Interview with Awkward Yeti Creator, Nick Seluk
One of my favorite webcomics is The Awkward Yeti by Nick Seluk. The Awkward Yeti is a wonderful comic that has it all: hilarious single-panel comics about science and the world, thought-provoking multi-panel comics featuring the comic’s namesake yeti, and well-executed digital art.
I started following The Awkward Yeti months ago and have been watching its popularity grow. The reasons I love The Awkward Yeti is because Seluk has created a lovable creature, (Lars the Yeti), who is a simple observer just trying to find his place in the world. Through his trials and tribulations, Lars often tries to fit in only to result in awkwardness. Lars’ personality and his funny, yet odd expressions make him easy to relate to and sympathize with.
As a graphic designer, Seluk also shows off his superb skills in his single-panel comics and detailed digital art. My favorites are his planetary and science comics that are a perfect combination of design and humor.
I recommend checking out The Awkward Yeti site and following him on Facebook where you will also see some of his favored silly pics from the web. Here’s a recent interview I did with Seluk that delves more into The Awkward Yeti, Seluk’s background, and The Awkward Yeti’s future:
Interview with Nick Seluk, creator of The Awkward Yeti:
Q. What is your artist background?
A. I started drawing cartoons and comics as early as I can remember. Around 6th grade I started making nonsensical full-length comic books featuring a variety of characters including friends, parodies of other characters, and Bill Clinton. I never had much formal training, but I snuck my way into graphic design with a few classes, which is what I do full time now (www.coroflot.com/nickseluk).
Q. What inspired you to choose a yeti as your main mascot?
A. I tried my hand at painting a few years ago, and painted an awkward yeti. It was about two years after that, a friend suggested using it as the basis for a children’s book. It was really as simple as that. I made the book, and I loved the character so much I was inspired to expand into comics a few months ago.
Q. How were your comics initially received? Anyone we should give kudos to for helping you along the way?
A. Comics are an acquired taste – so initially the reception was mild. I think as people begin to know the Awkward Yeti, they get a little more interested in the comic. I owe big thanks to pages like IFLS and Science is Awesome for sharing some of my work and allowing me to grow the page following. I couldn’t have done it without that exposure.
Q. What’s your favorite thing about being an artist and having a following?
A. My favorite thing about being an artist is having the ability to convey my own ideas. My favorite thing about having a following is being able to enjoy those ideas with other people. Sometimes when I post something I’m really proud of on Facebook, I wish I could click Like on the people that Like the image.
Q. What message would you be stoked to get out to the world?
A. Everyone is a little awkward, and there’s nothing wrong with laughing at ourselves.
Q. What three Awkward Yeti comics would you say best sum up your message?
A. I really like the comics with Vince, Lars’ older brother – like “Words of Wisdom” (#13). Vince is supremely confident and charismatic, and while he kind of looks down on Lars for being awkward, he kind of creates his own awkward situations. Lars’ is innocently awkward, and likewise Vince doesn’t know he’s being vain or rude. “Am I a Hipster Yet” (#18- see below) is a favorite – I laughed out loud every time I read the last panel where the hipster has suddenly grown a beard. “The Smooth Recovery” (#22) is a nice example because so many people found it relatable.
Q. What inspired you to create your first children’s book?
A. I’ve always wanted to make a children’s book, and when I had my first son I realized I wanted a book that was different – something with bolder illustrations and more interesting characters. I was inspired by Kidrobot and Ugly Dolls because they had a more bold, goofy, unique and almost nonsensical approach to toys and books (you may notice nonsensical as a keyword from the first question). As I mentioned before, a friend saw my painting and suggested it as the subject of my book. I spent a lot of time after that designing the character, then spent many hours writing the book. The book was written in a way for very young children to enjoy page by page, rather than as a cohesive story. It rhymes, but you can read it out of order. It has a message (same message from question 5), but the message has been stripped down and simplified so the book is just entertaining for them.
Q. What advice would you give aspiring cartoonists and artists trying to get into the field?
A. You must persevere. Being an artist is all about expressing yourself in your own way. Whatever it is that you enjoy in art, do it often, and embrace rejection as a challenge to improve.
Q. If you had to choose between coffee and narwhals, which would it be?
A. I love narwhals, they are pretty cool. I’m a big coffee drinker but I’d seriously consider tea if I’m choosing between the two.
Q. What are your future goals or up-and-coming projects for The Awkward Yeti?
A. I’ve been working on a second children’s book, this one will be more of a story format where Lars and the narwhal meet and become friends for the first time. It gets a little deeper into the awkward behavior, but will still be aimed at young children (3-5). I’ll also be opening a t-shirt shop in the near future. After that, who knows… Hollywood?
Q. Anything else you want to add?
A. Thanks to every fan who has stuck with the Facebook page, despite its randomness and inconsistency. It means a lot to have people take an interest in things I find funny, and of course, my comics and cartoons.
Some samples, courtesy of The Awkward Yeti:
Follow Nick Seluk and The Awkward Yeti at:
- Awkward Yeti on Facebook
- Awkward Yeti on Twitter
- The Awkward Yeti (children’s book on Amazon)
- The Awkward Yeti (children’s book, Kindle version)
- Store and Yeti Merchandise
If you would like to submit a webcomic for review, please contact me.