly Vampire comic started out as a four-panel comic strip because it originally ran in a newspaper. Later, it moved into a comics magazine, where it continued as a strip for a while. Then I realized I could do longer stories in this format, and it evolved from there. The editors gave me maybe a bit too much freedom, and I went from one-page stories about discovering that horses don’t have periods, to 12-page-long stories about battling mental illness in the shape of lumpy monsters. The long format suits me the best, because I really like to include as much juicy, weird and imaginative content in the comics I put out. I have a lot of ideas, and usually they don’t fit inside just four panels.
AiPT!: How long have you loved unicorns and is it a healthy love?
Neverdahl: I’ve always been drawing unicorns because of their beauty and magic. At some point, I read this book called Black Unicorn, which showcased a darker side of unicorns. This inspired me to put a twist on my unicorn creations. I think it’s interesting to take something sweet and jolly, and make it sinister and dark. Like when Lulu goes to Chernobyl and meets ‘the Chernobylicorn,’ and he’s this melty mutated unicorn-zombie with horn-like tumors protruding everywhere. Or when Lulu’s depressed and is visited by ‘Dr.Unicornsen,’ who gives her ‘unicorn pills’ to make her happy again. Love is never unhealthy, but I guess the object of your love can be. Unicorns represent beauty and happiness and all good things in the world, so I don’t think that can ever be a bad thing!
AiPT!: When is the first moment you fell in love with comics?
Neverdahl: I’ve been into drawing ever since I was little. I also loved to create stories, so combining these two interests of mine naturally led to making comics. I made my very first comics at the age of 5 when I hung out at my grandmother’s house. I would draw the pages, then dictate to my grandmother what to write on those pages to make it a full-fledged comic. One of my first comics was called ‘The Easter Chicken’s Christmas,’ and told the story about a group of Easter chickens preparing for Christmas. However, the father chicken is troubled throughout the story for some reason never explained. Anyway, in the end, they manage to throw a nice Christmas party for the whole family. I also made a comic about a dog dad and his son crashing with their space ship onto a planet inhabited entirely by the ’90s toy franchise ‘Furby.’
AiPT!: What is your favorite method of procrastination?
Neverdahl: I feel like I’m somewhat always procrastinating when I work. My workflow is to draw a little, watch some YouTube videos, draw some more, make coffee, continue drawing for a while, and then start dancing to a tune I’m listening to, or practice my splits. Also, I often work in the evening or nighttime, so often I’ll be interrupted by friends asking me to hang. So I’ll be working, some friends hit me up, we go to a show or other event, then I get home at 3 in the morning and keep drawing. This is actually the time I happen to work best, because I’m usually really so tired and zoned out, I forget to do anything else but draw. It’s very meditative.
There’s still plenty of time to support Neverdahl’s comic “Jelly Vampire” on Kickstarter! And you can also follow her on Instagram @jellyvamps.