Welcome to Mina’s Creator Spotlight: Evan Waterman and Lo Vicente

Evan Waterman and Lo Vicente are two of the creators featured in our latest anthology, Welcome to Mina’s. Evan Waterman is a Vancouver born comic and children’s book writer and letterer, as well as Director of Promotions at Cloudscape Comics. You can view some of his work as well as his comic making guides and workshops at https://evanjwaterman.com/. When he’s not making comics, Evan can be found DMing crazy D&D adventures and obsessing over cats. Lo Vicente is a Cartoonist and Illustrator from Argentina. Lo writes, illustrates, and publishes the ongoing webcomic Towards Eden, and is also a regular contributor of comic anthologies. I sat down with them [virtually] to get some insight into comics, diners, and the creative process.

Kathleen: What was the inspiration behind your story for this anthology?

Lo: When it comes to inspiration for the art, initially it came mostly from the first script Evan sent me. I’ve never had a chance to draw a meet-cute like this before. Evan did a fantastic job structuring the story and creating a couple of very compelling characters in just a few pages.

Once we got into the anthology, I started working on the designs for the characters and the environments, and I found myself having to do tons of research. Especially for the environments! Not being from Canada, and having never seen snow myself, there was a lot for me to learn about. I think I spent a whole afternoon just watching online videos, trying to really grasp what a snowstorm is like, haha. 

But now I have folders full of pictures. I learned what diners there look like, what the streets and sidewalks have on them, and what people wear on a snow day. I think I really got caught into finding all the little details that set Vancouver apart from other cities I know.

I believe even if the diner itself is fictional and our story isn’t particularly centered around the city itself, being able to construct the environments with an informed perspective can bring a lot to the story. Once I had a clearer picture of Vancouver, its weather, its people, and its history, all of that brought new inspiration for the art of Caught In The Storm.

Evan: My main focus with Caught In The Storm was to create a simple, wholesome story. My usual stories tend to be quite dramatic and contain a lot of dense political intrigue, but I’ve been feeling so mentally exhausted with everything going on in the world the past four years. that lately I’ve felt a need to escape from all that. Sure, sometimes you want grandiose storylines and dramatic character arcs that interweave within each other in mysterious ways, but sometimes just want to watch two friendly people awkwardly flirt with each other in a restaurant for a few pages. Lately I’ve been feeling more of a need for the latter.

K: How did the two of you come to collaborate?

L: I’ve known Evan for a quite a while now I think. I’m pretty sure we’ve been meaning to collab on a comic for some time, but for one reason or another we’ve missed each other until now.

Evan’s a fantastic writer. After I got to read some of the scripts he’s done for other anthologies, I was convinced I had to work with him. He’s able to convey so much in very few pages, without overwhelming the artist, and he really knows when to let the art do the work. He really understands the medium, and he’s a joy to work with too. What more can I ask for? haha.

I’m really glad we were finally able to get a comic together and I hope we get to make more in the future!

E: Yeah me and Lo have known each other for a few years now and I’m just as surprised it took us this long to collab on something haha. Putting this story together and getting to see the absolutely beautiful pages Lo has come up with has been a complete dream! I’m truly blown away by each and every panel they’ve come up with. I’m not exaggerating when I say Lo is one of the most amazingly talented artists I know, and honestly I feel so blessed to be able to work on a story with someone so skilled, so creative, and so kind hearted.

K: What is your favourite part of the creative process?

L: Evidently I really like the preliminary research process, haha. I don’t have much of a preference among the other parts of making the art, I enjoy it every step of the way. But I guess I’m most happy once the pages are finished, and I can finally see the whole thing coming together. I can get exhaustingly insecure with my own abilities sometimes, and it’s a relief every time I get a satisfying result.

E: My favourite part is early on in the process where I get to create new, interesting characters and explore their various relationships and emotions. I get such a rush when I’m frantically scribbling down all my thoughts, all the motivations my characters have, and all the thrilling scenes they get to go through. It’s when I get to be the most creative and that’s so exciting to me.

K: What’s your go-to diner order? 

L: HMMMmmm… I haven’t been eaten out in what feels like a decade… or maybe it was since March? Anyways, I’m partial to pizza. Can’t go wrong with pizza! We have a great variety of toppings here. Heart of palm being one of my favorites. 

E: My go-to diner order nine times out of ten is sushi (avocado roll, kappa roll, sweet potato roll) since sushi is amazing but also I’m lazy and there’s a place that’s a two minute walk away from my house. My absolute favourite meal though has to be literally any dish from 4 Stones restaurant in Richmond. Their dim sum is fantastic, and the whole menu is vegetarian! Just thinking about the vegan kong pao with some dumplings, bean curd, and gyozas has my mouth watering!

K: This anthology is set in Vancouver. What’s your connection to the city? How would you describe the city to an outsider?

L: Gosh, Vancouver’s got to be the one city I’ve never been to that I know the most about. I’m not usually the type to travel but I’d love to visit someday. Maybe check out the legendary Cloudscape HQ I’ve heard so much about!

It’s weird, now I feel like I know the place to some extent, but I know that I really don’t. Like some type of parasocial relationship… with a city. Is that even a thing? haha.

It must be all those videos I watched of snow gently falling on the streets, but thinking of the place really gives me a relaxing sense of calmness. 

E: I grew up in Richmond just outside of Vancouver, so the city was always this semi-explored place to me. It was a place I usually only visited when I wanted to go to the beach, or late at night when I was going to a music or comedy show. Now that I’ve lived in the city itself for a couple of years, I really do think I’ve been spoiled by it. It may not be as bustling as Toronto or Montreal, but it still has plenty of charm. There’s a little bit of everything here: Late night bowling joints, hip restaurants, secret shops full of mysterious treasures, beautiful hiking trails in the summer and ski trails in the winter, and overall really great people. Plus it’s hard not to love that ocean and mountain combo! It’s so hard to describe the city in just a few words, but if I had to, it’d be: good food, mild weather, pretty solid music, and beautiful scenery.

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If you haven’t already, check out the Welcome to Mina’s KICKSTARTER!